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Guest opinion: We must untie the El Camino traffic knot

Original post made on Feb 5, 2013

After nearly a decade, there is a proposal to develop vacant lots along El Camino in Menlo Park. There are significant changes needed before the project is accepted by residents, and Stanford University, the applicant, got the message last Monday night. But there was another message, for our City Council.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Wednesday, February 6, 2013, 12:00 AM

Comments (7)

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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Feb 5, 2013 at 3:26 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

Finally someone who is taking a proactive view of how to accomodate the Specific Downtown Plan permitted growth.

Thank you Henry!

In my opinion parking should be removed from ECR and it makes no sense to create exclusive lanes for the very few buses which carry very few passengers.

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Posted by old timer
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Feb 5, 2013 at 4:18 pm

Henry Riggs, a member of the MP planning commission has never voted against a commercial development. To him, build it higher and denser is his agenda; you then worry about the consequences with band aid fixes.

His agenda is certainly aimed at transforming suburban Menlo Park into a full high density, traffic nightmare of a urban city like San Jose or SF.

For many of us who have chosen to live here, this is completely a wrong approach. The specific plan should be revisited, regardless of what Mr. Carpenter, a resident of Atherton and not Menlo Park, input on the matter suggests.

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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Feb 5, 2013 at 4:31 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

" Mr. Carpenter, a resident of Atherton and not Menlo Park,"

I probably spend more time on ECR and more money in Menlo Park than do most Menlo Park residents. And I firmly support Henry Riggs' enlightened approach to cleaning up the ECR traffic mess.

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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Feb 5, 2013 at 4:35 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

Also, please remember that ECR is a STATE highway and not the private property of Menlo Park.

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Posted by Menlo Voter
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Feb 5, 2013 at 4:58 pm

old timer:

you can revist the specific plan all you want. You can't change the granted zoning without a lawsuit. You want your tax dollars being thrown down that rat hole? Yes, rat hole, as that is not a lawsuit the city will win.

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Posted by Adina
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Feb 5, 2013 at 10:03 pm

Menlo Park certainly needs to study El Camino - there were important decisions left unresolved in the Specific Plan. But adding car lanes is far from a slam dunk solution. ECR is located in between two freeways, 101 and 280. Everybody who uses El Camino for more than a short trip makes a decision about whether or not to take the freeway. If we expanded El Camino to six lanes (or more), it would draw trips from the freeway.

The Specific Plan calls for a pedestrian/bike crossing of the Caltrain tracks so families can get to the playing fields, pool, gym, library, etc. The plan calls for improving the walking environment and pedestrian crossings on El Camino. This will also help residents and workers in the new developments get to downtown or Safeway without getting in a car.

Do we want to keep these goals of making it easier to walk? Do we want to be more like Sunnyvale or Fremont, with lots of car lanes and streets that are unsafe to cross?

I agree with Henry Riggs that the city needs to study and make decisions about how to handle El Camino. We shouldn't punt the decisions until after a traffic-generating development goes in.

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Posted by throw them out
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Feb 5, 2013 at 11:11 pm

Each week, a new planning commissioner publishes a guest opinion decrying the lack of foresight that accompanied approval of the plan.

Yet all planning commissioners and council members were informed last spring that Stanford would almost certainly do exactly as it has done: develop its property to the max. Henry, John, and almost all the rest chose to ignore these warnings.

The PC is appointed, so not much we residents can do. But a recall of the council is certainly a possibility.

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