Palo Alto Weekly

News - May 16, 2014

Around Town

WELCOME TO THE PROCESS ... After weeks of barely meeting its quorum requirement, Palo Alto's influential Planning and Transportation Commission is at last fully staffed. The City Council on Monday night voted to appoint Eric Rosenblum and Przemek Gardias to fill the two commission seats that were left vacant because of recent resignations of Alex Panelli and Eduardo Martinez. The council unanimously appointed Rosenblum to the seven-member commission for a term that ends in October 2017. In the second round of voting, Gardias edged Brian Hamachek by a 5-4 vote for a term that will end in October 2016. Rosenblum, a downtown resident who worked as Google's director of strategy between 2008 and 2012, has become engaged in downtown's recent debates over parking and traffic improvements as part of the nascent group Green Planning Action. He wrote in his application that he is particularly interested in the city's transportation-demand management program, an effort to get commuters who drive alone to switch to other transportation modes. Gardias, an urban planner and architect, listed as his two main areas of particular interest the development plan for California Avenue (particularly as it relates to retention of local businesses) and the master plan for Rinconada Park. In another tight vote, the council appointed Jim Migdal to a seat on the Public Art Commission. Migdal, who beat out Christine Miller Kelly by a 5-4 vote, grew up in Chicago, Illinois, and worked as director of business development at Facebook between 2007 and 2011.

GO GREEN WHILE YOU CAN ... "Palo Alto Utilities' remaining residential solar PV system rebate funds aren't expected to last much longer — perhaps only a few months — and when they are gone, that's all folks!" With that message, Palo Alto Utilities Communications Manager Debra Katz and the city are hoping residents will get their photovoltaic kicks in while they can still be paid to do so. If you're not sure if installing a solar system makes sense for your home or what the process is like, residents can head to the city's free "Solar Power 101" workshop this Saturday, May 17, 9:30 a.m. to noon, at the CharStyle:inlinebold>Lucie Stern Community Room. The workshop will review how solar electric PV systems work, the environmental benefits of solar, the financial alternatives and how to pursue a project for one's own home. Participants will also get the ins and outs of the city's PV Partners rebate program and how to take advantage of federal solar tax credits. To maximize workshop benefits, participants are encouraged to check their own electric energy use (average monthly kilowatt-hours and cost) prior to the workshop. Doug McKenzie of SunWork Renewable Energy Projects will lead the class. Register online at the city website or call 650-329-2241 to reserve a spot.

BOUND FOR CARNEGIE HALL ...Palo Alto High School sophomore Caroline Bailey and Gunn High School junior Patricia Lin are among those heading for Carnegie Hall next month as winners in the National Scholastic Art & Writing Awards. Caroline earned a medal in the science fiction/fantasy category for a piece titled "Tarnished Silver, Tarnished Souls." Patricia earned a medal for her painting, "The Tainted Trinity."

SPANDEX NOT REQUIRED ... The City of Palo Alto is soon embarking on a host of bike-improvement projects around the city, and it wants your input — appropriately enough, while on two wheels. The last of four informational bike-alongs the city is hosting will take place tomorrow, Saturday, at 10 a.m. Starting in the parking lot of Piazza's Fine Foods at Middlefield and Charleston roads, cycling citizens will head out for a grand tour of various south Palo Alto projects, including a Bryant Street Bicycle Boulevard extension, Alma Street enhanced bikeway and the Montrose Avenue, Cubberley Center Trail and San Antonio Road Bicycle routes. Design consultants Alta Planning + Design, Fehr & Peers Transportation Consultants and Sandis Engineering will be bikers' tour guides, answering questions regarding project development. Got questions about the bike tours? Call the city at 650-329-2442 or email transportation@cityofpaloalto.org.

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