What streets should Menlo Park close to accommodate restaurants?

An illustration of Santa Cruz Avenue from the El Camino Real and Downtown Specific Plan that City Council approved in 2012.

Daily Post Staff Writer

The Menlo Park City Council tonight (June 16) will discuss options for closing off Santa Cruz Avenue in the city’s downtown in order to let restaurants set up seating in the street.

City Manager Starla Jerome-Robinson wants the council to weigh in on the prospect of closing all or a portion of Santa Cruz Avenue, an idea originally floated by council members Betsy Nash and Ray Mueller. They had suggested closing Santa Cruz between El Camino and University Drive.

However, after meeting with Fran Dehn at the Chamber of Commerce and representatives from the fire district, the council will discuss an alternative brought forth by Dehn.

Dehn’s proposal includes:

• Closing the street from Doyle to Curtis,
• From Chestnut to Crane Street near Ann’s Coffee Shop, and
• From Crane at Subway to Evelyn Street.

Dehn also suggests that parking be closed between Stacks and Mr. Green Bubble, in front of Mademoiselle Colette’s and Camper so those restaurants can put their tables outside.

Dehn in an email to the council says that her proposal comes after “extensive outreach” with the businesses and property owners on Santa Cruz Ave.

If the council goes forward with some sort of closure, it will join Palo Alto, Mountain View and San Carlos in closing off streets in the hopes that restaurants can get more customers and thus, more revenue. Palo Alto has closed off California Avenue and San Carlos has closed off parts of Laurel Street. Mountain View has closed off Castro Street.

Redwood City’s council is st next week to discuss closing off Broadway between El Camino and Main Street.

Menlo Park’s meeting starts at 4 p.m. today and can be viewed at menlopark.org/streaming.

The city manager’s report to council on this matter can be found here.


  1. Do not close Santa Cruz, if the restaurants need space let them use a portion of the parking behind their buildings. There are many more businesses than just restaurants on Santa Cruz and they deserve to have their businesses do well. Also closing the street is not fair to residents who cross town from East to West. This is just another case of trying to isolate West Menlo Park.

  2. I think that closing the streets will benefit the downtown area. Commuters who need to travel east-west can easily be routed around these few blocks of Santa Cruz Ave, and there is abundant parking in the parking lots behind these businesses.

    However, I encourage the city counsel to do 2 things:

    1. Mandate that artificial grass be laid beneath any outdoor extensions for dining and lounging. It is neither charming nor clean to dine on oil-stained asphalt.

    2. Allow permitted pop-up cocktail bars, fitness studios, and retail shops to operate where there are vacant storefronts. Let’s bring some life to downtown!

  3. Talk to the City of Campbell about their experiment in closing off Campbell Avenue years ago. It did not go well, and it had available to it surrounding streets that provided much better traffic flow than does Menlo Park.

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