http://paloaltoonline.com/square/print/index.php?i=3&d=1&t=189


Town Square

Beautiful soccer fields by Diana Diamond.

Original post made by Mike Nguyen, Crescent Park, on Jul 4, 2006

The article that Mrs. Diamond wrote on the Palo Alto Weekly dated 6/28/06 is completely missing the point.

First, she pointed out that soccer is the least sport "watched" (4%), followed by basketball, baseball and football. I agreed with her with this statistics, but this statistic is completely irrelevant with the 2 new soccer fields.

The city maintained these 2 new soccer fields, so that the kids can "participate and play" soccer. We are not interested in watching soccer, but we want soccer fields for the kids to play on.

Here's the relevant fact for Mrs. Diamond. There are about 18 millions soccer player in this country and they need fields to play on. Soccer is not the most popular "spectator" sport in this country, but it is the most "participating" sport in this country and the world.

Mrs. Diamond, we are not watching the World Cup or MLS games on these 2 fields. Our kids are playing on them and we need them.


Mike N.
Palo Alto

Comments

 +   Like this comment
Posted by Amy
a resident of Gunn High School
on Jul 5, 2006 at 2:48 pm

While Palo Alto does need more playing fields the corner of Page Mill and El Camino is not where they should have been placed. This corner is a piece of prime real estate that was better suited for a hotel or another revenue producing business.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Noah
a resident of University South
on Jul 5, 2006 at 3:58 pm

I have to second Amy's comment, while understanding and supporting the idea of playing fields...

I drove by the new, massive fields the other day and thought: Who could possibly walk here? Walking along or near El Camino isn't exactly pleasant. You don't often see strollers or families crossing El Camino.

That location would definitely have been better used, at least for revenue purposes, as some kind of commercial / hotel / other venture. El Camino just isn't the place for playing fields. I'll guess that those fields get as much use from other less walking friendly towns as from Palo Alto residents... There are a great many vacant lots, some of which are nearly the size of soccer fields, that could be put to the same use but be in walking distance of 1000s of homes.

I thought CPA was trying to be a walking town. The balance here seems off to me...


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Chris Kantarjiev
a resident of Southgate
on Jul 6, 2006 at 9:47 am

Those writers who are complaining that the soccer field location could have been better used for commercial purposes apparently haven't paid attention as proposal after proposal for hotels and offices were turned down due to traffic and parking issues.

ECR isn't the most pleasant street to walk down, but I view that as a chicken and egg problem - if more people start walking down it, the city will be encouraged to make it more pleasant!

The soccer fields are within easy walking distance of the many homes in and around Palo Alto's "second downtown" near California Avenue. I consider them a fine addition to my neighborhood.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Andrew L. Freedman
a resident of College Terrace
on Jul 7, 2006 at 3:26 pm

I don't recall any hotel proposals that were submitted to the city. There's was "talk" about that posibility, but to my knowledge, no formal proposals were ever submitted for consideration to the Planning Department or Planning Commission.

Palo Alto and Stanford had discussed sharing a multi-cultrual center, but didn't have a site in mind.

As I wrote some years back, I felt this would have been an ideal location for that. Underground parking, theatre, fitness center (which would bring revenue), artist rooms, etc.

A larger percentage of Palo Altans would have been able to get use out of such a facility, as opposed to a much smaller percentage of Palo Altans who play soccer.

Andy


 +   Like this comment
Posted by James
a resident of College Terrace
on Jul 7, 2006 at 8:16 pm

I agree with the above comments. What a great site for a Five star hotel with 3 underground levels of parking. Great access to 101 or 280. Replace the lost sales tax from the Hyatt closing. We "miss the boat again".


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Douglas Moran
a resident of Barron Park
on Jul 11, 2006 at 2:40 pm

This is "crying over split milk. During the public debate over the Mayfield deal with Stanford, multiple people attempted to highlight this question, but it got no traction.
1. At the time, Ms. Diamond was editor of the PA Daily News and could easily have made this a significant issue. Curious about why this got on her radar only belatedly?
2. The Mayfield deal with Stanford was negotiated in private and presented as a take-it-or-leave-it deal (although some modifications were made). Instead of criticizing and done-deal, I would put the focus on the process where a significant policy decision was not publicly debated and decided, but made implicitly by creating so much momentum that it was going to be hard/impossible to consider on the merits.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Kirk
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Jul 11, 2006 at 3:37 pm

That empty lot at Page Mill x El Camino was EMPTY for many years. There are now playing fields on the site. Why so much bitching?

PA had the opportunity to enhance the Hyatt Rickeys location, but it caved in to neighborhood whackos. There was an existing hotel, and it got wacked - so why should we blame the absence of of a hotel for the real deal? At least there is something of value on the site (playing fields - which meets a real need).


 +   Like this comment
Posted by James
a resident of College Terrace
on Jul 11, 2006 at 9:19 pm

To Kirk, I agree with everything you say, but to put playing fields on the most wellknown intersection (maybe the most expensive land) in Palo Alto is crazy!


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Chris
a resident of University South
on Jul 13, 2006 at 9:46 am

Stanford has a long-term horizon. The site at El Camino and
Page Mill can be redeveloped in 10-20 years when local politicians
and residents have turned over and priorities change. Soccer
fields are not very expensive. The trade-offs that Stanford
made are very valuable to them. If local politicians got
"taken", it is because they have been too narrow-minded in the
types of development they allow.