Menlo Park to narrow part of Middlefield Road

Published May 4, 2023

By Emily Mibach
Daily Post Staff Writer

Menlo Park officials are taking a new approach when it comes to reducing traffic lanes on streets. Instead of holding public hearings before the work is done, the city plans to reduce a quarter-mile stretch of Middlefield Road as early as next week and then, in six months, ask council members if they want to make it permanent.

The lane reduction will be from St. Patricks Seminary to the block before Willow Road – Santa Margarita Avenue. It could occur as soon as next week.

Only this stretch of road is being reduced because CalWater just replaced a water main that required repaving along that area, according to Assistant Public Works Director Hugh Louch.

The change could be temporary, as the new lanes are only going to be painted on. Louch said the city will be keeping close tabs on how traffic goes through the area.

In six months or so, Louchs team will go before the City Council to hear whether the changes ought to be made permanent, alter the changes or go back to the way the lanes were.

The road will go from two travel lanes on either side to one travel lane and a middle turn lane.

The goal behind the project is to improve safety for pedestrians to give them more certainty where the cars they are walking near will go, explained City Manager Justin Murphy during the City Council meeting on Tuesday, where the project was announced.

There is no set date as to when the new lanes will be painted, but it is set to occur next month, according to Louch.

It is possible the lane reductions could be expanded on Middlefield, as the city is planning to repave the road from the city limit with Palo Alto to Ravenswood Avenue, Louch said.


  1. Narrowing roads won’t make traffic disappear in the same way that toll roads won’t reduce congestion. They’ll just create more backups and gridlock and road rage at n=merge points.

  2. They are already making it MORE dangerous, as there are no signs warning of the changes. My friend was totally surprised that all of a sudden you have to merge unexpectedly, where there had always been a lane.

  3. This is going to be an absolute nightmare! We should be widening these roads, not narrowing. Look at what happened in Palo Alto with the Charleston Arasterdero project which narrowed 4 lanes to 2 lanes from Foothill Expressway to San Antonio Road — traffic is now routinely backed up at Gunn HS — can take 20 minutes just to get in and out of the parking lot during drop off and pick up. Traffic is backed up from Middlefield and Charleston in all directions during rush hour and is now worse after the lane reductions. The whole purpose was to make it more bike friendly, but there is no significant increase in bike usage on these routes.

    • Agreed. I had a bad feeling the Palo Alto insanity was going to creep into Menlo Park. We the people need to have a voting voice on any of this infrastructure change or the city council will make the decision for the people.

  4. While this is a weird approach, the only thing that off-sets this is that this stretch is already an anomaly… This street is only a single lane anyway coming out of and going into Palo Alto and as soon as you hit Ravenswood intersection, it’s back to a single lane all the way into Redwood City, so really, what’s the difference… There is a sidewalk already so pedestrians are already safe. The bike lane could’ve been built into the existing road without too much difficulty and that’s important to have too. It’s a luxury lane now and makes this bike lane safety effort to easy to criticize for those that don’t like it. I like bike lanes, but this makes the bike lane people like me look piggish and selfish and over-reaching to the detriment of its future implementation

  5. Please don’t become Palo Alto. Any city council member who agrees to make this shortening of lanes on Middlefield permanent should be voted out before they start shortening every road to make way for the thousands of invisible bicyclists in their minds. What’s next spending $9 Million on roundabouts and bike boulevards?

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