The City of Palo Alto knows the historic Charleston/Arastradero project is a very controversial issue with Palo Altans. Most of the community feels the re-stripping of Charleston/Arastradero was a huge waste of time and money. Most feel this trial project failed. Most don't believe the traffic studies and that the traffic problems during commute hours are worst. Some argue that the gridlock traffic is the same as before the re-stripping, but few believe the traffic problems are better. The problem is - it is not done. The last stage is to beautify the street with planters and trees and not at an insignificant cost. Now how is the city going to do that when the vast majority of the communities don't like the amount of money we have already wasted on this street.
Well they came up with a "brilliant" idea. A NETWORK of bike/pedestrian improvement projects. Let's hide it in the long list of improvement projects with an emphasis on bike/pedestrian improvements. Nobody will notice it there. And this is going to work. Why? Because we simply don't have to the time to stop it. The Pro-Measure D folks worked months and months on making an impact to the city. We have only two days.
Yep, on Monday evening at City Hall, the City Council will discuss the staff recommendations to approve the NETWORK of improvement projects that includes a long list of bike/pedestrian projects. And in this long list is added the last phase of the Charleston/Arastradero re-stripping project so that they can get the trees planted. I believe this was added to the end of this project as a way to sneak it by us. And at what cost do you say?
"C. Following a bid process, staff recommends that a contract in the amount of $736,765 be awarded to Mark Thomas & Company for conceptual and preliminary designs"
Yep, that's three quarters of a million dollars just on the design alone. Here's the link:
Check out page 131 or Attachment G.
An uber-pro Charleston/Arastradero advocate is rallying to get 10-15 people to show up at Monday's meeting waving bike helmets to show Palo Alto's strong interest in these bike/pedestrian improvement projects knowing this is the only way to get the money needed to finish Charleston/Arastraadero.
Now don't get me wrong, I kind of love trees. And I know since we are constructing buildings these days right up to the sidewalks, the only place to plant the trees are right dab in the middle of a crowded street. And without a doubt this will enhance traffic calming but how much slower can we go than the traffic crawl we are already at.
I don't think there is much in this short notice that we can do. Showing up Monday night at City Hall can't hurt. If this costly sneaky hidden item frustrates you too, please consider writing the city council. Maybe, with the council waking up Monday morning with a flood of emails, we can make a difference; but unfortunately you would have to do it today.
Monday, March 17th, 8:00 p.m., City Council Chambers, 250 Hamilton Avenue, Palo Alto City Hall, 1st Floor.
To email all nine members: firstname.lastname@example.org
Monday's Agenda (item 9):