News

'Wayfinding' program to bring signs, monument to Palo Alto City Hall

City embarks on $300,000 effort to make Hamilton Avenue building easier to navigate

Visitors who have a hard time finding their way around Palo Alto City Hall will soon get plenty of help from the city, which is embarking on a $300,000 effort to install a network of signs in and around its primary civic hub.

The ambitious sign program, which is part of a $4.5-million effort to make City Hall more welcoming and inclusive, includes 21 separate signs, including building signs, freestanding signs and direction signs leading people to the Civic Center's underground garage. Among the most visible signs will be a new freestanding monument installed at the corner of Hamilton Avenue and Bryant Street. The gray aluminum sign will be 4 feet 6 inches tall and nearly 14 feet 10 inches wide and will feature the city's logo (the El Palo Alto redwood), the words "City of Palo Alto" and City Hall's address, 250 Hamilton Ave.

The building itself will also feature a prominent new entry sign: illuminated aluminum letters mounted over the front doors. The building's tinted-glass doors, which are currently barely distinguishable from the rest of the glass paneling the monolithic facade, will grow more conspicuous with the words "CITY HALL" hovering above them. A similar sign of the word "POLICE" will be installed in front of the staircase leading to the police headquarters on Forest Avenue.

The parking structure under the building will also become more prominent, with tall, slender freestanding signs directing pedestrians to the King Plaza staircases that lead underground and directing drivers to the garage ramps. There will be six garage signs, with three wall signs near each public entrance.

The master plan has already received some kudos from the city's Architectural Review Board, which reviewed the proposal on July 17 but did not vote on it. The board requested Public Works to provide more options about the sign directly in front of City Hall and to ascertain whether garages need be equipped with signs informing visitors about the electrical-vehicle chargers inside. The discussion will continue on Aug. 21.

Even so, board members were generally enthusiastic about the master-sign program, with Chair Lee Lippert saying he was "very excited" about the proposal and Vice Chair Randy Popp suggesting that the proposal can serve as a template for other sign programs throughout the city. Popp said he was "thrilled" about the clarity and logic of the proposed program.

"We struggle all the time in how to do signage in other city buildings," Popp said. "This to me looks like the solution."

The sign program is part of a broader renovation of City Hall, a $4.5-million project that includes a refurbishment of the small Council Conference Room; the creation of a new public-meeting room next to the City Hall lobby; the relocation of customer-service representatives to the first floor; and a personnel shuffle involving six departments. The project, which began with a proposal to remodel the small conference room and gradually became a ground-floor makeover, was swiftly and unanimously approved by the council on June 16.

As part of the renovation, the city is also spending more than $200,000 on new media art for the refurbished lobby -- an interactive screen that will include photos, information about city services, news feeds and opportunities for visitors to provide feedback. Palo Alto officials have been soliciting proposals for more than a year and have gradually winnowed the artist-applicant pool from 107 to three.

Ultimately, after consultation with various departments, artist Susan Narduli was selected to create the lobby installation. Her proposal, called "Conversation," will "activate the renovated City Hall lobby space, invite visitors to interact with the artwork, and offer a new and exciting art experience for visitors each time they visit City Hall lobby," according to a report that the city's Public Art Commission discussed on July 17. After a brief discussion, the commission unanimously voted to contribute $25,000 from the city's Percent for Art budget for this project.

Commission Vice Chair Ben Miyaji, who took part in the selection process, said the goal is to make visitors feel "welcomed" at the City Hall lobby, which he compared to a "living room."

"(When) you come in, you want to be welcomed and feel like you're kind of at home," Miyaji said. "I feel this is what the project will do."

In addition to the public-art funding, the new-media project will be funded through the city's capital-improvement program and the $150,000 for public art included in the City Hall renovation budget. Narduli will be gathering input from the community as part of her concept development, according to staff. She anticipates it will take about six to eight months before the artwork is ready for installation.

Comments

 +   Like this comment
Posted by Are you kidding me?
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Jul 25, 2014 at 8:35 am

The Civic Center is the only building in that entire block, do we really need a sign over the front entrance to say it is City Hall?


