http://paloaltoonline.com/square/print/2010/07/19/neighbors-want-facebook-to-be-better-friend


Town Square

Neighbors want Facebook to be better friend

Original post made on Jul 19, 2010

A fleet of sleek, black buses designed to cut down on the amount of traffic generated by Facebook's 1,000 employees in the Stanford Research Park has some College Terrace neighborhood residents wearing ear plugs and begging for relief.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Monday, July 19, 2010, 7:20 PM

Comments

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Posted by better than cars
a resident of College Terrace
on Jul 19, 2010 at 8:00 pm

Hasn't the south side of California Ave. always been industrial? And these folks are just now starting to notice?

What they need to do is sit down face-to-face with Facebook and work out a compromise. Whining in the press takes forever and usually accomplishes nothing.

They should be happy that Facebook is providing an alternative to hundreds of private cars on their street.


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Posted by Hmmm
a resident of East Palo Alto
on Jul 19, 2010 at 8:33 pm

It might sound like the Calif Ave residents are being super NIMBY, but I've heard those shuttles & they are horrendously noisy. I've spent time in that area recently & I was puzzled as to why the buses don't use Page Mill instead. Even w/the previous businesses on Calif Ave, residents seemed to have some peace. Not so now. I was walking my dog in that area recently & the backup beeps startled us both. I'm dealing w/noise problems in my neighborhood, incl that of a shuttle. But heck, at least it's a free shuttle that serves the entire community & it's just one shuttle. Good luck to the residents - I hope this gets resolved to their satisfaction. Noise pollution is a big problem now.


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Posted by 101 alma
a resident of Downtown North
on Jul 19, 2010 at 8:53 pm

Dear Palo Alto Council, I bought a house on Alma and there are trains running along tracks all day and night!

Please get rid of the trains. Noise pollution is a big problem now and I shouldn't have to put up with it.

Thank you.


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Posted by oh please
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 19, 2010 at 8:56 pm

they wanted their library branch to remain because of the "frequent" out of area vistors that would go there. Make up your mind, you want outsiders in your neighborhood or you dont. You cant have it both ways.


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Posted by common sense
a resident of Midtown
on Jul 19, 2010 at 9:07 pm

College Terrace:

* Has road barriers to prevent traffic,
* A parking permit system
* PC Zoning so that JJ&F Market can be subsidized for the neighborhood,
* Now they want to micromanage the bus system (so much for public transportation, being green, etc).

I compare all the special benefits that the council votes for College Terrace, and compare it other neighborhoods, and the city council's endorsement for the high speed rail. The council didn't care about what the HSR would do to all the residents along Park Blvd & Alma, when they endorsed that ballot measure. But College Terrace continues to get such special treatment.


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Posted by Great idea
a resident of Adobe-Meadows
on Jul 19, 2010 at 9:11 pm

Common Sense sparked a great idea. If we can route HSR adjacent to College Terrace, it can NEVER get built. The city should offer to drop all opposition in exchange for a minor route deviation - and then let nature take its course. The rail authority will never know what hit them!


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Posted by Jimmy
a resident of College Terrace
on Jul 19, 2010 at 10:19 pm

I have a friend at facebook who told me they run two 28 person buses concurrently between the two buildings that are two blocks apart and he thinks its embarrassing. I can understand the city and train shuttles, but these other ones that spare people a 5 minute walk are simply stupid.


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Posted by Eileen Stolee
a resident of College Terrace
on Jul 19, 2010 at 10:54 pm

This is not just a case of NIMBY. These are almost always empty buses! 28 and 40 passenger buses with maybe 3 or 4 people at a time, that screech and chug up and down California Avenue every 5 - 7 minutes all day long from 9AM to 9PM and are almost always empty!. Facebook, unlike previous Industrial Park companies, has a swing shift so the buses run until 11PM or later. Please come on by and check it out (and make sure you look inside the frosted windows of the near empty buses) before you pass judgement. No, I do not live next door to the train tracks and I understand that must be hard for those residents too. Never during all of the crazy dot com time did it even come close to this noise. We are talking about a private bus shuttle that services only facebook and IS NOT BEING UTILIZED! These young facebook workers can and want to walk or bike the short 5 minutes between buildings. Do we really need a shuttle bus service for 5 MIN?


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Posted by Henry
a resident of Community Center
on Jul 19, 2010 at 10:58 pm

Agree. Just walk for the many health and environmental benefits.


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Posted by svatoid
a resident of Charleston Gardens
on Jul 20, 2010 at 7:06 am

Common sense hit the nail right on the head--they get what they want from the city council, they are by far and away the most pampered neighborhood in the city--me thinks the neighborhood doest protest too much. And there is never an end to their demands for more and more
College Terrace wanted to cut down on traffic, so Facebook provided shuttles, now they complain about the shuttles!!!

Maybe it is the city's fault for demanding no new net car trips from Facebook and for them to provide housing for all their workers. Wait, why didn't the city not demand that? They demand it from Stanford.

Once again, another company may be driven from the city due to the outrageous demands of small group of residents.


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Posted by Anne
a resident of College Terrace
on Jul 20, 2010 at 7:22 am

The shuttle bus service did NOT start because neighbors complained about parking. There was always a shuttle service - previously it was noisy, rattling old white buses that were barely used. Now we have sleek black buses that are barely used! Maybe the inter campus buses start at 9:00AM but there are some of the buses early in the morning like 5:00AM


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Posted by svatoid
a resident of Charleston Gardens
on Jul 20, 2010 at 7:33 am

Anne--are we talking about the same buses. The article states that these buses are for Facebook people. Sounds like these busses were put in place when Facebook moved. Is there another shuttle bus running there?
So should Facebook stop the shuttle busses? then what will the College Terrace people complain about? The cars? I am sure Fred Balin and company will find something. Unfortunately, Fred has lost his main supporter on the council, now that Kishimoto has been termed out and is busy wearing her "badge of honor".


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Posted by neighbor
a resident of another community
on Jul 20, 2010 at 8:58 am

Is it just Facebook busses, or all busses.....how about the disabled transit busses?

Everyone back in their cars? If you don't live in PA, you can't drive through it.

I hope the plans for the Stanford Hospital expansion will include expanded psychiatric care for the locals who are clearly going nuts.


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Posted by going green
a resident of College Terrace
on Jul 20, 2010 at 9:00 am

They should just ban *all* cars from College Terrace. No cars on the road at any time by anyone, period!
Then everyone will be happy!


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Posted by Ridiculous
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Jul 20, 2010 at 9:01 am

You live in a community across the street from a zoned commercial space. LIVE WITH IT. Would you rather have companies like Facebook move out of Palo Alto and take all the tax money they provide?


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Posted by Sympathetic
a resident of College Terrace
on Jul 20, 2010 at 9:02 am

I am a renter in College Terrace and do think that the residents here tend to be a bit picky, however, I see these usually empty shuttle ALL THE TIME and seriously, they do not need to run every 2-5 minutes. Every 10-15 minutes would suffice and maybe more often during commuter house. And seriously, can't most of them walk from the Caltrain station? I mean they're usually sitting at desks all day anyway, lets not promote more laziness and pollution in our world.


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Posted by Paul Losch
a resident of Community Center
on Jul 20, 2010 at 9:33 am

Facebook has the right intentions, and they have not yet figured out the best formula for its shuttle service.

As a complete outsider from the company and the neighborhood, my impression is that they should work as "neighbors" to figure this whole thing out.

Running a private shuttle program can be a good thing, and many companies do it around the country. It does require a competent team of people who know how to manage it not just day to day, but also during different times of the year. The anecdote about someone willing to walk for a few minutes on a nice summer day in Palo Alto may lose some gravitas (Veritas?) when the winter rains are pouring down.

Clearly the current program that Facebook has in place needs some modification. That is different from condemning the approach. The company and the neighborhood and the City need to approach this as grownups and figure out how to adjust it to accomodate the people who live in College Terrace, keep traffic down in Palo Alto, and support appropriately Facebook employees who want to use transit other than a car to get to and from work.


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Posted by Always complaining
a resident of Green Acres
on Jul 20, 2010 at 10:03 am

Leave Facebook alone remember TAXES, TAXES, and more TAXES for our great City.


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Posted by naysayer
a resident of College Terrace
on Jul 20, 2010 at 10:08 am

a correction to "always complaining"

Palo Alto gets a only small portion of the property tax that Stanford, the owner of the property, would pay to the county if the property is occupied or not occupied.
There is no other tax revenue from Facebook.


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Posted by naysayer
a resident of College Terrace
on Jul 20, 2010 at 10:09 am

a correction to "always complaining"

Palo Alto gets a only small portion of the property tax that Stanford, the owner of the property, would pay to the county if the property is occupied or not occupied.
There is no other tax revenue from Facebook.


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Posted by svatoid
a resident of Charleston Gardens
on Jul 20, 2010 at 10:17 am

What about the money that facebook people spend in Palo Alto? I remember when hey moved from University Avenue there was a big downturn in restaurant revenue


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Alice Smith
a resident of Green Acres
on Jul 20, 2010 at 10:53 am

I am amazed to read that anyone would have a shuttle from CA train station to Facebook. What have we come to.

And I see no reason why any shuttle has to back up anywhere. If time is of the essence, then Facebook has got it wrong. The bus should only go in one direction. Out Hansen Way to Page Mill and off to SF or wherever. But unless it is pouring rain, no shuttles to the train station.


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Posted by noisyeverywhere
a resident of Duveneck School
on Jul 20, 2010 at 10:55 am

Dear Palo Alto Council, I bought a house on near 101 and there are cars running all day and night!

Please get rid of the cars. Noise pollution is a big problem now and I shouldn't have to put up with it.

Thank you.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by svatoid
a resident of Charleston Gardens
on Jul 20, 2010 at 11:00 am

"I am amazed to read that anyone would have a shuttle from CA train station to Facebook. What have we come to. "

Why are you amazed, Alice? Do you expect people to walk from the station? Facebook is trying to encourage people to use public transportation. Stanford also provides shuttle pickup from Caltrain, as do other companies on the Peninsula.

This is getting really ridiculous--people complain about traffic, when companies address the issue, people complain about the mitigations.
Really, Alice, what about on hot, cold or rainy days--should people have to walk to and from the Caltrain station in order to satisfy your ridiculous desires?


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Posted by Anne
a resident of College Terrace
on Jul 20, 2010 at 11:11 am

Clarification on shuttle buses (for Svatoid and others). The white noisy old shuttle buses were Facebook contracted. They came with Facebook, and at the same time employees were parking on residential streets. Facebook has replaced that Vendor and now we have sleek black noisy shuttle buses with an extra route - inter campus between the two Facebook buildings. (Now the neighborhood has residential parking permits which has improved the parking situation.) Other shuttle buses - the Marguerite for example - run up and down as they always have. I am not aware that there has been any coordination between the two services. It is my understanding that Facebook has been quite responsive to neighbor concerns. There has been a dialogue and we are not just 'venting in print'. Sorry about all those who think that CT gets special privilege. What can I say!!!


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Nayeli
a resident of Midtown
on Jul 20, 2010 at 11:41 am

Holy cow! If the Facebook shuttles are giving you headaches from the "noise" and forcing you to wear earplugs -- then what about the TRAIN?!?

CalTrain runs trains (in both directions) SIX TIMES EVERY HOUR! That is three times north and three times south...every hour during the day! Even throughout the night, you can hear the trains rumble by blaring their horns as they pass by at least twice per hour!

