Between the existing Facebook campus in Menlo Park and the land where the second half of the campus will be built is a tunnel smothered from floor to ceiling with graffiti.
Facebook employees will eventually use the tunnel to get from one side of the campus to the other while avoiding the traffic on Bayfront Expressway.
Rather than scrub the walls clean, Facebook plans to preserve much of the graffiti, as the company expands its global headquarters into the 22 acres of land across the street.
The latest phase of the expansion project garnered unanimous approval from the Menlo Park Planning Commission on Monday.
One of the items in the works includes a physical renovation of the tunnel, which was littered with an old mattress, bent spray paint cans, and rusty shopping carts when Facebook first announced it would move to Menlo Park in February 2011.
Eventually, pedestrians and cyclists who travel the path through the tunnel will share it with a "people-mover" shuttle, according to Facebook. Facebook says the "people-movers" will enable time-strapped employees to get from one end of the campus to the other — faster.
Whether they get through the tunnel on foot or on wheels, expressive swirls of spray paint will adorn the walls they walk through, a testament to the unbridled creativity that grows in the Bay Area.
Facebook Spokesman Slater Tow said the walls would be sanitized of any profanity and that leaving the graffiti murals on the walls is in line with Facebook's corporate culture.
“Our offices are covered in art,” Tow said. “We’re fond of artistic works of all kind,” he added.
Some of the murals appear to be the work of a single artist, although the creator cannot be confirmed. An anonymous caller to the editor of this publication suggested that it is the work of a Menlo-Atherton High School graduate who resides in the area. His "tag," or signature appeared near art sprayed on the sound walls that enclose Highway 101 near East Palo Alto in 2012 and in tunnels near 280 by Woodside. Much of that graffiti has since been removed.
Law enforcement officials do not know the identity of the person who created these brightly-colored murals, according to Menlo Park Police spokesperson Nicole Acker.
"According to Sgt. Cowans, it is not gang related," Acker told Patch. "He said it’s more of an 'artist’s' work," she added.
Originally, improvements for the eastern half of the tunnel were scheduled to be completed before Facebook’s west campus construction was finalized.
But for now Planning Commission Vice Chair John Kadvany says that the tunnel will be used as a staging area for construction crews to house large equipment such as bulldozers.
The final paperwork for Facebook's campus expansion project now heads to the City Council for their consideration.
You can see Facebook’s conceptual drawings of improvements for the undercrossing here.
Also on Menlo Park-Atherton Patch:
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Atherton Donates $10K to Block Access to Prop. 1A Funds
Affordable Housing Project on Willow Rd. Upgraded
Stanford Mendicants Surprise Menlo Park Mom
Details Emerge in Taekwondo Child Molestation Case
Update: Atherton Police To Destroy Internal Investigations Files
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