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Need serious investigation
a resident of Greenmeadow
on Jul 25, 2014 at 9:24 am

Can't help wondering who is profiting from the astonishing number of new signs popping up all over town. $300,000 just in around City Hall?

The City Manager's manic spending spree needs investigation and control.
Is he emptying the treasury before he leaves?


 +   Like this comment
Posted by MofTO
a resident of Community Center
on Jul 25, 2014 at 10:32 am

That's only $14,286 per sign!


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Waste--Waste--Waste--Thy-Name-Is-Palo-Alto
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 25, 2014 at 10:50 am

> "(When) you come in, you want to be welcomed and feel like
> you're kind of at home,

City Hall is a place of business. Home is NOT!

It's hard to believe that we needed to spend $300,000 on signs. But this is Palo Alto, a place with too much money and no common sense.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Bob
a resident of Community Center
on Jul 25, 2014 at 11:10 am

FIX THE BAYLAND's BOARDWALK, BOARDWALK, BOARDWALK, BOARDWALK, BOARDWALK!! and the Interpretive Center,. CITY COUNCIL - ARE YOU LISTENING????? This City Hall project is 'the last straw'. And while you're at it, give the city manager a ticket out of town. farrrrr out.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 25, 2014 at 12:31 pm

It is things like this that make the title of snobbiest small city in the nation completely accurate!

I agree, spend the money on the Baylands, Boardwalk and Interpretive Center which are falling apart. Last time I looked, City Hall is easy to find from the outside and easy to navigate inside.

It has no reason to look like a home, it is a Government building.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Are you kidding me?
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 25, 2014 at 1:51 pm

Are you kidding?

If the City is so intent on making this a big city destination, can we please fire them and hire people who actually KNOW about running a destination city?

Starting with Keene, there needs to be change, real change at City Hall, not just the signs and superficial changes.

Stop wasting money like this.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Rainy Days
a resident of Community Center
on Jul 25, 2014 at 2:09 pm

As sur as death and taxes, a rainy day will come and Palo Alto, again, will not. W ready for it due to all the current money-wasting.

[Portion removed.]


 +   Like this comment
Posted by pat
a resident of Midtown
on Jul 25, 2014 at 2:47 pm

This fits right In with Palo Alto being named the snobbiest small city in America. Web Link

But since residents are so well-educated (80% are college grads), shouldn't they be smart enough to find this humongous ugly building without lighted signs out front?


 +   Like this comment
Posted by The Shadow knows.......
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jul 25, 2014 at 3:26 pm

"Branding" and image are an important priority for the current City Manager.

This is just another example of that direction.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Are you kidding?
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 25, 2014 at 6:05 pm

I just noticed - sorry original "Are you kidding me??? from Old Palo Alto

My initial reaction was the same, I'll change my handle to Are you kidding?

Anyway...

The Shadow knows.....

Branding is for selling. Very consistent with the City Manager's self-appointed role. Now that he wants to sell us as some a needing to be branded kind of town, we should replace him accordingly.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by resident
a resident of Downtown North
on Jul 25, 2014 at 7:31 pm

The Architectural Review Board wouldn't approve the signs unless they were top dollar.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Howard Beale
a resident of Downtown North
on Jul 26, 2014 at 9:46 am

Suggested Sign: Do not walk around after dark


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Residentialist
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 26, 2014 at 10:13 am

Suggestion for sign outside of City Council: Slow Children


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Residentialist
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 26, 2014 at 10:23 am

I bet if the City employees actually acted like they worked for the residents, they could probably have an app contest to accomplish the same thing - let's be real, anyone visiting is going to have a smart phone. If residents feel like they are part of a community, they'll do something like this for a simple prize like dinner out.

Hint to City Council: visitors would enjoy seeing the hills of Santa Clara Valley, sky, sunshine, and unparalleled natural environment more than having signs to stop-and-go traffic through high-density canyons of ugly block houses.

The $300,000 for this and the $400,000 for Liz Kniss's drapes at City Hall are better spent redoing the Baylands Center.

Residents: See what kind of priorities you get from current Councilmembers who really don't have any interest in prioritizing the needs of families and children. In November, Filseth, Kou, Du Bois - they still have families with kids in school/recently in schools here.

