I am supportive of the Planning and Transportation Commission's decision to initiate the zoning change for the five-story, mixed-use building proposed opposite the University Avenue Caltrain Station.
The March 18 article was interesting, balancing opinions of the two "persistent critics" of planned-community zone projects with that of newcomer (to commission meetings) Jerry Schwarz who, unlike the naysayers, actually lives near the property. Schwarz indicated that he had no problem with the height and liked the addition of retail and residential.
I would caution on the issue of parking, though. The proposed 123 parking appears excessive considering the Caltrain station is literally "across the street." I'd like the developer to be given the opportunity to reduce the number of spaces by providing Caltrain "eco-passes" to both the residential and commercial tenants.
I realize a parking reduction could be perceived as placing strain on the neighborhood but that should provide an incentive for the city to initiate a residential parking-permit district as I believe is being done in College Terrace. I would like to see the developer help pay for the permit district as a "community benefit" that the zoning requires.
I can't stress enough that there will never be a "supply" solution to parking. Just as Caltrans learned with urban freeways, cities need to apply the same principle to parking. The solution to the parking problem is better management that includes pricing, not providing more free spaces that only serve as an enticement to drive.
Kudos police and fire
On Saturday evening, March 26, just after 6 p.m. I was involved in an auto accident on the corner of University and Bryant, when the accelerator of my car stuck as I was parking.
I called 911 and both the police and fire departments were dispatched and arrived promptly. They and the city should be commended for their professionalism as well as care and concern about me. Although no one was injured this was a traumatic incident for me and they were sensitive to the situation.
I'd like to express my sincere appreciation to the officers and firemen who assisted me, took a statement from each of two witnesses and called for towing service. I don't think these civil servants get enough credit for the good things they do in our communities.
GO Pass program
We appreciate the opinion piece by Yoriko Kishimoto expressing support for the importance of Caltrain and its employer GO Pass program. It is important to point out however, that the article omitted a key fact — Stanford Hospital & Clinics and Lucile Packard Children's Hospital have already proposed to the City of Palo that GO Passes would be provided to all their employees working at least 20 hours per week beginning in 2015, as part of the approval process for the Stanford Medical Center Renewal Project.
It is expected this will begin to increase the use of Caltrain long before the hospitals' expansions are complete and the projected new employees are added. The hospitals proposed this in June 2009, in advance of the city's Draft Environmental Impact report being released. It is important for the community to be aware that this significant offer has already been made by the hospitals and we look forward to seeing it implemented following project approval.
Michael J Peterson
Vice President, Special Projects
Stanford Medical Center Renewal Project
When former editor Jay Thorwaldson (March 18) wrote about envisioning the Hayward Fault causing a tsunami in San Francisco Bay, he probably didn't realize that what he was envisioning needed a suspension of the laws of physics. The problem is that Bay Area faults are ones in which segments of the earth's crust slide past each other horizontally. For an earthquake to generate a tsunami, you need vertical motion, not horizontal motion, with most tsunamis being generated at subduction zones, where one tectonic plate moves under another.
To see what is going on, fill a tub or bucket with water and hold a flat plate oriented horizontally in the water. If you slide the plate back and forth hardly anything happens. If you pull the plate upwards suddenly, water will start sloshing back and forth noticeably.