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Original post made
on Aug 20, 2014
Mr Keene seems to be a common element to these poorly planned and long delayed projects. I recommend more bonus.
Construction projects are inherently complicated, and frequently the schedule is stretched when existing conditions are worse than estimated.
I am hopeful the new streetscape will be worth the wait!
Didn't the Utilities Dept check the project plans and comment that there was a 75- year old water line in the street? I recall that the initial delay was so that they could replace the old gas line. It seems as though the plan review process need to be improved, which would not only help prevent delays but save a lot of money as changes once construction is underway is at a premium price. Given that everything on Cal Ave is sacred to someone and it takes years to reach a decision, it's no wonder utilities and pavement are worn out.
this is quite an old street in palo alto. who thinks up these boondoggles? just dilly-dally around with this. sure wish that palo alto was affordable
I'm glad this project is happening. It was sorely needed. The street needed redesign and repaving. The utilities underneath the street were past their prime. Safe, reliable gas and water has to be periodically updated. It's worth the trouble and the money. Thank you City of Palo Alto.
Having recently done a home remodel I know that construction delays can happen when you open up the ground and discover additional work that needs to be done.
@Jon B: Our family has carefully watched this project since September 2009, right after the trees were removed. The 4 year delay was only to get public input on this project as it went forward, and not to do any gas work.
Gas work was completed by mid 2009, before the trees came down. Do you remember the entire district was torn up, including parts of sidewalks, for more than half of 2009? It was a mess for several months that year.
Prior to that, we'd be sitting inside a restaurant, and the gas would go off. We could only order cold meals. Code or insurance companies made restaurants lock their fridges. Even getting cold food was dramatic for everyone then.
After the trees were removed, Calif Ave was going to be resurfaced and striped into two lanes as phase two of the original project. But because phase one came as a shock to us residents, the city stopped everything, and opened up the discussions to the community.
The process lasted four years. A new and improved phase two resumed this past March, with the replacement of the water main first.
New trees were selected quickly, in collaboration with residents. We were invited to plant the trees ourselves, in January 2010. So those trees are now four years old.
It has not been too bad to drive/walk Calif Ave. now. But I hope this is the only delay, and the project will be finished by the time they claim.
It's high time for it to be completed, so everyone can just enjoy it.
Watch March come and go with the project unfinished.
The north/west side of the street between Ash and El Camino is now torn up. They're talking about starting on the south/east side of the street next week. Then we'll have a mess and no parking on both sides of the street. My guess is they'll tear it up so they can say they're sticking to the schedule.
And weekly the Sunday Farmers Market goes on unfazed.
The sidewalk choice for the California Ave. project looks like a grey concrete parking lot, with some ugly glass pieces mixed in for what appear to be random sections. Contrast it with Castro St. in Mountain View, with its nice diagonally oriented sidewalk treatment:
And take a walk down the south side of California Ave., between Birch and the train station. Aside from being ugly, it appears to be incomplete. What's done looks amateurish and unfinished, and some old cracked sections are untouched.
It'll be a shame if it all ends up like this.
Wanna bet it'll cost a lot more by then....
Here is this week's streetscape project update.
***The contractor is scheduled to begin saw cutting/potholing for Phase 3, Ash to El Camino Real (south side) on Aug. 27, 2014. Each business will need to remove all of their furnishings (tables, chairs, potted plants, etc.) before work begins. The contractor will be closing off half of the sidewalk to allow work for this phase of the project. Door to door outreach/flyers will be handed out this week, with more specific details.*****
Streetscape work continues between Park and Birch on the south side of California Avenue, with the installation of the new curb, gutter and sidewalk. Most of the new concrete for the sidewalks will be going in by the end of the week. Electrical and landscaping trenches will be placed crossing Birch on the south side. Single lane traffic control and detours will be in place for this work.
Between Ash and El Camino Real on the north side of California Avenue, work will continue with placement of the new sidewalk, curb and gutter. Streetlight conduit and foundations, as well as work on the irrigation sleeves, will continue to be installed this week prior to the concrete for the sidewalk curb and gutter.
Work affecting vehicular and pedestrian traffic:
Single lane of traffic in both directions between the Plaza and El Camino Real throughout the week.
Bus stops along California Avenue will be temporarily relocated. The contractor is coordinating with Samtrans, VTA and Marguerite.