Then maybe the Slow Children signs could go up without them dripping with irony.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Residentialist
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 26, 2014 at 10:25 am

Oops, I of course meant:

"Hint to City Council: visitors would enjoy seeing the hills of Santa Clara Valley, sky, sunshine, and unparalleled natural environment more than having signs to stop-and-go traffic through high-density canyons of ugly block Apartments."

Referring, of course, to the Apartmentzillas going up on El Camino...


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Dennis
a resident of Downtown North
on Jul 26, 2014 at 3:08 pm

It is a dismaying sign of these times, that the "Snobbiest City" should also be the "Whiniest City" of the land. In fact, some of the whiners whine about signs, stating that signs are unneeded as almost all visitors to City Hall possess smart phones, thus, all that's needed is some sort of app. May I suggest a "Whiner" app as an apt sign of such a highly evolved citizenry.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Residentialist
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 26, 2014 at 5:49 pm

I see no one here whining but Dennis. How lovely for you to live in one of the few neighborhoods City Council isn't trying to turn into San Jose.

I would much rather see the money go to making an alternate place for us to hold meetings half the time on THIS side of town. You can forgive me for thinking $300,000 for signs by City Hall are extravagant when this side of town has such a hard time getting over there now. (Hint: developers already know their way to City Hall.)

We could take away the City Council's parking spots and make them walk or bike, to meetings on my side of town. Then you'd hear whining. Right now all I hear is someone hoping to squah discussion of our City Council wasting money and selling the City of to developers. I'll tell you what, you get together with your neighbors take the traffic, and high density buildings, and I'll quit posting. Deal?

Palo Alto a snobby city? How many people in other places would tell you when milk came ouy if their nose from laughing!

(Another hint, Calling people "snobs" isn't going to get them to stand down against developer exploitation and idiotic governance anpymore than repeatedly calling NIMBY did last year, especially since the former is just so god awful funny applied here.)


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Rational
a resident of Downtown North
on Jul 26, 2014 at 10:51 pm

I second the BOARDWALK comment. For $300,000 put a cop on Waverly x Lytton to chase the potheads off.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Need serious investigation
a resident of Greenmeadow
on Jul 26, 2014 at 11:06 pm

Actually there is a heavy, expensive pole in front of City Hall plaza with directional signs to distant places. Useless, not attractive.Does anyone even look at it? But it is heavy and appears to have cost quite a bit.
We need another Grand Jury investigation into the sign money -- among other things.
Can't help wondering about kickbacks and whether anyone is getting them.The expenditures are too irrational.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Dennis
a resident of Downtown North
on Jul 27, 2014 at 12:09 am

So glad to see Residentialist's eloquent response. It is amazing that a point can be missed on such a grand scale.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Resident
a resident of Midtown
on Jul 27, 2014 at 9:26 am

[Post removed.]


 +   Like this comment
Posted by pat
a resident of Midtown
on Jul 27, 2014 at 10:38 am

Dennis is right. We shouldn't be whining over a measly $300,000. That's just a drop in the bucket compared to the total remodel cost of $4.5 million. Other costs can be found at Web Link

Original budget for the "remodel" in 2012 was $1.289M.

5/4/13: "During the initial project meetings with WMB, it became apparent that the first floor renovation would need to be even broader in scope to achieve a more open government atmosphere to encourage public participation and convey transparency." Web Link

(Somehow I don't think this is what the Grand Jury had in mind in its complaint about lack of transparency.)

" the Utilities Department customer service and water and energy efficiency counters currently located on the second and third floors will be moved to the first floor next to the existing Revenue Collection office in order to better serve the community."

I wonder how many people go to City Hall to pay their bills in person. But all utilities customers will pay for the move through transfers from the gas, water, electric, wastewater and fiber optics funds.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by neighbor
a resident of another community
on Jul 27, 2014 at 10:42 am

Dennis
There are plenty of folks out there who agree with you about the constant WHINING on these pages, but just don't want to engage with the ALWAYS angry citizens of one of the wealthiest places in the U.S.

