The Controversial Menlo Park New El Camino Downtown (aka Specific Plan)

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This is the controversial city development and zoning plan that was passed June of 2012. These new property development regulations were created under a cloud of conflict of interest - with Menlo Park hiring long-time Stanford land management consultants to write the regulations. In fact, it was later found that these consultants were getting paid by Stanford to represent them on several other large developments with the goal of maximizing Stanford's land rights.

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The Controversial Menlo Park New El Camino Downtown (aka Specific Plan)

  1. 1. MENLO PARK EL CAMINO REAL/DOWNTOWN SPECIFIC PLANCITY OF MENLO PARK, CALIFORNIAJuly 12, 2012
  2. 2. PREPARED BY:PERKINS+WILLIN ASSOCIATION WITHSTRATEGIC ECONOMICS | FEHR & PEERS | BKF | HDR/THE HOYT COMPANY | ESACITY OF MENLO PARK, CALIFORNIAJuly 12, 2012MENLO PARK EL CAMINO REAL/DOWNTOWN SPECIFIC PLAN
  3. 3. ACKNOWLEDGMENTSCITY OF MENLO PARKCITY COUNCILRichard ClineAndrew CohenKelly FergussonKirsten KeithPeter OhtakiJohn Boyle (Council Member 2006-2010)Heyward Robinson (Council Member 2006-2010)CITY COUNCIL SUBCOMMITTEERichard ClineKirsten KeithJohn Boyle (Council Member 2006-2010)KEY CITY PERSONNELThomas Rogers, Project Manager and AssociatePlannerArlinda Heineck, Community Development DirectorVanh Malathong, Technical Service CoordinatorAlex D. McIntyre, City ManagerGlen Rojas (former City Manager)Starla Jerome-Robinson, Assistant City ManagerCherise Brandell, Community Services DirectorCarol Augustine, Finance DirectorChip Taylor, Public Works DirectorAtul Patel, Senior Transportation EngineerKent Steffens (former Public Works Director)David Johnson (former Business DevelopmentManager)Many others on staff contributed to the success of thecommunity workshops, review and refinement of draftconcepts, and the production of documents.CONTRACT ATTORNEYBarbara Kautz, Goldfarb Lipman, AttorneysPLANNING COMMISSIONVincent BresslerBen EirefKatie FerrickJohn KadvanyJohn O’MalleyHenry RiggsPeipei YuKirsten Keith (former Commissioner)Melody Pagee (former Commissioner)CITY COMMISSIONSBicycle CommissionEnvironmental Quality CommissionFinance and Audit CommitteeHousing CommissionParks and Recreation CommissionTransportation CommissionOVERSIGHT/OUTREACH COMMITTEECharlie BournePatty BoyleKristi BreischVincent BresslerCharles CatalanoRick CiardellaBen EirefSteve ElliottJohn FoxBill FrimelJ. Michael GullardTom HilligossClark KeplerBud KohnElizabeth LazenskyReginald RiceHenry RiggsDouglas ScottTodd TempleJeff WarmouthElizabeth Weiss…And the thousands of community members who didthe real work of the Specific Plan by providing directionfor their community for the next 20 to 30 years. Theirdedication to working in a constructive, collaborative wayto create a plan that will make our community the best itcan be is an admirable testament to our ability to achievethe vision set forth in the Specific Plan.
  4. 4. CONSULTANT TEAMPERKINS+WILLPrakash Printo, Principal-in-ChargeMark Hoffheimer, Project Manager and Senior PlannerKaren Alschuler, Participating PrincipalGeeti Silwal, Urban DesignerPatrick Vaucheret, Urban DesignerSaba Ghole, Urban PlannerPoonam Narkar, Urban PlannerSTRATEGIC ECONOMICSNadine Fogarty, PrincipalSujata Srivastava, PrincipalSarah Graham, Senior AssociateDerek Braun, AssociateFEHR & PEERSJane Bierstedt, Principal-in-ChargeJoe Fernandez, Project ManagerNicole Nagaya, Project PlannerGregory Ripa, Project EngineerIan Moore, Senior Bicycle PlannerCarrie Nielson, Bicycle PlannerKatherine Spencer, Graphic Artist and GIS AnalystBKF ENGINEERSDaniel Schaefer, PrincipalEric Girod, Associate/Project ManagerHDR/THE HOYT COMPANYPeter Castles, Outreach Project ManagerTammy Nguyen, Community Relations Coordinator
  5. 5. CONTENTSA PLAN OVERVIEWB PLAN CONTEXTC PLAN PRINCIPLES, FRAMEWORK + PROGRAMD PUBLIC SPACEE LAND USE + BUILDING CHARACTERF CIRCULATIONG IMPLEMENTATIONH APPENDIX
  6. 6. LIST OF FIGURESA. PLAN OVERVIEWFig. A1 Illustrative Site Plan ....................................................................................................... A3Fig. A2 Regional Map ................................................................................................................. A6Fig. A3 Plan Area Map ............................................................................................................... A7Fig. A4 “Project North” ............................................................................................................... A10Fig. A5 Types of Information Found in Specific Plan .................................................................. A11B. PLAN CONTEXTFig. B1 Site Context ................................................................................................................... B4Fig. B2 Site Character ............................................................................................................... B5Fig. B3 Opportunities and Constraints ....................................................................................... B9Fig. B4 Peak Period Intersection Level of Service in Plan Area ................................................ B17Fig. B5 Pedestrian Facilities in Plan Area .................................................................................. B18Fig. B6 Bicycle Facilities in Plan Area ........................................................................................ B19Fig. B7 Transit Service in Plan Area .......................................................................................... B21C. PLAN PRINCIPLES, FRAMEWORK + PROGRAMFig. C1 Concept Diagram ........................................................................................................... C7Fig. C2 El Camino Real South ................................................................................................... C11Fig. C3 Opportunities and Constraints ....................................................................................... C15Fig. C4 Detail of Downtown Public Space Program ................................................................... C16Fig. C5 Downtown ...................................................................................................................... C17Fig. C6 Illustrative Plan .............................................................................................................. C21D. PUBLIC SPACEFig. D1 Public Space Framework ............................................................................................... D3Fig. D2 Connected + Walkable Downtown and Station Area Concept ....................................... D4Fig. D3 Green + Shaded Downtown and Station Area Concept .................................................. D5Fig. D4 Bicycle Network + Access Downtown and Station Area Concept ................................... D6Fig. D5 El Camino Real South Concept ..................................................................................... D7Fig. D6 Downtown Public Space Plan with Major Public Space Improvements ......................... D8Fig. D7 Concept Plan of Key Public Spaces Downtown ............................................................. D9Fig. D8 Sidewalk Section ........................................................................................................... D12Fig. D9 Section through Santa Cruz Avenue ............................................................................. D13Fig. D10 Concept Plan of Santa Cruz Avenue with Major Streetscape Improvements .............. D13Fig. D11 Section through Santa Cruz Ave Central Plaza, with Median Trees Preserved ............ D17Fig. D12 Concept Plan of the Santa Cruz Avenue Central Plaza ................................................ D17Fig. D13 Concept Plan of Santa Cruz Avenue Central Plaza and the Chestnut Paseo .............. D19Fig. D14 Concept Plan of South Parking Plazas Pedestrian Link .............................................. D23Fig. D15 Concept Plan of Station Area ...................................................................................... D29Fig. D16 Concept Plan of Ravenswood Gateway ...................................................................... D35Fig. D17 Typical Section / Plan at El Camino Real North between Valparaisoand Oak Grove Avenues ............................................................................................................. D39
  7. 7. Fig. D18 Typical Section / Plan at El Camino Real Downtown between Oak Groveand Menlo Avenues ....................................................................................................................... D40Fig. D19 Typical Section / Plan at El Camino Real South of Roble Avenue ................................ D41Fig. D20 Typical Intersection Improvement .................................................................................. D43E. LAND USE + BUILDING CHARACTERFig. E1 Land Use Designations .................................................................................................. E3Fig. E2 Development Intensity / Density ....................................................................................... E14Fig. E3 Maximum Building Height and Maximum Façade Height ............................................... E19Fig. E4 Heights, Setbacks and Building Profile ........................................................................... E20Fig. E5 Building and Architectural Projections ............................................................................ E22Fig. E6 Building and Architectural Projection Standards ............................................................ E22Fig. E7 Building Front and Corner Side Setbacks ...................................................................... E23Fig. E8 Allowable Building Projection Area ................................................................................. E24Fig. E9 Minimum Building Break Requirements in El Camino Real (ECR) SE District .............. E27Fig. E10 Vertical Façade Modulation and Upper Floor Façade Length ...................................... E29Fig. E11 45-Degree Building Profile for Floors Above the Maximum Allowable Façade Height ... E29Fig. E12 45-Degree Building Profile Set at Minimum Setback Line ............................................ E29Fig. E13 Raised Residential Unit Entries .................................................................................... E31Fig. E14 Clearly Articulated Ground-Floor Bays ......................................................................... E33Fig. E15 Retail Entries at a Maximum of Every 50-Feet ............................................................. E34Fig. E16 Key Map of Zoning Districts .......................................................................................... E45Fig. E17 Mixed Use Residential Projects in El Camino Real North-East (ECR NE-L) District ..... E47Fig. E18 Mixed Use Commercial Projects in El Camino Real North-East – Low Density(ECR NE-L) District ....................................................................................................................... E48Fig. E19 El Camino Real North-East (ECR NE) District Required Setback ................................. E51Fig. E20 Mixed Use Residential Projects in El Camino Real North-East (ECR NE) District ........ E52Fig. E21 Mixed Use Commercial Projects in El Camino Real North-East (ECR NE) District ....... E53Fig. E22 El Camino Real North East (ECR NE-R) District Required Setback ............................... E56Fig. E23 Mixed Use Residential Projects in El Camino Real North East (ECR NE-R) District E57Fig. E24Mixed Use Commercial Projects in El Camino Real North-East – Residential Emphasis(ECR NE-R) District ..................................................................................................................... E58Fig. E25 El Camino Real South-East (ECR SE) District Required Setback ................................. E61Fig. E26 Mixed Use Residential Projects in El Camino Real South-East (ECR SE) District ......... E62Fig. E27 Mixed Use Commercial Projects in El Camino Real South-East (ECR SE) District ....... E63Fig. E28 Mixed Use Residential Projects in El Camino Real North-West (ECR NW) District ...... E67Fig. E29 Mixed Use Commercial Projects in El Camino Real North-West (ECR NW) District ..... E68Fig. E30 El Camino Real South-West (ECR SW) District Required Setback ............................... E71Fig. E31 Mixed Use Residential Projects in El Camino Real South-West (ECR SW) District ..... E72Fig. E32 Mixed Use Commercial Projects in El Camino Real South-West (ECR SW) District ..... E73Fig. E33 Mixed Use Residential Projects in Station Area East (SA E) District ............................. E77Fig. E34 Mixed Use Commercial Projects in Station Area East (SA E) District ........................... E78Fig. E35 Mixed Use Residential Projects in Station Area East (SA E) District – Alma Street East E79Fig. E36 Mixed Use Residential Projects in Station Area West (SA W) District ............................ E83Fig. E37 Mixed Use Commercial Projects in Station Area West (SA W) District ........................... E84LIST OF FIGURES (continued)
