Town Square

Post a New Topic

Palo Alto allocates $167K to study Newell Bridge Replacement

Original post made by Anonymous on May 30, 2013

Maybe this 112 year old structure should just disappear.

Web Link

Comments (32)

Posted by Hmmm, a resident of East Palo Alto
on May 30, 2013 at 12:18 pm

Maybe it shouldn't disappear. Maybe the NIMBYs should realize that the bridge has been there much longer than they have & provides a more vital role than they do.


Posted by Crescent Park Dad, a resident of Crescent Park
on May 30, 2013 at 12:44 pm

I think the bottom line is that no one wants more traffic than what comes through right now. Whatever design achieves that traffic flow limit while eliminating the flood risks will eventually meet approval by most residents.


Posted by lunatics, a resident of Adobe-Meadows
on May 30, 2013 at 12:47 pm

Yeah, get rid of it. And the bridges at University, Chaucer and Middlefield. Time to roll up the drawbridges.


Posted by Not an issue, a resident of Community Center
on May 30, 2013 at 3:46 pm

If palo alto gets rid of the bridge, then EPA should look into ways of preventing palo alto traffic from entering ( close off university to through traffic, 101 frontage road etc).


Posted by CrescentParkAnon., a resident of Crescent Park
on May 30, 2013 at 6:16 pm

Let's look at this logically for a change.

First issue is that everything could remain status quo if the bridge could remain ... but it cannot. The bridge needs to be removed because of flood danger to both communities.

So, then it comes down to whether there is a reason to spend a lot of money to build a new bridge. If there was not a bridge there and some people were not used to using it, would there be sufficient justification to build a bridge there now. I think the answer to that is no.

So, that is where I am comfortable leaving it.

Anyone who does not agree, please give me a reason that we need to spend money to put a bridge there please?


Posted by Its easy, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on May 30, 2013 at 6:45 pm

First demo it wit the intent to rebuild it.
Then design its replacement so it tries to please every interest group.
Then hire Flintco to build the design.

I figure we will be bridgeless for a minimum of 5 years.


Posted by Not an issue, a resident of Community Center
on May 30, 2013 at 6:45 pm

CPA-- well there is a bridge there now, so should we put a bridge there is irrelevant.
Is the bridge wholly owned by palo alto-- if not then a unilateral decision is not relevant either. This is a perfect example of a vocal group scaring the council into putting a project into the " palo alto process" cycle-- now we will waste money n studies and consultants and nothing will happen for a few more years.
And of course one has to wonder as to the real motives of those that want to,take out the bridge completely. Hmmm is correct in his statement above. Anyway, if the bridge is removed EPA should take steps to limit cars from PA from entering EPA


Posted by CrescentParkAnon., a resident of Crescent Park
on May 30, 2013 at 10:06 pm

Hey "Not an issue, a resident of the Community Center neighborhood"

This should not have nothing to do with who owns the bridge since the two ends are in both cities and counties it should require both desire and measured need from both ends.

What should matter is - hypothetically - if there was no bridge at the moment, would there be enough of a need to buy one now?

As far as motives, I use the bridge fairly frequently to avoid going up Embarcadero. I sometimes cut along West Bayshore to catch Newell to Crescent Park. I suppose if I was mindless I would be for spending all that money to allow me to have an alternate route that mostly takes me to the same places in the same amount of time, plus allows me to go to the 7-11 or the cheap Mexican restaurant adjacent to. Though I use it I don't see that it does a lot of good.

I used to live over at the Tan Apartments when I was in college for a year or two and still I do not remember having to use it often, though I did to go home.

But I am not mindless, and frankly from my experience and knowledge of the area I really do not see any compelling reason to rebuild the bridge, and have not heard one from anyone else, other than they just would like it.

This is a lot of money, maybe millions of dollars. Maybe with the trend towards building in the hills there will be more water coming down through Palo Alto in the future and th we will end up facing the same situation at some point in the future, that is, whatever new bridge might be build now would need to be modified or demolished because it will allow water to backup under it.

Or, we can build the bridge so that a few in East Palo Alto can park on the other side of the creek because their apartments were not built with enough parking in mind for the overcrowding over there now.