Parking will be restricted on the block of concrete demolition between Park and Birch (south side) and Ash to El Camino (north side).
Pedestrian traffic from Park to Birch, and Ash to El Camino Real, in the vicinity of concrete demolition, will remain open with some detouring around the work zones. Ramps will be provided to business entrances to span work area.
Pedestrian access to businesses will be maintained at all times.
Jack hammering will take place between Park and Birch (south side), and utility trench crossing at Birch and between El Camino Real and Ash (north side).
Forming for the curb and gutter will include hammering with handheld hammers and the whine of electric saws.
Doweling for new concrete will require impact drills with noise and dust.
Expect general construction equipment noise from dump and trucks, excavators, and concrete delivery vehicles.
Some dust is to be expected in the vicinity of jackhammering and soil compaction operations.
A sweeper truck should be onsite at the end of each day.
Work will generally occur between the hours of 8 a.m. and 6 p.m. The contractor might start as early as 7 a.m. in order to expedite some of the concrete poursconstruction noise will be minimal. A daily quiet period will continue from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. every day. As a reminder, "quiet time" means no loud construction noise, such as saw cutting, jack hammering, and excavating. The City has asked the contractor to comply with the daily "quiet time." We understand the importance of keeping businesses and patrons happy and appreciate everyone's patience during this time.
If you have any questions regarding the project construction, please call Bill Davis, the construction manager, at (510) 7729092.
It will be finished in March of what year??
The poor merchants. What did the city give them to compensate them for lost business? One of the clerks in one of the Cal Ave businesses was complaining months ago about the city's overly zealous attempts to ticket employee cars.
I share Don's concern about the very poor quality of the concrete sidewalks at this stage of construction. Unless the contractor is planning on additional finish work (using some technique with which I am unfamiliar), the completed sidewalks could be very ugly, with large sections of cracked and stained sidewalks not having been replaced, and even new areas that seem uneven and clumsily integrated with existing slabs. It would be much appreciated if the Palo Alto Online staff to look into this -- before it is too late to do anything about it.
> Cal Ave Pedestrian wrote:
> I share Don's concern about the very poor quality of the concrete sidewalks at this stage of construction.
I just talked to Bill Davis, the construction manager. We walked down and looked at the sections in question. The sidewalk on the south side of the street, between Birch and the train station, is complete (from their perspective). He said that for whatever reason, the old/undone sections will not be updated. He didn't know why, except to say that the decisions were made a long time ago, and are set in stone, so to speak.
Evergreen Park Neighborhood! Please learn from the experience of 4 residential neighborhoods adjacent to the University Avenue commercial core. I guarantee that your residential neighborhood will soon experience more spillover commercial parking and traffic. Thank goodness you have some traffic calming measures already in place. Every time the City Council brags about vibrant California Avenue you must realize that your residential streets will be vibrating from spillover traffic and parking. The City Council will on Nov 17 consider an ordinance to restrict the number of workers and shoppers who can park in your neighborhood. You should take advantage of this ordinance to protect the quality of your neighborhood.
So when does the re-landscaping project begin?
Hold up your hand if you are surprised.
Just one more thing with this project that the city council promised us would NOT happen!
> The home of angry, libertarian, government bashing, union hating whiners.
Yes, it's those damnable freedom-lovers again, always wishing for competent governance and value for the taxpayer dollar. How unreasonable is that!
@ Brian: Some unions (well, the union leaders) deserve to be pointed out for their "efforts" that end up hurting (in the long term) both the people in the unions and the people who utilize goods and services. Holding the government "of the people, by the people and for the people" accountable is one of the principles that this nation was founded upon. As far as "libertarian:" What is wrong with adequate individual and collective freedom and liberty?
I do hope that this is finished sooner rather than later.
This is typical for construction projects: over budget and way over the time allotment.
The project will probably turn out hideous, just like all the other recent city projects. When will City Manager Keene be fired for incompetence?
We just got back from eating lunch on Cal Ave. Someone decided to install recycled glass in the sidewalk. I guess I won't be wearing flip-flops on that stretch of sidewalk again. I almost stubbed my toe on glass that got dislodged from the sidewalk. Wow, talk about a potential lawsuit.
I was on Cal Ave this weekend and was wondering how it would take before there was a lawsuit. Some kid (or even an adult) is going to fall, and the glass in the sidewalk is going to shred their skin off to the bone.
