Uploaded: Wed, Sep 25, 2013, 1:54 pm
Debate on Measure D to take place Saturday
Referendum on Maybell project the only Palo Alto issue on November ballot
The League of Women Voters of Palo Alto will host a debate on Measure D on Saturday, Sept. 28, from 1 to 3 p.m. in the City Council Chambers at City Hall, 250 Hamilton Ave.
Measure D is the only item on the ballot for a special election to be held on Tuesday, Nov. 5. Measure D would approve an ordinance to rezone the property at 567-595 Maybell Avenue to build 12 single-family homes and a 60-unit affordable housing development for seniors.
Mayor Greg Scharff and Jean McCown, a board member for the Palo Alto Housing Corporation, will speak in support of Measure D. Barron Park resident Bob Moss and Timothy Gray, treasurer for Palo Altans to Preserve Neighborhood Zoning, will speak against the measure.
Linda Craig, past president of the League of Women Voters of South San Mateo County and past member of the Board of Directors of the League of Women Voters of California, will moderate the debate.
The Midpeninsula Community Media Center, co-sponsor for the event, will be broadcasting the event on Channel 26 and will also re-broadcast and provide live-streaming on its website.
Posted by SWE,
a resident of Green Acres
on Sep 26, 2013 at 10:17 pm
SWE is a registered user.
But you said "the buildings will create multi-story canyons"
I don't think I've heard anyone use an exaggerated word like "canyons" except you.
Do you not understand why a 50-foot building would be a problem for people in a residential neighborhood when the existing zoning limit is 30-feet?
You also said, "older drivers are a menace to kids on the streets"
I also don't think I've heard anyone use the word "menace" once in all this, except you. I'd say neighbors have taken the need for senior apartments FAR more seriously than you or anyone on your side have taken neighbors' safety concerns for the children, which long preceded this high-density development proposal.
You want an emotional reminder of that? In the past two weeks, there have been several deaths of bicyclists around the Bay Area, including of school children, and a young mother who died on Skyline at the same location as another bicyclist a few years ago. In that case in particular, citizen concerns about safety at that location were ignored. A child pedestrian was struck and killed by a car in front of her elementary school in San Jose within the last year, in an area where residents had complained repeatedly about the traffic. No, children are not dying there every day. But one child's death is too many, and the situation was clearly unsafe to those who witnessed it regularly.
Parents who live in the neighborhood can see that AS IT IS, Maybell is not safe.
As people keep reminding, Maybell is a substandard street. Neighbors spent six months with Cal Trans and well over $100,000 (maybe over $200,000) trying to make it safer within the last few years. Still the medians and stop signs are regularly hit and sometimes knocked over. There are limitations to the infrastructure. The City's recent calls to revisit Maybell -- with no staff, no notes, no lessons, no information from the six months that was just spent with much neighbor involvement on improving safety on Maybell -- will not make Maybell wide enough for a real sidewalk or bike lane.
Marc Berman even admitted in City Council Meetings: Maybell may be a Safe Route to School, but it's not a safe route to school. He may believe it can be made safer by building a high density development on it, but if so, he should have been willing to do the traffic safety analysis the neighbors called for again and again.
There are 4 major schools in the neighborhood -- Gunn High School, Terman Middle School, Bowman International, and Juana Briones Elementary School (which includes a preschool for disabled children, the OH for the most disabled elementary students in the district, and the county rehab facility for disabled children from across the county, all catty corner to the proposed development). Thousands of children travel the two streets on either side of that development to get to school, almost half by bike and on foot: Arastradero and Maybell. That's how the kids get to school. There's no other way out or in the development, and no other way to school for the majority of the kids.
If you wanted to avoid what you call "emotional" calls from neighbors to protect the safety of schoolkids, why haven't you joined their calls for actual data? City policy is of "heightened scrutiny" on school commute routes, yet no safety study of the impact to bikes and pedestrians was done. Safety studies were studiously avoided as neighbors called for them month after month. Traffic problems have risen exponentially in the last two years, yet the data the traffic people did use for the City study was older, mostly before the narrowing of Arastradero, and did not include the impacts of all the developments in the pipeline, such as the 50% increase in business traffic expected on Arastradero because of the VMWare expansion.
Parents in the neighborhood think safety deserves attention BEFORE the unthinkable happens. The City's Comprehensive Plan Transportation Element says safety comes first when considering development (especially high-density development where there is currently an orchard with 90+ trees and a few ranch houses). The City has designated Maybell a safe route to school, and the schools have been there for decades. If the City is going to designate "Safe Routes to School" and heavily advertise to children to ride their bikes and walk there daily, it's not "emotional" to demand they follow their own Policy and give safety some scrutiny before plopping a high-density development where it can't avoid impacting those routes. Contrary to PAHC claims to the contrary, there have been reported accidents between children on bikes and cars on those routes in recent previous years, and many not reported: Web Link
If the developers of this property knew they had to have such high-density to build it, they should have gone after one of the many properties on El Camino or other properties more appropriate for a high-density development. If they didn't want to care about the safety of schoolchildren, they should have gone after a property where safety for schoolchildren isn't such a central issue. But at the very least, now that they have, they shouldn't be so disrespectful of parents to call their concerns about the limits of the infrastructure and the need for safety scrutiny as "exaggerated".
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