City to repave San Antonio Road, replace trees

City to start second phase of streetscaping project Monday

Palo Alto plans to launch on Monday the next phase of the San Antonio Road construction project, an effort that includes widening a section of the road, replacing street trees and repaving the busy street at the city's southern border.

The work is the second phase of a multi-year project aimed at repairing aged infrastructure along the busy street at the city's southern border and improving median islands and sidewalks. Construction began last fall.

The second phase of the project includes widening San Antonio to create a new left-turn lane at Middlefield Road. The city also plans to repave the street between Middlefield and U.S. Highway 101 and install new trees and a new irrigation system and install video detection for traffic signals.

The work will result in some lane closures, though city officials plan to keep all traffic lanes open during the busiest commute hours. According to the city's announcement, all lanes will be open until 9 a.m. and after 4 p.m. to minimize disruption. On-street parking will not be allowed in the construction area, according to a flier from the Public Works Department.

The project includes removing 101 trees, more than half of which are stone pines, and planting 120 new trees of different varieties. The pines have already been removed and the replacement trees will be planted once the paving is completed.

The stage of construction that will begin next week will focus on widening San Antonio and creating the new left-turn lane at Middlefield Road.

Officials had determined after consulting with arborists that the pines are "at the end of their useful lifecycle and require significant ongoing maintenance, including branch removal, surface road grinding and extensive sidewalk and road repair," according to a report from the Public Works Department.


Posted by anonymous, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Aug 10, 2012 at 10:13 am

I'm torn - I'm grateful for the road improvements, but there has already been tremendous disruption along this major road. They have already had various "phases" of work!
My sincere hope is this work can be accelerated, rather than dragged out, like what happens with some public road projects.

Posted by Parent, a resident of Charleston Gardens
on Aug 10, 2012 at 10:22 am

Really? Thats got to happen this coming week huh? First week of school? With Charleston practically impassible, how exactly are they thinking we get from East to West in South Palo Alto?

Can we get a solid confirmation that Charleston is going to be returned to full traffic flow before this other artery is choked off?

Posted by David, a resident of Palo Verde
on Aug 10, 2012 at 11:02 am

Hey Parent, it will take you a little longer for the next few weeks. Plan ahead and deal with it.

Posted by Sylvia, a resident of Midtown
on Aug 10, 2012 at 12:02 pm

I began work for a company on San Antonio Road in 1989. We moved several times, but fairly close by until a major move south in 2010.

For all of those years San Antonio Road appeared to be in a constant state of construction, lane closures, and monumental traffic jams.

Looks like there's more to come.

Posted by mary, a resident of Barron Park
on Aug 10, 2012 at 12:04 pm

did i miss something? has san antonio not been tore up the last 7-8 months? cones, hard hats and florecent orange nothing new

Posted by Ernesto, a resident of Greenmeadow
on Aug 10, 2012 at 12:10 pm

If they are widening it, are they putting in bike lanes? Isn't that required under the new Complete Streets law?

Posted by Diane, a resident of Midtown
on Aug 10, 2012 at 12:28 pm

Must be a slow news day. Mr Sheyner needs to check his facts and go see San Antonio Rd for himself. The work he describes has been underway for several months. All the trees from Middlefield Ave east, toward the 101, have already been taken down. Traffic has been snarled along this stretch all summer. It has actually been improving somewhat lately now that most of the removal/demolition work in the center of the roadway has been done.

Posted by Enough!, a resident of Charleston Gardens
on Aug 10, 2012 at 12:36 pm

San Antonio Road looks like any street in Irvine. No longer has that northern California look with beautiful trees lining the roadway. Instead, it has drought resistant shrubs. Ugly. Only thing uglier is California Avenue.

Posted by PA Neighbor, a resident of Meadow Park
on Aug 10, 2012 at 2:09 pm

When they started the project on San Antonio, they said it would take two years. One year to demolish what's there and a second year for removing roots, replanting and repaving.

Bikes are supposed to use Arastradero and East Charleston. San Antonio is going to be clogged with vehicles when the San Antonio Shopping Center is rebuilt. Hopefully, the project will be completed before all the facilities at San Antonio Shopping Center are occupied!!!

Posted by litebug, a resident of another community
on Aug 10, 2012 at 2:47 pm

I'm amazed at the breakneck speed of this project! The newspaper had said that this work was starting about the time we moved away 4 years ago.

Posted by Michele, a resident of Greenmeadow
on Aug 10, 2012 at 3:21 pm

Not appreciating David's rude comments - hard to get in and out of our neighborhood now. Even with planning ahead. And getting to Gunn - very difficult. Glad I'm done with Gunn.

Posted by Gail, a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Aug 10, 2012 at 4:17 pm

Palo Alto city government continues the cutting down of trees in Palo Alto. By hook or by crook, they will make this town look like Fremont, sooner or later.