One week it's development, then it's minorities (wealthy minorities and not-so-wealthy minorities), then firefighters or police or all city workers. There is always a daily or weekly target (usually several) for the writers who feel so entitled and are so cheap. And it's the same writers all the time.

Their issues are big and small. Mainly the enemy is any change.

Personally, I think the City Hall is an unattractive mess. It's impossible to find anything/anyone. The building would certainly benefit from adequate signage -- and some hefty remodeling. Yes, $300k may sound expensive, but what does that sum actually buy in Palo Alto? NOTHING.

For those that cry about using tax money to improve the city's appearance or functionality, understand that it all makes PA even more attractive -- and eventually improves your own house value and your own pocketbook. In any other place in America, your Palo Alto homes would be worth 1/10 of the prices they get here. Relative location matters. Reinvestment in your house and in your town makes sense.

Over the 20 years that I've been in this area, I've seen huge changes. One of the saddest is the growing sense of further entitlement -- and anger -- among the lucky affluent in Palo Alto. Sometimes the comments are so selfish as to be amusing, but it's not funny.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Are you kidding?
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 27, 2014 at 12:19 pm

Just to clear, my shock is with the $4.5 million city lobby and superficial remodel, the $300,000 sign article caught my eye to the overall issue.

Neighbor, from Another Community

I have a completely different take on your and and Dennis' "whiner" and "entitlement" comments. In the same breath that you preached about sadness about entitlement you said the expense "makes PA even more attractive -- and eventually improves your own house value and your own pocketbook." and added that $300,000 is "NOTHING."

My reasons and motives for being alarmed at the way the City is being managed are varied. While house value is something I have a right to be vigilant about, I look at value being gained and lost by a series of choices which deserve better than what I am seeing from Keene & Co. In my view, they are serious under performers and worst - have been breaking trust over and over again.

Competence at City Hall is not objectively measured, they all ride on the success which the residents brought in the first place, but they spend like they earned it.

That Palo Alto is so "special" line is getting very old. It's used within City Hall to undermine important changes that need to happen. To obfuscate that they are way in over their heads. Developers and inept government regularly have their way with less engaged communities, and are happy to walk all over people. If the community was poor, they would call it something else.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by neighbor
a resident of another community
on Jul 27, 2014 at 12:26 pm

One of the primary mantras in PA these days --- ELECT, then immediately vilify, all public officials.

We can only hope that there is a silent majority of rational, not always angry, PA citizens out there.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Are you kidding?
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 27, 2014 at 12:48 pm

neighbor,

Your hope for a silent majority which stays out of the way would probably happen if City Hall was doing it's job and they knew how to manage change as well. Government should not be silent though, it's part of regulating a public process.

Would it hurt to evaluate if we actually have the best City management to lead into the growth envisioned? My original point is that Keene is creating a brand of destination city (he's called it the heart for the world to plug into), and with that vision, he would no longer be the best person to run it - we'd need someone with more relevant experience.

I'd hope for someone who also has the style which doesn't think that $300,000 is "nothing.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by neighbor
a resident of another community
on Jul 27, 2014 at 1:21 pm

Do not twist my words or intent. NOT A SILENT MAJORITY OF SHEEP, as you say.

What I wrote was "We can only hope that there is a silent majority of rational, not always angry, PA citizens out there."


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Dennis
a resident of Downtown North
on Jul 27, 2014 at 3:01 pm

[Post removed.]


 +   Like this comment
Posted by pat
a resident of Midtown
on Jul 27, 2014 at 3:47 pm

Just wondering who these writers are "who feel so entitled and are so cheap."

Are we cheap because we think $4.5M is too much to refurbish one floor of City Hall? Because of the cost overruns and creeping elegance on most city projects? Because of the exorbitant salaries and benefits of the "execs"?

There's no way the city council members would approve these expenses if the money was coming out of their bank accounts. But taxpayers' money is "free" and so it's freely spent.

As for being entitled, I think we are all entitled to voice our opinions on how our money is spent.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by neighbor
a resident of another community
on Jul 27, 2014 at 7:43 pm

Pat
With many many homes in PA selling for $2,000,000 - 11,000,000 million, there are sufficient funds from property taxes to spend on City expenses and physical improvement. Note that this City Hall project is NOT THE ONLY Palo Alto project that the town will reap from its prosperity. I'm not calling for irrational spending, but the City is certainly in an enviable financial position.

