Traffic Restriction in Menlo Park: I Used to Hate It, Now I Love It

Just turned 4, Marco rides his bike on our street freely thanks to the lack of cars here.

I’ve always hated traffic restriction practices in Menlo Park. Examples are:

  • Sand Hill Road Extension: This seemed like an obvious need to me from the moment I moved here in 1981, but it took 20 more years. And, what they finally built doesn’t connect Sand Hill to Alma, which drives me nuts every time I’m on Sand Hill heading toward El Camino.
  • Willow Road Extension: This (extending to El Camino), too, has always seemed obvious to me, but we’ll probably never get this one.

Now, though, I’m living in a traffic restriction mecca of Menlo Park, and I’m seeing this from a different perspective. In fact, I’m loving it! I live in Allied Arts, where getting to points on adjacent Sand Hill Road, such as Stanford Shopping Center, is way more difficult than one might assume.
In fact, I’ve been living there for over a month now, and I’m only now figuring out all the roads.

The upside of all this traffic restriction here is that we usually go tens of minutes without seeing a car drive down the road. On my block, in fact, I don’t think I’ve ever seen a car pass by that didn’t start or stop someplace in the block. In other words, it’s as if we live in a cul-de-sac – we have no pass-through traffic. However, unlike living in a cul-de-sac, we can easily access destinations in either direction from our house.

Because of the meager traffic we have here, my four-year-old son Marco and I go bicycling an awful lot in our neighborhood. In this last month, he has gained a tremendous amount of confidence in handling his bike and navigating the roads. We usually ride to downtown Menlo Park now rather than drive, even though we live more than a mile away.

In addition, in biking around, Marco and I have gotten to know many families here. Almost every night, we run into someone we know and hang out with them for a bit.

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