Posted by parent, a resident of Charleston Gardens
on Aug 10, 2012 at 4:24 pm

Hey David - yes we're fully aware of the city's position on miserable city-caused (and fully avoidable) traffic gridlock: "Get Used to It"

So therefore, the new "regular conditions" drive from Middlefield/Charleston intersection to Gunn that takes 1/2 hour (1.9 miles, an otherwise 7 minute drive, except for the AM before school hours, due to the ABSURD striping on Arastradero, which has is now "normal" regular 1/2 hour.), will become for some number of unknown period of time: 1/2 hour from Middlefield to Alma and another 1/2 from Alma to Gunn. 1 hour drive for 1.9 miles.

Certainly 'get used to it' is an entirely reasonable and expected response. Don't tell me, you're either a bike rider, or you don't have any reason to use that route during that commute hour.

Posted by Resident, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Aug 10, 2012 at 4:36 pm

Today I avoided San Antonio traffic and used El Cam, Charleston, Alma. Big mistake. Charleston has road construction both sides of the tracks. Alma has construction with no right turns onto Loma Verde and other side streets. I saw nothing about Loma Verde being closed at Alma anywhere.

Getting around town has been very difficult lately.

Posted by Gunn Mom, a resident of Ventura
on Aug 10, 2012 at 6:27 pm

PG&E added Sundays to the Charleston Rd. work schedule so they can (hopefully) finish the gas transmission line replacement BEFORE August 16th when school starts.

Poor Hoover school is hosting the staging equipment for the PG&E work.

At least we'll have a new gas transmission line!

Web Link

Posted by Ungata, a resident of Los Altos Hills
on Aug 10, 2012 at 7:33 pm

The mayor of Los Altos Hills has been complaining that he can't ride his bike to the baylands along San Antonio. There are nice bike lanes up until you get to Mountain View and Palo Alto, then it is bad. Of course San Antonio is mostly residential in Los Altos and turns commercial near El Camino. Mountain View will be putting in bike lanes along the new shopping center, so then the only problem will be Palo Alto. How embarrasing.

Posted by guest, a resident of Crescent Park
on Aug 10, 2012 at 8:39 pm

What happened to the 2nd half/phase of the Lytton Avenue repaving?

Posted by John, a resident of Fairmeadow
on Aug 11, 2012 at 7:05 pm

"at the end of their useful lifecycle and require significant ongoing maintenance, including branch removal, surface road grinding and extensive sidewalk and road repair,"

Government bureaucrat speak:
In other words, 80% of the tax money we get goes to our wages and benefits. Spending money on trees might cut in on our take. Cut 'em down....we got away with it on Cal ave, we got away with it here.

Next on the ballot an "infrastructure" tax.

Posted by paloaltotreewatch, a resident of Palo Alto Orchards
on Aug 11, 2012 at 10:59 pm

Thanks for bringing to the light the shameful language the city used to justify the removal of the Stone Pines on San Antonio.

If those trees were Oaks they would have not been removed as the current tree regime in this city is one which believes that some species of trees are worth more that others.

And when you hear the city tree folks speaks of hippocratic oath for trees - ie. do no harm, we all know it is really the hypocritic oath.
I'd fire them all for not defending the cities trees.

Posted by John, a resident of Fairmeadow
on Aug 12, 2012 at 11:35 pm

San antonio is a wasteland compared to what it was. i agree with an earlier poster. may as well be Fremont

Posted by Alan, a resident of Midtown
on Aug 13, 2012 at 12:58 pm

Palo Alto Tree Watch

"If those trees were Oaks they would have not been removed as the current tree regime in this city is one which believes that some species of trees are worth more that others."

Most of the trees clearcut on California Ave. were oaks.

Posted by Crescent Park Dad, a resident of Crescent Park
on Aug 13, 2012 at 1:21 pm

The mayor LAH is complaining? Wow.

Posted by Participant, a resident of South of Midtown
on Aug 13, 2012 at 5:57 pm

The stone pines would not have been removed if they were not overgrown, dangerous, damaging to the road and way past their useful lifetime. Trees age and become brittle and overgrown. Who ever planted them did not make a good choice. Oh, and by the way, they were hideous and provided little shade. The new plantings so far, are not yet mature, but include a variety of shade trees and flowers. It is an investment in the future for the area. Unlike the California Avenue clear cutting, this was done properly. I know some people were very attached to the stone pines. To each his own. However, sometimes the city actually does the right thing, as here.

Posted by Local driver, a resident of Meadow Park
on Aug 14, 2012 at 11:20 pm

The stone pine trees were removed because of a horrible accident that severely injured a teenager driving up San Antonio who crashed into one of the trees because his car skidded on the raised up root system. In fact it was that accident that has prompted the City to complete the entire San Antonio project.

There is always a reason!!!

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