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Which area of Palo Alto is most in need of revitalization?

Original post made by Tyler Hanley, digital editor of Palo Alto Online, on Feb 22, 2010

Voice your opinion in the online poll. Which area of Palo Alto do you feel is most in need of revitalization? Downtown? Midtown? California Avenue? Somewhere else? Tell us what you think.

Comments (21)

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Posted by Ron
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Feb 22, 2010 at 5:33 pm

Alma Street is the ugliest, bumpiest, most dangerous street in Palo Alto. The whole corridor needs to be re-done, especially between Oregon Expressway and San Antonio Road.

While we're at it, we badly need a pedestrian bridge from midtown Palo Alto over Alma and the train tracks to the Caltrain station. And is anything going to happen to that slummy Alma Plaza?


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Posted by Bob
a resident of Downtown North
on Feb 22, 2010 at 7:43 pm

Some of the worst streets - too many - in Palo Alto are north of the Oregon Expressway..
Waverley Street, Hamilton, Parkinson, Lytton, High, the Embarcadero underpass - Lowell, Seale, the list is long. Some of the streets are bare concrete- look like the originals. The entire area that took a hit from the Flood of '98 has not been repaired except for very small areas. Street patching is pathetic.


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Posted by Paul
a resident of Downtown North
on Feb 22, 2010 at 8:45 pm

Fergodssake don't say anything until we find out who's behind this and exactly what they mean by revitalization and who's gonna do the "revitalizing" and how. Until then, don't nominate your own neighborhood.


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Posted by palo alto mom
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Feb 23, 2010 at 10:36 am

Downtown/University definitely needs a plan of action. Its how people see our "Destination Palo Alto". A comprehensive plan to bring an interesting mix of businesses, perhaps with new building being three story with housing at the top, a better plan for individual buildings (the new Walgreens looks like a 70's office building, its too bad when a new building already looks dated).

Rebuild the Alma Plaza and the nasty old Albertson's on Embarcadero
California Ave is already charming with a decent mix of businesses
Most of El Camino is pretty nasty
Midtown works great as is


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Posted by Crescent Park Dad
a resident of Crescent Park
on Feb 23, 2010 at 11:11 am

@Ron: Ped bridge from Midtown to train station? Which train station? San Antonio? There's already a crosswalk (Mayfield Mall site) across Alma/Central and then a tunnel...


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Posted by anonymous
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Feb 23, 2010 at 11:23 am

I think the entrances to Palo Alto should be highlighted more. Each "entrance" to the city should be identified. I'm not really sure of all of them.

For one major example, when one comes off 101 onto Embarcadero one promptly encounters a sort of rough looking spot, the awful Edgewood Plaza derelict center and a drab gas station. I think there is a medium sign "entering Palo Alto," that is fine, but the surroundings ought to be nicer. Landscaping could be tuned up a bit at the "entrances." I'm not affiliated with Stanford myself, but I assume thousands of outsiders or new visitors travel this route on up to Stanford, and that center is the first thing (along with unkempt brush) that these visitors see of Palo Alto.

No one can argue that PA doesn't have some pretty fine real estate; I just think the first impressions could be lasting impressions. people would be more likely to spend money in this city if they have a good first impression.


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Posted by Mom
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Feb 23, 2010 at 12:45 pm

Edgewood Plaza really needs a facelift.


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Posted by Ron
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Feb 23, 2010 at 1:42 pm

Crescent Park Dad - I am talking about the California Ave. train station. Currently pedestrians coming from the midtown area must walk across Oregon Expressway (where cars often do not stop for the crosswalks), then find their way through an underground dark narrow (and sometimes crime-ridden) tunnel, then U-turn and backtrack through second tunnel to reach the train to San Francisco. A nice airy pedestrian bridge, like the one that crosses Central Expressway and the train tracks in Mountain View, would be so much more inviting for people walking from the Palo Alto residential areas and the California Ave. business district and the train station.


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Posted by Kate
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Feb 23, 2010 at 2:04 pm

The new Walgreen's just doesn't 'fit' into downtown Palo Alto. In my opinion it is stark, cold, retro 50's, and just plain unattractive. Palo Alto's "Edsel". It looks----"Los Angeles". The remodeled Lytton Plaza has no charm. It fits the new Walgreen's. Old downtown Palo Alto had a certain charm until the City Hall was built - a monstrosity that started it all - and the Cheesecake Factory and that 'thing' at the University Circle where Bunge Travel used to be. Isn't there any architectural control? Given the new designs clashing with established homes in residential areas, evidently not. Yet the city has a brochure detailing neighborhood architectual design and preventing clashing deviations.