  8. 8. Fig. E38 Mixed Use Residential Projects in Downtown (D) District .............................................. E88Fig. E39 Mixed Use Commercial Projects in Downtown (D) District ............................................. E89Fig. E40 Parking Garage Project in Downtown (D) District ......................................................... E90Fig. E41 Downtown Adjacent (DA) District Required Setback ...................................................... E93Fig. E42 Mixed Use Residential Projects in Downtown Adjacent (DA) District ............................ E94Fig. E43 Mixed Use Commercial Projects in Downtown Adjacent (DA) District ........................... E95F. CIRCULATIONFig. F1 Vehicular Circulation ...................................................................................................... . F3Fig. F2 Pedestrian Improvements .............................................................................................. F5Fig. F3 Bicycle Facilities ............................................................................................................. F11Fig. F4 Transit Service ................................................................................................................ F15Fig. F5 Parking Areas ................................................................................................................. F21Fig. F6 Proposed Public Parking Downtown .............................................................................. F25G. IMPLEMENTATIONFig. G1 Proposed Public Improvements .................................................................................... G18Fig. G2 Storm Drainage ............................................................................................................. G29Fig. G3 Sanitary Sewer .............................................................................................................. G31Fig. G4 Water Supply and Delivery ............................................................................................ G33LIST OF FIGURES (continued)
  9. 9. LIST OF TABLESC. PLAN PRINCIPLES, FRAMEWORK + PROGRAMTable C1 Guiding Principles Matrix ............................................................................................. C3E. LAND USE + BUILDING CHARACTERTable E1 Land Use Designations and Allowable Uses ............................................................... E6-7Table E2 Development Standards by Zoning Districts ................................................................. E15Table E3 Required Building Breaks in the Zoning Districts ......................................................... E26Table E4 Required Building Breaks in the El Camino Real South-East (ECR SE) Zoning District E26Table E5 Summary of Green Building Requirements .................................................................. E41Table E6 Development Standards for El Camino Real North East–Low Density(ECR NE-L) District ....................................................................................................................... E49-50Table E7 Development Standards for El Camino Real North-East (ECR NE) District.................. E54-55Table E8 Development Standards for El Camino Real North-East–ResidentialEmphasis (ECR NE-R) District .................................................................................................... E59-60Table E9 Development Standards for El Camino Real South-East (ECR SE) District ................ E64-65Table E10 Development Standards for El Camino Real North-West (ECR NW) District ............ E69-70Table E11 Development Standards for El Camino Real South-West (ECR SW) District ............ E74-75Table E12 Development Standards for Station Area East (SA E) District ................................... E80-81Table E13 Development Standards for Station Area West (SA W) District ................................ E85-86Table E14 Development Standards for Downtown (D) District .................................................. E91-92Table E15 Development Standards for Downtown Adjacent (DA) District ................................. E96-97F. CIRCULATIONTable F1 Bicycle Parking Requirements ....................................................................................... F13Table F2 Parking Rates ................................................................................................................ F19Table E3 Existing and Future Downtown Parking Supply ............................................................. F24G. IMPLEMENTATIONTable G1 El Camino Real/Downtown Specific Plan/City of Menlo Park General PlanConsistency Analysis ..................................................................................................................... G4-13Table G2 Potential Funding Sources, Financing Alternatives and Participating Parties ............... G19Table G3 Potential Funding Strategies ......................................................................................... G20Table G4 Public Space Improvements and Public Parking Spaces Displaced ............................. G27
  10. 10. PLAN OVERVIEWA.A.1 SUMMARYA.2 SETTING AND BACKGROUNDA.3 SCOPE OF SPECIFIC PLANA.4 HOW TO USE THIS DOCUMENTA.5 PLANNING PROCESSA.6 VISION PLAN GOALSA2A5A8A10A12A17
  11. 11. A2MENLO PARK EL CAMINO REAL AND DOWNTOWN SPECIFIC PLANA.1 SUMMARYThe El Camino Real/Downtown Specific Plan establishesa framework for private and public improvements on ElCamino Real, in the Caltrain station area and in downtownMenlo Park for the next several decades. The plan’s focusis on the character and extent of enhanced public spaces,the character and intensity of private infill development andcirculation and connectivity improvements. It includes astrategy for implementation of public space improvements,such as wider sidewalks and plazas, and otherinfrastructure improvements.The overall intent of the El Camino Real/Downtown SpecificPlan is to preserve and enhance community life, characterand vitality through public space improvements, mixeduse infill projects sensitive to the small-town character ofMenlo Park and improved connectivity. As discussed laterin more detail, the Specific Plan reflects the outcome of anextensive community outreach and engagement process.Illustrated in Figure A1, the El Camino Real/DowntownSpecific Plan: Encourages infill development of vacant andunder-utilized lots along El Camino Real throughincreased intensities, coupled with strict buildingmodulation and ground-floor setback and buildingprofile requirements that both attenuate the massand scale of larger buildings and create widerpublic sidewalks; Retains the existing “village” character downtownby keeping buildings low and requiring variedbuilding massing, including through building profileand façade modulation requirements; Increases downtown activity, foot traffic and transituse through enhanced public spaces, mixed-useinfill projects (including residential uses) and higherintensities of development near the commuter railstation; Enhances community life through an integratednetwork of widened sidewalks, promenades,pocket parks and public gathering spaces; and Enhances east-west connectivity across ElCamino Real through crosswalk and sidewalkimprovements, while accommodating north-southvehicular through-traffic, and across the railroadtracks through grade-separated pedestrian andbicycle connections.“We need to do something.”- Workshop #1 Participant
  12. 12. CaltrainParkingP P PPPCaltrainParkingCCaCatalalttraiinPParkinltrainPaarkiinngnggPPPP PPP PPPPPPPPPPPPPPPALMAMIDDLEFIELDLAURELELCAMINOREALELCAMINOREALMIDDLEOAK GROVEISABELLAYALEENCINALPARKWATKINSSANTA CRUZVALPARAISOCOLLEGECREEKROBLEEMILIEMILLSGLENWOODPINECAMBRIDGEARBORFREMONTLIVE OAKRAVENSWOODALEJANDRAALTOLINFIELDFELTONHARVARDARDENBURGESSJOHNSONPARTRIDGENOELALLEYGARWOODLENNOXUNIVERSITYPRINCETONHOOVERMERRILLSPRUCEEVELYNROSEOAKCRANEVICTORIALEONCLAIRELEEMILLIELANEALICEMARCUSSENSTONE PINEWERTHFLORENCEMAC BAINWAVERLEYPRIORMCCORMICKCORNELLSANANTONIOBAY LAURELBRITTONMOREYMENLODOUGLASMOULTONBUCKTHORNREBECCADOYLEBLAKESHERWOODHOPKINSCURTISWESTFIELDMALONEYBARRONMICHAELSNEALON PARKJACK W. LYLEMEMORIAL PARKFREMONT PARKBURGESS PARKCIVIC CENTERKENWOODKENTSAXONCASTLECLAREMONTCHERRYRYANSFORESTMALLETTUDORHOMEWOODSURREYHOWARDELIZABETHCHATEAUFENNWOODVERSAILLESBASSETTCREEKPLSUSSEXMANORBLAKECREEKCURTISUNIVERSITYCRANEWAVERLEYARBORSHERWOODRAVENSWOODROBLEARBORMENLOCURTISEnhanced pedestrian crossings on ElCamino Real at Oak Grove, SantaCruz and Menlo AvenuesEl Camino Real East PromenadeCivic Plaza / Entry FeatureBurgess Park Linkage /OpenSpace Plaza / Retail NodeEnhancedStreetscape onSanta Cruz AvenueMarket PlacePPPPParking / Flexible SpaceHotelDowntownEl Camino RealStation AreaCivic CenterExisting Buildings NotIncluded in Opportunity SitesPotential Opportunity SitesProposed / Approved ProjectsSurface Parking LotPublic Plazas / Open SpaceParksPlan Area BoundaryRailroadMenlo Park City LimitP0 200 400 FeetA3CHAPTER A PLAN OVERVIEWFigure A1. Illustrative Site Plan
  13. 13. A4MENLO PARK EL CAMINO REAL AND DOWNTOWN SPECIFIC PLANThe illustrative plan, as shown in Figure A1, depicts how theplan area could potentially build out over the next severaldecades in conformance with the overall planning principlesand within the land use and development regulations anddesign guidelines contained in subsequent chapters. It isimportant to emphasize that the illustrative plan indicatesonly one potential development concept and that the actualbuild-out will likely vary from the initial projection.As envisioned, the full build-out of the plan area could resultin up to approximately 330,000 square feet of additionalretail and commercial development, 680 new residentialunits and 380 new hotel rooms, resulting in 1,357 new jobsand 1,537 additional residents.It is important to emphasizethat the illustrative planindicates only one potentialdevelopment concept andthat the actual build-out willlikely vary from the initialprojection.Rendering of El Camino Real at Ravenswood, looking north
  14. 14. A5CHAPTER A PLAN OVERVIEWdowntown’s main street, provide convenient parking fordowntown visitors and employees. Extensive streetscapeand sidewalk improvements on Santa Cruz Avenue,constructed in the 1970’s, with additional improvements inlater decades, lend a distinct character and pleasant treecover to the street. The street’s sidewalks, however, tendto be narrow and lack adequate social space and spill-outspace for adjacent retailers that many in the communitystrongly desire.The historic train station, currently providing commuter railservice to San Francisco and San Jose, is one block off ElCamino Real opposite downtown. There is a relatively weakconnection between the train station area and downtown,with limited foot traffic and activities that would otherwisegenerate more vibrancy in the area. In addition, the railline, in combination with El Camino Real, run north-south,making east-west connectivity for vehicular, pedestrian, andbicycle movement challenging.In 2007, the City initiated a two-phase planning process toenhance and plan for the long-term success of El CaminoReal, the Caltrain station area and downtown. As discussedin section A.5, Phase I established an overarching vision forthe project area (discussed below). Phase II, this SpecificPlan, refines the vision and establishes an implementationframework for future improvements to the area.Rendering of El Camino Real at Partridge, looking northThe City of Menlo Park is located approximately 30miles south of San Francisco on the Peninsula. Home toapproximately 30,000 residents, Menlo Park is part of astring of communities connected to San Francisco andSan Jose via El Camino Real (an historic road and StateHighway), Caltrain rail service and Interstates 101 and 280.Figure A2 illustrates Menlo Park’s regional context.El Camino Real, the Caltrain rail station, and downtown,along with the nearby Civic Center, constitute the historiccore of Menlo Park. Figure A3 illustrates the Specific Plan’splan area, which encompasses El Camino Real, the railstation area and downtown.An historic route, El Camino Real is now State Highway 82,an active arterial roadway and commercial corridor. It wasonce home to a number of automobile dealerships, mostof which are vacant today. Stanford University, the largestprivate land owner in the project area, owns 12.8 acreson the east side of El Camino Real south of downtown,encompassing most of the former automobile dealershipsand the active Stanford Park Hotel.Menlo Park’s downtown includes relatively few historicbuildings but retains its historic fabric of small parcels andlocal-serving, independent street-front retail businesses.Surface parking lots behind Santa Cruz Avenue,A.2 SETTING AND BACKGROUND
