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New developments created divided opinion

Original post made on Jan 25, 2008

On a recent overcast and chilly afternoon, Don Marquardt could be found lounging in his South Palo Alto garage, flipping through a newspaper.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Friday, January 25, 2008, 12:00 AM

Comments (33)

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Posted by Support The Quiet Street
a resident of Charleston Meadows
on Jan 25, 2008 at 6:59 pm

Personally I agreed with everything Marquardt has to say. Too many cars already on Wilkie Way. Also they all drive way to fast. This is an old quiet neighborhood. Why does it have to change? Wilkie Way isn't even wide even for the yellow lines the city decided to paint on the street. Can you image the traffic coming thru this small neighborhood? Not enough room. Why do we need a path to El Camino? There isn't anything there to go to. It sure would be nice to know that there was a meeting about this issue.


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Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jan 26, 2008 at 5:58 am

Don Marquardt said: "He doesn't want parked cars, or traffic, on wilkie Way". When I last looked Wilkie Way was a regular city street and as such should be treated like a regular city street. Regular city streets allow traffic and parking. Why should a small group of Charleston Meadows residents be treated any differently.

I agree with Jack Morton who said: "In a community like ours you end up with a segregated community". This is wrong, all city streets should be open to all traffic and parking at all times. These people are asking for what amounts to a private street by discouraging traffic and parking on Wilkie Way. What is more disturbing is that a previous city council voted 5 - 4 to grant this.

We must open up the bicycle/pedestrian path between El Camino Real and Wilkie Way before it is too late. And, if people park on Wilkie Way as they do on every other street in Palo Alto, so be it - my advice, get used to it!!!

I don't like traffic or parking on my street either perhaps we should all apply to the city for ways to discourage this!!!!




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Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jan 26, 2008 at 10:06 am

If a public walkway isn't put in, from my experience, a shortcut will be made through private property. Whether it be through "joint owned" landscaping areas, or privately owned access areas, those who want access will find it. I say it makes much more sense to give access legally or fight the inevitable for years to come until it makes more sense to rethink the issue - an expensive thought to say the least.


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Posted by W. Kelly
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jan 26, 2008 at 10:51 am

To paraphrase Pogo: "I have seen the speeders, it is us".


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Posted by CM Neighbor
a resident of Charleston Meadows
on Jan 28, 2008 at 8:23 am

Wilkie Way is a public street which should provide parking for anyone. The streets in the new development are private streets so no requirement there for public parking. I agree with Kishimoto, the city needs to look at whether private streets should be allowed.


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Posted by North of Charleston Rd.
a resident of Charleston Meadows
on Jan 28, 2008 at 11:40 am

"I don't like traffic or parking on my street perhaps we should all apply to the city for ways to discourage this!!!"--Resident, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood


Excessive cars on a residential street trash the neighborhood. YES, WE SHOULD ALL APPLY TO THE CITY TO RESTORE THE ORDINANCE, THAT USED TO EXIST HERE, AGAINST OVERNIGHT PARKING ON RESIDENTIAL STREETS. (There was a provision whereby a resident could apply for a parking permit.) In Menlo Park, such an ordinance does exist.

Several points:

1) The Charleston Meadows Association agreed to the Arbor Real development, only after an agreement from the city that there would be no access, other than emergency access, from/onto Wilkie Way.

2) Only the group that stands to be impacted by the outcome of this issue should have input. If they want to release the city from the agreement, then that should be their right. (This would be the owners of properties south of Charleston Rd. and bounded by or on Wilkie Way, Adobe Creek, and Park Blvd.) The pro-access proponents would better serve the cause of friendliness and neighborliness (which they claim to espouse) by spending their energy dealing with their own property and issues that truly involve them!

3) Ironically, one of the main (if not the main) individuals who started this controversy lives on Charleston Rd. Therefore, the outcome is unlikely to have any impact whatsoever on her. (That portion of Charleston Rd. has either "No Parking At Any Time" or "No Parking Between 7 A.M. and 7 P.M." signs on both sides of the street.) The proposed access will make nothing more accessible to anyone on or north of Charleston Rd.

4) The sentiment in the PA Weekly, attributed to one of the pro-access proponents, is curious: "The division of that community has made for a very sad relationship, neighbor (name omitted by me) said Tuesday. I can hear little children next to me in that area that's fenced off." "But she's unlikely to meet them, she said." Unless she has recently moved, this person lives over 2 blocks from the closest Arbor Real residence, not "next to" AR. Perhaps this is a misquote!

