Seeking a community partnership between the City of Menlo Park and the MP Fire District

A huge thank you to the Fire District for unanimously voting for this safety measure in front of Station 1 on Middlefield! The urgency (they say they deal in seconds and minutes...not years and years) and concern they demonstrated in this situation are remarkable. This proposal was developed by a dedicated and talented community member, Jonathan Weiner, and Parents for Safe Routes was happy to endorse the suggested plan because of the public safety benefits it offered not just to kids but to the community at large. In 8 days, the Fire District went from meeting with us about the idea to putting it on their agenda, to voting for its approval. Incredible.

It was the first topic covered. It's also important to note that we had about 70 petition signatures and about 10 concerned citizens who wrote personal letters of support to Chief Schapelhouman.

As mentioned in the article, the Fire District does not own the roadway, so it will be up to the City of Menlo Park to make this happen - from study, to design to implementation. We also want to point out that the Fire District wants this HAWK beacon so badly that they considered paying for the whole thing. While we also desperately want this project to move forward as quickly as possible, Parents for Safe Routes agrees with the Fire District's ultimate decision that the cost of the project needs to be shared with the City of Menlo Park. Menlo Park must work in partnership with the Fire District, and other agencies and jurisdictions around town, to make this and other safety improvements happen. That is what a community partnership is all about.

While we realize that the City of Menlo Park has its processes and many transportation initiatives to consider (and we appreciate all of the Safe Routes resources recently dedicated), we would like to challenge the City to move forward with looking into this plan as quickly as possible. Menlo Park is facing a transportation crisis. We are all suffering from collective road rage given our traffic congestion and with new developments approved by the City, it's not likely to get any better. We must make quick, smart and impactful infrastructure improvements that make it possible for many to leave their cars at home. While we have some walking and biking infrastructure in place, many routes have key stress points that make them unsafe, and therefore unusable to many (especially children). Fixing the intersection on Middlefield at Santa Monica/Linfield is a perfect example of how to make smart investments that will have huge impacts.

Parents for Safe Routes looks forward to working with the City to see how we can make this intersection improvement, and many more like it, happen in the near future. There is so much work to be done, but together, we can really make a difference!

Jen Wolosin