We have grown somewhat used to it...but our guests (such as visiting family) can never sleep during the night. We have had three visitors who woke up fearing that the passing train was an earthquake!

It is hard to imagine that someone would complain about Facebook's shuttle buses when the train shakes and wakes through the middle of town ALL DAY LONG!

Yikes!


 +   Like this comment
Posted by K
a resident of Barron Park
on Jul 20, 2010 at 11:47 am

I thought they were Margarite replacements

get over it


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Posted by Nayeli
a resident of Midtown
on Jul 20, 2010 at 11:49 am

Here you go...from Toyota:

Web Link

:-P


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Posted by susan
a resident of Midtown
on Jul 20, 2010 at 11:53 am

You have to own the multiple acres around your home to not be bothered by any one else folks.
Did anyone notice the commercial property? train tracks? freeway? airport? etc were nearby when they bought their homes?

I don't like the commercial planes that go over my house. I can hear them in the evenings. Perhaps we should change the route so it bothers someone else, or better yet close the airport!
I don't like that commercial property employees park in front of my house. Let's close all businesses in the area so no employees or traffic affect our expectations of serenity!
I really hate the sound of the emergency vehicles - must be too many people doing risky things. Let's stop that too!


 +   Like this comment
Posted by svatoid
a resident of Charleston Gardens
on Jul 20, 2010 at 12:00 pm

"Sorry about all those who think that CT gets special privilege. What can I say!!"

You already said--you live in College Terrace yet you feel you do not get "special privileges".

As Common sense stated above:

* Has road barriers to prevent traffic,

* A parking permit system

* PC Zoning so that JJ&F Market can be subsidized for the neighborhood

Yet it never is enough for College Terrace--they want more and more.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Hmmm
a resident of East Palo Alto
on Jul 20, 2010 at 12:22 pm

I agree w/Sympathetic - while CT residents are pretty picky, when it comes to these shuttles, they have a legit complaint. The hours the shuttles run surprised me when I've been in CT at different hours of the day & night. I didn't know FB had a swing shift. I have seen mostly empty shuttles. At first, I thought they shuttles were empty and returning to campus for pickups to go someplace specific, like an offsite or something. Nope, I came to see that they were normal shuttle runs.

Everyone gets that the tax benefits to the city are wonderful, but it's a high price for residents to pay, esp. because most of the of residents were there long before FB, and they've had legit concerns.

I love to complain about Palo Alto NIMBYness and provincialism, but the CT residents complaints about the shuttles are valid & reasonable. It's especially noticeable now during summertime. I first noticed it in the spring & I can only imagine what it's like when one has the windows open in the evening but has to listen to that kind of traffic. Yuck!


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Posted by Wha?
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 20, 2010 at 12:25 pm

All this about making people walk - what if they have disabilities? What if it rains or is cold and windy and dark? Wow, so easy for others to recommend what they would not do themselves.

Work it out with Facebook. They are trying to do the right thing. Sounds like fewer and smaller shuttles would do the trick. Suggest they get Segways for getting between buildings - at least during the nice weather their techies would love that!

Web Link


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Posted by John
a resident of College Terrace
on Jul 20, 2010 at 12:58 pm

I am a College Terrace resident along California ave and have lived here for many years with no complaints about research park traffic. If we had moved next to the trains or the freeway or near the airport, we would expect the kind of noise level associated with the commercial location. What College Terrace residents are experiencing is quite different and justified. It is the size, noise, and frequency of the FB only shuttles (mostly with only a few passengers) that is the problem and the fact that FB employees are not using public transportation which is already available. Smaller less noisy and intrusive vehicles traveling less often will solve the problem. Given the low utilization of the private, over-sized FB shuttle service, why not? Let FB management answer that question!


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Posted by going green
a resident of College Terrace
on Jul 20, 2010 at 1:12 pm

FB is using shuttles on public roads. As much as CT residents wish CT was a closed community unfortunately it isn't. When can we close all our roads to cars? The community benefits would be enormous.


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Posted by weedremover
a resident of Charleston Gardens
on Jul 20, 2010 at 1:33 pm

I don't understand what svatoid tried to accomplish here. All what CT residents did is to retain their neighborhood as normal as it is used to be. If you're a homeowner or a resident living PA, don't you want your neighbor and surroundings to be quiet and peaceful? Why do you want to put down others who try to fight for their right?


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Posted by John
a resident of College Terrace
on Jul 20, 2010 at 1:37 pm

To: Going Green

Did the City of Palo Alto give permission to running a bus service on California Ave that runs 100-200 buses a day up and down the street? Of course, it is a public street, but we already limit certain size commercial vehicles from certain streets, and I am certain that the City would not allow a Greyhound bus depot (where buses would arrive and depart at much less frequency) to be placed on California Ave because of the impacts on the residents. Nobody is suggesting, as you suggest, closing off the CT Terrace community. The College Terrace community advocates for its neighborhood. This is as it should be.


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Posted by svatoid
a resident of Charleston Meadows
on Jul 20, 2010 at 1:49 pm

"All what CT residents did is to retain their neighborhood as normal as it is used to be."
Not sure what you consider "normal". But how long has the industrial park and Stanford been neighbors of CT? this is not some new industrial area that sprung up overnight.
CT residents are worried about traffic--Facebook listened and instituted a shuttle system. Now they are complaining about the shuttle system. Maybe they can work it out together.
as far as CT goes, they get plenty of perks from the city--they are a semi-private neighborhood with tons of traffic calming measures and permit parking--on public streets that all tax payers pay for.

"If you're a homeowner or a resident living PA, don't you want your neighbor and surroundings to be quiet and peaceful?"
That depends where you live--if you live near the Caltrain tracks then you can expect noise, for example. IF you live in CT you have an industrial area near by and have to accommodate those businesses--or should we ask them to leave PA since the CT people are upset once again.


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Posted by Hmmm - to John
a resident of East Palo Alto
on Jul 20, 2010 at 1:52 pm

You raise excellent points. It's not an easy situation to resolve because FB wants to accommodate its employees w/easy transpo, the employees don't seem to use it as much as was hoped/anticipated & the residents are left dealing w/the constant noise.

Memorial Day weekend a couple years back, a HUGE semi parked across the street from me, in a turnout. With no driver in sight, an auto refrigeration unit went off regularly, all night, all weekend. All of us in the area lost sleep. It was terrible. The noise shook our cheap windows & when the unit would come on at night, it startled people out of their sleep. It took several calls to the police to actually get a cop out who cared about this. There were some weird aspects to the whole thing, like where did the driver go? The truck was cited and when the driver returned after the long weekend, he was cited again for parking illegally. Mysteriously, the refrigeration unit turned off, so I'm sure the truck's contents - milk - were spoiled. Maybe that scofflaw driver learned his lesson. And oh, yes, he had a hard time maneuvering that giant big rig back out onto and down a narrow, windy street.

People don't take noise pollution seriously til they have to live with it. Good luck in getting the shuttle issue resolved!


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Posted by Yale-y
a resident of College Terrace
on Jul 20, 2010 at 2:14 pm

My - what vitriol when people don't have all the facts. Facebook has been trying to be a good neighbor. They first occupied an old manufacturing building at the upper end of California Ave and proceeded to put 3 times as many employees into it than the previous use. I would have thought that this would have been a "change in use" (mfg to office)that would have prompted the City to require Face Book to provide more parking at the site but the City did not consider this a change in use so adequate parking at the site is not available. The employees were parking on the residential streets and in one case actually blocking driveways and making the streets so narrow that an emergency vehicle couldn't get through if it tried. The neighborhood went to permit parking with a two hour maximum for visitors after years of asking for it due to Stanford employees and students taking up all the parking on the streets - and then Face Book moved in to add to the pressure. Permit parking came on line just in time to prevent things from getting even more heated between the "neighbors". Face Book rented another property on California Ave (perhaps the one they are now actually occupying) for the parking it provided and began to run the first set of white vans between the first occupied building and the rented parking lot as well at trips from the University Ave Cal Train station (the Bullet Train stop) to the Face Book building. Now that they are occupying another site on California Ave parking has obviously become a bigger problem for them and it seems that more shuttles have been added. Our observation is that the majority of these busses are empty or occupied by 1-3 people. Discussions continue between the CT residents and Face Book to find a solution. Routing, scheduling etc are all things that need to be worked out. And if we all keep focusing on the real issues then it will be worked out. Face Book is a good business to have in town, they spend money locally and so far have been willing to talk. If we act in good faith perhaps this will continue.


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Posted by George K.
a resident of College Terrace
on Jul 20, 2010 at 2:20 pm

I'm not sure why people caring about their homes, neighborhoods and lives seems so absurd to many of the commentators. I didn't realize there was an unspoken quota on the number of times you can try to improve your community.

Obviously, as all the wiseass comments about 101 and Caltrain illustrate, you can't move into an area with known issues and then expect the world to change for you. 101 is going to stay right where it is, and the trains are going to keep running.

But you can expect improvements when possible. Sound barriers can be installed on highways, for example. In the case of FB, these buses are a new problem. Their insane frequency is completely aimed at the convenience of FB, to the detriment of the neighborhood. I recently was over at Google and they have a fleet of distinctive bicycles so employees can easily get around the campus. FB is an innovative company--they should be eager to embrace innovative corporate solutions that help them (transportation costs, employee health insurance costs) and help their residential neighbors.


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Posted by going green
a resident of College Terrace
on Jul 20, 2010 at 2:20 pm

Buses are allowed on any public road. Check out the regulations on public transport. The Council can't stop it other than privatizing the road. That is the route we need to go.
Downtown North nearly managed to do it and their parking problems are far worse. We've gone half-way with only a single entry in the middle from either side. Just close of the few entries/exits left and we're done.


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Posted by A Friend of the Earth
a resident of College Terrace
on Jul 20, 2010 at 2:51 pm

Make all of Palo Alto car-free! Fresh air for everyone!!


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Posted by Midtown Herbie
a resident of Midtown
on Jul 20, 2010 at 2:58 pm

George K has it exactly right. The Facebook shuttles are a massive and sudden CHANGE from what was in place in College Terrace previously. Traffic along California Ave is noticeably up than before, primarily with near-empty, over-sized buses.

No one is saying Facebook is wrong is operating shuttles between their 2 sites, but rather the point is that Facebook doesn't need such large, over-sized buses. And Facebook doesn't need to run along California Avenue when Page Mill Road is right there.

Snarky cynics like "svatoid" can spew all the venom they want about College Terrace, but most everyone agrees that CT residents are in the right here. The real question is why isn't Facebook willing to listen to these very reasonable suggestions? (1) run smaller buses sized more appropriately to the number of riders, and (2) run more on Page Mill Road, instead of on California Avenue.

Can someone say why those are such bad ideas?


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Posted by Eileen Stolee
a resident of College Terrace
on Jul 20, 2010 at 3:06 pm

There are a lot of really negative comments online about the "picky" CT residents. I do not live on one of the "closed off" quiet streets you are talking about in the above post but right on California Ave. where I now get to hear screeching, belching, revving truck engines every 10 minutes. I think maybe people outside of this neighborhood do not understand the complete story here. Suggesting that we get use to the noise, as others do who live near the train and freeway, is missing the point. This is a private shuttle service for only FB workers and they are not even using it. The Screeching, XL 40+ passenger, buses could easily enter the Facebook headquarters at 1050 Page Mill Road via Page Mill instead of the back door entrance at 1117 California Ave. and the 1601 California Ave. building. No one has said anything about having Facebook stop their shuttle service. The residents most effected by all day and evening noise and congestion would just like the bus route to be adjusted so the majority of the really big, noisy buses enter and exit the Facebook headquarters on Page Mill Road. What's wrong with that? Not only are ALL the buses coming in at 1117 Cal Ave., but a majority of the FB employees, hugh delivery trucks, catering trucks, etc. Basically, almost all the traffic enters into the Facebook headquarters at 1050 Page Mill via their back door in order to avoid the two traffic lights at Hanson and Hanover. I get that workers always want the fastest and easier route and hopeful that there will be a win win solution in time. BTW, I'm a big fan of Facebook and happy they are here in Palo Alto too! I love to see the employees walking around but not the BIG shuttles.


