It’s a celebration of smart mobility and Menlo Park’s birthday at 11th annual downtown block party

by Linda Hubbard Gulker on August 17, 2017

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Vehicles abounded — many of them electric — at last night’s 11th annual downtown block party on Santa Cruz Avenue, sponsored by the City and the Menlo Park Chamber of Commerce.

The theme was “Menlo on the Move,” and the emphasis was on “smart mobility.” A side street featured a line of electric cars available for test drives and additional electric cars were on display on Santa Cruz along with electric bikes and scooters.

Other activities included a bike rodeo hosted by the Menlo Park Police Department and a trackless train that snaked up and down the pedestrian-filled avenue.

A huge hit with the kids was the opportunity to don hard hats and reflecting vests and get up close to all sorts of tractors and such stationed on Chestnut Street. Some of the heavy equipment was available for painting while others could be taken for a stationary spin.

Last night was also a birthday celebration for the City of Menlo Park, which turned 90. Four of the five City Council members — Ray Mueller, Peter Ohtaki, Kirsten Keith and Catherine Carlton — led the celebration, and the Menlo Park Historical Association had a brochure filled with fun facts about Menlo, including:

  • Menlo Park first incorporated in 1874 for road improvements and then incorporation lapsed in 1876.
  • Santa Cruz Avenue was originally a two-lane residential street as nearly all businesses were on El Camino Real.
  • When Menlo Park was incorporated for the second time in 1927, its population was a few hundred persons less than the number of students who attend Menlo-Atherton High School today (about 2,500).
  • Bootlegging was a thriving business during the Prohibition years, 1920-1933. In 1928, bootleggers tried to recall Menlo Park’s first mayor for clamping down on their moonshine business.

And for those who remember the old Menlo Park of the 50s and 60s, yes our town has grown. The population was 13,587 in 1950 and slightly over 33,000 today.

InMenlo contributing photographer Robb Most captured some of the evening’s sights.

Photos by Robb Most (c) 2017

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