5) Arbor Real does have pedestrian access to/from Charleston Rd. by way of two paved sidewalks from within AR, as well as full access to/from El Camino. It is not a "segregated" community, as it is called by Councilman Jack Morton in the PA Weekly article.

6) Finally, this is not a global, environmental issue, as the pro-access contingent tries to claim, using vague, unrealistic arguments. It is simply an issue of residents trying to maintain the quality of what is a nice, relatively safe, residential neighborhood in their small, less expensive, part of Palo Alto.


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Posted by South of Charleston
a resident of Charleston Meadows
on Jan 28, 2008 at 9:29 pm

Wilkie Way is a designated bike path in the city with the bridge to reach Mountain View. It seems ridiculous to not allow the densest housing in the immediate area direct access to the bike path.

North of Charleston Road states "Only the group that stands to be impacted by the outcome of this issue should have input. If they want to release the city from the agreement, then that should be their right. (This would be the owners of properties south of Charleston Rd. and bounded by or on Wilkie Way, Adobe Creek, and Park Blvd.)"

Well, the last time I went to the Charleston Meadows ice cream social, Charleston Meadows also included the area bounded by Charleston, Wilkie, Park and Meadow. You know, the South of Charleston Road portion, the part that the neighborhood association seems to have no problem or concern about the impact the cut-through traffic the new developments will bring. The neighborhood association leadership is only concerned with maintaining the tranquil setting of the north of Charleston area.


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Posted by North of Charleston Rd.
a resident of Charleston Meadows
on Jan 29, 2008 at 4:05 pm

To "South of Charleston"--

There seems to be a directional problem here! It sounds like you are located, as I am, north of Charleston, that is, in the area between Charleston and Meadow.

I agree with you that the representatives of the neighborhood association, most of whom are located between Charleston and Adobe Creek, don't seem to care much about what goes on between Charleston and Meadow. You probably learned at the ice cream social that you attended that they welcome new volunteers to serve on the board. One solution is for more of us between Charleston and Meadow to volunteer to serve on the board, to see that our concerns are considered.

That being said, I agree with and support the effort of those between Charleston and Adobe Creek to try to preserve the quality of their area, and believe that only those who would be impacted by the access question should have input. I also believe that, unless the majority of that group wants access to be provided, the city needs to honor its agreement.


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Posted by Mike
a resident of College Terrace
on Jan 29, 2008 at 7:03 pm

" The Charleston Meadows Association agreed to the Arbor Real development, only after an agreement from the city that there would be no access, other than emergency access, from/onto Wilkie Way"

A *perfect* example of a few people helping to " ghettoize" our city into discrete regions. There are ways to help preserve neighborhood integrity (which is an important goal) without "keeping others out".

One immediate way that comes to mind is the creation of limited parking zones for non-residents. In this case, residents need to mobilize, *and* the city needs to find ways to make neighborhood parking permits easier to process and maintain. Currently, the latter system is hard to initiate, and process; it's cumbersome. We need to change that.

All said, these two communities should not be separated. We should not be "excluding" others in the name of community. It's pure hypocrisy, especially as we all know that PAlo Alto will continue to grow over the years.


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Posted by North of Charleston Rd.
a resident of Charleston Meadows
on Jan 29, 2008 at 11:49 pm

Yes Mike, this and certain other problems related to "neighborhood integrity" would go away if there were NO overnight parking allowed on residential streets, by either residents or non-residents, except in special cases, by permit. And such permits would not be handed out automatically, but granted for legitimate reasons. A legitimate reason would not be that the requestor residence had a garage/carport/driveway full of "stuff".

This all goes back to my original statement:

"Excessive cars on a residential street trash the neighborhood. YES, WE SHOULD ALL APPLY TO THE CITY TO RESTORE THE ORDINANCE, THAT USED TO EXIST HERE, AGAINST OVERNIGHT PARKING ON RESIDENTIAL STREETS. (There was a provision whereby a resident could apply for a parking permit.) In Menlo Park, such an ordinance does exist."

Until such an ordinance is restored, I support any neighborhood that tries to protect itself from being trashed by cars on the streets.


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Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jan 30, 2008 at 9:10 am

Be careful with residents permits. In one neighborhood with this the residents started to park on the streets as a matter of course to enable guests to their homes to park on their driveways. The outcome was that it in fact put more cars parking on the streets and left the driveways empty.