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Posted by Disappointed Facebook User
a resident of another community
on Jul 20, 2010 at 3:09 pm

What I don't understand is why Facebook wants to waste all this money running empty buses all the time? Aren't they going public soon? Doesn't seem like the smartest business decision.


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Posted by Midtown Herbie
a resident of Midtown
on Jul 20, 2010 at 3:24 pm

I simply don't understand why Facebook is not willing to cooperate with the neighborhood association in being a good neighbor. No one appears to be asking them to stop the shuttles. Rather, just use a bus sized more appropriately to the number of passengers. And use Page Mill Road more, instead of running down California Ave. Those "asks" seems pretty innocuous to me.

It is a matter of (a) being a good neighbor, (b) saving money, and (c) being more green.


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Posted by CC
a resident of East Palo Alto
on Jul 20, 2010 at 4:14 pm

If employers and employees lived closer to their jobs and walked to work this world would be a much quieter world we live in.....


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Posted by Sympathetic
a resident of College Terrace
on Jul 20, 2010 at 4:19 pm

To Wha?, Um...COLD? In Palo Alto? You don't know the meaning of cold unless you've lived on the east. Plus, I'm 8 months pregnant with a 1 yr old...I walk my butt all over the place. We have 1 car and have only put 10,000 miles on it in 2 yrs. My husband bikes to work rain or shine.

Palo Alto has it pretty cold. We debate about raising our kids here too much longer because they would be too spoiled by the environment. Palo Alto knows no hardships when it comes to weather.


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Posted by Nick
a resident of Midtown
on Jul 20, 2010 at 4:52 pm

There is a great opportunity here for a solution that is both green and healthy, and is feasible at least down here on the flatlands. That is pedal-driven jitneys. Multiple pedalers make light work and it feels good. There can be a Prius-like option too, where an electric motor can engage on grades, or for speed-up when crossing big intersections. Very quiet, actually.


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Posted by Jeff
a resident of Downtown North
on Jul 20, 2010 at 5:01 pm

Walking the just under 1 mile from the California Ave Caltrain station to the furthest facebook building at 1601 California Ave probably only takes 20 minutes. More people need to enjoy and feel they have the time to walk. Buses every 10 minutes aren't a very good solution.


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Posted by Bikes, Segways
a resident of Greenmeadow
on Jul 20, 2010 at 5:07 pm

Just buy 30 bicycles, like Google does, and let the employees ride back and forth. Probably just as fast. What is it, a 3 minute bike ride?

Or buy 30 Segways, if more fun/coolness is required.


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Posted by Wha?
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 20, 2010 at 5:10 pm

To Sympathetic,

You certainly don't fit your moniker! Not everyone can walk even a block due to a number of conditions or disabilities. I hope you can find it in your heart to not hold all others to your own health and standards. We are all individuals.

Cold is a relative term indeed. We experience cold at a very different temperature from somewhere back east. Does it make us less cold? So Palo Alto. You should stay.

As far as Facebook not being a good neighbor, have we actually contacted them about this? If we point them to this thread, I would be willing to bet they respond and do something about the oversized buses. We can hope so.


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Posted by Midtown Herbie
a resident of Midtown
on Jul 20, 2010 at 5:33 pm

I feel the headline of this article is not correct: "Neighbors don't 'Like' Facebook shuttles". It's not that the shuttles are a bad idea, and I don't think reasonable people are actually suggesting that Facebook gets rid of them. No, forcing Facebook employees to walk to and fro is not the right answer.

Rather it is the way the shuttles are being IMPLEMENTED, which doesn't seem very analytical or business-like. If the shuttles are mostly empty, then let's get them to the right (smaller) size. Or run them less frequently. And for the sake of being sensitive to neighborhood needs, run them more on Page Mill Road than on California Avenue. Are these suggestions so unreasonable?

It's remarkable how many posters on this thread automatically have a knee-jerk reaction to equate good, decent, analytical, money-saving, "green" suggestions (to Facebook management) to be the same as whining. Obviously they are two different things altogether.


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Posted by just thinking
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 20, 2010 at 5:38 pm

What would happen if the city were to decide to block off the CA Ave entrance to Facebook, requiring all FB traffic to use the Page Mill Road entrance? Do they actually need a back entrance? It could be blocked with one of those low, emergency vehicle friendly blockades.


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Posted by spoiled baby
a resident of College Terrace
on Jul 20, 2010 at 6:46 pm

To all the people out there who think that they are not affected by the BIG BLACK FB BUSES:
they pollute your air too, they pound city streets and you will have to pay for repairs.
FB acting like a spoiled child - " We will have it because we want it". Money of course is not a problem for them. City can't really do anything because it doesn't have an ordinance to control shuttle buses. I think it should have it plus a hefty permit fee. No, these buses are not avaible to public at all.


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Posted by going green
a resident of College Terrace
on Jul 20, 2010 at 6:50 pm

"What would happen if the city were to decide to block off the CA Ave entrance to Facebook, requiring all FB traffic to use the Page Mill Road entrance? Do they actually need a back entrance? It could be blocked with one of those low, emergency vehicle friendly blockades."

This is what I've been saying all along! We need to block CT to all traffic and that includes California & Stanford Avenue. We're nearly there. It will only take a few more closed roads to accomplish.


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Posted by svatoid
a resident of Charleston Gardens
on Jul 20, 2010 at 7:06 pm

"Snarky cynics like "svatoid" can spew all the venom they want about College Terrace, but most everyone agrees that CT residents are in the right here. "
My, my, my Herbie--just because I do not believe that things are as bad in CT as people say and/or becasue I question how the city gives CT everything they want, I am spewing venom? Seems the kettle is calling the pot black.
Who is this "mist everyone" you speak about? Have you some polling data?

"The real question is why isn't Facebook willing to listen to these very reasonable suggestions?"
The real question is why do you assume that Facebook is not willing to listen. Seems like you buy the CT story of damage, destruction and woe, hook line and sinker. Has anyone actually looked to see what is really going on? Or is this once again an example of CT always being right when they complain?


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Posted by Josh
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Jul 20, 2010 at 9:07 pm

Anyone who has actually bothered to spend time walking along California Ave will easily notice the Facebook buses are quite frequent and mostly empty. I work in one of the medium-sized law firms along Cal Ave and the big black buses have really picked up over the past 2 months. I really feel for the residents who live along that street.

Some people who posted comments above seem to be truly mean-spirited. Why is it so hard to embrace (or at least try for a few weeks) the simple solutions suggested here? Why is it necessary to go off and attack College Terrace residents indiscriminately? After all, they not suggesting that the FB buses stop, but just that they be managed more effectively. You don't have to take their word for it; just walk along Cal Ave for 10 minutes any week day. It is as plain as pudding that these buses are simply wasteful.

Besides, it's obvious Facebook isn't responding to any of these suggestions, otherwise this brouhaha wouldn't have boiled over into the local newspaper.


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Posted by George
a resident of Midtown
on Jul 20, 2010 at 9:36 pm

The buses are hideous. They look like large hearses.
I wonder whether the management of Facebook is young and dumb and very rich. The frequency of the buses and their emptiness means that the management isn't paying attention. They solved a problem by throwing money at it, without much judgement.
Need some grownups here.


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Posted by unbelieveable
a resident of Adobe-Meadows
on Jul 20, 2010 at 10:07 pm

Nah, College Terrace residents don't complain....

"College Terrace residents starving for parking spaces in their bustling Palo Alto neighborhood may soon see the gridlock ease along their neighborhood curbs." Web Link
"After enduring eight months of underground construction, some frustrated College Terrace residents have submitted a petition criticizing the city and its contractors for inefficiency and unnecessarily disrupting neighborhood life." Web Link
"Ok so over the last year public works has put in several roundabouts on College Avenue with the hope to slow down traffic. In doing so they reversed the direction of the two-way stop at College and Columbia. Most recently they removed the roundabout at College and Hanover and changed the direction of the two-way stop at College and Columbia back to the way it was! Despite all of this it hasn't worked to slow traffic. Add to that people almost never stop at the stop sign at College and Columbia. At least 10 times a day (well evenings) I see people slow, look and then just run the stop sign." Web Link
"Keeping the cars away: Relieved College Terrace neighborhood residents have won a concession from Stanford University over housing developments that are planned along Stanford Avenue." Web Link

I could go on and on and on but then I'd just be like, well, everyone in CT!


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Posted by Pele
a resident of College Terrace
on Jul 20, 2010 at 10:14 pm

Facebook has already shown it could give a hoot about your privacy. What makes anyone think they could give a hoot about your neighborhood. Open your eyes and stop acting like Palo Altans.


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Posted by enough tech already
a resident of Professorville
on Jul 21, 2010 at 6:07 am

First, Facebook is such a cheesy product. Meet people in person or call them. Better yet meet face-to-face. What a concept! Besides that, FB needs to move to those abandoned car dealerships on the El Camino in Menlo park near Tesla and Safeway. The company is too big for Palo Alto neighborhoods.


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Posted by dad
a resident of Midtown
on Jul 21, 2010 at 6:18 am

Maybe if you friend them and post pictures of yourself gripping a red party cup, FB will listen. But will they accept you as a friend? Stick by your computer all day, absorbed by your friend-making and pithy comments and you won't even hear the black hearses shuttling 20 something Aisian-American employees.


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Posted by svatoid
a resident of Charleston Gardens
on Jul 21, 2010 at 7:19 am

Some interesting comments here. Some people are making it sound like Facebook is not aware of the issue and or ignoring it, even though the article states:

"Facebook has been seeking solutions, company spokesman Larry Yu said Monday. It removed a bus staging area from behind 975 California and reduced the number of buses exiting onto California Avenue. The route was changed so buses would not run along the lower part of California Avenue and El Camino Real."

Facebook is looking at the size of the shuttles and for ways to further decrease the impact, he said. He acknowledged a shuttle does run after midnight to the Caltrain station as a way to encourage workers who want to work late and to reduce traffic."

Then we have comments from enough tech already:
" Besides that, FB needs to move to those abandoned car dealerships on the El Camino in Menlo park near Tesla and Safeway. The company is too big for Palo Alto neighborhoods."
Facebook moved into existing buildings--so those buildings were once occupied by other companies. Maybe Palo Alto needs to decide if it wants companies within it's borders and what comes with it.

And comments by dad:
"you won't even hear the black hearses shuttling 20 something Aisian-American employees."
Since they are black some posters have taken to calling them hearses. The fact they look nothing like a hearse is irrelevant to these parrots. And what does the "fact" that the employees are asian-American have to do with anything?


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Posted by Mitchy
a resident of College Terrace
on Jul 21, 2010 at 10:42 am

I love having Facebook in my neighborhood! California Ave is a much brighter place for it, and FB was generous and inviting when they first moved in. I am embarassed by my "neighbors", especially those who termed their own little enclave the "upper terrace". They are small-minded and whiny. Let's ask FB to reduce the number of buses, and try to use the size appropriate to the demand.