  15. 15. San FranciscoSausalitoDaly CitySouth San FranciscoSan Francisco BayPacificOceanSan BrunoMillbraePacificaBurlingameSan Mateo Foster CityBelmontSan CarlosRedwood CityHalf Moon BayMenlo ParkEast Palo AltoPalo AltoMountain ViewNewarkFremontUnion CityHaywardSan LorenzoDublinPleasantonSan RamonSan LeandroAlamedaPiedmontBerkeleyEl CerritoWalnut CreekDanvilleOaklandCastro ValleySunnyvaleSanta ClaraCupertinoSaratogaSan JoseMilpitas808805805806808806802802802801110110128018282El CaminoReal101El CaminoRealFreeway / HighwayRailroadEl Camino RealFigure A2. Regional MapA6MENLO PARK EL CAMINO REAL AND DOWNTOWN SPECIFIC PLAN
  16. 16. A7CHAPTER A PLAN OVERVIEWMIDDLEFIELDLAURELLAURELMIDDLEISABELLAYALEENCINALPARKWATKINSCOLLEGECREEKROBLEEMILIEMILLSPINECAMBRIDGEARBORFREMONTLIVE OAKRAVENSWOODALEJANDRAALTOLINFIELDFELTONHARVARDARDENBURGESSJOHNSONPARTRIDGENOELALLEYGARWOODLENNOXPRINCETONHOOVERMERRILLSPRUCEEVELYNROSEOAKCRANEVICTORIALEONCLAIRELEEMILLIELANEALICEMARCUSSENSTONE PINEWERTHFLORENCEMAC BAINWAVERLEYPRIORCORNELLSANANTONIOBAY LAURELBRITTONMOREYMENLODOUGLASMOULTONBUCKTHORNREBECCADOYLEBLAKESHERWOODHOPKINSCURTISWESTFIELDMALONEYBARRONMICHAELSKENWOODKENTONTLECLAREMONTCHERRYRYANSFORESTMALLETTUDORCHESTNUTHOMEWOODSURREYHOWARDELIZABETHCHATEAUFENNWOODVERSAILLESBASSETTEKPLSUSSEXMANOROAK GROVE PLAZABLAKECHESTNUTCREEKCURTISCRANEWAVERLEYARBORSHERWOODWILLOWJOHNSONROBLEARBORCURTISAlmaStreetUniversityUniversityOak GroveGlenwoodValparaisoOak GroveSanta Cruz AveMenloRavenswoodElCaminoRealN0 300 600 1200FeetDowntown Menlo ParkEl Camino RealStation AreaStanford University PropertySanta Cruz AvenueCaltrainWAVERLEYPlan AreaCivic CenterFigure A3. Plan Area Map
  17. 17. A8MENLO PARK EL CAMINO REAL AND DOWNTOWN SPECIFIC PLANA.3 SCOPE OF SPECIFIC PLANThe El Camino Real/Downtown Specific Plan establishesthe location and character of streetscape and public spaceimprovements; the character and intensity of commercialand residential development; and the circulation pattern(vehicular, pedestrian, bicycle and transit) and parkingstrategy to support businesses and overall vitality, andenhance east-west connectivity. The Specific Planincludes standards and guidelines for public and privateenhancements to the area, and it offers strategies forfinancing and implementing public improvements.In general, a specific plan is a tool for the systematicimplementation of the general plan. It effectively establishesa link between implementing policies of the general planand the individual development proposals in a definedarea. A specific plan may be as general as setting forthbroad policy concepts, or as detailed as providing directionto every facet of development from the type, location andintensity of uses to the design and capacity of infrastructure;from the resources used to finance public improvements tothe design guidelines of a subdivision.Rendering of Santa Cruz Avenue
  18. 18. A9CHAPTER A PLAN OVERVIEWAccording to California law, Section 65451 of theGovernment Code mandates that a specific plan containthe following:(A) A specific plan shall include a text and a diagram ordiagrams which specify all of the following in detail:(1) The distribution, location, and extent of theuses of land, including open space, within the areacovered by the plan;(2) The proposed distribution, location, and extentand intensity of major components of public andprivate transportation, sewage, water, drainage,solid waste disposal, energy, and other essentialfacilities proposed to be located within the areacovered by the plan and needed to support theland uses described in the plan;(3) Standards and criteria by which developmentwill proceed, and standards for the conservation,development, and utilization of natural resources,where applicable; and(4) A program of implementation measuresincluding regulations, programs, public worksprojects, and financing measures necessary tocarry out paragraphs (1), (2), and (3).(B) The specific plan shall include a statement of therelationship of the specific plan to the general plan.The El Camino Real/Downtown Specific Plan builds uponthe El Camino Real/Downtown Vision Plan, unanimouslyaccepted by the Menlo Park City Council on July 15, 2008.In addition to the Specific Plan, the planning effort includesan associated Environmental Impact Report (EIR), fiscalimpact analysis (FIA) and revisions to the Menlo ParkGeneral Plan and Zoning Ordinance to make this specificplan fully operational.The sketches and photographs in the El Camino Real/Downtown Specific Plan are meant only to relay particularconcepts as described in the text or make reference topertinent precedents and should not be considered exactmodels. Also, the Specific Plan provides standards andguidelines for private and public development, but does notinclude detailed plans.The El Camino Real/Downtown Specific Planbuilds upon the El CaminoReal/Downtown Vision Plan,unanimously accepted by theMenlo Park City Council onJuly 15, 2008.The sketches andphotographs in the ElCamino Real/DowntownSpecific Plan are meant onlyto relay particular conceptsas described in the text ormake reference to pertinentprecedents and shouldnot be considered exactmodels. Also, the SpecificPlan provides standards andguidelines for private andpublic development, but doesnot include detailed plans.
  19. 19. A10MENLO PARK EL CAMINO REAL AND DOWNTOWN SPECIFIC PLANA.4 HOW TO USE THIS DOCUMENTThe El Camino Real/Downtown Specific Plan conveys anoverarching vision for enhancements in the plan area forcommunity residents, business and property owners, Citystaff and developers. It provides guidance for those makingpublic and private improvement in the plan area.The Specific Plan includes the following chapters. A. Plan Overview B. Plan Context C. Plan Principles, Framework + Program D. Public Space E. Land Use + Building Character F. Circulation G. Implementation H. AppendixThe first three chapters provide an overview, context andbroad principles and concepts for the plan area, providingall readers with a broad framework within which individualimprovements should be made. Chapters D, F and Gfocus on public improvements, including their character,associated standards and guidelines, and implementationstrategies. Chapter E provides the regulatory frameworkfor private development, including allowable buildingheights, allowable development intensities, setbackrequirements and other standards and guidelines. Thischapter is the major focus for property owners and privatedevelopers, and it is used by City staff when reviewingprivate development proposals. Note: building diagrams inChapter E are intended to illustrate how different standardsare measured, and are not intended to necessarilydictate the placement of different uses or parking within adevelopment.Although each chapter presents information differentlybased on its focus, Figure A5 illustrates the types ofinformation found within this Specific Plan.Figure A4. “Project North” - Although El Camino Realand the Caltrain line do not run in a precisely north-southdirection within Menlo Park, they are overall north-southcorridors and are considered by the community as such.Directional references in this document use this convention.NNProjectNorthView of Project AreaOriented to Project NorthTrueNorthNNNProjectNorthView of Project AreaOriented to True NorthTrueNorth
  20. 20. D10MENLO PARK EL CAMINO REAL AND DOWNTOWN SPECIFIC PLANWidened sidewalks providing ample space for sitting andoutdoor dining (City of Santa Cruz, California)Santa Cruz Avenue SidewalksThe Specific Plan calls for improving the pedestrianrealm on Santa Cruz Avenue, increasing street activityand enhancing the image of downtown by wideningsidewalks, providing ample space for informal gathering,sitting and outdoor dining and introducing new streetscapeimprovements. The plan establishes sidewalk functionalzones, ensuring a pedestrian clear zone and more pleasantand functional sidewalks. It redistributes the right-of-waybetween traffic lanes, on-street parking and sidewalks inorder to focus on an enhanced pedestrian experience whilestill accommodating vehicular circulation and on-streetparking.IntentEncourage walking and increase levels of streetactivity with wider, more functional sidewalks.Renew the image of downtown with updatedstreetscape elements.CharacterTree canopy with clear visibility to storefronts.Median trees retained, which are iconic features ofdowntown.ImprovementsRetain existing median trees and integrate theminto new streetscape design.Replace diagonal parking with parallel parking, anduse reclaimed width to widen sidewalks.On the side with diagonal parking, replace thediagonal parking with parallel parking, narrowtravel lane and widen sidewalk.On the side with parallel parking, retain parallelparking, narrow travel lane and widen sidewalk.Integrate street trees into on-street parking zones,particularly where sidewalks are narrowest.Upgrade streetscape elements, such as benches,seating, trash receptacles, newspaper racks,paving, and street lighting.Existing Santa Cruz Avenue sidewalk (Menlo Park, California)“Encourage restaurants andshops to utilize sidewalks andstorefronts for public spacegathering, dining, resting”- Workshop #1 Participant“I would absolutely tradeparking spaces on SantaCruz and El Camino forwell-designed parkinggarages with safe, pleasantpedestrian paths!”- Workshop #1 ParticipantD11CHAPTER D PUBLIC SPACE12’ wide sidewalk (Palo Alto, California)Illustration of 19’ wide sidewalkImplement and evaluate Santa Cruz Avenuesidewalk improvements on a trial basis, beforemoving forward with a permanent installation. Thetrial period shall be the basis for the review andconsideration of a permanent installation.StandardsD.2.01 Streetscape improvements on Santa Cruz Avenueshall retain existing median trees to the extent possible.GuidelinesStreetscape improvements on Santa Cruz Avenue shouldinclude the following:D.2.02 Provide widest sidewalk possible while retaining on-street parallel parking.D.2.03 Introduce safe pedestrian crossings by usingelements such as marked crossings, clear signage,supplementary lighting, and curb extensions.D.2.04 Introduce street trees in parking zone to maximizesidewalk width, particularly in those areas where a 12 footminimum sidewalk dimension cannot be achieved.D.2.05 Coordinate with streetscape improvements in thestation area.D.2.06 Consider the following as criteria for streetscapefurnishing selection: timeless, functional, easy maintenance,durability and sustainability.D.2.07 Achieve safe lighting for vehicular circulation andcomfortable lighting for pedestrians; consider additionaldecorative lighting for nightscape.“I like the wider sidewalks onSanta Cruz”- Workshop #3 ParticipantRenewed/memorable image for downtown (San Jose,California)D13CHAPTER D PUBLIC SPACEChestnutSectionCutCurtis10’ 30’ 60’Figure D10. Concept Plan of Santa Cruz Avenue with Major Streetscape Improvements. This plan does not feature the Central Plaza described inthe next section.Figure D9. Section through Santa Cruz Avenue, showing two traffic lanes with parallel parking, median trees retained, diagonal parking removed,one moderately-sized sidewalk and one wide sidewalk75’19’ 11’12’ 5’11’ 8’ 11’8’ 7’Pedestrian Thru Zone12’Pedestrian Thru Zone5’8’11’7’11’8’11’A11CHAPTER A PLAN OVERVIEWABFCDEA. OVERALL DESCRIPTION / INTENT: Each section /sub-section typically begins with an overall descriptionthat outlines the general objectives and intent.B. QUOTES / COMMENTS: Quotes / comments fromthe community workshops appear in the sidebar tohighlight the voices of the participants. The workshopnumber indicates where the quote / comment wascollected. Occasionally, important points of emphasisalso appear in the sidebar.C. PHOTO: Photos that appear in the sidebar areintended to relay general principles and not serve asexact models.D. STANDARDS: These are the aspects that mustbe implemented (strict requirements) for public andprivate development.E. GUIDELINES: These are the aspects that shouldbe implemented (not strict requirements) for publicand private development.F. CONCEPT DRAWINGS: Conceptual drawings serveas examples of one potential design, to be refined ifand when the improvement is to be built.Figure A5. Types of Information Found in Specific Plan