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Posted by Stew in their own juices
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jan 30, 2008 at 9:25 am

[Post removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]


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Posted by Mikey
a resident of Evergreen Park
on Jan 30, 2008 at 11:49 am

[Post removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]


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Posted by Stew in their own juices
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jan 30, 2008 at 11:57 am

[Portion removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]
I think what happened with the Hyatt is a perfect example of a "neighborhood leader" pushing his/her agenda at the expense of the city as a whole.
I also feel that. in general, since all city streets are public, parking should be available to ANYONE. If neighborhoods want to control street parking, then they should consider privatizing the streets and assuming all responsibility for the financial upkeep of the streets.
[Portion removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]


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Posted by Kelley
a resident of Green Acres
on Jan 30, 2008 at 4:29 pm

I wish there was permit parking throughout the City too, but the City does not have the money to hire the personnel to police such a program. Parking permits for residents would be meaningless without enforcement.


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Posted by Paul
a resident of Downtown North
on Jan 30, 2008 at 5:51 pm

Get real, SITOJ. In this town any halfway savvy developer can steamroll any "neighborhood leader" at will. It's the hapless bottomfeeders like Hyatt that have to cover their dogged incompetence by blaming the process. Hyatt was famously inept: Web Link


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Posted by Mickey
a resident of Evergreen Park
on Jan 31, 2008 at 3:51 pm

[Post removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]


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Posted by Stew in their own juices
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jan 31, 2008 at 4:04 pm

[Post removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]


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Posted by Stew in their own juices
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Feb 1, 2008 at 7:24 am

Editors--you removed an important point that I also wanted to get across not sure why, but here goes again.
If the Hyatt would have been built you would have a tax-generating entity with ample on site parking and not the dense housing development that many are complaining about.


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Posted by Stew in their own juices
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Feb 1, 2008 at 9:00 am

Editors--what is going on?
I post a comment stating that Paul's link above is a guest opinion and should be taken as fact and you delete it?
What was wrong with that post? Or was it the fact that I pointed out that it is unclear on what basis or standards you use for editing (censoring) posts?
Please clarify.


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Posted by Paul
a resident of Downtown North
on Feb 4, 2008 at 9:35 am

- If the Hyatt would have been built you would have a tax-generating entity with ample on site parking and not the dense housing development that many are complaining about.-

You don't sell the steak, you sell the sizzle. Successful developers like the author of my Web Link work it expertly. Hyatt didn't.


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Posted by Stew in their own juices
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Feb 4, 2008 at 10:07 am

Paul--As I stated previously your link is an opinion piece. I have my opinion on the Hyatt issue also.
The city lost out on a tax-generating entity (and a hefty one at that, considering that hotels really stick it to visitors tax wise) with ample on-site parking.


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Posted by Paul
a resident of Downtown North
on Feb 4, 2008 at 12:54 pm

I see you have an opinion, SITOJ. You are entitled to an opinion. And so do and are others.

The fact is that a very experienced, successful real estate developer's opinion on a development issue is much more informed and informative that anyone else's opinion, unless they are also very experienced, successful real estate developers.

I watched the Hyatt saga and I believe the developer. Hyatt could have easily flattened any amount of neighborhood opposition if it had taken the trouble to learn the Palo Alto Process, but it didn't. Instead Hyatt flat failed to make its case effectively, our town let itself be talked into another proposal, and, as you point out, it lost another opportunity to stick it to visitors.


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Posted by Stew in their own juices
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Feb 4, 2008 at 1:36 pm

Paul--But you should be glad that the Hyatt is gone, since you called them "hapless bottomfeeders" in your post above.
Clearly you did not want them in our city.

However the writer of the editorial that you find so true has another opinion about the Hyatt and the Pritzkers:

"Yet the loss of Hyatt as a Palo Alto hotel operator is unfortunate given the significant Hyatt contribution to Palo Alto as a business-travel destination for Silicon Valley, and -- just as important -- the community leadership and personal generosity of the Pritzker family to Palo Alto, Stanford and Northern California."

I also followed the Hyatt saga (as it also sucked in Alma Plaza into it's black hole) and still maintain that the problem would have been solved had the city council had the spine to stand up to certain vocal "neighborhood leaders".


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Posted by jeremy Loski
a resident of Ventura
on Feb 4, 2008 at 3:30 pm

Edgewood is next..."As the World Turns".

I can't wait to see how many retail businesses churn through the two non-facing street locations that the Alma developer was forced into making retail. And frankly, I would love to take a peek at the future shopping receipts of the residents who shouted loudest about what they wanted at Alma. What tends to happen here is that this same little group of vocal anti-growth proponents simply move from project to project - causing delay and mayhem in their way.