I'd really like to hear some reasons compelling enough to build the bridge as if it was not there now? If I heard one I would support it, but I don't hear anything but vague complaints and emotional arguments.


Posted by Crescent Park Anon, a resident of Crescent Park
on May 31, 2013 at 12:30 am

@ CrescentParkAnon. Are you the same person who is against banning overnight camping? But against overnight parking by others?


Posted by be real, a resident of Midtown
on May 31, 2013 at 2:41 pm

Let's talk the real issue. Not "flood damage" or other. The nearby PA streets have been turned into a parking lot. Residents do not deserve to have their streets turned into a parking lot. EPA buidling owners and property managers change parking rules, and people park over there now. It was not this way a few years ago.

Let's focus attention back on the real culprits of the problem. The Property managers or EPA city leaders responsible for the parking situation on nearby newell, woodland ave. PA residents should not have to deal with their mess. I live in a much smaller house than those beautiful homes on Edgewood, but (I can't believe I am saying this) I feel bad for those homeowners.

PA city leaders need to stand up for their residents, the ones who are most directly affected by this situation who live in the neighborhood. Those are the ones whose opinion matters, not those who drive by.


Posted by CrescentParkAnon., a resident of Crescent Park
on May 31, 2013 at 2:59 pm

Real ... The parking issue is completely unrelated to the bridge issue.

No one in their right mind would vote to tear down a functioning bridge that did not have a problem in order to keep people from parking in their side of it

And no one in their right mind would vote to build a bridge in a place so that residents could park on either side of it.

The bridge needs to come down because it will backup water behind it during rainy season and at some point cause a flood, that much is necessary.

The logical next question should be should is there a reason a bridge costing a lot of money should be built in that place?

I've gotten use to the bridge and use it, but I say no way. Anyone that uses that bridge has a quick already existing alternate path to whereever they are going, and in case that is not working for some reason even has an alternate. (University Ave. or Embarcadero Rd.)

This does not cut off East Palo Alto.


Posted by paly parent, a resident of Palo Alto High School
on May 31, 2013 at 4:04 pm

My personal vote would be for a bike/pedestrian bridge, constructed for use by emergency vehicles. University is not really safe for bikes, kids and parents use that bridge to get to Palo Alto, especially to St. Elizabeth's school on Channing.


Posted by be real, a resident of Midtown
on May 31, 2013 at 10:54 pm

Crescent park, so you spent lots of money a house there knowing your property could flood due to the bridge? I think not. THe bridge has been there, i'm sure you noticed it when you moved in. I don't buy the flood issue. It is about the parking. And fairly so, in my opinion. It is okay to say you dont want a bunch of crappy cars up and down your street, turning it into a one lane road. We probably would reach the same conclusion, using different arguments, so you have yours and I will have mine.


Posted by CrescentParkAnon., a resident of Crescent Park
on Jun 1, 2013 at 12:01 am

Stick to the facts and quit trying to be psychic, real, I don't live near the bridge and my house is not far from homes that have flooded in the recent past. Sherlock Holmes you are not.


Posted by paly parent, a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Jun 1, 2013 at 8:45 am

@real - the bridge redesign has been under debate for much longer than the parking problem has been an issue. 14 years ago or so, much of the Crescent Park and Duveneck area flooded during a storm. The main issue on redesigning the bridge is the danger of increased traffic, the parking problem is merely annoying.


Posted by Not an issue, a resident of Community Center
on Jun 1, 2013 at 8:58 am

Play parent--- good to see that the palo alto process is alive and well with the Newell bridge. 14 years? That sounds like par for the course.


Posted by Hmmm, a resident of East Palo Alto
on Jun 1, 2013 at 11:25 am

The Newell Bridge didn't contribute to flooding. It allowed people on both sides of the bridge to escape when Univ Ave & Embarcadero were impassable. It's smart to have a route of escape for both sides, given the likelihood of this scenario repeating.


Posted by CrescentParkAnon., a resident of Crescent Park
on Jun 1, 2013 at 12:52 pm

Hmmm from EPA said:

> The Newell Bridge - allowed people on both sides of the bridge to escape when Univ Ave & Embarcadero were impassable

"Hmmm", even if that was true, and I am not sure it ...