  21. 21. A12MENLO PARK EL CAMINO REAL AND DOWNTOWN SPECIFIC PLANA.5 PLANNING PROCESSThe El Camino Real/Downtown Specific Plan is the resultof a multi-year process designed to evolve a communityjudgment about the future of the plan area. Communityjudgment, as opposed to public opinion, is a sharedconclusion based on beliefs, values and factual informationthat results in a legitimate, lasting and implementableoutcome. Community judgment consists of a shared andcommon sense of public priorities but is not the samething as consensus. This public judgment emergedthrough a two-phase process involving thousands ofcommunity members (over 950 on the regular email updatelist alone); representatives of key stakeholder groupssuch as downtown and El Camino Real business andproperty owners; an Oversight and Outreach Committeethat included representatives of important stakeholdergroups such as residents and business/property owners;City Commissions; and the Menlo Park City Council.The process was supported by an extensive communityoutreach campaign through both phases that includedproject newsletters and postcards to every Menlo Parkpostal address (including both residential and commercialproperties); stories in the Menlo Park quarterly newsletterthat also went to all households and businesses; newsreleases, posters, fliers and an extensive email updatesystem; and one-on-one outreach to stakeholders byCouncil Members, Oversight and Outreach CommitteeMembers and staff.“I think the emerging planstrikes a good ‘reasonable’balance between characterand progress…by allowingreasonable development”- Workshop #3 Participant“I think the overall processhas been a very constructiveplanning process!”- Workshop #3 Participant
  22. 22. A13CHAPTER A PLAN OVERVIEWPhase I: Vision PlanAs is typical of planning processes designed to developcommunity judgment, the El Camino Real/DowntownSpecific Plan began with a community visioning processconducted in 2007 and 2008. This step included aneducational speaker series, walking tours, three communityworkshops, one Planning Commission workshop andtwo City Council meetings. The visioning process wasstructured to gather together the core values, hopes anddreams the community has for the area so that when morespecific decisions have been made later in the process,they are grounded in the community’s decision about whatis most important for the future.The visioning effort was promoted by five city-widemailings (including two return surveys), which were sentto all residential and commercial properties and whichgenerated approximately 2,600 total returns. The outreacheffort also included one-on-one outreach by the Oversightand Outreach Committee to members of their stakeholdergroups, such as downtown businesses and residents. TheCity Council unanimously accepted the Vision Plan on July15, 2008, and the Plan serves as the values base for theSpecific Plan. The following section, Section A.6, lists theVision Plan’s twelve principal goals.Phase II: Specific Plan ProcessAs recommended in the Vision Plan, the City subsequentlycommenced work on a Specific Plan, to contain elementssuch as detailed land use regulations, design guidelinesand implementation measures. As was the case with PhaseI, the Phase II process has been a community-orientedplanning project, with unprecedented levels of publicoutreach and participation. The Specific Plan processhas strived to result in a community judgment, as definedearlier.The Specific Plan process included meetings, worksessions and workshops at critical project milestones: Interviews with Project Stakeholders at thebeginning of the project; Meetings with the Oversight and OutreachCommittee; Meetings/work sessions with the PlanningCommission; Meetings/work sessions with the City Council; and Three Community Workshops. Detailed review of the Draft Specific Plan and EIRCommunity WorkshopsThree community workshops, each attended by over 100people, engaged members of the community in facilitated,interactive activities designed to move from the values andgoals of the vision phase to an informed judgment aboutthe detailed elements of the Specific Plan. This requiredworkshop participants to learn about the current conditionsin the area, generate ideas about what could be done toimprove those conditions in order to realize the communityvision, understand and weigh the impacts of those ideasand improvements, and make choices about which ideasto include in the plan based on deliberation with othercommunity members.Phase I visioning process
  23. 23. A14MENLO PARK EL CAMINO REAL AND DOWNTOWN SPECIFIC PLANWorkshop #1 on April 16, 2009.The purpose of the first workshop was to help thecommunity confirm the Phase I vision and goals,to understand existing conditions, constraints andopportunities and to consider the primary issues and thepossible positive and negative outcomes related to futurepotential changes in the plan area. The workshop wasorganized around four subject areas: connectivity, vibrancy,public space and character, all of which were based on theapproved vision.Community Workshop #1
  24. 24. A15CHAPTER A PLAN OVERVIEWWorkshop #2 on June 18, 2009The purpose of the second workshop was to build uponthe discussion from the first workshop and to begin todiscuss the impacts of the various plan elements thatwere emerging. The process involved a presentation anddiscussion, in break-out sessions, of alternative conceptsfor connectivity, vibrancy, public space and character, basedon comments from the first workshop, feedback from theOversight and Outreach Committee, Planning Commissionand City Council and analyses conducted by the consultantteam. The analyses included preliminary fiscal information,diagrams of site character and opportunities/constraints anda preliminary study of the impacts of potentially tunnelingEl Camino Real. It included preparation and considerationof various plan concepts, massing options andphotomontages, street sections, development scenariosand public space improvements.Community Workshop #2
  25. 25. A16MENLO PARK EL CAMINO REAL AND DOWNTOWN SPECIFIC PLANWorkshop #3 on September 17, 2009The purpose of the third and final Community Workshopwas to present an Emerging Plan developed fromCommunity Workshops #1 and #2, to gain critical feedbackon the Emerging Plan and to help decide on revisionsto the Emerging Plan. Attendees were able to weigh inon proposed public improvements, including expandedpublic spaces, wider sidewalks on Santa Cruz Avenueand enhanced crossings of El Camino Real. Attendeesalso considered a preferred direction for the use, size andcharacter of private development, with its associated trafficand fiscal implications and potential public benefits.Draft Specific Plan and EIRFollowing the Community Workshop process, the DraftSpecific Plan was published on April 7, 2010, and the DraftEIR was published on April 29, 2011. Both documents werereleased to strong community interest. Following the DraftEIR comment period (discussed fully in the Final EIR),the Planning Commission and City Council were originallyscheduled to hold one meeting each to provide direction onthe Draft Specific Plan. However, both bodies expressed aninterest and willingness to hold additional meetings in orderto more fully explore and address comments, questions,and potential concerns, both from the Commission/Counciland the public. The aim of this detailed review was toprovide clear and specific direction on improvements andrefinements to the plan.The Planning Commission held five meetings in July-August 2011, and the City Council followed with fourmeetings in August-October 2011. Concurrent with thePlanning Commission and City Council’s review, theHousing, Transportation, and Bicycle Commissionsconducted sessions on the Draft Specific Plan. Each ofthese Commissions recommended moving forward withthe El Camino Real/Downtown Specific Plan process,subject to specific recommendations that were consideredby the Planning Commission and City Council. All of thesemeetings benefited from diverse public input.The City Council concluded its review on October 4, 2011with direction for substantive improvements to the DraftSpecific Plan, which have been incorporated as appropriateinto this Final Specific Plan.Community Workshop #3
  26. 26. A17CHAPTER A PLAN OVERVIEWA.6 VISION PLAN GOALSThe El Camino Real/Downtown Specific Plan builds uponthe Phase I Vision Plan, as unanimously accepted by theCity Council on July 15, 2008. The Vision Plan’s twelvegoals are:Maintain a village character unique to Menlo Park.Provide greater east-west, town-wide connectivity.Improve circulation and streetscape conditions on ElCamino Real.Ensure that El Camino Real development is sensitive toand compatible with adjacent neighborhoods.Revitalize underutilized parcels and buildings.Activate the train station area.Protect and enhance pedestrian amenities on Santa CruzAvenue.Expand shopping, dining and neighborhood services toensure a vibrant downtown.Provide residential opportunities in the Vision Plan Area.Provide plaza and park spaces.Provide an integrated, safe and well-designed pedestrianand bicycle network.Develop parking strategies and facilities that meet thecommercial and residential needs of the community.Section C.1 of this plan further describes the relationshipbetween these goals and the guiding principles of theSpecific Plan.Phase I visioning process
  27. 27. PLAN CONTEXTB.B.1 OVERVIEWB.2 SITE CONTEXT AND CHARACTER B.3 OPPORTUNITIES AND CONSTRAINTS B.4 CIRCULATION OVERVIEW B.5 MARKET OVERVIEW B2B2B8B16B23
  28. 28. B2MENLO PARK EL CAMINO REAL AND DOWNTOWN SPECIFIC PLANB.1 OVERVIEWLocated on the Peninsula south of San Francisco, the planarea for the El Camino Real/Downtown Specific Plan is thehistoric center of Menlo Park. The plan area consists of anarterial corridor, a pedestrian-scale downtown and a transitcenter providing commuter rail service to San Franciscoand San Jose.This chapter summarizes the following aspects of the planarea:• Site Context and Character;• Opportunities and Constraints;• Circulation Overview; and• Market Overview.B.2 SITE CONTEXT ANDCHARACTERFigure B1 identifies major features of the area, including theEl Camino Real corridor, Caltrain station area, downtowncore, major roadways, the adjacent Civic Center andmajor parks, schools and landmarks in the area. Featurebuildings, as shown, are those buildings that are highlyvisible and memorable, have historic or cultural value orcontain uses that have large local and regional draws. Theirinclusion in the figure helps orient the reader.Figure B2 illustrates some of the defining characteristics ofthe El Camino Real corridor, station area and downtown. Itfocuses on the visual quality and definition of the area bythe way buildings orient to the street, with varying buildingsetbacks; the effect of underutilized lots on street character;the provision and location of public parking plazas; and thearea’s landscape character. It identifies familiar “landmark”buildings, which help orient visitors to the area, and placeswith a higher degree of activity, such as Draeger’s Marketand the public library.In general, some of the most successful and memorablestreets, in terms of character and activity, are ones wherebuildings address and frame the street with active groundfloor uses and articulated façades; where pedestrians havea comfortable and welcoming place to walk; and where aconsistent use of landscape treatment, through street trees,street lamps and other furnishings, create a welcome andunifying image.
