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Major issues facing Palo Alto in the near future

Original post made by A concerned resident on Jan 8, 2007

Here is a list of what are major issues facing Palo Alto:
1. Gathering support from South Palo Alto Residents for a new Mitchell Park library and community center.
2. Dealing with the flooding issue in flood zone areas of Palo Alto. The city must take action to prevent the people who do not live in the flood zone areas from being sued if or when flooding occurrs. Building codes and zoning changes and other actions that cost little money for the taxpayers need to be made. The Chaucher ?sp street bridge may need to be removed. The Palo Alto street may need to be made one-way and the lane near the creek made into a dike/earthen/sandbagged maybe 4'high.
3. A fast-trck undergrounding of all power lines in all of Palo Alto. This was started over 40 yeas ago and only certain "select" areas of the city has had underground lines installed mostly with the cost borne by those who do not have undergrounding in their areas.

I will add others as they come to mind.

Comments (21)

Posted by Another concerned resident, a resident of Charleston Gardens
on Jan 8, 2007 at 3:24 pm

What about our decreasing revenue stream? How about attracting some businesses to town that people can actually shop in?
I am a south PA resident and I will vote against any Mitchell PArk Library--we need a single central library.


Posted by Library staff, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jan 8, 2007 at 3:54 pm

Just an FYI from library staff...

If we were to have a single central library, Mitchell Park would actually be the ideal location. The most amount of materials circulation occurs here and has the highest attendance on a daily basis. Frankly, just having one library would meet tremedous opposition and reduce attendance by pushing south Palo Altans to Mountain View or Los Altos. Would you also really want to close the recently renovated Children's Library? (a guaranteed uphill battle)

Currently, neither the city nor the LAC is supportive of just one library. They are looking at a centralized library system however. Which includes the possibility of having just Main, Mitchell Park, and Children's.


Posted by John S., a resident of Evergreen Park
on Jan 8, 2007 at 10:18 pm

I just wanted to thank the library staff for engaging the community on Town Square. I know City Councilmembers and School board members carefully follow these posts, but they don't seem to want to open themselves up to a real dialogue on this forum, which is disappointing. I think I've read a couple of posts from Mayor Kleinberg and Bern Beecham, but the others seem to be reluctant. It is great for the city staff to jump in and provide useful information and perspective on a city issue. I wish this happened on more of these topics.


Posted by Howard, a resident of Crescent Park
on Jan 8, 2007 at 10:21 pm

In this day and age, underground power lines are an absurdly extravagent luxury. I do not think the library issue is very important either, given the Internet. Flooding, however, remains a big issue.


Posted by it's too late, a resident of Downtown North
on Jan 8, 2007 at 10:29 pm

The reason Mandarin is being considered is simple; it's the only language that has been pushed by a group of interested parents. If someone wants Arabic then fine but they need to go through the same process that the proponents of MI when through.
There is no debate about "which language", the debate is whether or not to introduce MI.


Posted by it's too late, a resident of Downtown North
on Jan 8, 2007 at 10:30 pm

whoops, wrong thread. Sorry.


Posted by curious, a resident of Downtown North
on Jan 9, 2007 at 12:52 am

Here are some additional issues beyond library & flood control:

1) Need for expanded or new Police facility
2) Backlog of road & infrastructure repairs
3) Increasing utility bills affecting fixed income residents
4) Unfunded health plans for future retiring city employees
5) Sales tax base
6) Increased costs bought on by new housing in South Palo Alto
7) Development of Alma & Edgewood shopping areas
8) Downtown homeless affecting businesses
9) Traffic, traffic, traffic
10) Future of Palo Alto Airport


Posted by Another concerned resident, a resident of Charleston Gardens
on Jan 9, 2007 at 5:35 am

Just curious, curious (no pun intended), but what so you suggest be done about traffic--there will be more housing built in PA, tyhe city wants more stores for tax revenue and Stanford hosipital/Medical Center will have to be rebuilt.
Times change and traffic numbers change. This is a trade off--we have enjoyed t he fruits of Silicon Valley's growth over the years and with that comes increased traffic. Many people in PA habd this vision of PAS as it was 30-40 years ago and think it should never change. Forget it--tha time is passed.


Posted by curious, a resident of Downtown North
on Jan 9, 2007 at 10:42 am

I don't have an answer to the traffic issue; I do know that with the development of the Hyatt Hotel site of 180 units, and the development of the East Meadow Circle site of 75 units, commute hours will be worse than ever (expect 1.5 - 2 cars per unit). The buyers for these units are most likely to be commuters to other cities in the South Bay or Mid-Peninsula. We have a road system designed for the 1950s, being used by 21st century lifestyles - something that is not easily changed.


Posted by A concerned resident, a resident of Charleston Gardens
on Jan 9, 2007 at 1:19 pm

Traffic is a big concern. SanAntonia ,sp?, needs to be made into a expressway, 6 lanes where possible, the frontage rd up by Alma can be made into one-way street and San Antonia widened there. Also Oregon Expressway/Page Mill should be a freeway, lowered some w/low overpasses. Trucks are not even allowed on it now !!. Trucks use residental streets in S Palo Alto all the time as the police refuse to enforce laws in S Palo Alto.

Undergrounding all power lines is a issue that needs to be addressed. People/neighborhoods that don't have it are being made fools of by the city.

The police station should be distributed through-out the city for several reasons: A disastor ,sp,?.,of any type could completely isolate the police from getting around town. Flooding of the Oregon underpass closed it in the past as one example. Park blvd is closed to thru traffic. Would we want the fire dept to be located at only one site in the city? Much of the police functions could stay where they are and much could be relocated to several sites through-out the city.