... hypothetically if it was the case that there are problems with University and Embarcadero when the creeks flood, clearly the answer is to fix those problems and not to sink a lot of money into a bridge as an expensive escape route once every 20 years for other problems that are not being fixed that should be anyway.

I just do not see a point to that bridge, there are just a few people on the EPA side, and the many on the Palo Alto side have no major destinations on the EPA side.

If I had to guess or think about worst case it could affect the very few businesses that are on the EPA side, the 7-11, Mexican Restaurant and the body shop, all of which can be reached in two alternate ways.


Posted by Not an issue, a resident of Community Center
on Jun 1, 2013 at 2:56 pm

CPA--so it is all about palo alto-- at least you admit that now. But I do not think that palo alto will have the final say. The bridge is needed and if it is taken down EPA will need to find ways to discourage PA drivers from going through EPA-- since there is no major destinations for PA residents in EPA.
Sounds like this is becoming about class/race based on the above comments.


Posted by Hmmm, a resident of East Palo Alto
on Jun 1, 2013 at 3:15 pm

Crescent Park Anon - are you calling me a liar? Were you over here during the flood? Where were you that evening, night & next day?

Did you go help Palo Altans stranded in their homes, as I did? Some that I helped were ill w/cancer & the others were friends whose cars & furniture were ruined & they had to leave, as they woke up w/water in their beds. They had to wade quite a ways to meet me because I couldn't drive into their neighborhood. Luckily, they were young & healthy. I picked them up after helping numerous people in my area, who took out fence boards that divided Woodland from W. Bayshore, to flee to safety. My neighbors & I helped them & then they left, on foot, to walk over 101 to the shelter set up. Then, it was time to help the cancer folks, one of whom was my neighbor's mom & this neighbor was stranded at work.

My neighbors & I were up all night & because I had a gas stove, I was able to cook & make coffee. Cops & other emergency personnel stopped in to use the bathroom, have coffee & a snack, then go about helping others. One cop, finally off-duty, said it took him hours to get to my place from the Sheriff's Office. We pulled out a map to find a surface street route to get him home since the freeway was impassable.

There are not just a few people on the EPA side - are you insane? There are THOUSANDS of people over here; it's the most densely populated neighborhood in EPA, w/fewer houses than multi-family dwellings.

The creek bridge HAS to be fixed, according to the JPA plan, as they're moving upstream. Are you suddenly a flood expert & civil engineer?


Posted by Crescent Park Dad, a resident of Crescent Park
on Jun 1, 2013 at 3:18 pm

For the record, the Joint Powers Agency is providing the guidance on the how's and when's. Not PA.

The decision was made that all of the flood causing obstructions would be removed or safely replaced starting at the end of the creek - then work up the creek. The 101 bridge and the Newell Bridge are first. Plus the construction of the flood plain down at the golf course. Then the Chaucer Bridge. Middlefield. And so on. So the infamous PA process is not the culprit here.


Posted by CrescentParkAnon., a resident of Crescent Park
on Jun 1, 2013 at 4:16 pm

Hmmm, just calm down, I'm not calling you anything except perhaps over-zealous since it doesn't sound you read my comment.

I was not helping people in Palo Alto since I was one of them - living over on Metro Circle at the time ... the road was a lake and I could not even get out. Talk about being stranded.

What I said, in case you want it spelled out, was the creek and the two routes out, i.e. Embarcadero and University need to be fixed anyway for everyone - and that if they are fixed there goes the need for the bridge - at least for the ER reason you mention.

An area in EPA that did flood was right by the bridge, because some friends of mine were renting a house opposite the creek within a block or two of the bridge.

Again I'll reiterate, the creek bridge does need to be fixed for FLOODING ... but "fix" in this case could also mean just getting rid of it since the problem is that the opening under the bridge is not large enough for sufficient water to flow through it.

The problem with building a new bridge is that again the engineers will have to estimate what size opening will be needed - for all time ... and then eventually if there is more rain coming down due to global warming or more development in the foothills and more runoff, we run into the same situation at some time in the future.

Get it, so in terms of "fixing" the bridge for flooding, it is a gamble - a gamble that there is not a need to take - so removing the bridge is an option that should be considered.