  29. 29. B3CHAPTER B PLAN CONTEXTBuilding CharacterBuildings on El Camino Real vary in size and style, fromautomobile showrooms (many empty) and car repair shopsto larger commercial buildings, office buildings up to fourstories tall and smaller scale commercial buildings closerto downtown. Most buildings are one and two stories tall,although others are taller.El Camino Real, for the most part, lacks a clear definitionof a built edge due to inconsistent building setbacks andnumerous parking lots along the street. This detracts fromthe visual appeal of the corridor. In some cases, buildingswith a strong built edge face away from the street and torear parking lots, thereby detracting from street character.The stretch of El Camino Real between Valparaiso Avenueand Roble Street exhibits a better definition because mostbuildings have a consistent, minimum setback from thestreet, consistent with the historic center of Menlo Park, andbecause of the landscaped median.Santa Cruz Avenue has a consistent building characterbetween El Camino Real and University Drive, with allbuildings aligned to the sidewalk/lot line and most buildingsalong Santa Cruz Avenue being one and two stories tall.This provides very clear street definition and strong visualquality to the street by providing clear distinction of thepublic and private realm with active edges of doors andwindows opening onto the street. The street consists ofsmall, distinct storefronts, creating a visual interest topassersby.Secondary street frontage on Oak Grove and MenloAvenues adjacent to Santa Cruz Avenue, and othersmaller streets perpendicular to it, play an important rolein providing uses and services that support the downtown.The Oak Grove and Menlo Avenue corridors have a rangeof existing building types, including some three-storystructures.Menlo Center and the Caltrain Station are notable buildingsand function as local landmarks, with the PresbyterianChurch, Draeger’s Market, Trader Joe’s, Safeway, BurgessPark and the public library serving as “activity nodes” orplaces attracting significant numbers of people and creatingactivity within the plan area.Santa Cruz Avenue has a small-town character, withstorefronts that face the street and a median planted withstately trees (Menlo Park, California)Parking lot interfacing with El Camino Real, creating an edgecondition that lacks clear definition (Menlo Park, California)Caltrain Station is a local landmark (Menlo Park, California)
  30. 30. B4MENLO PARK EL CAMINO REAL AND DOWNTOWN SPECIFIC PLANFigure B1. Site ContextMenloCollegeMenlo SchoolDraeger’sSafewayTrader Joe’sTheaterCivic CenterBurgess ParkFremont ParkTheaterNealon ParkJack W. LyleMemorial ParkMenlo CenterEncinalElementaryEl Camino ParkSt. Raymond’sCatholic Churchand SchoolSacred HeartSchoolsSan Francisquito CreekHolbrook Palmer ParkMenlo ParkPresbyterianChurchCaltrain StationFig 5: Site ContextRailwayEl Camino RealPrimary Streets in PlanAreaDowntown CoreSchools and ReligiousInstitutionsOpen SpaceCivic SpaceCaltrain StationFeature BuildingsPlan Area BoundaryMenlo Park City LimitStation AreaEl Camino RealEl Camino RealDowntownALMAMIDDLEFIELDLAURELELCAMINOREALMIDDLEOAK GROVEYALEENCINALWATKINSSANTA CRUZVALPARAISOCOLLEGECREEKROBLEMILLSGLENWOODPINECAMBRIDGEARBORFREMONTLIVE OAKALEJANDRAALTOLINFIELDFELTONHARVARDARDENBURGESSJOHNSONPARTRIDGENOELALLEYGARWOODLENNOXUNIVERSITYPRINCETONHOOVERMERRILLSPRUCEEVELYNROSEOAKCRANEVICTORIALEONCLAIRELEEMILLIELANEALICEMARCUSSENSTONE PINEWERTHFLORENCEWAVERLEYPRIORCORNELLSANANTONIOBAY LAURELMOREYMENLODOUGLASMOULTONBUCKTHORNREBECCADOYLEBLAKESHERWOODHOPKINSCURTISWESTFIELDMALONEYBARRONKENWOODKENTCLAREMONTCHERRYRYANSFORESTMALLETTUDORCHESTNUTHOMEWOODSURREYELIZABETHCHATEAUFENNWOODVERSAILLESBASSETTCREEKPLSUSSEXMANOROAK GROVE PLAZABLAKECHESTNUTCREEKCURTISUNIVERSITYCRANEWAVERLEYARBORSHERWOODRAVENSWOODJOHNSONROBLEARBORMENLOCURTISWILLOWEl Camino Real/Downtown Specific PlanCity of Menlo ParkN0 300 600 1200Feet18 June 2009Fehr & PeersStrategic EconomicsBKF EngineersESAHDR/The Hoyt Company
  31. 31. B5CHAPTER B PLAN CONTEXTALMAMIDDLEFIELDLAURELELCAMINOREALMIDDLEOAK GROVEYALEENCINALWATKINSSANTA CRUZVALPARAISOCOLLEGECREEKROBLEMILLSGLENWOODPINECAMBRIDGEARBORFREMONTLIVE OAKALEJANDRAALTOLINFIELDFELTONHARVARDARDENBURGESSJOHNSONPARTRIDGENOELALLEYGARWOODLENNOXUNIVERSITYPRINCETONHOOVERMERRILLSPRUCEEVELYNROSEOAKCRANEVICTORIALEONCLAIRELEEMILLIELANEALICEMARCUSSENSTONE PINEWERTHFLORENCEWAVERLEYPRIORCORNELLSANANTONIOBAY LAURELMOREYMENLODOUGLASMOULTONBUCKTHORNREBECCADOYLEBLAKESHERWOODHOPKINSCURTISWESTFIELDMALONEYBARRONKENWOODKENTCLAREMONTCHERRYRYANSFORESTMALLETTUDORCHESTNUTHOMEWOODSURREYELIZABETHCHATEAUFENNWOODVERSAILLESBASSETTCREEKPLSUSSEXMANOROAK GROVE PLAZABLAKECHESTNUTCREEKCURTISUNIVERSITYCRANEWAVERLEYARBORSHERWOODRAVENSWOODJOHNSONROBLEARBORMENLOCURTISWILLOWLMADraeger’sSafewayTrader Joe’sTheaterCivic CenterPublic LibraryBurgess ParkFremont ParkCaltrain StationTheaterMenlo CenterPresbyterianChurchOasis BeerGardenSite CharacterRailwayLandmarkActivity NodeParking PlazaLandscape BufferOpen SpaceStreet DefintionEl Camino RealCrosstown ConnectorLack of Building Edge /Unifying Character /Consistent BuildingOrientationProject Area BoundaryMenlo Park City LimitMedian Street TreesEl Camino Real/Downtown Specific PlanCity of Menlo ParkN0 300 600 1200Feet18 June 2009Fehr & PeersStrategic EconomicsBKF EngineersESAHDR/The Hoyt CompanyFigure B2. Site Character
  32. 32. B6MENLO PARK EL CAMINO REAL AND DOWNTOWN SPECIFIC PLANThe plan area also includes a number of gateways, anentrance “expression” that heralds the approach of newlandscape and defines the arrival point as a destination.The minimum building setbacks and median trees, whichstart at Valparaiso Avenue, create a sense of entry orgateway to downtown heading south. Other gatewaysinclude El Camino Real at the Menlo Park/Palo Alto citylimit, heading north, and Santa Cruz Avenue at El CaminoReal and at University Drive heading into the center ofdowntown.El Camino Real/Downtown Specific PlanCity of Menlo Park29 April 2009Fehr & PeersStrategic EconomicsBKF EngineersESAFig 24: Streetscape Study - Santa Cruz Avenue South (between El Camino Real and Evelyn)RONIMACLERUZLIVE OAKYTISREVINUHOOVERMERRILLNYLEVEROSEAKNARCMILLIENLOELYODSITRUCYENOLAMRYANSTUNTSEHCELIZABETHOAK GROVE PLAZAEKALBCHESTNUTENARCJOHNSONBLEMENLOSITRUCCurtisChestnutChestnutCraneDoyleCurtisJohnsonLn.ElCaminoRealDoyleCraneEvelynStreetscape - Downtown (Menlo Park, California); Santa Cruz Avenue consists of small, distinct storefronts, in one- and two- story buildings, thatline and define the streetPeet’s Coffee at the corner of Santa Cruz Avenue andUniversity Drive (Menlo Park, California)
  33. 33. B7CHAPTER B PLAN CONTEXTsMILNALLEYRAVENSWOODStreetscape CharacterStreetscape character is created by features such aslandscaping, sidewalk design and street furniture andamenities. Along El Camino Real, the landscaping variesin design, quality and maturity, resulting in a range ofexperiences for pedestrians. Some areas such as thesection between Roble and Ravenswood Avenues includemature street trees, providing a high quality experience forpedestrians. Areas with less mature landscaping are not ascomfortable. Overall, the series of street trees and mediantrees, especially ones that are more mature, help lessenthe impact of traffic along El Camino Real and make it morecomfortable for pedestrians.The sidewalk dimension on El Camino Real varies in widthand in a few locations narrows down to a size that makesit an uncomfortable pedestrian experience. In addition,several intersections along El Camino Real have beencompromised by infrastructural elements (such as signage,light posts and utility boxes) or restrict pedestrian circulationin favor of vehicular circulation (especially in locationswhere there is a high frequency of vehicular turning). Theexisting intersections have been designed for vehicularspeeds and do little to provide assistance for pedestrians.Typically Santa Cruz Avenue is comprised of a traffic lane ineach direction, parking on both sides (sometimes parallel,sometimes angled), 10-foot sidewalk and one- to two- storybuildings that have no setback from the street. The streetis identifiable by a median planting of London Plane treesthat average 30 to 35 feet tall. Additionally, trees of varyingtypes and sizes are planted irregularly in the sidewalk andplanting areas.Santa Cruz Avenue has been designed with a great dealof emphasis on the pedestrian. A strong effort has beenmade to separate pedestrian circulation from vehiculartraffic as well as provide street furnishings and amenities.The existing streetscape design, built over the pastfew decades, is intended to serve pedestrians, yet alsocreates constraints by reducing the effective space forcirculation and social interaction and, at times, beingvisually disruptive. In several locations, benches are fixedin location back-to-back, limiting informal use by largergroups. Much of the sidewalk space has been organizedusing low concrete walls and planting areas, which providea perception of increased protection from vehicles, but limitthe usable space of the sidewalk.Back-to-back benches (Menlo Park, California)
  34. 34. B8MENLO PARK EL CAMINO REAL AND DOWNTOWN SPECIFIC PLANB.3 OPPORTUNITIES AND CONSTRAINTSDraeger’s is a local activity node (Menlo Park, California)The plan area offers ample opportunities and constraintsfor improvements, particularly as they relate to thecommunity’s desires for enhanced pedestrian amenitiesand public spaces, a revitalized El Camino Real, an active,vibrant downtown and improved pedestrian and bicycleconnections. Illustrated in Figure B3, the following sectionsdescribe the area’s opportunities and constraints.“Improving conditions for both(vehicles and pedestrians)should be the goal throughwider sidewalks with greenareas between traffic andsidewalks”- Workshop #1 Participant“Need for good streetscapeand ground floor design –pedestrian friendly”- Workshop #1 Participant
  35. 35. ALMAMIDDLEFIELDLAURELELCAMINOREALMIDDLEOAK GROVEYALEENCINALWATKINSSANTA CRUZVALPARAISOCOLLEGECREEKROBLEMILLSGLENWOODPINECAMBRIDGEARBORFREMONTLIVE OAKALEJANDRAALTOLINFIELDFELTONHARVARDARDENBURGESSJOHNSONPARTRIDGENOELALLEYGARWOODLENNOXUNIVERSITYPRINCETONHOOVERMERRILLSPRUCEEVELYNROSEOAKCRANEVICTORIALEONCLAIRELEEMILLIELANEALICEMARCUSSENSTONE PINEWERTHFLORENCEWAVERLEYPRIORCORNELLSANANTONIOBAY LAURELMOREYMENLODOUGLASMOULTONBUCKTHORNREBECCADOYLEBLAKESHERWOODHOPKINSCURTISWESTFIELDMALONEYBARRONKENWOODKENTCLAREMONTCHERRYRYANSFORESTMALLETTUDORCHESTNUTHOMEWOODSURREYELIZABETHCHATEAUFENNWOODVERSAILLESBASSETTCREEKPLSUSSEXMANOROAK GROVE PLAZABLAKECHESTNUTCREEKCURTISUNIVERSITYCRANEWAVERLEYARBORSHERWOODRAVENSWOODJOHNSONROBLEARBORMENLOCURTISWILLOWMenloCollegeMenlo HighSchoolCivic CenterPublic LibraryBurgess ParkFremontParkCaltrainStationNealon ParkArbor RdParkEncinalElementaryEl Camino ParkSt. Raymond’sElementary SchoolSan Francisquito CreekHolbrook Palmer ParkPresbyterianChurch Downtown5MinuteWalkingRadiusProject Area BoundarySchool AreaCivic AreaPark SpaceMenlo Park City BoundaryDowntown/Station AreaHigh Impacted /High Traffic Volume IntersectionCaltrain Railway(Limits E-W Connectivity)OpportunitiesConstraintsEl Camino Real Corridor(Limits E-W Connectivity)Improve Pedestrian Routes -Opportunity for connectingexisting and new civic usesImprove Pedestrian/BicycleConnectivityUnderutilized and VacantLandStanford University OwnershipEnhance GatewaysPublic Parking Plazas -Opportunities for ImprovedParking ManagementIntensify development neardowntown/train stationSite Opportunities and ConstraintsEl Camino Real/Downtown Specific PlanCity of Menlo ParkN0 300 600 1200Feet29 April 2009Fehr & PeersStrategic EconomicsBKF EngineersESAHDR/The Hoyt CompanyB9CHAPTER B PLAN CONTEXTFigure B3. Opportunities and Constraints