I wish we could tabulate all they've cost our city in lost revenue, and opportunity.


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Posted by Paul
a resident of Downtown North
on Feb 5, 2008 at 4:41 pm

One last time, SITOJ, with intense feeling: Whatever the merits of its proposal, Hyatt lost out because it wouldn't learn how to play Palo Alto Process. That's it, 30, period.


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Posted by Stew in their own juices
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Feb 5, 2008 at 4:44 pm

Paul--thanks for expressing your opinion once again. You have your view, I have mine.
Maybe it is time for the PA Process to be changed so that we can get some tax-generating things built in our city. We lost the Hyatt, Alma Plaza is still no done. Edgewood Plaza is sitting fallow. Our car dealerships are threatening to bolt and on and on.


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Posted by C me around
a resident of Ventura
on Feb 5, 2008 at 11:43 pm

Ha Ha Ha. Very funny. Too late now. The housing has all been built.
It's like a little city WITHIN THE CITY. I am thinking the same thing is going to happen when the JCC housing complex is soon completed. A little CITY WITHIN THE CITY. Special rules.

YEARS ago, when the Palo Alto city street was closed off at THIRD STREET (which is PARK BLVD nowdays) by CURTNER, it had a little white picket fence there that was leaning over. Dirt roadway. It had a very small walk way for pedestrians to cut through. At the time, it was zoned the end of City limits, I believe.
Non the less, when the City of Palo Alto finally opened up and paved that area ~and made it a short straightaway from Wilton Street to Curtner, it became a REAL speedway. The people who commuted from Hewlett-Packard (which was located where Agilent is now on Park Blvd., by Oregon Expressway underpass) cruzed back and forth, to the entertainment delight of the younger children. And a nightmare for those who lived on Park to get in and out of their driveways at certain times of the morning, noon and late afternoons. Stop signs were installed, but not adherd to.
FINALLY, the city had to resort to putting in one way roundabouts to cut down on the traffic. Too many bike accidents, car accidents, a death or two, and complaints from the neighborhood. Peace had finally been restored to the old neighborhood.
Good luck to the new neighbors in our South part of town. I am disappointed in the layout, it looks a little like a rat maze. Sorry, even though it is new, hopefully down the road the maintenance will be kept up........
time


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Posted by Paul
a resident of Downtown North
on Feb 6, 2008 at 10:34 am

I'm on your side, SITOJ. I'm trying to show you how to fight the correct battle the next time. What if Caesar had been trying to fight the Battle of the Bulge when he should have been crossing the Rubicon?

I don't like what happened on the Hyatt site any more than you and the majority of Palo Altans. But Hyatt ran its battleship aground in the Palo Alto Process Shoals because it didn't bother to look at the charts, not because some "neighborhood leader" tossed a few pebbles its way.



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Posted by Stew in their own juices
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Feb 6, 2008 at 10:40 am

Paul--Glad that we agree about the Process and retail in PA.


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Posted by Paul
a resident of Downtown North
on Feb 6, 2008 at 11:34 am

Onward, united


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Posted by Jack Sprat
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on May 16, 2008 at 8:53 pm

I have a very good friend who lives on Chabot Terrace just yards off 101. He is hemmed in by all the large apartment buildings on the frontage road, Amarillo and Tanland. If we go over to visit him in the evening, we cannot find street parking simply because apartment renters park in front of his (and everyone else's) single-family homes on Chabot Terrace. He's told me that at times he couldn't even back out of his driveway because it was blocked!

I totally agree with those commenters who worry about strange cars parking overnight, unloading trash, etc. along a very pleasant city street, which I predict will happen once the condos are built and a connecting path is created.

This is not ghetto-izing the area, it is simply neighbors' attempts to preserve their own neighborhood and have the parking available for guests, not residents a block over.


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Posted by John Doe
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on May 16, 2008 at 8:59 pm

Talk about creating discrete neighborhoods within Palo Alto (someone above noted this), take a look at the real estate transactions in the newspaper and you'll immediately notice that Arbor Real has become an ethnic enclave in its own right.

Also, you just don't try to "integrate" one neighborhood whose residents live in McMansions and overpriced condos with an established and cozy neighborhood of single-story single-family houses that have been been an integral part of Palo Alto for decades.

Will these two groups ever really mix whether or not there's a footpath that will "link" two disparate communities? I won't hold my breath.


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