--

As fas as the comment from "Not an issue", I never said this was only a Palo Alto issue, and your comment is a cheap attempt to spin this into some kind of racial of class issue. It may well be for some people, but my arguments were not about race or class or city.

AGAIN, with respect to the PA side there are very few EPA destinations for drivers in PA to need a bridge to access that cannot be gotten to equally fast and conveniently by University or Embarcadero.

AND , with respect to the EPA side there are very few PA destinations for drivers in EPA to need a bridge to access that cannot be gotten to equally fast and conveniently by University or Embarcadero.

There is no overriding need for this bridge. Since it is convenient and a road already exists, I would consider supporting a pedestrian bridge, but that might just be a magnet for problems like mugging or crime.

My conclusion - my studied opinion is that the best thing to do would be to remove the bridge, until I get more information that would support rebuilding it after it is demolished.

You comments on class are insulting and uncalled for. "Not an issue".


Posted by Not an issue, a resident of Community Center
on Jun 1, 2013 at 4:25 pm

CPA- I stand by comments regarding your take on EPA. Hmm addressed some of your comments and I gave you my studied opinion on them. It is clear that you have a low opinion of EPA, what that means is for others to decide for themselves, I gave you my opinion-- i see your comments as making it a a race/class issue? If you are insulted, that is your right as well.
The bridge should be rebuilt as a automobile bridge since it serves the population of both cities.


Posted by CrescentParkAnon., a resident of Crescent Park
on Jun 1, 2013 at 4:40 pm

> [CrescentParkAnon.] ... It is clear that you have a low opinion of EPA

Huh ... not at all. As I've said before I lived in EPA, in the Tan Apts on Newell, and had friends who lived there. You have to admit there are negatives about aspects of EPA though. When I lived there, there was lots of crime. My car got broken into, I was threatened and a neighbor several doors down caught someone climbing up the balcony and breaking into their house.

The terror inflicted on people who live in EPA by criminals who seem to be able to shoot people whenever they want whether they have a reason or not is enough to really mess up the city, there are problems there - there's no denying. But I have nothing against EPA and if the situation was right I would consider moving back there is the price and security was right. I like the Home Depot and other businesses there as well as many of the people and at some point EPA is going to become a very nice place to live and work.

But, I guess your "considered opinion" reduces down to whether someone agrees with you or not. If so I guess they are given the stamp of non-racism, non-classism by you. Ho-hum.

Finally to your argument ...

> The bridge should be rebuilt as a automobile bridge since it serves the population of both cities.

So, by that logic, why not build 3 more bridges, spare no expense, because every bridge would "serve the population of both cities". I just do not think that is a good criterion. A helicopter landing strip on both sides would do the same, but that's not a reasonable justification for spending the money.


Posted by Not an issue, a resident of Community Center
on Jun 1, 2013 at 4:56 pm

CPA-- my comments about class/race regarding your comments are based on your words and not whether you agree or disagree with me. You clearly state that there are few people in that part of EPA ( even though there are thousands) and you state that there is nothing for PA residents to go there anyway ( but you then provide a list of businesses in that part of EPA).
Your comments about new bridges and helicopter landings are hysterical. That is not the issue and not on the table. What is, is the replacement of a bridge that's currently used by residents of both cities. We are not talking about new bridges and to,suggest that is an attempt to,muddy the issue with ridiculous suggestions.
Obviously certain residents of the neighborhood next to the bridge would like to eliminate it completely for whatever reasons. Some PA residents have looked down on EPA for decades. I remember the local ,opposition to the Ikea store because PA residents were worried about traffic ( how typical ). Yes, EPA has crime issues, but PA has issues also.
Replace the bridge with a new one for the benefit of residents of both cities


Posted by Hmmm, a resident of East Palo Alto
on Jun 1, 2013 at 5:25 pm

And speakIng of traffic issues...EPA has received more than its share of traffic generated by commuters to local businesses & companies. The arrogance of city management of those cities has been jaw-dropping w/their demands & concerns about EPA-generated traffic to Ravenswood Shopping Center & Univ Circle. Then, there're the frequent comments about how EPA needs a better tax base, which is development-driven. In other words, neighboring towns LOVE for EPA to be their whipping boy & place to look down upon, but when we assert ourselves we're criticized more than ever.