It doesn't even look good. I have seen Terrazzo with SMALL pieces of embedded glass that looks very appealing, but the sidewalks on Cal Ave just look like someone dumped out their glass recycling bin into the wet concrete.
Maybe the sidewalk design was chosen by the same people who chose the new carpet in the council chambers.
Something is very wrong with this administration. They keep spending so much money and the result is not satisfactory. Can it be intentional? Truly hard to figure otherwise.
Construction projects often take longer than projected --- NOT SHOCKING, no one needs to be fired.
And, it's not the end of the world for the city. SO TIRED of Palo Alto citizens complaining about absolutely everything. Does anyone in PA watch the news and see that there are real problems to deal with?
We are just making a point of how incompetent this administration is. Who in the heck
chose the finish for the sidewalk. Really? Broken sharp shrouds of old glass beer bottles embedded in concrete? No one had the competence to at least purchase tumbled recycled glass Web Link. How in the heck are we saving the earth with a decision like this? Who made this decision?
Perhaps to obviate the sit/lie ordinance?
Honest, I'm grasping for a reasonable explanation.
Re: the glass shards in sidewalks: I found a status report on the Cal Ave sidewalks with snippet below:
City Council Staff report from 9/15/2014
The new decorative sidewalks segments with decorative glass jewels are located at key
pedestrian dwelling areas such as midblock crossing locations, intersection bulb-outs and plaza
areas. The first batch of decorative sidewalk segments built for the project resulted in a 2 week
delay to address supply issues of the decorative glass jewels. The glass jewels supplied during
the material approval process did not match the glass jewels installed at the first field
installation sites near Park Boulevard. Additional decorative sidewalk segments were delayed
while the supplier modified their fabrication process to ensure a more uniform material size.
The initial two installations in front of Kinko's and Baume Restaurant were removed and
replaced in July. With the glass jewel fabrication issues addressed, decorative s
I can't wait for the city to enlighten us on their "marketing efforts" and how plans to increase patronage, especially of restaurants like Brioche, Pastis, etc. that are deprived of their sidewalk tables and are now closed to dinner patrons for inside tables as well.
I am very disappointed in the embedded glass in the concrete. It seems like a well-meaning, "environmental" feature gone awry. I can no longer let my children play on the cal ave sidewalks. On a regular sidewalk, if they fall, they scrape their knees or faces. In two minutes today of running free on the cal ave sidewalks, both of my children fell, and one of them got his knee sliced open by the glass shards embedded in the new sidewalks which stick out with sharp glass edges ready to slice open young faces and knees.
Please read this letter to the editor in full. During the whole debate, people who pointed out that you'd have backups while people tried to park after lane reductions were roundly criticized for being anti-progress, anti-bikes, anti-beautification....
Well, congratulations. Cal Ave is now backing up El Camino. Guess those other drivers really couldn't levitate around the cars trying to park.
I just got back from running an errand on Cal Ave and I asked the poorly stocked merchant how they were faring with the construction.
She said, "Horribly."
I said, "Well, at least it will be done in March."
She said, "You've got to be kidding. We were just notified today that the city's going to rip out all the glass sidewalks because they did it wrong. Maybe we'll be done in the summer. We'll see if we're still here."
PATHETIC. But let's give all the city workers more raises and bonuses and over-time.
She also said there were days and days when no one's working and no work is being done to move the project along.
Let's hear it for "retail preservation" for which we need to hire a few more consultants.
It really doesn't appear that the work will be finished by March, either. I know of two restaurateurs who are sick of the noise and dust affecting their business. I am sick of the work affecting my ability to park my car OR my bike!
Asphalt and concrete work requires certain weather parameters in order for the work to be installed correctly. Certainly on very cold days or wet days, there will not be any work performed - not a surprise.
Interesting to read the comments dating back months and months on a project most of us knew wasn't going to be done in time.
Good that it took the City this long to figure it out.
So what's happening with the new parallel parking? Will it take the city years to fix that mistake after traffic backs up past Page Mill onto our Grand Boulevard?
Are they really going to rip out the beautiful glass shard sidewalks? Say it ain't so! What's the problem with them, anyone know?
@Crescent Park Dad - so maybe you should schedule the work so it doesn't happen during the coldest, wettest months of the year.
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