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Complete Streets Commission -- April 10 Meeting on Removing Parking on Middle Avenue

From: domainremoved <Janet>
Date: Mon, 22 Apr 2019 10:58:47 -0700

City Council Members,

My husband and I attended the Complete Streets Commission meeting on April
10 regarding the permanent removal of on-street parking on Middle Avenue
between San Mateo Drive and Olive Street. We are 30-year Middle Avenue
residents and have witnessed the traffic changes during that period. My
husband bikes at least once a day within Menlo Park and therefore
experiences travel as a bicyclist. We both support safer streets for all. I
spoke at the meeting to share my concerns, suggestions and opinion on the
two alternatives given.

I support the commission’s mission “to encourage safe travel, improve
accessibility, and maintain a functional and efficient transportation
network for all modes and persons.” To that end, I believe the section of
Middle Avenue discussed at the meeting needs to address all modes of travel
and persons. Many people share the opinion that speed on Middle Avenue is
excessive. Therefore, measures to reduce or calm the speed at which cars
travel should be part of the plan. Additionally, the safety of pedestrians
crossing Middle Avenue needs to be addressed. An integrated plan for the
safety of all was not presented. Also, what is the overall plan for street
safety and multimodal transportation throughout the city?

I agree that the safety of bicycle riders, particularly school children, is
a priority and needs to be improved. However, I believe permanently
removing on-street parking is extreme and unnecessary. One of the
commissioners asked if there was safety or accident data on the stretch of
Middle Avenue; there wasn’t any. Car count data was shared, but not a
bicycle count. Also, no information was shared regarding what measures do
make streets safer for all persons and modes of transportation. This led me
to wonder how city staff and the commission arrived at the two
alternatives.

I offered the suggestion of “timed” no parking hours. This is something
done in other parts of Menlo Park. There are approximately 180 school days
in a year, and the school commute time is a few hours on each of those
days. A reasonable compromise would be to have no parking hours on school
days; for example, from 7:00 to 9:00 am and 3:00 to 5:00 pm. If on-street
parking is removed permanently, what will happen on the streets
perpendicular to Middle Avenue? More cars will park on those streets,
causing safety issues for pedestrians walking from their cars as there
aren’t sidewalks on those streets. Walking at night will be very unsafe.

The commission agreed to recommend alternative 2 (no parking) to the City
Council, even though the consultant stated that the no-parking alternative
increases car speed. City staff had recommended alternative 1 (parking on
the north side). I felt that the commission had already decided which
alternative to recommend and that it was a formality allowing for public
comment. I also believe the commission felt their compromise was to
recommend to City Council to consider reducing the speed limit to 25 mph
and adding a stop sign on Middle Avenue at San Mateo Drive.

If you know when this item will be on the City Council agenda, I would
appreciate being notified. I don’t know if the city will communicate again
with residents on when the item will be discussed.

Thank you,
Janet Gilmore
1240 Middle Avenue
Received on Mon Apr 22 2019 - 10:54:15 PDT

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