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Posted by Hmmm
a resident of East Palo Alto
on Jul 21, 2010 at 11:08 am

This doesn't have to do with east coast weather, riding bikes, worried about spoiling kids, the ethnic background of the FB employees or their ages. Read Eileen's post. This is about noise pollution and secondarily, air pollution in that neighborhood. No one moves into a neighborhood expecting a major company to then move in & run buses all the time on their street. CT might have their NIMBYness, they might have a snooty rep, but that shouldn't detract from what is a real issue. Where I live, we are subjected to the noise of traffic, incl a free shuttle. But at least it's a free shuttle which serves the community. There is that annoying noise from those bell ringing ice cream carts & that awful horn honking cart that sells God knows what. I don't want my neighborhood turning into a street in Mexico, as that's not why I moved here & these latter 2 things detract from quality of life. That's what matters - when peoples' quality of life is suddenly reduced by something that either is for just a few, or can easily be improved, as this shuttle situation.

I like that Eileen's comments are balanced, based on her observations. I have been an employee who finds the alternate route so as not to be caught at traffic lights. But for the shuttle buses, catering trucks & other delivery vehicles, which are noisier & larger, to also use the back route, they're really contributing to the problem.

Honestly, last week when I was on Calif Ave near FB, my thought was "Oh, wait til a pedestrian gets hit, & maybe then they'll do something about all this unnecessary traffic." I really hope that FB comes up w/a decent solution to this.


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Posted by Julie
a resident of Charleston Meadows
on Jul 21, 2010 at 11:54 am

Going Green says: "What would happen if the city were to decide to block off the CA Ave entrance to Facebook, requiring all FB traffic to use the Page Mill Road entrance? Do they actually need a back entrance?"

Yes, they do need both entrances. The Fire Marshall requires two entrances to get in and out of buildings in case one is blocked by fire. It is a Fire Department requirement.


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Posted by going green
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jul 21, 2010 at 1:25 pm

Julie, that was a quote from "Just Thinking". Though I agree with his sentiment and you can block roads to all but emergency vehicles. If we can close California & Stanford avenue to all traffic except emergency vehicles, everyone would be happy.


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Posted by Eileen Stolee
a resident of College Terrace
on Jul 21, 2010 at 5:08 pm

In response to the above post from Mitchy, resident of College Terrace. If you read the article and really understood it you would not be so "embarrassed" for your neighbors who live on California Avenue. I live right across from the driveway where the constant screeching and belching buses go in every 5 - 7 minutes. (That's over 200 buses in a 12 hour period) It's not in the "Upper Terrace" either. If you ever came to a neighborhood meeting you would realize that we have been communicating with FB already. You are a bit late in your suggestions I'm afraid. Hey, get involved before you make mean spirited comments about your neighbors and try and spend more time on California. Best time is 9AM - 12PM or 5PM - 8PM!


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Posted by robit noops
a resident of Greenmeadow
on Jul 21, 2010 at 5:45 pm

They should be running a few of those stretched Hummer limos instead of busses.


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Posted by Watching TV
a resident of Green Acres
on Jul 21, 2010 at 6:12 pm

Well, Facebook neighbors you should be proud, your street was shown on ABC news tonight as they featured an interview with Facebook's founder.

You all live on a very nice street, I saw it on TV!!!


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Posted by unbelieveable
a resident of Adobe-Meadows
on Jul 21, 2010 at 7:30 pm

Nice post, Eileen. I love the "inclusiveness" your showing in the CT neighborhood association. "If you're not for us, then GET OUT!"
I bet you even only post flyers "to include a well-defined area where residents share common interest". Web Link CT and DTN have so much in common!


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Posted by mj
a resident of College Terrace
on Jul 21, 2010 at 7:40 pm

Stanford University developed their lands adjacent to California Avenue as the "Stanford Research Park." It was never considered an "industrial park." Look at a map. Until now the density of workers in the Stanford Research Park labs has been much lower.

Stanford University is now changing it's tenant mix. First came law firms a few years ago with their greatly increased density of use. Now Stanford is going after companies like Facebook.

This is exciting, but there also needs to be recognition that this type of tenant uses space in a very different way than previous tenants. Their productivity model requires having as many employees as possible working collaboratively in very close quarters. So suddenly the Stanford Research Park is experiencing a huge and unprecedented influx of employees. The original three or four hundred Facebook employees slated to move into their new building swelled to several hundred more by the time they moved in, and has continued to rapidly increase, with predictions that this expansion will continue.

From the day Facebook moved in the neighborhood association has worked with Facebook and the Palo Alto Planning Department, including a representative from the Stanford University leasing department. The Planning Department asked Facebook to provide shuttle buses, which they did. Since these were smelly, large, noisy white shuttle buses, Facebook graciously agreed to eliminate the smelly buses. So now we have even larger and noisier black shuttle buses. However, although Facebook has not shared their ridership data yet, they are mostly empty. So why not substitute minivans instead, at least for the low use periods? Minivans would not only be far less intrusive, they have the added advantage of easily making the turns at the Page Mill traffic lights which the buses avoided, preferring to use California Avenue instead.

There have been some comments about the "revenue" Facebook employees generate for local restaurants. Those commentators must not know that Facebook provides their employees with their own restaurant providing a non-stop supply of free (and delicious) food for its employees, which much reduces their need to leave their offices. So yes and no on that one.

Others comment on revenue for the city. First, unless a Stanford Research Park tenant is selling something directly from that office or lab that generates a sales tax, there IS NO revenue for the city. Second, as has already been mentioned, Stanford University property taxes go to the county.

So from Facebook (and just about all companies) in the Stanford Research Park we have zero revenue for Palo Alto. Only a small amount of sales tax if employees patronize our local restaurants or (limited and inconvenient) shops during their lunch hour.

But how's this for a bonus? Palo Alto is required by the State of California to build ever more housing units with each additional employee Facebook adds to its workforce in the Stanford Research Park.


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Posted by Get rid of facebook
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 21, 2010 at 8:21 pm

So the solution, mj, is too drive facebook from palo alto. In fact all the companies in that area should be asked to leave town. That way the prima donnas in CT will not have to complain ( at least for a day or two until something else disturbs them).


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Posted by Cindy
a resident of Downtown North
on Jul 21, 2010 at 9:24 pm

Facebook needs to leave. Its owner needs to break his umbilical cord with Stanford. His product is so adolescent. So LA. Why do people facebook in the first place? I refuse to drink their big brother Koolaid. When they were on University Ave. they were a problem, driving up rents. They are too big a company and their product not noble enough for our fair city.


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Posted by mj
a resident of College Terrace
on Jul 22, 2010 at 1:43 am

to "get rid of Facebook"

Not advocating that Facebook should leave. I'm not disputing that Stanford has a right to lease it's property. But don't let's get all starry-eyed about all this imaginary revenue to the city coffers, or think there are no costs to the city. But I do think it is reasonable to require that if future Stanford Research Park tenants want to accommodate much larger numbers of employees than previous occupants, the issue of traffic be addressed. .

This is also a good time to get serious about constructing the "spine road" that Stanford has said over the years it would consider. Even though completion might take a many years, just think if this had been started when the idea first surfaced years ago. There might not even be the problem of all this extra traffic along our neighborhood section of California Avenue.


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Posted by Eileen
a resident of College Terrace
on Jul 22, 2010 at 8:50 am

No one is wanting Facebook to leave the Industrial Park. Just the screeching and breaking buses! Simple solution; big buses on Page Mill, small buses on California, residents happy again.


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Posted by Get over it!
a resident of Barron Park
on Jul 22, 2010 at 9:02 am

"Not advocating that Facebook should leave. I'm not disputing that Stanford has a right to lease it's property."
Why?
This is just sour grapes. You bought your house when the industrial park was half-full and now you're complaining that activity has picked up. Lesson learned. You'll know better next time.


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Posted by Tired of CT complaints
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 22, 2010 at 9:08 am

"Just the screeching and breaking buses! "

This sounds like another typical PA overexaggeration. The issue of traffic and the amount have been over exaggerated by those that think our city is still some small village from 100 years ago.
The residents of College Terrace are even more prone to overexaggeration and complaining. They complain when the streets were being fixed to accomadate them, they complain about traffic, they complain about JJ&F. The list of their "grievances" goes on and on.
We need to study exactly how much noise the buses make and how often. I would not take anything that a CT resident tells me to be the facts.
If Facebook would not be running these buses they would be complaining about car traffic. If the Facebook people would start riding bikes, the CT residents would be complaining about too many bikes on the street.
There is no end to selfishness of the self-centered CT residents. Unfortunately the city has been giving whatever they want instead of telling them to grow up.


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Posted by Grandma
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 22, 2010 at 9:47 am

I always thought CT stood for Children's Theater, but I was wrong it stands for College Terrace. Now I think it stands for childish tantrums!!!


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Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 22, 2010 at 12:03 pm

For those who think facebook is not worthy of our city, or encourages people to sit on computers more rather than have face to face friendships, then you are missing the point.

Facebook is a wonderful tool for keeping in touch with family and far flung friends on a regular basis as opposed to the once a year visit or Christmas card. It is also an incredible way of finding people who were close friends many years ago and renewing that friendship. In the past year, I have reestablished friendships with people I had lost contact with many years ago and have actually been able to meet up with them again. I am also in touch with cousins and neices that I only previously knew as children and it has been great to get to know them as adults even though the likelihood of meeting them again is low. I am a
lso able to keep updated with closer family members, looking at their pictures, playing scrabble type games, and keeping up to date with their kids' activities.

Don't knock something until you have tried it.


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Posted by jb
a resident of Leland Manor/Garland Drive
on Jul 22, 2010 at 12:33 pm

Gee, what is with all the scornful, bitter comments? Are you feeling you don't have ways to attend your own complaints about life?

In the thirty years I have lived here, College Terrace has been ground zero for a number of offences. If none of them had been attended to, that neighborhood would be a bare dirt expanse with a few weeds around the edges, as impatient drivers turned it into a race track and short-cut to work in the industrial park, as children were hit by said drivers, as a rapist broke into several homes, as their street parking disappeared to Stanford employees who didn't want to pay for Stanford parking permits, as their street parking disappeared to Facebook employees who didn't want to park in the offsite parking they were provided.

If you think a space or two on the street are not important, you have never lived in a house that needed repairs, where you couldn't entertain, where streets were never swept because of the glut of parked cars, where passage was obstructed by the people who thought they should try to double-park for the (hoped) short time their business would take.

College Terrace used to be a quiet,neighborhood of tiny lots occupied by tiny housing that was mostly student rentals. Very few lots to this day have more than one space at their curbs. I myself live at a corner with a stop sign, and in the open-window seasons we can't hear radio or TV or talk at the dining table on Friday and Saturday nights because of the noise of cars stopping at the sign.

Show some understanding and courtesy, guys.


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Posted by svatoid
a resident of Charleston Gardens
on Jul 22, 2010 at 12:53 pm

"as their street parking disappeared"

the street parking was never "theirs"--it was and still is a public street and therefore it was available to parking by anyone.

"because of the noise of cars stopping at the sign."
Let's see, you buy a house at a busy corner and then complain about traffic stopping. BTW, how much noise do cars make these days? I did not think it was that much.


