A new public park and a bridge for people to walk or ride bicycles across Bayfront Expressway near Meta's expanded headquarters in Menlo Park officially opened on Saturday.
The event was considered a "soft launch" and Meta plans to host a grand opening and ribbon-cutting event for the park later this year, pending a decrease in the prevalence of COVID-19, according to Ashley Quintana, public policy manager of community engagement at Meta (formerly Facebook).
The project was "many years in the making," said Menlo Park's interim City Manager Justin Murphy. "We want to be able to start the process of celebrating the opening of the pedestrian bridge and Meta Park."
The 2.2-acre Meta Park is located between Chilco Street and Bayfront Expressway and between Meta's Buildings 21 and 22, and offers a large plaza with bench seating, a sloped lawn and a walking path that loops around the park.
"We're proud to open Meta Park as a publicly accessible open space to be enjoyed by all and serve as a gateway to the (bridge) and SF Bay Trail and beyond," Quintana said.
The project includes a new bike and pedestrian bridge over Bayfront Expressway that was designed by Frank Gehry Architects that aims to make it easier for residents of Menlo Park's Belle Haven neighborhood to access the nearby Bedwell Bayfront Park and the Bay Trail. The park's landscape design uses native plants and trees, according to a press statement.
"Meta has been so supportive of bike access and safety efforts in the community," says Heather Starnes Logwood, executive director at Live In Peace, an East Palo Alto-based nonprofit that, among other initiatives, runs a youth-focused bike shop and program.
"We are looking forward to community rides and having a bridge where we can safely cross to Bedwell Bayfront Park," she added.