Future of parks in downtown Menlo Park sparks debate among neighborhood businesses – CBS San Francisco

MENLO PARK (KPIX 5) – During this week’s city council meeting, Menlo Park officials voted to extend the closure of Santa Cruz Avenue between Curtis and Doyle streets, to include an outdoor dining space.

Restaurant owners are celebrating the decision, as pandemic-related street closures have been a lifeline for their business.

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“Ninety-nine percent of our business is outdoors, even in cold weather,” says Ali Elsafy, owner of Bistro Vida. “It is very important to close the outdoor street and put the outdoor park so that our customers have a seat, to survive.”

Rayane Abi Abboud, Left Bank’s general manager, said: “Most lunches we just have outside seating.

Nestled between the two blocks, in the middle of the block, is Harvest Furniture. The owner, Karsten Iwers, was not pleased with the city council’s vote to keep the road partially closed to vehicular traffic.

Parks along Santa Cruz Avenue in Menlo Park downtown. (CBS)

Parks along Santa Cruz Avenue in Menlo Park downtown. (CBS)

“We were completely barricaded by not only the parking lots – which we actually tolerate – but also the exposure from the street and the use of tents on the street,” he said. speak. “It is clear that the impact of blocking access to our business and visibility and exposure is not a small impact at all, but a serious one on us.”

Iwers has two other locations in Redwood City and Los Gatos. He said those two locations have kept his business afloat, as the Menlo Park site had its worst year financially since 2009. He is rethinking the future of the business. himself on Santa Cruz Avenue.

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“We’re losing money,” he tells KPIX 5. “Other stores are keeping my business afloat. All the stores are profitable, Menlo Park is the place where the profits are lost, but we have a lease, we have an obligation. I’m really looking to get out of that lease, I’m currently negotiating with the landlord. ”

While several other downtown areas across the Bay Area are moving to close downtown streets, such as San Mateo and Mountain View, Menlo Park leaders have yet to make that move.

Iwers hopes the city doesn’t go that route.

“I certainly don’t have any hard feelings for them – the restaurants. I understand what they’re doing, I would too if someone gave me 2,500 square feet of space to use however I’d be happy to free it, great. But, if it’s to the detriment of others, then I think it’s time to listen to merchants with a financial interest downtown,” he said. “Getting into the city center is difficult and regular cars won’t pass. They are walking around the city center. “

However, restaurant owners hope the city will consider the possibility of keeping the streets off-road.

Elsafy said: “I think it really should be closed for good. “With the parklet, we can survive, and there’s a light at the end of the tunnel.”

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“I hope it ends, although I hope that they continue it – just because we have received great feedback from our community,” Ali Abboud told KPIX 5.

https://sanfrancisco.cbslocal.com/2022/01/28/menlo-park-parklets-future-debate-restaurants-stores-businesses/ Future of parks in downtown Menlo Park sparks debate among neighborhood businesses – CBS San Francisco

Dustin Huang

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