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Posted by John
a resident of College Terrace
on Jul 22, 2010 at 2:37 pm

I have lived in College Terrace for over 30 years. It has an interesting dynamic and a mix of people who don't always, or even usually, agree on a given subject. For example, my pet peeve is that Escondido school was taken over by the Spanish Immersion crowd, and our neighborhood school was turned into mega-school. My next door neighbor thinks neighborhood schools are an anachronism. Another issue for me is the traffic issue. When I first bought my home here, there were very few families, because the cut-through traffic would end up killing any kids/adults/pets who were foolish enough to wander into the streets. Due to some very foreward-thinking people, CT is now a real neighborhood, where kids and pets and adults have a suviveable chance of crossing the street, and even an occasional chance of enjoying the street in front of their homes. Some of the CT critics, who live in post-WWII south PA, with all their mazes of impeneratable cul-de-sacs, and next-to-nothing traffic issues, feel free to fling arrows at us in CT. If they think we CT residents, as diverse and opinionated as we are, are going to slink away in fear, because of their attacks, then I think they should think Alamo and Texas. Won't happen.

Now to some rational analysis of the Facebook traffic issues. Stanford Industrial Park, evnetually named the Stanford Research Park, has been a major economic boon to our city. Many of us have been employed there, including myself, and it is a wonderful resource that many cities would die for. It needs to be protected and celebrated. This does not mean that traffic issues should not be considered, they should. However, some in my neighborhood complained when the Mayfield deal was done, which created the playing fields at Page Mill and El Camino, in return for a housing element on upper California Ave. They said the housing will create new traffic, forgeting that a busy Research Park business also creates traffic. I wonder if they are now eagerly awaiting the housing element, which will displace the Facebook building, because the housing will improve the traffic situation? It will always be a compromise.


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Posted by WilliamR
a resident of Fairmeadow
on Jul 22, 2010 at 2:56 pm

Facebook is just the latest incarnation of a dot-com scam, and it will collapse soon enough. Its only purpose is to mine personal data and sell it to advertisers. 'Connecting with friends' is just a marketing ploy to con people into surrendering their privacy.


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Posted by Hmmm
a resident of East Palo Alto
on Jul 22, 2010 at 2:58 pm

For those who think CT is whining unnecessarily, perhaps you should spend a chunk of time on Calif Ave. Try late afternoon/evening like I have. See how much you like the backup beeping and repeated sound of running buses. Homes are supposed to be a sanctuary. The outside noise can't be perfectly controlled, but what's going on w/the FB buses is unnecessarily intrusive, loud, polluting w/noise and emissions.


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Posted by mj
a resident of College Terrace
on Jul 22, 2010 at 3:15 pm

to Get Over It

Why do you assume I bought my house when the Research Park was half full? Did I say that? No. I have been here for almost 40 years and was certainly not half full for most of those years. Takes away your credibility when making up facts to justify an opinion.

to Tired of CT complaints.

I'm not impacted by the buses, but the braking sounds are awful as they try to negotiate the turn into the excess parking lot, often reversing back and then forward to get around the turn. You can't have an opinion if you haven't heard it!

Perhaps if these large buses had occupants it might make sense, but not when they are mostly empty. So why not have minivans instead, except for the times of day the larger buses are needed?


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Posted by mj
a resident of College Terrace
on Jul 22, 2010 at 3:15 pm

to Get Over It

Why do you assume I bought my house when the Research Park was half full? Did I say that? No. I have been here for almost 40 years and was certainly not half full for most of those years. Takes away your credibility when making up facts to justify an opinion.

to Tired of CT complaints.

I'm not impacted by the buses, but the braking sounds are awful as they try to negotiate the turn into the excess parking lot, often reversing back and then forward to get around the turn. You can't have an opinion if you haven't heard it!

Perhaps if these large buses had occupants it might make sense, but not when they are mostly empty. So why not have minivans instead, except for the times of day the larger buses are needed?


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Posted by Eileen
a resident of College Terrace
on Jul 22, 2010 at 4:02 pm

Thanks mj for trying to explain the situation. I live right where the overflow traffic is at 1117 and unfortunately have to hear the constant day and night braking and screeching of buses. I have happily lived for over 25 years across from Stanford Industrial Park with no complaints about the traffic. I'm happy FB is there and like all the energy of the employees. Private oversized shuttles for one company that only FB can use and do not enter at their own entrance on Page Mill is another thing altogether. I believe FB wants to do the right thing and re-route the super large (40+ passenger and 28 passenger, mostly empty) shuttles onto Page Mill.


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Posted by just thinking
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 22, 2010 at 4:25 pm

I'm curious, Eileen, what WOULD happen if the city were to close off the back entrance except for emergency vehicles? Can Facebook get by with only the use of their front entrance? Does the back driveway serve other buildings or businesses? Is it used for deliveries which, for whatever reason, cannot be conducted via the front entrance? Is there a back parking lot which cannot be accessed from the front?

I'm just trying to figure out if this seemingly simple solution is a viable one, and what the repurcussions might be.


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Posted by Eileen
a resident of College Terrace
on Jul 22, 2010 at 5:30 pm

"Just thinking" who posted above. The solution I suggested above never talked about closing the back entrance at 1117 California to all cars and delivery trucks. This is not possible. I'm just suggesting that the oversize buses that come every 5 minutes can come in from Page Mill which would help stop some of the horrible screeching and braking day and night. Is that too much to ask? Again, of course I can't expect that driveway to close but, remember, it is a shared driveway, with a law office, and not a street.


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Posted by just thinking
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 22, 2010 at 5:47 pm

Eileen, thanks for replying. I realize that this isn't part of your 'ask'. I suggested this as a potential solution earlier, but didn't get a response on its viability. I'm trying to figure out what, exactly, the repurcussions are to closing the back driveway. I'm not looking for a debate on its merits; I'm just trying to become informed on how that back driveway is being used. I've learned one new thing: the driveway is shared with a law office. Do they also have access to the front entrance? Could you elaborate on why "it's not possible"?


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Posted by svatoid
a resident of Charleston Gardens
on Jul 22, 2010 at 6:01 pm

Let me ask this--has CT residents approached Facebook? What has been their response? I would like to know exactly what CT residents want and what has been facebook's response.
What would make CT residents happy? Seems to me that Facebook needs to tweak the way it runs it's shuttles--after all these shuttles were putin place because of CT complaints about too many cars.
Also, what was traffic like 10 years ago during the dot-com boom in that area? Doesn;t Palo Alto benefit from the area were Facebook is being full of tenants and in use? Or would some people like that area to be sitting empty--kind of like a giant Alma/Edgewood Plaza?


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Posted by Eileen
a resident of College Terrace
on Jul 22, 2010 at 6:12 pm

Hi, Just Thinking. Yes, it could be possible to separate the driveway in half and was brought up at a neighborhood meeting with FB and the city and went nowhere. 1117 California is a law office and that driveway goes all the way to Page Mill Road and to the front entrance of Facebook. The driveway was shared between Beckman (before Facebook) and the office on California Avenue. Since Facebook arrived down this end of California Ave., the driveway is being used as FB's entrance by employees, ALL delivery trucks, big and small, gigantic catering trucks and now noisy shuttles that have trouble making the turn and who come screeching and belching every 5 - 10 minutes all day and night. I just would like the biggest and nosiest trucks and buses to please come in the main Facebook entrance on Page Mill. BTW, the law office employees are not too happy about sharing the driveway with these buses either.


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Posted by Get over it!
a resident of Barron Park
on Jul 22, 2010 at 7:33 pm

Actually, mj, you pretty much tick ALL the boxes of my opinion of a CT resident. Right down to the expectation that everyone else but you should pay for it.


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Posted by Josh
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Jul 22, 2010 at 7:53 pm

The tone of this particular discussion board is really awful. What is with the bitter, scornful comments? Why do you feel it is necessary to address your Palo Alto neighbors that way? Some very reasonable suggestions have been posted.... namely:

1. Come to Cal Ave and listen for yourself if you think the problem is "being exaggerated" by CT residents. I don't even live there and it is OBVIOUS from a 10 min stroll that the problem is pretty bad.

2. Can Facebook use shuttles sized more appropriately to demand?

3. Can Facebook run more along Page Mill Road rather than Cal Ave.

4. At least try it for 30 days. The current way is so wasteful, not environmentally green, and is not neighborly.

Really, why the need to attack and jeer? Does doing so make you feel superior about yourself?

I would like to suggest to the Town Hall Forum moderaters that everyone should their real name when posting. Maybe some civility will return to this dialogue.


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Posted by mj
a resident of College Terrace
on Jul 22, 2010 at 8:17 pm

What is it exactly that "Get over it" believes I believe that everyone else but me should pay for?


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Posted by Get over it!
a resident of Barron Park
on Jul 22, 2010 at 8:35 pm

mj, how much does a traffic study cost and who paid for it? how much did the blockades cost and who paid for it? how much did the traffic circles cost and who paid for it? how much did the parking permit cost and who pays for it? how much do shuttles cost and who pays for it?


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Posted by Eileen
a resident of College Terrace
on Jul 22, 2010 at 9:53 pm

"Get over it" above. Do you have a real name? Afraid to use it? To answer your questions.
1. traffic study? Paid for by Stanford because of the Mayfield Housing Project. Remember when the city of Palo Alto got a beautiful new soccer field on Page Mill and El Camino for $1.00 a year for 51 years? Yes, in exchange for that College Terrace will have 250 housing units where Facebook 1 building is on California and Amherst. Sorry to disappoint you but your tax dollars did not pay for that. 2. Blockades? Sorry, Stanford paid for that too. 3. Traffic circles? Yes, all part of the traffic calming budget from Stanford. 4. Shuttles? All paid for by Facebook.


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Posted by Eileen
a resident of College Terrace
on Jul 22, 2010 at 10:04 pm

"get over it". Oh, I left out parking permits. Sorry, but you lose once again. The residents of College Terrace pay for that!


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Posted by Hmmm
a resident of East Palo Alto
on Jul 22, 2010 at 10:12 pm

It's unfortunate that too many assumptions readers here are making about this problem are getting in the way of really understanding what's going on. It's analogous to the noise pollution getting in the way of the CT residents peace of mind in their homes.

Eileen and everyone else here who lives in CT, I hope this article helps get the situation resolved rapidly. It really cuts into your quality of life. Noise pollution is very disrupting & invasive.


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Posted by Eileen
a resident of College Terrace
on Jul 22, 2010 at 10:32 pm

Hmmm, thank you for your neighborly post.


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Posted by Get over it!
a resident of Barron Park
on Jul 22, 2010 at 10:41 pm

So, mj, re-read your post, just how much did CT residents pay for all your traffic calming measures? You seem perfectly happy to spend other peoples money!

The only thing you believe you paid for are the parking permits. However, Stanford paid part of the start-up costs and the city picked up the rest. In 2001, starting a parking permit program in Downtown North was estimated to cost $1 million, with an annual maintenance cost of $800,000. You believe your few resident low-cost resident permit costs are going to cover $800,000 annual running costs!

You really are still living in the past. CT's trying mightily hard to deny it but there are a few more cars and people around today than 40 years ago.


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Posted by Fred Balin
a resident of College Terrace
on Jul 22, 2010 at 10:45 pm

Earlier today, John, a resident of the College Terrace neighborhood wrote:
". some in my neighborhood complained when the Mayfield deal was done, which created the playing fields at Page Mill and El Camino, in return for a housing element on upper California Ave. They said the housing will create new traffic, forgeting that a busy Research Park business also creates traffic. I wonder if they are now eagerly awaiting the housing element, which will displace the Facebook building, because the housing will improve the traffic situation? It will always be a compromise."