Re: this project. Like all City project bids, info about this one is public information. You can check specific costs out. Be aware that improving public buildings is inherently more expensive that remodeling a home --- due to legal, structural, and health/safety/accessibility requirements.

Palo Alto is fortunate to have the funds to work on necessary improvements and new investments in many parts of town --- and it must address new and increasing growth pressures from the city's good economic position. City government can't ignore change.

Attacking city leaders or workers --- or disingenuously pleading city "poverty" --- won't get anywhere. It's not a credible strategy. Also, attacking property owners won't get anywhere. In our society, landowners have the right to follow the market and improve their property within the law.

Instead of complaining about every cent spent or salaries or projects, engage in the city's planning process with a goal of managing growth and resources available to address change. Participate.

That would be reminiscent of the older, more fair. and less angry Palo Alto I remember.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Neighbor 2
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Jul 27, 2014 at 8:12 pm

[Post removed.]


 +   Like this comment
Posted by common sense
a resident of Midtown
on Jul 27, 2014 at 8:29 pm

There are plenty of projects around town that could have used the $4.5 million that is being spent on the 1st floor of City Hall, and would benefit more residents - the Baylands interpretive center is one example; another is El Camino Park which was torn up to put in the emergency water storage tanks. The park is suppose to have a baseball field and a soccer field restored to the site. I drive past El Camino Park every week, and for many months now there has been no activity - another mini Mitchell Park project.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Anonymous
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 27, 2014 at 8:52 pm

Palo Alto spend $4.5 Million to beautify the civic center lobby and meanwhile Sunnyvale is going to spend $1.3-1.5 Million to install Solar Photovoltaic Panels on city facilities to save $140K per year in electricity cost. This illustrates the priorities of the two city governments.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by neighbor
a resident of another community
on Jul 27, 2014 at 9:10 pm

You speak of single projects in each town that you clearly don't approve of. They are single projects -- not the slate of projects being addressed.

Sorry "Neighbor 2" -- the sounds that you are imagining have no basis. I am not and have never been a Planner, or any type of employee, or even a consultant to any Bay Area city.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Are you kidding?
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 27, 2014 at 9:30 pm

neighbor, resident of Another Community

"That would be reminiscent of the older, more fair. and less angry Palo Alto I remember."

I've heard that it got pretty ugly back in the day...see Web Link

Which peace years are you referring to? Somewhat confusing is your invitation for residents to participate after characterizing objections to the $4.5 million lobby remodel, angry, entitled, unfair. Can you elaborate on what would be a fair way to object?


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Neighbor 2
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Jul 27, 2014 at 9:53 pm

@Neighbor

The sounds that I am not imagining are the sounds of your lobbying efforts on behalf of the city.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by neighbor
a resident of another community
on Jul 27, 2014 at 11:38 pm

Sorry Neighbor 2: I'm not a lobbyist for the City, nor anyone else. And -- just to head off other possible charges in advance -- I don't work for Stanford either.

I'm just a Peninsula citizen who is appalled to see so much acrimony in the letters from Palo Alto residents on these pages -- comments against all of your elected officials (that's a given) + city workers, fire fighters, police, teachers -- and also an intolerance of anyone who doesn't agree with the constant complaining. A waste of energy and time.

How depressing that such an otherwise smart community -- with so many citizens excelling in "problem solving professions" can't focus some energy on finding realistic alternatives for dealing with growth, instead of making these "we can't afford it" attacks on every project that comes down the pike.

You can afford it -- just get a bigger view of the forces at work and what's do-able/what's not.

For example: A few years ago, there was a proposal from writers on these very pages to build a monorail around downtown Palo Alto to reduce traffic but still allow non-resident use of shops and restaurants. Nope, a monorail is probably not do-able (or rational), but a lot of other potential plans are perfectly reasonable for such an affluent community to undertake.





