If we can bring together the Silicon Valley–style entrepreneurship, with taste, style, culture, food, wine, and art in a well-thought-through city center, Menlo Park can indeed become that eclectic creative cauldron so rare and elusive. Housing this creativity should be a series of great public spaces, terraces, patios, plazas and boulevards.
Perhaps Middle Avenue would become the place to go see cherry blossoms in the spring. Olive Street could be a jacaranda-lined burst of purple during the summer. Oak Avenue already is a beautiful concentration of maples, giving Menlo Park access to fall colors not easily seen in California.
Santa Cruz Avenue, as it becomes pedestrian only, can have restaurants and cafes spilling over into the street with musicians playing outdoors, people dancing to their tunes – reminiscent of Paris or perhaps Buenos Aires.
Reminiscent, perhaps, but Menlo Park is not going to become Paris or Buenos Aires. Nor, for that matter, will it become a mini San Francisco. It will remain a small town, a charming, understated town. However, if we do this right, it can become a stylish, eclectic, hip, and beautiful town that can serve as a host for Silicon Valley’s next renaissance.
And that, my friends, is a worthwhile vision to work toward.
Note: Here are the slides from my last presentation at the city council. Also, on Tuesday, September 13, at 7pm, there will be the next city council meeting at the City Hall on 701 Laurel Street. If you share this vision, please come to the meeting and share your perspectives. You can also use this series to comment on the blog, and I will make sure your thoughts are communicated to the council.