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Driving on Christmas Tree Lane

Original post made by Careful Driver on Dec 7, 2006

There was an article in the News Digest section of the PA Weekly yesterday regarding Christmas Tree Lane:
Web Link
(Ignore the top part about the bowling alley thief).
the article states that drivers driving down Christmas Tree Lane should drive with only their parking lights on. Is this legal?
Is this okay with the police? I understood that it is illegal after dark to drive with no lights or only your parking lights.
Can anyone clarify this?

Comments (7)

Posted by CT Lane Driver, a resident of Crescent Park
on Dec 7, 2006 at 9:54 am

I'm guessing it's legal for the purpose of enjoying the decorations on Christmas Tree Lane -- but only because it's been going on for decades and I've never heard of anyone getting a ticket there.

It's kind of rude to have your headlights on when driving down CT Lane anyway. Your headlights make the experience less brilliant for everyone around you. There are a LOT of lights on, so it's not as though your headlights are needed for navigation.

The street is all of two blocks long. If it bothers you to drive with your headlights off, park somewhere and walk the street. Then you can get annoyed at the drivers who have their headlights on.


Posted by Resident for over 30 years, a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Dec 8, 2006 at 3:14 pm

I have been visiting CL Lane since I was little and had many friends when I was elementary school age that lived on that street. As far as I can recall, there has never been a casualty due to driving without headlights on.

Come out and enjoy the fun!


Posted by Joanna, a resident of Crescent Park
on Dec 12, 2006 at 11:19 am

Hey, good point, CT Lane driver! Why bother driving? It's so much more fun to bundle up and walk the two blocks. You can hear the carolers and the piped-in Nutcracker music that you would otherwise miss. Ditch the car -- get the full experience.


Posted by Puzzled, a resident of Palo Verde
on Dec 15, 2006 at 8:58 pm

Did we miss something? This is our first year of going to the Christmas Tree Lane .. went there tonight ( 12/16 ) and was thoroughly disappointed. Only one house was decorated - most of the block (starting at Seale .. going towards Embarcadero ) on Fulton was in darkness i.e. no special decorations outside the houses. I thought this was supposed to start today .. we did not go at 5:30pm for the band and music, but we ended up there around 7:00pm.

What is the best time to go there?


Posted by Bystander, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Dec 16, 2006 at 2:56 pm

Think you got the date wrong. Today, Saturday, is 16th and the first day, so do try again.

On another note, my impression is that years ago when my children were young it seemed very special because not so many houses were well lit up in P.A. Nowadays, there are so many well lit houses with creative and more modern displays, that Christmas Tree Lane looks a little tired. The atmosphere is still the same though and it is definitely worth a walk through. To the owners there, thank you for your years of giving us so much pleasure.


Posted by Resident for over 30 years, a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Dec 19, 2006 at 3:53 pm

I am very sad to hear CL is slipping. I heard this from another famiy recently too. I wonder why the participation has declined. It is possible that there are more people on CL that don't celebrate xmas, but there are other ways to decorate. I am sad that a great tradition could be coming to a close. I too remember how special it was and I am sure many of the decorations from decades ago are still there- making it even more heartwarming.

I second a gigantic thank you to the residents of CL for keeping it alive.


Posted by Chris, a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Dec 19, 2006 at 7:59 pm

I don't mean to be Scrooge at Christmas about CTL, but I am worried that one day, we won't be able to make the comment that "there's never been a casualty on Christmas Tree Lane." I live about a block from CTL, and have loved going there for years. (Before we moved here, we drove with our lights off.)

I'm worried because on some nights there is a LOT of foot traffic making the atmosphere very festive. But in all honesty, when people drive the street with their lights off, there really isn't terrific visibility. It would be very easy to miss a small child dashing out in the street while caught up in the excitement of the place - even if the drivers were all paying attention. ANd let's face it - drivers are gawking too. I know the cars (generally) are going slowly...but it does feel a little dicy to me at times.

I don't have a solution to this. But I do feel it's an incipient problem that maybe the CTL residents should think about.

Meanwhile, I'll be walking the street several times again this year with my friends and relatives who don't live in Palo Alto. Merry Christmas to the rest of you who partake in this special part of our city. Hope to see you there!


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