 +   Like this comment
Posted by Are you kidding?
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 28, 2014 at 12:27 am

neighbor,

"a lot of other potential plans are perfectly reasonable for such an affluent community to undertake"

I think you confuse the market value of the tech companies associated with Palo Alto with the residents. I wish I was as affluent as Google or the founders. Selling a house for $2 million for most of us means leaving town, or dying. Our children know they can't come back to live where they grew up.

As for building the city with your vision, or all the visions everyone else seems to have for us, it would take even more money than what Palo Alto has. You can't assume that Mark Zuckerberg would build a monorail either. The City is made up with a mix of wealthy and regular residents, and while I would like to just reach into my rich neighbor's pocket, I can't. We all contribute our share of taxes, and the stewardship of the City's finances should not be taken lightly.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Silly
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Jul 28, 2014 at 10:53 am

Are the same bright lights who are in charge of the blinking traffic signs in charge of the proposed City Hall signs?

Love the blinking SLOW DOWN sign on ALma where the speed limit is 35 mph and they've carried over the 25 mph signs from elsewhere. DUH. No need to slow down if you're doing 28! Or maybe they don't have to pass math.

They sure know how to waste money.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Residentialist
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 28, 2014 at 12:35 pm

We are in the middle of a serious struggle over the future of our City. If you think the way we criticize the overdevelopment and exploitation of our town by developers, and the poor management and priorities of our Council are so injurious to your sensibilities, why spend your time trawling these lists and attacking Palo Altans? I'm sure your own town must have an online outlet where you can attack people trying to discuss your town's issues.

Our City Council has complained for years that we haven't got the money for a desperately needed safety building. They just tried to allow a developer to build 200,000 sq ft of office space on a location already fully built out under zoning, with the excuse that we couldn't afford the safety building the developer was going to give us in exchange. The City just tried to sell off the zoning at Maybell (in the for-profit part) for the $1.5 million developer in-lieu fee (i.e., the for-profit developer didnt want to make ANY if his part affordable, hence paying the in lieu fee), and they were even involved in that whole upzoning in the first place, because they said they desperately wanted the housing for the City but didn't have the money to pay the actual cost, so it needed to be paid for it by selling off the neighborhood zoning.

Then, they didn't have the $6.5 million to temporarily buy the orchard as open space/parkland to save the 100 established trees, even in the middle of this drought.

As for your reading anger into people's criticisms and discussion, you do very much come across as a City employee. You very much make one wonder why the attacks on residents, and why you protest so much when we stand up for ourselves?

Having read these boards awhile now, I find it interesting that the development threads and others involving moneyed special interests seem to draw people who like to characterize the local posters negatively in order to dismiss them or squash discussion. All the many small town business threads seem to hold no interest for them....


 +   Like this comment
Posted by pat
a resident of Midtown
on Jul 28, 2014 at 4:08 pm

pat is a registered user.

> "Like all City project bids, info about this one is public information. You can check specific costs out."

Been there, done that. You can check it out, too, at Web Link

You will notice that only ONE qualified contractor submitted a bid, which was 19% higher than the construction cost estimate. Council approved it on the consent calendar, i.e., no discussion.

> "Palo Alto is fortunate to have the funds to work on necessary improvements "

I think the key word there is "necessary." I don't consider any of wayfinding stuff or the counter relocation necessary. I think the key word there is "necessary."

I don't consider any of wayfinding stuff or the counter relocation necessary. Nor the "Lobby upgrade AV02: Allow each LCD screen to show separate sources (in addition to ability to send one source scaled across the entire LCD scfeen array). Routing to individual displays will be achieved via intuitive controls on associated touch panel display. $13,400"

> "Attacking city leaders or workers --- or disingenuously pleading city 'poverty' ---"

Criticizing is not attacking. Last time I looked, we still had free speech which entitles us to criticize city council and staff, whose salaries we pay.

Who said anything about poverty?

> " engage in the city's planning process "

Oh sure. That works. Did you not notice the Grand Jury charges against the city, one of which was lack of transparency and another was lack of response to Public Records Access requests?


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Annette
a resident of College Terrace
on Jul 28, 2014 at 10:50 pm

Annette is a registered user.

Was this meant to be an April 1 story?


