Menlo Park development's traffic impacts being vetted 

click to enlarge Stanford University owns the Menlo Park site slated to be transformed into housing, retail and office space. - COURTESY RENDERING
  • courtesy rendering
  • Stanford University owns the Menlo Park site slated to be transformed into housing, retail and office space.

The redevelopment of a roughly 8.5-acre site along El Camino Real in Menlo Park will continue to be vetted over the coming months for its impacts, namely on traffic.

Stanford University owns the site at 500 El Camino Real, which is a few blocks south of downtown Menlo Park. The university, which has owned the land since the 1880s, has plans to redevelop the former auto dealerships as a mix of housing, retail and office space, Stanford spokesman Jean McCown said.

The proposal for redevelopment falls under the guidelines the city created to revamp the El Camino Real corridor and the downtown area, according to city documents, but some neighbors still had concerns about increased traffic.

The group Save Menlo Park says the increased traffic has side effects that threaten pedestrian safety in the adjacent residential neighborhoods and endanger children who must cross El Camino Real on their way to school, spokeswoman Perla Ni said.

In a recent report to the City Council, Councilwoman Kirsten Keith, who sits on the subcommittee that is evaluating the project, indicated that it had begun to meet with community members and planning officials in order to conduct a detailed traffic analysis of the area affected by the development.

Keith also said the subcommittee intends to meet with more representatives from the neighborhood and a bicycle advocacy group. Keith declined to comment on the specifics of the invited parties or future meetings, which are not open to the public.

According to McCown, the traffic projections for the project are significantly lower than what's allowed by the city for new developments in the area. The university also has plans to manage the increases — for both cars and other forms of transportation, McCown said.

The current iteration of the Stanford plan meets requirements set out in the El Camino Real Specific Plan, said Menlo Park planning official Thomas Rogers.

Both sides are awaiting the results of the subcommittee's investigation into traffic complaints. City officials said it's likely that the subcommittee will present its findings to the council once it resumes meeting after its summer recess.

In the meantime, Save Menlo Park is pursuing other options should the council allow the development to proceed without appropriate changes.

"We'll consider all options at our disposal," Ni said.

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