Just rebuild the darn bridge to accommodate cars, bikes & pedestrians because WE ALL deserve as many exits as possible to flee or help others during an emergency.


Posted by Crescent Park Dad, a resident of Crescent Park
on Jun 2, 2013 at 1:23 am

@ Hmmm: So a bridge for peds, bikes and emergency access would be OK?


Posted by Hmmm, a resident of East Palo Alto
on Jun 2, 2013 at 10:19 am

Nope, it needs to be accessible to cars as well & not just emergency access.


Posted by CrescentParkAnon., a resident of Crescent Park
on Jun 9, 2013 at 8:46 am

> Nope, it needs to be accessible to cars as well & not just emergency access.

Can you explain why now since you have not addressed that yet?


Posted by paly parent, a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Jun 9, 2013 at 9:44 am

Hmmm - I usually agree with you, but I don't see any reason that the bridge should not be only accessible to pedestrians, bike and emergency vehicles. If a firetruck can fit over the bridge, it could be opened to any type of vehicle in the case of a flood. Aside from emergencies, most of the traffic that currently uses the bridge would use University and Embarcadero which are designed for more traffic. The neighborhoods on both side of the bridge should welcome having less busy streets.


Posted by CrescentParkAnon., a resident of Crescent Park
on Jun 9, 2013 at 12:47 pm

> The neighborhoods on both side of the bridge should welcome having less busy streets.

Exactly. The bridge apparently HAS to be torn down because the opening under it does not allow enough water flow in case of flooding and water will back up behind it flooding both neighborhoods.

Looking at it from that standpoint ... why do we need a bridge there in 2013?

There are some who want to walk to places on the other side that a bridge there allows, but compared to the populations on both sides this is a very small proportion of people.

As I said in college I lived in the Tan apartments and I don't think I ever had occasion to walk over that bridge the whole time. I did bike over it a few time because my family was right on the other side but I could just as easily have taken Embarcadero or University, really.

We would not build a bridge there today if one did not already exist, so I wonder why when we tear the old bridge down ... what is a compelling reason to build another one, except nostalgia?

Some seem to want to be able to park their cars in Palo Alto and walk to their homes in EPA and seem to think the state, county and cities should pay for their parking convenience. Or their walking convenience.

I agree with Paly Parent that the neighborhood on both sides would benefit by not having the extra traffic overlaid onto Woodland. People drive so fast down that street. Removing the bridge would most likely move the traffic from Woodland (the road by the creek) onto West Bayshore ( the road by 101) because West Bayshore is easier and faster to use to get somewhere. That way Woodland could be a nice walking, bicycling road. The connection from Woodland to Scofield-University and to West Bayshore could even be cut off so that all those streets see less traffic.

[Portion removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]


Posted by Hmmm, a resident of East Palo Alto
on Jun 9, 2013 at 4:13 pm

Paly parent - I don't trust that in an emergency an official would remember or be able to open the bridge up to vehicles. It's also safer for us to have a bridge to cross nearby every day, vs having to go on Woodland to Univ or Embarcadero to do so - not safe cycling & too inconvenient w/heavy traffic to drive like that ALL OF THE TIME.


If you were a member and logged in you could track comments from this story.

Post a comment

Posting an item on Town Square is simple and requires no registration. Just complete this form and hit "submit" and your topic will appear online. Please be respectful and truthful in your postings so Town Square will continue to be a thoughtful gathering place for sharing community information and opinion. All postings are subject to our TERMS OF USE, and may be deleted if deemed inappropriate by our staff.

We prefer that you use your real name, but you may use any "member" name you wish.

Name: *

Select your neighborhood or school community: * Not sure?

Comment: *

Verification code: *
Enter the verification code exactly as shown, using capital and lowercase letters, in the multi-colored box.

*Required Fields

How Bad Policy Happens
By Douglas Moran | 21 comments | 1,516 views

The life of Zarf
By Sally Torbey | 10 comments | 1,160 views

Freshman Blues Don't Mean Wrong College
By John Raftrey and Lori McCormick | 2 comments | 1,049 views

Background and Ideas for the Comp Plan
By Steve Levy | 20 comments | 982 views

When Grandparents Visit
By Cheryl Bac | 4 comments | 874 views