Menlo Park City Council advances priorities of Covid response, housing affordability, climate action

At the Menlo Park City Council goal-setting meeting on March 9, Council Members refined their priorities for the coming year. 

The overall summary of top priorities included:

  • Covid response and recovery, focusing on addressing inequities
  • Meeting the state’s Housing Element requirement, with a robust scope to address housing affordability
  • Implementing the city’s Climate Action Plan

Also, with regard to transportation, City Council maintained a priority to complete the bicycle / pedestrian undercrossing of the Caltrain tracks at Middle Avenue, paired with complete streets and traffic calming on Middle Avenue, providing safer trips for people of all ages across town to the Community Center, schools, and downtown.

The City Council’s direction for the upcoming year’s priorities closely resembled the items that Menlo Together identified from the beginning of the Council goal-setting process in January.  Thanks to everyone who has communicated with City Council in writing and in public comments.

See this blog post for more on the recent revelations about Covid disparities and how you can help

Other items

In response to resident feedback, the Council added exploration of rail quiet zones to the queue.  A summary of the resource / CIP implications is expected to come back on the 23rd.   Also, the request from a number of residents for a ban on gas leafblowers is being referred to the Environmental Quality Commission.

Summary and Next Steps

There will be an important milestone meeting on April 13, when City Council will identify top priorities and take action to adopt 2021 priorities and work plan. A summary of the meeting by city staff can be found here and the timeline for next steps are listed below. 

It will be important to continue to pay attention to the consequences of the priorities in the City’s Capital Improvement Plan and Budget. One item to watch out for is the potential impact of proposed additions to transportation priorities, including quiet zones, on the pre-existing CIP queue that had good projects for safety and climate, including important safety improvements in Belle Haven.

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