"It's worked out quite well," Councilwoman Dena Mossar said. "I'm not getting any negative feedback at all."
Mossar was a member of the council that launched a study of the 2.3-mile Charleston-Arastradero corridor in 2003 and adopted a plan in 2004 aimed at taming vehicle speeds and making it easier for children attending the 11 schools along the route to walk and bike.
On Tuesday afternoon, several pedestrians, a bicyclist, one resident and a man in a wheelchair said the reconfiguration has worked well, for the most part.
Donna Baker, a Palo Alto resident who occasionally walks along Charleston, said the road's new look works well for her.
And biker Synnove Bratlie, who often rides to the shops along Middlefield Road, said she loves the road for its distinct biking lanes.
A couple who has lived across from Hoover Elementary School since 1954, who asked not to have their names used, said they're split about the changes.
The man noted that it's harder to back out of their driveway onto the route he calls "101 West."
But his wife said she's delighted with the changes, which have made the area "more peaceful," and said she can't wait for the proposed landscaping median.
The Charleston Road portion of the corridor plan was completed in 2006 and planners are now looking west from El Camino Real toward Arastradero Road, an even busier stretch.
The city had originally planned to tackle Arastradero this summer but decided to wait and coordinate the repaving and restriping project with utilities repairs slated for 2008, according to Transportation Manager Gayle Likens.
Planners are still conducting technical studies on the Charleston component of the project and haven't concluded if the three-lane approach will work on Arastradero Road, Likens said. The alternative is a four-lane road with a narrow median, Likens said.
Neither option will add much to the cost of the existing repaving project, Likens said. The first phase of the project cost $1.1 million.
As a major east-west route through south Palo Alto, many factors complicate improvement proposals.
For example, Gunn High School's one-lane driveway causes backups that affect traffic on Arastradero, neighborhood leader Penny Ellson said.
And in the morning, workers and students flood the corridor, making it challenging to balance the needs of school children, pedestrians, bikers and drivers, Ellson said.
One of the goals of the corridor project is to ensure that drivers can still make it from point to point in about the same amount of time.
But traffic from the new Campus for Jewish Life and Arbor Real housing development will make the task even trickier, Ellson said.
By making routes safe for school children to bike or walk, fewer parents will feel the need to drive to school, reducing traffic, she said.
And when landscaping and trees are added -- if the trial is deemed a success -- that will slow traffic and make the route safer and more pleasant for everyone, Ellson said.
Both Mossar and Ellson said they are hoping for a three-lane solution, but only one that works for all roadway users.
The City Council is expected to discuss the corridor in early February 2008, Likens said. Construction is slated for completion before the end of the year, she said.
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