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Find out what's happening in the blog. Below is a list of blog items.

Jun 22

PG&E provides resources for those impacted during COVID-19

Posted to Menlo Park COVID-19 Updates by Clay Curtin

As San Mateo County continues to manage the COVID-19 pandemic, essential needs like having electricity play an important role in helping residents. PG&E provides many resources for customers to resolve ongoing financial hardships during the COVID-19 pandemic. PG&E will not shut off power for unpaid bills during this time. In addition, customers with certain income and other medical needs may qualify for additional assistance.

PG&E financial resources include:
  • California Alternate Rates for Energy Program (CARE): a monthly discount of 20% or more on gas and electricity. Participants qualify through income guidelines or if enrolled in certain public assistance programs.
  • Family Electric Rate Assistance Program (FERA): a monthly discount of 18% on electricity only. Must be a household with three or more people. Participants qualify through income guidelines.
  • Flexible payment plans: schedule payment of your current balance over several months to help address temporary financial strains.
  • Medical baseline: residential customers who have special energy needs due to certain qualifying medical conditions can receive a lower rate on monthly energy bills.
Learn more about support resources on the PG&E website

High-voltage-power-lines
Feb 05

Community discusses new safe routes project near La Entrada Middle School

Posted to Menlo Park Transportation News by Clay Curtin

On January 15, the City held a meeting at La Entrada Middle School to present design concepts for the Sharon Road Sidewalk project. The project proposes safer access to La Entrada Middle School with a new pathway on the north side of Sharon Road from Alameda de las Pulgas to Altschul Avenue.

The existing site is partially paved and lacks a continuous accessible walking path. This presents a challenge for pedestrians, bicyclists and vehicles navigating the area. Additionally, rain creates large puddles next to the street, which forces pedestrians into the travel lane. Over 30 people, including residents and middle school parents, learned more about the project and how it could improve public safety and connection to the school. The City presented renderings and plans of the following design concepts:
  • General improvements
    • Mitigate ponding by eliminating low-points and installing gutters to the storm drain
    • Install curb ramps and a connecting walkway at Sharon Road and Altschul Avenue
    • Sharrow markings for shared bicycle and vehicle lanes along Sharon Road
  • Pathway Option 1 – Concrete sidewalk
    This option consists of a raised concrete curb, gutter and sidewalk, which would remove parking on the north side of Sharon Road. The elevated curb and color of the sidewalk may act as a barrier to traffic. The concrete sidewalk could also affect street width perception for drivers, and thus reduce traffic speed.
  • Pathway Option 2 – Asphalt walkway
    This option consists of a new asphalt walkway and valley gutter at street level. The concrete valley gutter would act as a separation between the asphalt walkway and the street, possibly allowing for time-restricted parking beyond school hours where there is available width.
The advantages and disadvantages of these preliminary designs were discussed. Participants shared input on pedestrian/bicycle safety, school travel, ADA compliance, parking removal and drainage. The City will continue to collect feedback through the public outreach phase before pursuing next steps. 

Submit your questions or comments.

For more information, please visit the project website at menlopark.org/sharonroadsidewalk

Parents and children walk to school in wet street
Jun 26

Updated heritage tree ordinance goes into effect July 1

Posted to Menlo Park Updates by Clay Curtin

On November 19, 2019, the City Council approved a new heritage tree ordinance that is effective July 1. The City Council updated the ordinance to preserve the City's tree canopy with the intention to plant and protect more replacement trees and to increase preservation of healthy heritage trees in development projects. 

The following sections describe the new changes due to the amended heritage tree ordinance:
  • Heritage tree permit applications: To practice safety protocols during the pandemic, applicants may submit heritage tree permit applications online. Paper applications will no longer be accepted after October 1.
  • Decision-making criteria: The new criteria is more concise and more clear. 
  • Replacement tree requirements: For non-development projects, the requirements depends on the size of the heritage tree’s trunk diameter. For development projects, the monetary value of the replacement trees must be at least equal to the appraised value of the heritage tree. If those requirements cannot be met, a written statement is needed to explain why an in lieu fee payment shall be allowed.
  • City-approved consulting arborist list: Applicants must hire one of the consulting arborists from the City’s approved list, which will be available on the City’s website.
  • Appeal process: Community members must submit an appeal form and payment electronically or hard copy to initiate the appeal process. The new ordinance changed who is eligible to appeal, the appealing body is different and the City may request additional materials. 
Staff created heritage tree ordinance administrative guidelines to explain how to comply with the updated ordinance, which should be read with ordinance. The guidelines may be modified more readily than the ordinance, to reflect changes in the industry and establish best practices. They are available for public review and any community member may submit his/her feedback.

To provide feedback, please submit a heritage tree administrative guideline form. 

Please visit the Sustainability Division webpage for an overview of the updated heritage tree ordinance

To learn more or for questions about the new heritage tree ordinance, please contact Sustainability Specialist Joanna Chen.

Blog post--backyard heritage trees