I wish 800 High could be repainted. Downtown looks very unattractive except at night with the tree lights on. Edgewood Plaza just sits there looking worse everyday. Then we have a vacant gas station on Middlefield. Why? Do we need another Arco or Valero there in the mid-city? Or what would be better? Just get it done.

And finally there are too many homes with junk and mess in driveways and on lawns and trash cans left out 24/7. Why can't the city do something about this? It impacts the properties of responsible owners.


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Posted by Walter_E_Wallis
a resident of Midtown
on Feb 23, 2010 at 4:20 pm

Walter_E_Wallis is a registered user.

Modesto entry: Water, Wealth, Contentment, Health
Redwood City: Climate Best By Government Test
Palo Alto: ?


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Posted by T, from Duveneck/St Francis
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Feb 23, 2010 at 10:07 pm

T, from Duveneck/St Francis is a registered user.

These areas are rundown:
Alma Street
Alma Plaza
Edgewood Plaza

Downtown just looks shabby.


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Posted by Walter_E_Wallis
a resident of Midtown
on Feb 24, 2010 at 9:59 am

Walter_E_Wallis is a registered user.

The area bounded by Hamilton, Bryant, Forest and Ramona needs a complete restructuring, from owner to steward.


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Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Feb 24, 2010 at 11:16 am

Perhaps the question should actually read "which areas of Palo Alto do not need revitalization?". That may generate a shorter list.


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Posted by Update Midtown
a resident of South of Midtown
on Feb 24, 2010 at 12:19 pm

How about revitalizing Midtown, the main shopping center for more than half Palo Alto. It's drab and retro 1950s


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Posted by Odo
a resident of Charleston Meadows
on Feb 24, 2010 at 12:25 pm

Edgewood Plaza and Alma Plaza clearly are in the most need. California Ave hardly qualifies: it has numerous restaurants and retail stores, but of course the patrician stanford crowd patrons wants the f*cking moon so that is not surprising that's where its attention lies.

The neighbors of Edgewood have made it clear to the developers that a renovation of the historic Eichler shopping center is what is needed...but of course the developers want to line their coffers with more money which a renovation won't bring enough
folding green for them.

Alma Plaza has nothing, just an empty hulk sitting there. It needs to be addressed equally along with Edgewood if not more so.

But Nooo...California Ave needs a Trader Vic's for it to be up to snuff for the coats and tie crowd only.


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Posted by Walter_E_Wallis
a resident of Midtown
on Feb 24, 2010 at 2:15 pm

Walter_E_Wallis is a registered user.

King James Bible
For the scripture saith, Thou shalt not muzzle the ox that treadeth out the corn. And, The labourer is worthy of his reward.
To express contempt for someone who desires to be rewarded for his labors is an indictment of your own education and comprehension of fundamental human interchange.


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Posted by Otis
a resident of East Palo Alto
on Feb 24, 2010 at 6:33 pm

Do you mean for example how Blue Cross Anthem exectives pimp profits
by raising the premium on their health plans by 39%


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Posted by Walter_E_Wallis
a resident of Midtown
on Feb 25, 2010 at 5:53 am

Walter_E_Wallis is a registered user.

I would like to know why a day in a hospital cost $7,000 before I criticized Blue Cross. My medical insurance plan would retain the must serve requirement, but instead of forcing the server to spread the costs over the rest of paying customers I would have the government reimburse 70% of the cost directly and make all such reimbursements tax free. A life spewing hatred is a wasted life. Repent. Profit is what makes everything work. That is how it works now, just as it did in Biblical times. Competition and choice is what makes profits reasonable.


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Posted by palo alto mom
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Feb 25, 2010 at 8:12 am

How about a day at Stanford for my dad, one night, some blood tests and a CT scan, $28000.


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Posted by concerned
a resident of Midtown
on Mar 1, 2010 at 3:10 pm

If by revitalization we're talking about making an area more pedestrian and bicyclist friendly, instead of an area people drive through as a short cut to other areas of town, my vote is Midtown. Lot of potential, but way too much traffic.
For more info follow this link to an article on Midtown traffic hazards:
Web Link


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Posted by Charlie
a resident of Charleston Gardens
on Mar 2, 2010 at 11:35 am

The intersection of San Antonio and Charleston needs to be torn down (West Marine and other indudtrial shops). I've heard that there are plans to make that area a high end shopping area like Santana Row.


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