Hi John,

As I'm sure you know, I and many others in the neighborhood were involved in the process to respond to the traffic impacts from the Mayfield Development Agreement that included a minimum of 185 units of housing within 17 acres of Research Park west of Hanover Street and with no requirements for access to the site except via California Avenue.

As the Planning Director points out in the article, building plans for those units must be submitted by the end of 2013.

The first Facebook Research Park site at 1601 California Avenue covers half of that acreage. For decades it was occupied by HP for pilot manufacturing. Pure R&D. A scientist at a desk, and with a work area elsewhere for testing. 250 employees. Adequate parking.

I live on California Avenue and accepted commute-time congestion in the height of the dot-com years. But I never expected that the city would permit a company to gut the HP building and allow a retrofit -- not with offices, not with cubicles, but with card tables --and allow 950 workers, almost quadruple the previous capacity.

Yes, the nature of the Research Park has changed over the years. We see more law offices, financial firms, and software companies, in addition to biotech and traditional R&D. But the parameters for these newer uses was thoroughly discussed and planned for via a formal zoning update process 5 years ago.

The city says they can do little or nothing because on-site parking is based on square footage not occupancy. This is a sad and incorrect response to severe impacts on the neighborhood.

The Facebook expansion to, and retrofit of, 1050 Page Mill Road, extends this problem. Adding some parking at empty sites in Research Park is not a sustainable solution. And the absurd, recently-added element of offering private, on-demand, morning, noon, and night shuttles to predominantly young people to traverse 0.4 of a mile between facilities and down neighborhood streets while refusing to exit via Hanover Street can most favorably be described as insensitive.

During the Mayfield process and for the past 10 years, residents of College Terrace and the CTRA Board have pressed for the development of alternate transportation paths within the Research Park "superblocks" adjacent to College Terrace. These include a "spine route" at mid-block parallel to California Avenue and Page Mill Road and access to and from Page Mill Road to the properties on California Avenue west of Hanover Street. The response to date has been lip service and excuses.

In a letter to the neighborhood at the time of the Mayfield agreement, Stanford pledged to work with College Terrace on transportation issues related to the housing. Now would be a good time to start, both as an integral part of a solution to the current Facebook impacts and to those of the dense housing that will follow.


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Posted by Eileen
a resident of College Terrace
on Jul 22, 2010 at 10:51 pm

Now I know why I rarely post online! Some people here have such pent up anger....


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Posted by mj
a resident of College Terrace
on Jul 22, 2010 at 10:52 pm

Those shuttle buses must be costing Facebook quite a lot. Providing a commuter bus from San Francisco, and meeting the trains at both the stations, plus a shuttle bus between the two Facebook two buildings (one at the top of California Avenue and the other further down on Page Mill Road) is a nice service for the Facebook employees. And on rainy days I imagine employees using the train particularly appreciate the shuttle. Encouraging use of public transportation to get to work makes everyone feel virtuous these days.

To those who wonder what is all the to do with College Terrace and traffic, here's my understanding:

The barriers:

The blocked off streets date back to 1975 when Hanover Street was becoming a speedway between Page Mill Road and the campus after 280 opened. Also increased traffic cutting through the terrace to avoid traffic lights. There is an elementary school right at the end of Hanover, and in those days no traffic light. The barriers must have been paid for by the city. They are pretty basic and only the one at Hanover and California has planters for two trees. At the time I was quite annoyed at the inconvenience of having to zig zag through the terrace!

The traffic study:

The original traffic study budget dates to 1999 when Stanford applied to the county for renewal of their general use permit (GUP). This occurs, I believe, once a decade. (If I'm getting this wrong, someone please correct me.) In any case, Stanford negotiates with the county every ten years about how much more of the campus will be set aside for new buildings during the next ten years. In order to get the county's permission for all the planned expansion to the core campus, Stanford is required to mitigate the traffic impacts. That's why there are shuttle buses around campus, to the train stations, limiting parking on campus, paying employees not to drive, encouraging public transport, etc. etc. Part of the county's permission to Stanford to increase development was a requirement that money be set aside to address the traffic impact on nearby neighborhoods.

Since College Terrace is the neighborhood most directly affected by traffic coming to and from the campus, this was what the money was directed at. Traffic planning comes under the Palo Alto Planning Department. I remember the city also engaged traffic consultants. In addition, many residents volunteered huge amounts of time to monitor the traffic and help put the data together. Fortunately we had several residents who were experts in traffic studies. The actual traffic planning and decisions are made centrally by the Planning Department. and of course conform to the overall city guidelines. (For instance, no additional stop signs were allowed, and for many years the city had a prohibition against installing speed bumps or traffic tables.) Eventually the city traffic engineers came up with several alternatives "packages" for slowing College Terrace traffic. Residents got to vote which "package" they preferred, and this was taken under advisement by the Planning Department. Over the years there has been a complete turnover of city traffic engineers and staff reductions too I think. In any case, this has all proceeded at a glacial pace, and is still not finished.

The parking permit program:

The Parking Permit Program in College Terrace is no different than that which almost every other Californian neighborhood adjacent to a college or university has. There is data to support this. The program is required to be revenue neutral and is paid for by the cost of the parking permits residents must buy to park on the street between 8-5, plus parking ticket fines. I have heard that the revenue generated this first year was less than expected, so we will probably be required to pay a lot more for our permits next year. I believe the cost of the traffic monitor vehicle was paid for by what remained of the traffic study/mitigation money, and it now belongs to the city.






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Posted by mj
a resident of College Terrace
on Jul 22, 2010 at 11:11 pm

PS Does anyone have figures on how much the College Terrace parking permit program start up costs were?

Perhaps the city inflated the Downtown North estimates because they didn't want to do it. It's also a much larger neighborhood and probably required more personnel and vehicles to monitor. As I recall traffic planning for Downtown North was a bit of a fiasco as the neighborhood couldn't get its act together!


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Posted by neighbor
a resident of another community
on Jul 23, 2010 at 9:32 am

Are you going to ban the disabled transit minibus? It makes long stops and runs the motor so it can operate its wheelchair lift. How about the Trash Collection trucks? Really noisy. The Milkman? (we still have a Milkman in our neighborhood and his truck is loud, so what?)? Are those airport shuttles disturbing you too?

And FYI... Do you see that just a few days ago you were so HAPPY to have a South Bay computer company relocate to your town, and no one questioned if they were going to operate commuting vehicles? (It seems like you just like their business model better than Facebook's)

This whole CT thread is "so Palo Alto" - A frenzy of self-centered outrage. It's the "Chicken Little syndrome"over and over again. How can supposedly smart folks be so irrational and smug?

There are actually important and challenging issues in PA -- like crime, high rentals forcing your economic base to leave, etc. Why don't the editors write about these? Because they love the outrage that their selected news foments.

But there is a cost to PA from this ongoing negativity. Why would anyone want to come here to shop and eat, when the atmosphere is getting so hostile? Palo Alto does not FEEL like a good/healthy community, and articles like this on PaloAltoOnline are not helping.

You supposedly have a lot of smart residents....Are there are serious issues in the town that could generate thoughtful and meaningful debate (not to mention issues in the region, state, country and world)?

Let's move this website onto more substantive issues.


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Posted by tired
a resident of Menlo Park
on Jul 23, 2010 at 10:34 am

I feel sorry for the CT residents, but up to a point only. They did not fight hard enough to have the VTA 88 stay the way it was. Maybe they could try to get that bus back and end the absurdity of the 89 bus only running one way in the morning and the other way at night period. What does run all the time is the FB shuttles which I was not allowed to GET ON when I made a mistake about when the last 89 bus was (further cutbacks by VTA). Let FB use Page Mill and bring back 88s every half hour, Saturday as well.


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Posted by MJM
a resident of Los Altos Hills
on Jul 23, 2010 at 11:45 am

I used to work at Alza when it was on Hanover, and Califonia and Page Mill--4 buildings spread out. The only real "trek" was from Ca Ave to Page Mill. But it was a good break in the day--and no one had to make the trek every day--maybe once a week for a meeting--you'd grab a cup of coffee and use the walk as a break--10 minutes max.

I can see why Facebook would have the shuttles going from the train station to their buildings--a nice motivator to use public transit and could time it to the train schedules. But having a shuttle to go between 2 buidlings is excessive. SAP has buidings off of Deer Creek and Hillview and runs a couple of maxi golf type carts (holds 4 people comfortably with plastic zippered coverings for bad waeather) to shuttle people back and forth--looks like it runs on demand and also looks like it is electric and it is quiet. Some combination of vehicles would make more sense. CT should keep talking to Facebook and I am sure something can be worked out--give them some time and help to learn how to co-exist in your community.


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Posted by CC
a resident of East Palo Alto
on Jul 23, 2010 at 3:37 pm

I like the electric shuttle idea MJM of Los Altos Hills suggested!!! It is quiet, saves on gas and should make the neighbors happy.


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Posted by Alphonso
a resident of Los Altos Hills
on Jul 23, 2010 at 4:58 pm

If the people of CT wanted to be better neighbors they would insist on eliminating the traffic issues facing people driving in that area - remove the speed bumps on Stanford and California and get rid of most of "gates" that make it difficult to get in and out of the community. Not many communties are as self serving as they are!


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Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 23, 2010 at 5:03 pm

This reminds me of the story of the boy who cried wolf. The College Terrace residents have cried about traffic so many times that no one knows when to take them seriously any more. Perhaps this is genuinely a wolf, but how can we tell?


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Posted by star
a resident of St. Claire Gardens
on Jul 23, 2010 at 7:05 pm

OY! That is what the editor of palo alto weekly does best, creates controversy where there is none. It is a pity that readers buy into his negative world. Good luck!


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Posted by Eileen
a resident of College Terrace
on Jul 24, 2010 at 12:15 am

OK, Star, Resident, Alphonso and all the others on this blog who are making such negative comments. You have no idea what you are talking about because you are not here on this street. Please stop making comments as if you understand the situation. Picture living on California Avenue and dealing with normal traffic, cars, buses, trucks etc. related with the Industrial Park. It's all good with no complaints. Then suddenly overnight imagine the small driveway directly across from your house (that was used only for cars and small trucks) has turned into a bus terminal with super sized buses (imagine the typical city buses on El Camino) screeching and braking to a stop in order to move into this small DRIVEWAY and into the parking lot of Facebook. Now imagine this happening every 5 - 7 minutes from 8AM until 9PM every day. The same thing is happening at the top of California Ave. at Amherst. Should we be upset and complaining? Hell yes!


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Posted by reality check
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jul 24, 2010 at 9:26 am

Eileen,
Star, Resident and all others that have posted understand the situation completely.
You bought a house opposite an industrial park and are now complaining about traffic into and out-of said park.
That is the whole crux of your argument. Everything else you've mentioned is fluff.
You can try and justify your position all you want but that doesn't alter the underlying FACTS!
If you don't want industrial park traffic. DON"T BUY A HOUSE OPPOSITE AN INDUSTRIAL!AL PARK!


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Posted by Ct
a resident of Barron Park
on Jul 24, 2010 at 10:13 am

Eileen and Fred Balin are typical of the self-centered selfish CT residents who feel that the world revolves around them. For too long they have been leading the council around by the nose, acquiescing to their ludicrous demands.
All we hear from them is complaints, complaints and more complaints and how they want traffic calming, permit parking etc. They already have a de facto private enclave, now they complain endlessly about Facebook.
This all part of the CT neighborhood association plan--complain about problems that do not exist and make demands of the city.
Enough is enough with regard to this selfish behavior.