  36. 36. B10MENLO PARK EL CAMINO REAL AND DOWNTOWN SPECIFIC PLANOpportunitiesThe Specific Plan recognizes opportunities forenhancements within the plan area. The following sectionsdiscuss these opportunities in more detail:• Improve Underutilized and Vacant Lands.• Improve Stanford University-Owned Property.• Focus Higher Density Development in Proximity tothe Train Station Area.• Build on Downtown Character.• Improve and “Leverage” Existing Public ParkingPlazas.• Improve Pedestrian Amenities and Overall StreetCharacter.• Improve East/West Pedestrian and BicycleConnectively.• Improve Linkages between Open Spaces and CivicUses.Improve Underutilized and Vacant ParcelsVacant and under-utilized parcels in the plan areaprovide opportunities for mixed use development. Newdevelopment would also help transform the streetscapecharacter along El Camino Real by encouraging street levelactivity and enhancing the pedestrian environment. Severalof the parcels have approved or pending projects that willserve these purposes as well as provide the potential forrevenue generation and increase housing opportunities.Additionally, hotel uses have the potential to generateneeded tax revenue for the city.Improve Stanford University-Owned PropertyStanford University owns a large contiguous stretch ofland of approximately 12.8 acres on the eastern side ofEl Camino Real just north of San Francisquito Creek. Theland is suitable for multi-family residential, commercial andmixed use development. This single ownership allows for acomprehensive approach to redevelopment of this portionof El Camino Real, which is currently underutilized. It alsoprovides an opportunity for an east-west pedestrian andbicycle linkage near Middle Avenue.Vacant and under-utilized parcels along El Camino Real(Menlo Park, California)Large, contiguous stretches of land along El Camino Real(Menlo Park, California)“Let’s really plan for a 50-yearnon-auto environment”- Workshop #3 Participant
  37. 37. B11CHAPTER B PLAN CONTEXTFocus Higher Density Development in Proximityto the Train Station AreaVibrancy is achieved by a rich mix of uses, includingresidential and public amenities, arranged in a compactmanner, in close proximity to transit. This mixed-usepattern supports pedestrian circulation and transit use whilereducing relative vehicular trips in comparison to standaloneprojects of the same size. Also, clustering developmentnear transit can potentially help justify improvements toexisting transit.The intersection of Santa Cruz Avenue and El Camino Realis the “center” of Menlo Park’s commercial and historiccore, the confluence of the city’s commercial corridor,downtown “Main Street” and transit station area. Thiscentral location is the logical place for increased intensityof mixed-use development. As shown in Figure B3, thereis an opportunity to focus development within a five minutewalking radius from this “center”.Build on Downtown CharacterDowntown Menlo Park is a walkable district with smallblocks with most of the retail uses concentrated alongSanta Cruz Avenue. The buildings in downtown are oneor two stories with relatively small floor area. Enhancingthe walkability in downtown by improving pedestrianmovement along Santa Cruz Avenue and along the side-streets perpendicular to Santa Cruz Avenue will reinforcethe village character. Opportunities exist to create limitednew social spaces in the public parking plazas and throughwidening of sidewalks, which will further enhance thedowntown character. As discussed above, intensifyingmixed use development around the intersection of SantaCruz Avenue and El Camino Real will also contributeto a vibrant downtown by increasing foot traffic and byenhancing pedestrian orientation of downtown.Existing downtown character consisting of small blocks,mostly retail uses and one to two story buildings with smallfloor areas (Menlo Park, California)Existing mixed use activity at Menlo Center (Menlo Park,California)
  38. 38. B12MENLO PARK EL CAMINO REAL AND DOWNTOWN SPECIFIC PLANImprove and “Leverage” Existing PublicParking PlazasThe downtown parking plazas provide needed parkingfor downtown stores and services. However, their currentconfiguration is inefficient, with narrow drive aisles andsub-standard spaces in some cases. The city-ownedparking plazas provide opportunities for possible limitedinfill development including modest new retail/restaurantuses, public open space and structured parking, enhancingthe vitality and vibrancy of downtown. Such changescan enhance downtown character without reducing theinventory of available parking spaces. The opportunitieslisted will enhance foot traffic through increased patronageand support of local retail businesses downtown, in turnleading to increased sales. The parking plazas also provideopportunities for improved parking management, such asby relocating longer-term parking to garages and improvingshort-term parking opportunities elsewhere.Improve Pedestrian Amenities and OverallStreet CharacterOpportunities exist to improve pedestrian amenities (streetfurniture, widened sidewalks), and overall street character,in downtown, particularly along Santa Cruz Avenue, thenorth-south streets, and on downtown parking plazas. Insome places, on-street parking may be reconfigured andaccommodated elsewhere to provide room for pedestrianimprovements.El Camino Real offers its own challenges, with the arterialright-of-way needing to accommodate vehicular movement,on-street parking in some places and pedestrianmovement. Buildings along the corridor are often built up tothe property lines and sidewalks tend to be narrow, placingthe pedestrian near fast-moving traffic. Opportunities, albeitlimited, exist to improve the pedestrian experience bynarrowing traffic lanes while maintaining the same numberof lanes and expanding the sidewalk and by introducing andexpanding sidewalks and publicly-accessible open spaceon adjacent properties.Opportunity to widen sidewalks along Santa Cruz Avenue(Menlo Park, California)Buildings along El Camino Real built up to the property lineswith narrow sidewalk condition (Menlo Park, California)“We could walk more if wehad good parking structuresoff downtown”- Workshop #1 Participant“If there were less parking andmore activity, I would walk todowntown”- Workshop #3 Participant
  39. 39. B13CHAPTER B PLAN CONTEXTImprove East/West Pedestrian and BicycleConnectivityThe El Camino Real corridor and parallel railroad tracksimpede safe and accessible east/west connections.There are opportunities to improve existing connections,particularly between downtown and the train station area,through enhanced pedestrian and bicycle amenitiesand managing traffic movements. Opportunities for newpedestrian and bicycle connections under or over therailroad tracks exist at the Caltrain station and at MiddleAvenue, connecting through to Burgess Park. There is alsoan opportunity to improve existing pedestrian crossings atOak Grove, Santa Cruz, and Menlo Avenues for enhancedeast-west connectivity with high-visibility crosswalks withenhanced pavement, median islands/pedestrian refugesand other crossing improvements.Improve Linkages between Open Spaces andCivic UsesSome notable civic uses and parks in the vicinity ofdowntown include the Civic Center and Public Library,Caltrain Station, Menlo Park Presbyterian Church,Fremont Park, Nealon Park and Burgess Park. Improvingpedestrian and bicycle routes between these civic usesprovides an opportunity to create safe linkages and improveaccessibility.Parallel railroad tracks impede safe and accessible east/westconnections (Menlo Park, California)Poor accessibility and linkages between key spaces (MenloPark, California)
  40. 40. B14MENLO PARK EL CAMINO REAL AND DOWNTOWN SPECIFIC PLANConstraintsThe following sections discuss these constraints in theproject area in more detail:• Railroad Line Limits East/West ConnectivityOpportunities.• Arterial Function and Caltrans Jurisdiction of ElCamino Real Limits Improvement Opportunities.• Ravenswood/Menlo/El Camino Real IntersectionCongestion.• Funding for Public Improvements.• Financing Given the Current Market Situation.Railroad Line Limits East/West ConnectivityOpportunitiesThe railroad tracks are a barrier that limits east-westconnectivity, although they also buffer taller buildings on ElCamino Real from adjacent neighborhoods. Implementingattractive and safe connections across the tracks remains areal challenge in the project area. Future high speed rail isalso planned for the Peninsula, and it requires track grade-separation. With high speed rail and its grade separations,east-west transportation connections can be enhanced.However, it will act as a visual barrier if the tracks are abovegrade.Arterial Function and Caltrans Jurisdiction of ElCamino Real Limits Improvement OpportunitiesUnder the California Department of Transportation(Caltrans) jurisdiction, El Camino Real is a major arterialroadway that must accommodate regional throughtraffic. While there is potential to improve the pedestrianenvironment, and street character, along the El CaminoReal right of way, Caltrans has final authority and decisionmaking power in this regard. Deviations from Caltranspolicy or standards to meet community requests mayrequire approval of an exception to a policy or nonstandardfeature.Railroad line limiting east/west connectivity opportunities(Menlo Park, California)Arterial function of El Camino Real limiting improvementopportunities (Menlo Park, California)
  41. 41. B15CHAPTER B PLAN CONTEXTRavenswood/Menlo/El Camino Real IntersectionCongestionThis intersection is the only one in the project area thatcurrently operates at an unacceptable level of service forvehicular traffic under existing conditions (discussed inSection F.2 “Vehicular Circulation”). Accordingly, increaseddevelopment and improving pedestrian and bike crossings,while accommodating traffic flows, remains a challenge inthe area.Funding for Public ImprovementsDue to fiscal constraints being experienced by all levels ofgovernment, including the City of Menlo Park, the fundingavailable for public improvements is limited. It is unlikelythat the General Fund will be a significant source of fundingfor public improvement projects. Therefore, the City willneed to identify other revenue sources to pay for proposedimprovements. A wide variety of other funding sourcesand financing mechanisms, including Benefit AssessmentDistricts, Grants, and Development Impact Fees, areavailable for public improvements, but their applicabilityto Menlo Park varies substantially because of statutoryconstraints and political challenges, including the need forvoter approval in some cases. Development Impact Feesand other contributions from developers will be limited bythe amount of new development allowed in the specificplan area and, at least in the short-term, by the currentreal estate market conditions. The ultimate mix of fundingsources and financing mechanisms for the proposedimprovements will be subject to the larger priorities of theCity. Please see Chapter G “Implementation” for moreinformation on specific funding sources.Financing Given the Current Market SituationThe current market situation is characterized by constrainedcredit markets and a broader economic downturn that hasimpacted the potential for real estate development. Whilecurrent market conditions, wherein home prices and thevolume of sales have both declined, are not conducive toreal estate development at this time, the market for realestate tends to be cyclical in nature. It is difficult to predictwhen the market will improve; however it is unlikely thatnew projects in the plan area will be constructed andoccupied until 2012–2013, at the earliest.