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Online Name
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Jul 29, 2014 at 12:02 pm

Online Name is a registered user.

I *have* tried to engage our planning and transportation officials on issues, most recently on the absurd traffic gridlock around Town & Country. I had high hopes from Ms. Gittelman, the new planning director, until she told me we had about 3 more years to go re changing the traffic light timing, for a total of 8 years. I wrote about other traffic light timing and got a ridiculously long letter from Jaime Rodriguez, our top transportation official, and got a "lengthy and irrelevant response" from him for which Ms. Gittelman apologized.

I'd dearly love to see some progress. Diana Diamond, I'm sure, is still waiting for them to respond to her excellent article on a quick and no-cost fix to the gridlock problem but they won't respond to her. No transparency, no accountability.

What puts them above the community that pays them?

Re "Wayfinding," they could hire 4 or 5 highly paid receptionists to direct people and give visitors some friendly faces instead of an automated system that may or may not work.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Anonymous22
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 29, 2014 at 1:04 pm

Anonymous22 is a registered user.

Or, if they weren't so adversarial with residents, they could probably have on receptionist and a lot of volunteer downtown docents for the cost of a few dinner coupons.

Does anyone else get the irony of City Council literally building a $4million glass, um, house at City Hall and $300,000 to point the way there?


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Silly
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Jul 30, 2014 at 11:01 am

We ate downtown last night and I was admiring the Aurora light sculpture in front of City Hall so I decided to to look up the artist.

Guess what? The city's Public Arts site doesn't work and has mostly broken links!

Sure, let's waste more on ridiculously expensive interactive systems that the city can never manage to get right at any cost.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Wayne Martin
a resident of Fairmeadow
on Jul 30, 2014 at 11:36 am

There is currently a located in the lobby, which provides the names and floor levels for most (if not all) of the offices in City Hall. There are signs on each of the floors that direct visitors to the appropriate location on each floor. So---why the need for more signs, and at such a high cost?

The City recently was involved in an exercise to encourage people to develop Cell Phone Apps. The price was a mere $3,500--which turns out to be about 35 hours of labor at $100/hour. The Apps that were submitted were pretty lame (in my opinion), and we've heard nothing more of these Apps after the contest winner was announced.

Having an App that provides location information for a visitor is something that did not seem to be a vision that App developers engaging in this contest seemed to embrace. So--the City that claims to be a "digital leader" now will spend $300K to buy 10,000 year-old technology, rather than spend considerably less to have an App developed that would allow people to use their smart phones to find offices in City Hall.

Beyond that, the City seems to have no interest in increasing the On-line assessibility of Staff via the use of Instant Messenger (IM), VideoChat (Skype, Google Hangouts, etc.) and other on-line voice communication tools--all of which are free for all users.

And then there is the poor searchability of the City's web-site--which often requires going downtown (if City Hall is open) to obtain/submit some document that should be available/submittable online.

As one poster above has noted, these signs will be costing about 16,000 each--which does seem like a lot of money for a providing information that could have been painted on the wall for nothing.



Don't miss out on the discussion!
Sign up to be notified of new comments on this topic.

Email:


Post a comment

Posting an item on Town Square is simple and requires no registration. Just complete this form and hit "submit" and your topic will appear online. Please be respectful and truthful in your postings so Town Square will continue to be a thoughtful gathering place for sharing community information and opinion. All postings are subject to our TERMS OF USE, and may be deleted if deemed inappropriate by our staff.

We prefer that you use your real name, but you may use any "member" name you wish.

Name: *

Select your neighborhood or school community: * Not sure?

Comment: *

Verification code: *
Enter the verification code exactly as shown, using capital and lowercase letters, in the multi-colored box.

*Required Fields

I Told My Mom She's Dying
By Chandrama Anderson | 11 comments | 2,413 views

Easy Living
By Sally Torbey | 11 comments | 2,408 views

Grab a Bowl of Heaven soon in Mountain View
By Elena Kadvany | 0 comments | 1,668 views

Quick Check List for UC Applications
By John Raftrey and Lori McCormick | 0 comments | 1,090 views

Campaign Endorsements: Behind the Curtain
By Douglas Moran | 3 comments | 707 views