Downtown parking

Parking in downtown Menlo Park includes three options:
  • Parking plazas (City-owned)
  • Curbside parking (on-street)
  • Private parking lots

Most parking spaces in downtown have timed parking restrictions, with time limits varying between 15 minutes and 2 hours free of charge.

Two of the existing parking plazas also have a pay-parking option, where customers can purchase additional time beyond the 2 free hours.

See the City's current parking map for the locations of these plazas.

6-month pilot program changes
On November 10, 2015, the City Council approved the following free time limit changes to Downtown parking as a 6-month pilot program:
  • Downtown public off-street parking plazas free parking time limits will extend from 2 hours to 3 hours. Plaza 4 will remain 2 hours.
  • Downtown 1 hour on-street parking spaces free parking time limits will extend to 90 minutes.
The pilot program will begin on January 4th, 2016, following the 2015 holiday season, when the City typically extends free parking time limits in the same plazas to 3-hours for holiday parking. The pilot program will be implemented using decals to update the time restrictions on existing plaza and on-street signs.

Following the 6-month pilot program, an evaluation of the program effectiveness would be shared at a future Council meeting before any permanent changes are made.
Downtown parking history
In 2011, the City implemented recommendations from the 2010 Downtown Menlo Park Parking Plan. This study was developed to address the perception that parking assets in the downtown area were not efficiently timed to make parking available for visitors or customers when they need it. Community members indicated that parking time limits were too short to support the commercial and retail uses that exist on Santa Cruz Avenue, Menlo Avenue and Oak Grove Avenue.

The plan was developed to include a detailed analysis of current parking usage and to utilize extensive outreach to the downtown community via a survey and a series of three public workshops. The plan made recommendations to better manage the current parking supply which could be implemented quickly such as providing paid parking options at parking plazas 1 and 5 and converting 2-hour parking spaces on Santa Cruz Avenue to 1-hour parking spaces.

In June 2013 and March 2015, the City Council hosted public study sessions to evaluate and discuss potential modifications to the Downtown Parking Program to better serve downtown patrons. On October 20, 2015, the City Council considered staff recommendations for potential changes and took action at the November 10, 2015, City Council meeting.