  42. 42. B16MENLO PARK EL CAMINO REAL AND DOWNTOWN SPECIFIC PLANB.4 CIRCULATION OVERVIEWThe circulation system in the Specific Plan project areaaccommodates, to varying degrees, vehicular movement,pedestrian movement, bicycle circulation and transit use.This section summarizes the following aspects of theexisting circulation system:• Policy Context.• Transportation Conditions.• Opportunities.More detailed discussion of the circulation system iscontained in Chapter F “Circulation”.Policy ContextThere are a number of agencies whose policies apply tothe Specific Plan area, including the City of Menlo Park,the San Mateo City/County Association of Governments (C/CAG), the Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC),the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans), SanMateo County Transit District (SamTrans) and the Town ofAtherton. Moreover, the City of Menlo Park’s General Planprovides a blueprint for growth within the City, and sets thegoals, policies, and programs that apply to the Specific Planarea.The General Plan specifies that the minimum acceptablelevel of service1(LOS) for roadways is LOS D, and includespolicies supporting the development of an equitabletransportation network supporting transit, bicycles, andpedestrians. Caltrans controls El Camino Real, whereit strives for operations at LOS C or better, but Caltransdocuments note that there is flexibility in the application ofits standards to accommodate community goals.1Level of Service (LOS) is a quantitative description of roadway opera-tions from the perspective of a vehicle driver. The LOS of a roadwayfacility can range from LOS A, with free-flow operations and little or nodelay, to LOS F where traffic volumes exceed roadway capacity result-ing in stop-and-go operations and excessive delays. LOS E representsat-capacity conditions, LOS D represents below-capacity conditionswhere delays are tolerable for most driversTransportation ConditionsRoadway SystemThe roadway system in Menlo Park is comprised ofrelatively short and discontinuous north-south and east-west roadways. This layout limits the amount of regionaltraffic on the roadways but creates circuitous traffic routingsfor people who live, work, and visit Menlo Park. Trafficcongestion in the project area occurs primarily alongEl Camino Real, which carries regional traffic, and itsintersections. The highest levels of congestion occur duringthe morning and evening peak commute hours, causingextensive queuing. About half of the traffic on El CaminoReal in the downtown area is regional in nature, with anorigin and destination outside of the project area.Pedestrian and Bicycle FacilitiesPedestrian and bicycle facilities support attractive modesof travel in Menlo Park as nearly six percent2 of work tripsare made by bicycle or on foot, well above both state andnational averages. Pedestrian and bicycle accommodationsare provided throughout much of the City. However, thereare many gaps and deficiencies. While sidewalks areprovided along most roadways in the plan area, El CaminoReal and the Caltrain tracks serve as a barrier to east-westtravel, and there are discontinuities in the sidewalk systemleading into the downtown area. El Camino Real and theCaltrain tracks serve as a barrier to east-west bicycle travelas well and there are discontinuities in the bicycle networkespecially for north-south travel.22000 Census journey to work dataDiscontinuities in bicycle network for north-southtravel (Menlo Park, California)
  43. 43. B17CHAPTER B PLAN CONTEXTèqètqètqètqètqètqètqètqètqèètqètqSpruce AveWatkins AveBuckthorn WayPartridge AveRoble AveCraneStVictoriaDrAlmaLnMiddle AveCreek DrOak Grove PlzCollege AveUniversityDrCambridge AveHarvard AveEncinal AveStone Pine LnLive Oak AveMillsStSanAntonioAveForest LnCornellRdMenlo AveNoelDrChestnutStJohnsonLnGarwoodWayEvelynStCurtisStAltoLnMaloneyLnOak Grove AveMerrillStElCaminoRealValparaiso Ave Glenwood AveSanta Cruz AveAlmaStOak Grove AveAlmaStRavenswood Ave0 250 500 750 1,000125FeetEl Camino Real/Downtown Specific PlanCity of Menlo Park14 April 2009Source: City of Menlo Park Traffix model,Fehr & Peers field observations (March & April, 2009)N·|}þ82·|}þ82Traffic ObservationsFigure 9PM congestion backsup through Roble Ave,but clears in one cycle.AM and PMcongestion spills backthrough Santa CruzCongestion observed,but clears quicklyMinimal congestionobserved on OakGrove AM and PMA number of vehicleturning movement/bicycle/pedestrianconflicts atRavenswood/AlmaPM congestion on Menlo Avetakes 2-3 cycles to clearCongestion fromRavenswood spillsback to Caltrain tracksèEmilePlan AreaCaltrainMenlo Park City LimitsAM PMètq= A-B= C= D= E-Fètqtqètqètq > 30002000 - 30001000 - 2000500 - 1000< 500Level of Service: Average Peak Hour VolumeètqètqqètqqqCruzFigure B4. Peak Period Intersection Level of Service in Plan Area
  44. 44. B18MENLO PARK EL CAMINO REAL AND DOWNTOWN SPECIFIC PLAN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!úúúúÆýÆýÆýÆýÆýÆýÆýÆýÆýSpruce AveWatkins AveBuckthorn WayPartridge AveRoble AveCollege AveVictoriaDrAlmaLnMiddle AveCreek DrRyans LnOak Grove PlzCambridge AveUniversityDrHarvard AveMillsStEncinal AveStone Pine LnLive Oak AveSanAntonioAveForest LnCornellRdMenlo AveNoelDrDoyleStChestnutStJohnsonLnGarwoodWayEvelynStCurtisStDerry LnAltoLnMaloneyLnOak Grove AveMerrillStCraneStValparaiso Ave Glenwood AveSanta Cruz AveAlmaStOak Grove AveRavenswood AveAlmaStMiddlefieldAveLaurelStElCaminoRealLegendú Bicycle & Pedestrian Bridgeú Planned Bicycle &Æý Pedestrian SignalComplete Sidewalk onPartial Sidewalk on at! !! !! !! !! !! !! !!! !! Informal PathProject AreaCaltrainMenlo Park City Limits0 250 500 750 1,000125FeetPedestrian Facilities Inside Study AreaFigure 7El Camino Real/Downtown Specific PlanCity of Menlo Park15 April 2009Source: City of Menlo Park Sidewalk Master Plan (August 11, 2008),Fehr & Peers field observations (March 2009)N·|}þ82·|}þ82Pedestrian Tunnel*Least One Side of StreetBoth Sides of StreetNext to Rail Road Tracks!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!11Average Pedestrian CrossingTime in Seconds¤¤¤¤¤¤ ¤¤¤¤¤&&98 sec* Exact Location Subject to FurtherReviewÆýÆýÆýÆýÆýÆýÆýÆýÆýÆýÆýÆýElCaminoRealDoyleStJohnsonLnMaloneyLnMerrillSt¤¤¤¤¤¤ ¤¤¤¤¤&&100 sec¤¤¤¤¤¤ ¤¤¤¤¤&&102 sec¤¤¤¤¤¤ ¤¤¤¤¤&&100 sec¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤&&91sec¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤&&92sec¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤&&90sec¤¤¤¤¤¤ ¤¤¤¤¤&&99 sec¤¤¤¤¤¤ ¤¤¤¤¤&&98 sec¤¤¤¤¤¤ ¤¤¤¤¤&&90 sec¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤&&92sec¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤&&91sec¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤¤&&101secInset 1Average C rossing Times (Sumof wait time plus walking time)Wait Time = 0-150 secondsfor pedestrians duringAM & PM peak periodsFigure B5. Pedestrian Facilities in Plan Area, from Field Observations and the “Menlo Park Comprehensive Bicycle Development Plan, 2005”
  45. 45. B19CHAPTER B PLAN CONTEXT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!úúúGlenwood AveSanta Cruz AveAlmaStValparaiso AveOak Grove AveRavenswood AvelLaurelStElCaminoRealWatkins AveBuckthorn WayPartridge AveRoble AveVictoriaDrAlmaLnMiddle AveCreek DrRyans LnOak Grove PlzUniversityDrEncinal AveStone Pine LnLive Oak AveForest LnCornellRdMenlo AveNoelDrSpruce AveDoyleStChestnutStJohnsonLnGarwoodWayEvelynStCurtisSt Derry LnAltoLnMaloneyLnOak Grove AveMerrillStCraneStCollege AveCambridge AveHarvard AveMillsStSanAntonoiAve!0 260 520 780 1,040130FeetBicycle FacilitiesEl Camino Real/Downtown Specific PlanCity of Menlo Park14 April 2009Source: Menlo Park Comprehensive BicycleDevelopment Plan (January, 2005)N·|}þ82·|}þ!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!82AmaStúIsabellaEmileMac BainBrittondrawoHClass II Bike LaneClass III Bike RoutePlanned Class III Bike RoutePlanned Bicycle & PedestrianTunnel *Informal Path Next to RailRoad TracksPlanned Class II Bike LaneClass I Bike PathBicycle & Pedestrian BridgeProject AreaCaltrainMenlo Park City Limits* Exact Location Subject to further review! !! !! !! !! !! !! !! !!úúFigure B6. Bicycle Facilities in Plan Area, from Field Observations and the “Menlo Park Comprehensive Bicycle Development Plan, 2005”
  46. 46. B20MENLO PARK EL CAMINO REAL AND DOWNTOWN SPECIFIC PLANTransitTransit service is provided by San Mateo County TransitDistrict (SamTrans), Caltrain, and shuttles operated by theCity of Menlo Park. Caltrain daily boardings at the MenloPark station have increased steadily from under 900 in1992 to over 1,400 in 20093. Planning is currently underwayfor a High Speed Rail (HSR) corridor connecting LosAngeles with San Francisco, which is discussed in moredetail in Section D.3 “Station Area”. As planned, the HSRwould pass through Menlo Park along the Caltrain right-of-way. All HSR crossings with roadways would be gradeseparated. Figure B7 illustrates transit service in the planarea.ParkingParking is provided in a mixture of on-street spaces andboth public and private lots. Over 1,500 public parkingspaces are provided downtown. Short-term parking is free,but most of the public spaces have time restrictions of oneor two hours, with some 15-minute zones on Santa CruzAvenue. Parking Plazas 1 and 5 allow for longer-term paidparking, with on-site meter payment. The peak parkingdemand occurs mid-day on weekdays, when about 80%of the available on- and off-street spaces are occupied,according to the Downtown Menlo Park Parking Study(May 2010).  The City’s Municipal Code specifies minimumparking requirements, which are higher than averagefor commercial uses when compared to neighboringjurisdictions.3Caltrain ridership data posted on their websiteTransit service provided by SamTrans, Caltrain and City ofMenlo Park shuttles at the Menlo Park station (Menlo Park,California)“Parking structures off ofSanta Cruz to remove carsfrom walking areas makesdowntown more attractive.”- Workshop #1 Participant
