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Re: Competing interests on Oak Grove--acknowledge but please move ahead

From: Mueller, Raymond <"Mueller,>
Date: Fri, 7 Apr 2017 15:02:40 +0000

Thank you for your email. Unfortunately I could not participate in the prior Council decision on this matter, as I had a conflict of interest pending that required my recusal. The company I work for was considering leasing space near the project. However, fortunately the conflict on this matter has resolved. I have requested meetings with Safe Routes to School advocates and school officials to discuss this matter as well as Safe Routes to School issues generally throughout the City, that include other locations. I also plan on reaching out to the Chamber of Commerce and others affected as well. I look forward to participating in the next Council decision on this issue and appreciate your input.

With best regards,
From: Lydia W. Lee <lydiawlee_at_(domainremoved)
Sent: Thursday, April 6, 2017 10:35:36 PM
Subject: Competing interests on Oak Grove--acknowledge but please move ahead

Dear City Councilmembers,

Thank you for listening to the community and getting the Oak Grove/University pilot going. It's been a privilege to serve on the Menlo Park Bicycle Commission for the last couple years and get to know you and the city staff, as well as to familiarize myself with the process by which things get done in the city. I entreat you to honor the democratic process and avoid re-opening the Oak Grove pilot to further modifications at this particular juncture -- however tempting it may be to do so.

There is a misconception that the project has somehow been rushed through. However, the staff report details all the outreach and community engagement that has been undertaken in order to ensure that this pilot is indeed what the community at large wants: http://www.menlopark.org/DocumentCenter/View/12457

Based on the past experience with projects such as the sidewalks on Santa Cruz Ave., I think we all came into this knowing that some opposition by those located on the immediate route was inevitable. I'd like to point out that the current pilot is already the result of considerable compromise in order to satisfy various constituencies. The plan includes on-street parking where it was judged that parking was critical:

--Along the north side of Oak Grove between El Camino Real and Crane.

--Along the north frontage of the 1300 El Camino Real development on Oak Grove.

--Along the south side of Oak Grove between Alma and Laurel.

--Along Crane between Santa Cruz Avenue and Menlo Ave.

Note that while we can debate the merits of these particular modifications, they occurred during the time when the process allowed for such modifications to happen. I believe that allowing any one group to spontaneously commandeer the city's own process--whether it be Nativity School parents, the Bicycle Commission, or federal immigration officers-is undemocratic.

At the risk of going off on a tangent, I'd like to add that I deeply sympathize with the parking issues that Nativity School parents are dealing with. Every school in our area has a major traffic snarl during pick-up and drop-off times. The situation pits drivers against other drivers, bicyclists against pedestrians, everyone against anyone else in their way, because the roads are not designed to accommodate that level of traffic. This is why we need to put in special safeguards for our young bicyclists now.

Retaining parking on Oak Grove may in fact exacerbate Nativity School's parking issues in the long term, while having a safe bike route may encourage more parents, kids, and community members to bike there for school, services, and special events alike. Perhaps the Oak Grove pilot can be a catalyst for Nativity to develop a formal transportation plan (aka Transportation Demand Management plan), if it doesn't already have one. Then it can ensure that all of its regular parking needs can be met onsite, per its agreement with the city in 2006 -- when it was allowed to expand its facilities on the condition that it had adequate parking.

Thank you again for your exceptional level of public service and for honoring due process.

Lydia Lee
Menlo Park Bicycle Commissioner
Vice Chair, Parents for Safe Routes
Received on Fri Apr 07 2017 - 08:08:12 PDT

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