Another thing the city needs is housing for the many thousands of workers in the Stanford Industrial Park and it should be built between ElCamino and Hwy 280 as there are hundreds of acres in that area and this would reduce traffic. Also Stanford needs housing for it' population that commute and it should also be built East of Hwy 280 where there are hundreds of acres of land that could be used and is close to the jobs.


Posted by Morris, a resident of Charleston Meadows
on Jan 10, 2007 at 8:03 am

Widen San Antonio? forget it. San Antonio needs traffic calming--it should not go all the way thorugh from 101 to El Camino. The number of lanes need to be deceased. College Terrace and other neighborhoods have traffic claming measures (in fact College Terrace just got somemore traffic calming!!!!) While we in South Palo Alto get none of that.
Also we need to oppose the planned expansion of Magnuson Toyota to the other side of Middlefield Road. this will create additional traffic


Posted by ToldUSo, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jan 10, 2007 at 9:53 am

Toyota needs to expand into Palo Alto to get the sales dollars. San Antonio needs to be improved to deal with it. San Antonio is not a classic residential street and should be treated as a major arterial, not calmed down. If anything is done to calm down San Antonio it is the neighboring residential streets that will suffer.


Posted by Morris, a resident of Charleston Meadows
on Jan 10, 2007 at 11:59 am

[Portion removed by Palo Alto Online staff] I think traffic should be shared equally among the streets--let's get rid of all these closed streets etc, that have given people that they live in a gated community with no outside traffic.


Posted by PA Resident, a resident of South of Midtown
on Jan 10, 2007 at 12:57 pm

What about the environment?


My question is how will all the shopping mall expansions and increased traffic affect the environment? What more can Palo Alto do to reduce Co2 emissions?

I like the Portola Valley's effort to start a community based volunteer group to look at climate change and what residents can do to help. www.coolpv.org

Do you fellow Palo Alto residents want to do the same?

I live in Palo Alto and sometimes wish a I could make flyers to pass out to all the residents to educate them about the environmental impact that burning wood in the fireplace does to the neighbors. I wish that we could find better ways than plastic to package our goods. I wish that I could find fellow Palo Altoans who would want to join a group to get cheaper solar energy.

Am I just dreaming?

If there's enough interest maybe I'll start something. Want to post a comment?


Posted by Carroll, a resident of Community Center
on Jan 11, 2007 at 3:30 pm

There is a great deal being done in Palo Alto. Check out www.acterra.org and Web Link.


Posted by PA Resident, a resident of South of Midtown
on Jan 11, 2007 at 10:48 pm

Do you think that we did last year is enough?


Posted by Not a City Employee, a resident of Crescent Park
on Jan 12, 2007 at 10:07 am

DUH!!

Palo Alto should do what Palo Alto Residents want. Not what the City staff wants.

This should be the first RESOLUTION that the council should adopt.

I believe that is a BIG plus of the new mayor.

Ms. Kishimoto... I wish you god speed - keep the staff focused and get results from the staff within shorter time frames.


Posted by another concerned resident, a resident of Charleston Gardens
on Jan 12, 2007 at 8:22 pm

Not a city employee--what you wish for with Kishimoto, will not happen. She will not amke a decision until she makes sure that she has appeaseda ll the NIMBYists and so-called "Neighborhood Leaders" to whom she is beholden to. She is love with the Palo Alto process and I forsee big problems for Stanford this year regarding their big hospital/med center rebuild (despite the fact that they have a 2011/2012 deadline for the seismic upgrade, Kishimoto will try to slow track it through the PA process so that a decsiion is not made until 2022).
Remember Kishimoto's main goal is to turn Embracadero Road (one of PA main arteries) into a on-way in each direction street. Good thing she does not live near the Caltrain tracks--she woul dbe pushing for CAltrain to suspend service!!!


Posted by Civitas, a resident of another community
on Jan 13, 2007 at 5:10 pm

No matter what priorities are chosen, in deriving them surely Palo Alto should set the national standard for courteous, respectful, dignified, and civil civic discourse.


Posted by pat, a resident of Midtown
on Jan 14, 2007 at 12:28 am

I would rather we set a national standard for effective government and wise spending than for "courteous, respectful, dignified, and civil civic discourse." Yes, all those things are good. But our city government seems more concerned about decorum and "playing nice" than getting things done. And when people speak with conviction and passion, some council members mistakenly feel they're being attacked.

Remember when La Doris Cordell wrote about being demonized?
Web Link

Hillary Freeman was the only council member who poked and prodded and asked the questions I would ask, instead of going along with the program. She was criticized and (in my opinion) humiliated by some of her fellow council members – who did not behave in a very civil, respectful manner toward her.

I worry about the Palo Alto establishment's over-sensitivity to criticism and debate. In today's political climate, people should be encouraged to speak out more, not less.

In "Gag Rule: On the Suppression of Dissent and Stifling of Democracy," Lewis Lapham argues that the muting of dissenting voices has contributed to the erosion of democracy, because policy disagreements form the heart of a democratic republic.


Posted by another concerned resident, a resident of Charleston Gardens
on Jan 14, 2007 at 2:36 pm

I agree with you, Pat. There is too much of this PC and so-called civility in PA--maybe the so-called we need decorum argument is used by the city council to stifle dissent and as an excuse for the council to not make hard decisions.
Remember when our past mayor forced a speaker to stop talking because he felt his criticism of our city manager was a personal attack?


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