Wave of 'beautification' projects heads downtown | November 2, 2012 | Palo Alto Weekly | Palo Alto Online |

Palo Alto Weekly

News - November 2, 2012

Wave of 'beautification' projects heads downtown

Palo Alto looks to repaint Caltrain underpass, upgrade irrigation system along University Avenue

by Gennady Sheyner

Palo Alto's busiest downtown thoroughfare will undergo a series of touchups in the coming months, though in some cases the price for beautification will include traffic disruptions and parking restrictions.

This story contains 589 words.

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Staff Writer Gennady Sheyner can be emailed at gsheyner@paweekly.com.


Posted by resident, a resident of Midtown
on Oct 30, 2012 at 11:54 pm

Why does the city spend so much tax money downtown and so little on grungy California Ave and Midtown?

Posted by What-You-See-Is-What-You-Get, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Oct 31, 2012 at 7:02 am

> Why does the city spend so much tax money downtown and so
> little on grungy California Ave and Midtown

The Cal Ave project--destined to make a mess of Cal Ave will bring in over $1M of public money to Cal Ave. As to Midtown, there isn't a lot the City can do other than to take it over. There was a plan to form a Redevelopment Agency some years ago--that would seize all of the propert through eminent domain, and then resell it to a developer who would rebuild Midtown according to the City's (the Council acting as the Redevelopment experts) image. This idea didn't fly--since it was difficult for people to buy that Midtown (as wellas most of Palo Alto) was "blighted"--which the City would have had to claim in order to seize the current owner's properties.

Now--RDAs are no longer functioning here in California, so that mechanism is out-of-reach of the City. It still can use eminent domain to seize the properties and give them to a favored developr under the misguided Supreme Court "Kello vs New Haven" ruling, although that's not likely either.

That does not mean that a private developer could not step in, buy up some/all of the properties, and redevelop that area. But given the hostility to private businesses that people in the Midtown area have demonstraed in the past--that's not very likely either.

There aren't very many options available to the City, at the moment--other than reducing the number of lanes on Middlefield from four to two--which was proposed back in the mid-90s.

Posted by Jo Ann, a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Oct 31, 2012 at 11:15 am

That plan to make Middlefield two lanes for a 24-hour bicycle route got an incredibly bad reaction from all the residents because, among other problems, it would have eliminated the turn lanes. Given how badly it backs up now , I can't imagine how much worse it would have been.

Our next door neighbor at the time (the late Jean Fowkes) was concerned that her elderly friends would no longer have been able to park in front of her house and would instead have had to hobble up to a traffic light and back. The image of cleaning people and gardeners doing the same with their equipment was not a pretty sight.

Jean did a great job of getting everyone involved to protest the idea.

The city spent a fortune on that traffic study and never could admit how dumb the idea was because there are safer less busy streets for biking and instead "tabled" it rather than kill it entirely.

The stupidity and intransigence of the whole process left a lot of is permanently skeptical of the city / transportation planning process.
The Cal Ave debacle hasn't improved my view of it.

Posted by Ducatigirl, a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Oct 31, 2012 at 3:50 pm

Downtown is where all the tourists go, and it is where people who live here take visitors from out of town. Non-citizens of PA drop money here, professional people have business lunches and dinners here.It simply draws more cash.

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