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Posted by maturity strikes
a resident of Menlo Park
on Jul 24, 2010 at 10:26 am

I am so tired of the "you bought a house..." arguments similar to the "you bought a house next to the tracks" line repeated by the HSR proponents. People usually buy the best house they can afford, and it may not be in the most ideal location, but the downside of the location is typically factored into the price. If the location suddenly becomes transformed -- by high speed rail, by a constant flow of buses -- then the homeowner not only experiences a diminishing quality of life, but the value of her/his property declines in proportion to the impact of the new detraction.

All of you who live on a residential street, would you be okay with someone deciding to turn your street into an expressway? What if, when you complained, you were told "you bought your house on a street -- you knew there would be cars. You have no right to object."

I don't live in CT or near the tracks, but I do live in a neighborhood with a lot of residential remodeling and the accompanying heavy vehicle traffic, so I can understand the frustrations of the neighbors. Facebook needs to stop being so selfish and consider the legitimate concerns (and solutions!) expressed here. Time to grow up, Facebook.


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Posted by reality check
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jul 24, 2010 at 10:44 am

Yet again with irrelevant fluff and passive aggressive arguments. These people didn't buy a house on a residential street. They bought a house opposite an industrial park and are now complaining about industrial park traffic.
The companies in the park are adhering the required planning and use consents.
Yes, the increased in number of workers in the industrial park will lower the value of their property. That possibility was also factored into the original house price. The home owners are incredibly naive if they didn't realize it. BUYER BEWARE!


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Posted by Nelly
a resident of College Terrace
on Jul 24, 2010 at 11:08 am

My Mother lives 5 doors down from the owner of Facebook, and he is not a nice neighbor ! He is YOUNG and SHORT and ARROGANT! I think he thinks he is Bill Gates or Warren Buffet? NOT!!! He really is not humble and has no integrity, I guess he feels having the money he has he feels he does not have to care about anybody around him but himself? He could learn a growing lessons from Bill Gates and Warren Buffet.


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Posted by Hmmm
a resident of East Palo Alto
on Jul 24, 2010 at 11:53 am

Posters still don't get it. Buying knowing what's across the street is one thing. Living there for years, witnessing changes, is another. It's yet a whole other beast when the noise that accompanies recent changes is unnecessary and a waste of resources. Once again, noise pollution is very damaging. The noise on CT is akin to big city noise. Frankly, it reminds me of the noise I used to hear on Mission St in SF - truck & bus noise, backup noises, ad nauseum. People don't live in the 'burbs w/the expectation that the noise level will rise to big city living.


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Posted by maturity strikes
a resident of Menlo Park
on Jul 24, 2010 at 12:12 pm

"They bought a house opposite an industrial park and are now complaining about industrial park traffic."

Yes, an industrial park with an established pattern of usage that had persisted for years. Fact is, people buy into the existing reality, and the whole universe of possible changes to that reality is not factored into the selling price, any more than the price of your house did not take into account the possibility that your neighbor might raze his modest ranch home and build a 6000 square foot monstrosity.

A lot of you seem to have it in for College Terrace, but maybe you can put that history aside and acknowledge that the proposed solutions would not only make Facebook a better neighbor, they would save Facebook money and have a positive impact on the environment too!


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Posted by reality check
a resident of College Terrace
on Jul 24, 2010 at 1:11 pm

"not only make Facebook a better neighbor"
Sheesh, when will you let off with your passive aggressive arguments. Facebook is a fine neighbor. Heck, they're listed as the reason your property prices have fallen further than they have: Web Link
The problem is with College Terrace residents and their UNREASONABLE EXPECTATIONS!


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Posted by neighbor
a resident of another community
on Jul 24, 2010 at 3:16 pm

125 responses about an absurd issue.

CT neighbors----resolve your dispute directly with Facebook, and just stop this already.

But it won't stop, because this is what Palo Alto has become. Totally self-centered whines from otherwise intelligent people who suffer from the TMM syndrome...Too Much Money. What a "community."

So...to the few rational posters out there: Brace yourself, here come the next 125 posts (tho the Webmasters will probably change the headline to make it look "fresh."


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Posted by Ruth
a resident of Barron Park
on Jul 24, 2010 at 4:35 pm

Neighbor from another community. The PaloAltoOnline forum is set up to help residents express their opinions about various issues that concern them. If you have a problem reading the opinions that seem "unreasonable, self-centered and whinny, just stop wasting your time here and spend more time in your own community. I don't live in College Terrace but I do live in Palo Alto and try to look at both sides of an issue. "Absurd issue" is your opinion and you are entitled to that. Have a nice day.


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Posted by neighbor
a resident of another community
on Jul 24, 2010 at 6:49 pm

Ruth
It's the "various issues that concern them" that is so appalling. It would be GREAT to read some good substantive discussions.

Here's some comments from an earlier post I sent:"
CONSIDER:
"There are actually important and challenging issues in PA -- like crime, high rentals forcing your economic base to leave, etc. Why don't the editors write about these? Because they love the outrage that their selected news foments.

But there is a cost to PA from this ongoing negativity. Why would anyone want to come here to shop and eat, when the atmosphere is getting so hostile? Palo Alto does not FEEL like a good/healthy community, and articles like this on PaloAltoOnline are not helping.

AND...re: THE FACEBOOK BUS
Are you going to ban the disabled transit minibus? It makes long stops and runs the motor so it can operate its wheelchair lift. How about the Trash Collection trucks? Really noisy. The Milkman? (we still have a Milkman in our neighborhood and his truck is loud, so what?)? Are those airport shuttles disturbing you too?

And FYI... Do you see that just a few days ago you were so HAPPY to have a South Bay computer company relocate to your town, and no one questioned if they were going to operate commuting vehicles? (It seems like you just like their business model better than Facebook's)..."


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Posted by Ruth
a resident of Barron Park
on Jul 24, 2010 at 7:46 pm

I have to say, you are just all over the place with your comments. Not one post has even suggested that disabled transit buses, trash collection trucks or the milkman stop their service to the community. All of those are important parts of our daily life. We are talking about over 300 (private FB only) buses going into driveways along California Ave. I drove over one day because I was curious and wanted to see for myself what all the fuss was about. Have you? I might be unusual but I like to see things for myself before I make judgments. These residents are just wanting to talk about an issue, that after viewing for myself, seems legitimate. Just saying. Have a nice evening. :)


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Posted by Hmmm - to Eileen
a resident of East Palo Alto
on Jul 24, 2010 at 7:57 pm

I totally commiserate! Since this article was posted, in the last few days, I have noticed:

-The loud EPA shuttle. I love it cuz it's free & people use it. But I know it speeds down my street & it's louder when it speeds. But hey, at least the public can use it & it is used a lot.

-Those little hand-pushed ice cream cars. Suddenly, they're in our neighborhood. They can be heard more than a block away. I'm in a private driveway & I had to tell the person not to come down it, as she was assuming it was fine to do so. Not. Very loud bells, & hardly anyone buys from her.

-Loud, repetitive ice cream truck. Again, almost no one on my block uses it. It looks like a serial killer vehicle. I'm sure the driver is a nice guy, but the vehicle looks terrible.

-Semi going down the street, got caught under tree branches. This was late at night, lose to 11pm. What the heck? Illegal to be on these streets, terrible for the roads. Loud as all get out.

Of all the above, I say only the free shuttle is truly needed. Sorry for stomping on the small biz entrepreneurs, but listening to all the noise of the ice cream truck & ice cream cart is too much. DO they have business licenses? Are they here legally? Do they pay business taxes? In short, do they in any way contribute to the economy of my challenged town? I don't even know where to start asking.

All the naysayers on this thread really should try to spend some time near FB so they understand how bad the noise is, & the bottom line - much of it is unnecessary noise.


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton
on Jul 24, 2010 at 8:42 pm

[Post removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]


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Posted by I'm having problems with math
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jul 24, 2010 at 9:25 pm

"We are talking about over 300 (private FB only) buses going into driveways along California Ave. "

Interesting, Ruth, over 300 buses? Wow, that's serious!

The residents claim that at their peak there is 1 every 5-7 minutes.
Let's give the residents the benefit of the doubt and use their high-end number and your low-end number. So 300 buses, 1 every 5 minutes, means buses are running continuously for 1500 minutes each day!
Wow, the resident really have to listen to buses racing along the road *25* hours a day! (Not sure why they are racing but they must be if the residents are hearing screeching brakes.)
Hmmm....you do see my problem and why I have difficulty believing the residents on California Avenue and College Terrace.


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Posted by mj
a resident of College Terrace
on Jul 25, 2010 at 12:18 am

to problems with math.

On the face of it screeching brakes does sound absurd. But it isn't.

What has been happening is that the large buses coming down California Avenue have to negotiate a tight right turn into a driveway and it is too tight for them to make it in one go. So the drivers have to brake, reverse, brake, go forward, maybe break, reverse and brake a second time if the driver miscalculates, and with much loud gear changing pull the bus into the driveway.

In addition to the shuttle, the bus company was also using this entry for their "staging area" which increased the number of buses trying to make that tight turn. I don't know if they are still using this driveway for that purpose.

The buses have been coming down California and taking this back entrance instead of the front entrance on Page Mill to avoid the traffic lights.

The problem with the buses being too big for the turn into the driveway has not been well articulated. Perhaps it is not surprising that those who haven't heard the buses (and jump to conclusions because they really dislike residents of College Terrace) assume all this talk about screeching brakes must be an exaggeration.


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Posted by I'm having problems with math
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jul 25, 2010 at 8:24 am

If so, Mj, next you're going to give a reasonable explanation of how the buses are running for 25 hours in the day....?


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Posted by Ruth
a resident of Barron Park
on Jul 25, 2010 at 9:23 am

OOPS, yes, my math was totally off. The buses originally were running every 2 - 3 minutes from 8AM to midnight. That would make close to 300 buses every day. OK? This lasted for about two or three weeks until the neighborhood contacted FB and they reduced their schedule to a bus every 5 - 7 minutes. (150 buses) Does it make it better? No, I don't think its easy for these residents to have to hear the screeching of breaks every 5 minutes starting at 8AM and ending well after 10PM. Do you? This is not like normal car traffic that we all experience in our neighborhoods. These are large, private, facebook only, shuttles and they could easily enter at Page Mill. Wow, I really don't understand the amount of negativity going on here.


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Posted by I'm having problems with math
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jul 25, 2010 at 11:41 am

You first state - "I drove over one day because I was curious and wanted to see for myself what all the fuss was about." And now claim - "This lasted for about two or three weeks"
Which is it? You visited one day to see what the fuss was about or you've been involved in this from the beginning?

You first state - "We are talking about over 300 (private FB only) buses going into driveways along California Ave." And now claim - "The buses originally were running every 2 - 3 minutes from 8AM to midnight. That would make close to 300 buses every day. OK? "
Are you sure? Every 2-3 minutes? From 8AM until midnight? You understand what sort of logistical nightmare it would be to arrange to have buses running every 2-3 minutes on public roads, during rush hour and unable to easily negotiate the turning into Facebook? Let alone allowing for the time to get people onto and off the buses? You'd have buses nose-to-tail all along California Avenue in no time. The area would be grid-locked.