  47. 47. B21CHAPTER B PLAN CONTEXThSpruce AveWatkins AveBuckthorn WayPartridge AveRoble AveCraneStVictoriaDrAlmaLnMiddle AveCreek DrRyans LnOak Grove PlzCollege AveUniversityDrCambridge AveHarvard AveEncinal AveStone Pine LnLive Oak AveMillsStSanAntonioAveForest LnCornellRdMenlo AveNoelDrDoyleStChestnutStJohnsonLnGarwoodWayEvelynStCurtisSt Derry LnAltoLnMaloneyLnOak Grove AveMerrillStValparaiso Ave Glenwood AveSanta Cruz AveAlmaStOak Grove AveAlmaStRavenswood AveLaurelStElCaminoReal0 250 500 750 1,000125FeetTransit ServiceFigure 3El Camino Real/Downtown Specific PlanCity of Menlo Park14 April 2009Source: SamTrans, CaltrainN·|}þ82·|}þ82Project AreaCaltrainMenlo Park City LimitsTransit StationBus StopsKX - SamTrans Express83 - SamTrans85 - SamTrans295 - SamTrans296 - SamTrans390 - SamTransMP Midday ShuttleFigure B7. Transit Service in Plan Area
  48. 48. B22MENLO PARK EL CAMINO REAL AND DOWNTOWN SPECIFIC PLANOpportunitiesA number of potential opportunities are apparent basedon this review of existing conditions. The plan area iswell served by transit, is pedestrian and bike friendly inmany places and enjoys a mix of uses in the downtown.The proximity of the downtown to the Caltrain station andthe existing intensities in the plan area could allow forincreased intensity and infill development with less newtraffic compared to similar amounts of development in otherlocations or areas not served by transit.The City-owned parking plazas currently provide freeshort-term parking for visitors and employees, along withsome options for longer-term paid parking. These plazasconstitute the largest City-owned parcels in the project area,and could be converted to limited infill development, pocketparks and/or parking garages. Parking garages wouldconsolidate parking to more central locations, reducing theamount of “cruising” as people search for a parking spaceand creating more orderly traffic patterns. If spread over twoplazas, the garages would also disperse garage traffic overseveral locations versus one location. Parking garages canalso provide a concentrated location for all-day employeeparking for downtown businesses, helping free up spacesin surface lots for retail customers. (See Chapter F, SectionF.9 “Downtown Parking” for more details).“Allow super-high density neartrain station”- Workshop #1 Participant“Need more housing on ElCamino Real. People bringvibrancy.”- Workshop #1 ParticipantThere is also an opportunity to reduce the minimum parkingrequirements for some types of development to accountfor the accessibility of the downtown to non-automobileusers and the potential for shared parking. Different useshave different parking demand characteristics, with someuses (like offices) peaking during the day on weekdays andother uses (like housing) peaking in the evenings and onweekends. Providing parking spaces that can be sharedbetween these uses is a more efficient usage of the limitedamount of available parking.The plans for High Speed Rail (HSR) could also presenttransportation opportunities for the plan area, particularlyby improving east-west connectivity. The grade separationrequired for the HSR project would eliminate the at-gradecrossings that currently exist at four locations withinthe project area. The removal of the railroad crossingat Ravenswood Avenue near Alma Street would likelybenefit traffic operations at El Camino Real as well as thepedestrian crossing at Alma Street. The reconstruction ofthe railroad right-of-way could also provide an opportunityfor a bicycle/pedestrian path improving north-southconnectivity in the project area without forcing riders ontoEl Camino Real. These potential benefits should be viewedin concert with potential negative attributes of HSR, suchas creating a visual barrier through communities along thePeninsula, construction impacts, noise and vibration, treeremovals, and property takings.
  49. 49. B23CHAPTER B PLAN CONTEXTB.5 MARKET OVERVIEWBased on an examination of major demographic, economicand market conditions, the market overview addressesthe mid- to long-term potential for residential, retail, office,and hotel and conference space uses in the plan area.The overview encompasses key findings by StrategicEconomics, which analyzed the economic and marketcontext for this Specific Plan study in May 2009.This section briefly describes the major market findings forresidential, retail, office and hotel land uses.
  50. 50. B24MENLO PARK EL CAMINO REAL AND DOWNTOWN SPECIFIC PLANResidential MarketThe plan area is well positioned within the region to capturehousing demand from a variety of groups.The plan area is located near employment centers, regionaltransportation options, educational institutions, anddowntown’s walkable retail core. The availability of nearbyservices and amenities are likely to attract a wide range ofhouseholds including single professionals, students, smallfamilies, and seniors. These household types demanda wide range of housing types, including small-lot singlefamily homes, townhouses, condominiums, and rentalapartments. Attached multi-family housing is likely to attractseniors “downsizing” from larger single-family homes inthe Peninsula, single professionals, and families with nochildren. Allowing for a variety of housing types will alsohelp to accommodate households at a range of incomelevels.While demand is strong for a variety of housing types,what is marketable in any given location will depend onsite-specific characteristics. Within the project area, thereare different physical contexts that will determine thehousing types likely to be built. Properties fronting on ElCamino Real are better suited to higher-density housing,while properties facing the residential streets parallel to ElCamino Real are better suited to townhouses and small-lotsingle-family homes. Properties near the Caltrain stationare ideal locations for higher-density transit-orienteddevelopment, and properties within downtown may besuitable for medium-density apartments, condominiums,and townhouses, at a scale that is sensitive to thedowntown village character.
  51. 51. B25CHAPTER B PLAN CONTEXTExisting multi-family housing and retail mixed-usedevelopment near the Menlo Park station (Menlo Park,California)Key Residential Market Findings• The plan area has a major opportunity to tap intoSan Mateo County’s strong pent-up demand forhousing.• The large number of jobs accessible at other transitstations on the corridor enhances the desirabilityof downtown Menlo Park as a place to live. Newhousing in the station area will offer residents theopportunity for a car-free commute to downtownSan Jose, San Francisco, Palo Alto, San Mateo,or other major employment destinations within theregional transit system.• Demand for Menlo Park housing is primarily drivenby the highly regarded schools, robust publicamenities, sense of community, and proximity toemployment centers.• The Menlo Park housing market experiencesstrong demand for all types of residential units.• Families drive the majority of housing demand withsecondary demand from empty-nesters.
  52. 52. B26MENLO PARK EL CAMINO REAL AND DOWNTOWN SPECIFIC PLANRetail MarketThe plan area is comprised of two distinct retail districts:El Camino Real and downtown Menlo Park. El CaminoReal retail is geared toward more destination orientedretailers that benefit from convenient auto access, suchas those at the Safeway shopping center and Staples andBig 5 Sporting Goods at Menlo Station. El Camino Realis also the location of one larger hotel and several smallerhotels/motels that contribute to City revenue in the form oftransient occupancy taxes. El Camino Real’s advantagesfor retailers are strong linkages to other communities onthe Peninsula, strong demographics, good visibility, andhigh traffic counts, which are desirable to many nationaland regional retailers. El Camino Real also contains anumber of key redevelopment opportunities on vacantand underutilized sites. Nevertheless, many of the lotdimensions on El Camino Real are challenging for standardretail configuration and parking ratios.Downtown Menlo Park is a pedestrian-oriented “MainStreet” shopping district that has evolved over time toinclude a range of independent retailers, including grocerystores, home furnishings stores, women’s apparel, specialtyretail stores and dining establishments. Downtown MenloPark has not traditionally attracted a great number ofnational and regional retailers, in part because thesetypes of retailers are already located in Stanford ShoppingCenter and University Avenue in Palo Alto, and franchiseagreements would typically not allow for another storewithin such close proximity. Furthermore, downtown MenloPark is tucked away from major freeways, and does notoffer the type of direct regional automotive access found inother Peninsula communities along the US-101 Highway.If additional housing is developed in the project area,downtown Menlo Park has the opportunity to attract storesand restaurants targeting young people and families withchildren, as well as senior households. Streetscape andpedestrian improvements and additional downtown housingor office uses would also enhance the success of projectarea retail and draw shoppers and diners.Flegel’s Home Furnishings, a major independent retailerlocated downtown at the corner of Santa Cruz Avenue andEvelyn Street (Menlo Park, California)“Like to see more street fair-type vendors on weekends”- Workshop #3 Participant

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