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Posted by Ruth
a resident of Barron Park
on Jul 25, 2010 at 12:21 pm

It's obvious that you have no intention what so ever of spending any time on this street during working hours so you can see for yourself. All you want to do is accuse others of, "making stuff up" and discount every supportive post. FYI, my boyfriend lives on California Ave. and I've spent enough time here to know what's happening. Have you?


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Posted by palo alto mom
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Jul 25, 2010 at 1:36 pm

It sounds like simply using page mill would solve the problems? Seems like a simple solution.


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Posted by I'm having problems with math
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jul 25, 2010 at 1:51 pm

[Post removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]


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Posted by Fred Balin
a resident of College Terrace
on Jul 25, 2010 at 2:48 pm

You are on the right track, palo alto mom.

The shuttles now do exit the new Facebook site via Page Mill Road (at Hansen Way) and then enter College Terrace via Hanover Street. If the same route were followed when leaving the Terrace the problem in the neighborhood between Hanover Street and El Camino Real would be completely solved. To date, however, Facebook does not want to make this adjustment, because they feel that the wait for the traffic lights at the Hanover / Page Mill and Page Mill / Hansen Way intersections are too long.

This adjustment would still leave open the problem of the many and oversized shuttles moving up and down California Avenue between Hanover and Amherst Streets to service up to 950 employees at the initial 1601 California Avenue location at the top of the hill. There are reasonable ways to resolve this issue as well, but so far Facebook has not implemented them.


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton
on Jul 25, 2010 at 3:09 pm

If social networking is so powerful and given that Facebook is so image conscious, why don't all the College Terrace residents join Facebook and start posting movies, traffic counts etc. Then clue the network news people in and really put pressure on Facebook to become a resonsible corporation.


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Posted by CT
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 25, 2010 at 3:27 pm

"That would make close to 300 buses every day. OK? This lasted for about two or three weeks until the neighborhood contacted FB and they reduced their schedule to a bus every 5 - 7 minutes. (150 buses) Does it make it better? No, I don't think its easy for these residents to have to hear the screeching of breaks every 5 minutes starting at 8AM and ending well after 10PM. "

This is o typical of CT residents. There is a problem (according to CT residents). Facebook addresses the problem and it is still not good enough for CT. The only way that will satisfy them is for Facebook to follow their orders and run shuttles only when CT wants.
What a neighborhood!!!!!!


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Posted by Move
a resident of Community Center
on Jul 25, 2010 at 6:42 pm

It absolutely beats me why Facebook moved from University Avenue to California Avenue. When GOOGLE was located in PA they got the message loud and clear that they weren't welcome, so they moved to Mountain View.

Well, it's quite obvious Facebook isn't welcome either; why didn't they get smart and move down to Sunnyvale or Santa Clara amongst all the other high tech companies.


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Posted by Eileen
a resident of College Terrace
on Jul 25, 2010 at 8:17 pm

Sorry, but we are beginning to working out our little bus problem with FB. It will take a little more time. Sunnyvale? No thanks! We like Facebook here in Palo Alto thank you!


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Posted by shuttle schedule
a resident of Adobe-Meadows
on Jul 25, 2010 at 8:26 pm

Every 2-3 minutes? Not quite: Web Link


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Posted by We're on TV!
a resident of Adobe-Meadows
on Jul 25, 2010 at 9:21 pm

[Post removed due to same poster using multiple names]


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Posted by Jimmy
a resident of College Terrace
on Jul 25, 2010 at 10:26 pm

Um, "shuttle schedule", the posted schedules, while helpful, do not include the buses that run perpetually between the two buildings non-stop, all day long. These are by far the worst offenders and they travel only two blocks.

If one person gets on these inter-building shuttles, the bus driver will start moving immediately while radioing the other bus sitting idle to now come and replace them. They circle around all day like that.

I kid you not - In all their genius, Facebook has figured out a way to have not one, but TWO buses required to transport a single employee what would be a 5 minute walk.

We all know they can do better than that and I'm pretty sure they will eventually. After all, 500 million psi is a lot of air pressure in the virtual community, so it's hard for them to think about real communities at the moment (joke).


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Posted by ABC
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 26, 2010 at 12:06 pm

Facebook please move out of Palo Alto I am tired of the complaining on here.


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Posted by neighbor
a resident of another community
on Jul 26, 2010 at 1:07 pm

Why not just ask Facebook to use minivans instead of busses? If you don't ask them, I will --- even tho I don't even live in the neighborhood.

I would just do it in the interests of getting this discussion off the paloaltoonline website.


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton
on Jul 26, 2010 at 2:12 pm

Why not ask your elected City Council to take up this issue?


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Posted by jb
a resident of Leland Manor/Garland Drive
on Jul 26, 2010 at 4:16 pm

Gracious, I left this thread on July 22, and now on the 26th I have read so many additional miles of fulminations I can only assume that unemployment has hit Palo Alto way worse than anyone could have imagined.


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Posted by CT
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 26, 2010 at 7:24 pm

CT residents will always find time to complain about their mostly imaginary problems. In fact, their neighborhood association has a dedicated committee that find fault with Stanford, Facebook a nd any other entity in the city that upsets them


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Posted by Josh
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Jul 26, 2010 at 10:05 pm

To the poster immediately above....

"CT" -- You honestly have no idea what you spewing forth. Take a 10 minute stroll along Calif Ave any week day and most sane people will quickly discover these problems are very real and not -- in your vocabulary -- "imaginary".

Instead of being so mean and bitter towards your fellow Palo Alto residents, why don't you open up your mind a bit, admit you might be very wrong, stretch your legs and come down to Calif Ave tomorrow for a 10 minute walk to see for yourself?

Or would you rather just camp in front of your computer screen putting forth rank negativity onto the world?


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Posted by comparison
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Jul 27, 2010 at 8:50 am

I was down near College Terrace picking up my child from camp yesterday. California Avenue looked no worse than Homer or Channing. What are you comparing it to?


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Posted by mj
a resident of College Terrace
on Jul 27, 2010 at 10:07 am

Dear comparison,

Do you mean you stopped on California Avenue between Amherst and El Camino to check out the buses? Because that is where the problem is. If you were just driving along that stretch of California Avenue for the minute or two it takes, you likely might miss the buses.

Dear Eileen,

I'm glad to hear that after more than a year of trying to work directly with Facebook they are finally willing to acknowledge the problem. I'm amazed by the various posters above that jump to the conclusion that residents have not been trying to work with Facebook. As if Facebook must not be aware of the problems and just need to be asked.

It's clear that Facebook had no incentive to try to work this out with the neighborhood until they received all this adverse publicity!


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Posted by CT
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 27, 2010 at 10:16 am

Thanks, Josh, for your input. You have your opinions, I have mine.
Maybe if Ct would not be crying wolf all the time, I would have more sympathy for them. AS it is, IMHO, nothing ever satisfies them--they always find reasons to complain.
They need to remember that they are in a city and are living near an industrial business zone and a major university. The city and the businesses will not leave to satisfy their selfish needs.
Not sure why they brought this up on this forum, but they should work with Facebook to solve the problem. I guess maybe they wanted to make sure how "terrible" their lives are as a prelude to asking for more traffic calming.


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Posted by P.A. Native
a resident of Mountain View
on Jul 27, 2010 at 11:40 am

I believe it's being compared to an army of hearses, a Greyhound station, East Coast weather, etc...

Not that Palo Altans mind making ridiculous comparisons. Berlin Wall anyone?

On top of this there are comments about Mark Zuckerberg, Asian employees, Facebook users and rich people (whatever that means around here).

I'm on Cal Ave. daily. I never hear "screeching", and I would have because I see the shuttles all the time around the 2 entrances. You live in a suburban city people, not rural Iowa. If you want peace and quiet, I suggest you move. It's not going to get any better in the future.


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Posted by Ubaldo
a resident of another community
on Jul 27, 2010 at 1:59 pm

I think other neighborhoods in Palo Alto should take a hint from CT and start demanding mitigation for the problems in their area.
Live near Caltrain? demand that train service be curtailed or stopped. Live near 101? demand that it be shut down. Live near or on Embarcadero, Oregon Exp or San Antonio Road? Demand traffic calming measures--with street closures.
Too much traffic or parking a problem in Downtown North? Demand that businesses on University Avenue leave. The list goes on.
Contact CT neighborhood association for tips on how to make demands of the city and get what you want


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Posted by Josh
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Jul 27, 2010 at 5:16 pm

To "CT, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood" -

You are entitled to your opinions. But you are not entitled to your own set of facts.

Once again, have you even bothered to come down to Calif Ave (even for 10 min) and see if the complaints are justified? I bet you have not even tried.

Why not? Why would you say the College Terrace residents have NOT tried to work cooperatively on this problem with Facebook? The article and postings above clearly state that they have tried.

You wrote: "they cry wolf".... "they always find reasons to complain".... "their selfish needs".... So I'm curious: why do you see the need to adopt a bitter and scornful tone in your comments?

It seems you have a knee-jerk negative reaction to anything related to College Terrace. Did someone from that neighborhood kick your dog once upon a time? Does it make you feel superior to write about your fellow residents this way?


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Posted by CT
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 27, 2010 at 7:17 pm

"You are entitled to your opinions. But you are not entitled to your own set of facts."
And neither are you. There have been a number of posts here from people who claim there is no problem in CT. SO who is right? (Obviously it is you and the CT-complain-all the time-crowd)

"Why would you say the College Terrace residents have NOT tried to work cooperatively on this problem with Facebook?"
i have not said that. I have said that they should work with Facebook. But it is my experience that CT loves to complain first and then go after new demands from the city. That is my take on the matter,

"So I'm curious: why do you see the need to adopt a bitter and scornful tone in your comments?"
Read what I wrote. IMHO, the CT people are always "crying wolf" and I am scornful of that approach to all their imaginary problems.

"Did someone from that neighborhood kick your dog once upon a time?"
Boy you are coming up with some real winners here

"Does it make you feel superior to write about your fellow residents this way?"
On the contrary, I get the feeling that the CT people feel superior and think they deserve more from the city for their neighborhood than other parts of town get.

I hope that Fred Balin reads your comments. Maybe he will make you an honorary member of the CT neighborhood and invite you to his place for a BBQ.


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Posted by Colin
a resident of College Terrace
on Jul 27, 2010 at 7:35 pm

Facebook and the neighborhood are actively working together to try and resolve the situation. Peace everyone.


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Posted by Josh
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Jul 27, 2010 at 8:12 pm

[Post removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]


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Posted by CT
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 27, 2010 at 9:38 pm

[Post removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]


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Posted by Venom
a resident of another community
on Jul 28, 2010 at 11:07 am

I am glad to see that the editors have removed Josh's venomous comments


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Posted by Venom
a resident of another community
on Jul 28, 2010 at 3:19 pm

And also glad to see the editors removed CT's inanely venomous comments.


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Posted by tired
a resident of Menlo Park
on Jul 29, 2010 at 10:22 am

I have not read through all of this, but Facebook dear, would you be so kind as to let us all ride your shuttles?


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Posted by Rick
a resident of College Terrace
on Oct 7, 2010 at 10:40 am

The fact that these people are referring to their beautiful, multi million dollar house as "ground zero" because busses drive by once in awhile is a pretty good illustration of how insanely out of touch these people really are...

There really is a point where the city should just not give a whole lot of credence to people whining and complaining. The fact that these people wear earplugs so they can sleep while a bus is driving by is just insane. I used to live in an apartment on Van Ness Ave in SF, buses drove by every 5 minutes. No one needed earplugs because apparently no one was as spoiled as these people. Just shocking really...