I just thought I would vent a few local things that I think were and are some really bad ideas. Some we can still stop. Some I guess we cannot turn the clock back on.
1. High Speed Rail up the spine of the Peninsula. To ruin the beautiful life along this gorgeous suburban Peninsula is ridiculous. There were numerous alternatives that were viable. Bring it into San Jose for a transfer to a bullet train to SF. Take it up the shoreline, for example.
2. El Camino reduction for a "Grand Boulevard." It is another, albeit slower, needed, north-south roadway. It would be foolish to subtract lanes from it. Cities can do what they can to improve its median or the buildings that border it, but don't choke it back.
3. Less parking places for new construction. At some point we no doubt spent a whole lot of money on consultants to tell us the requisite number of spaces required to adequately support a building. There is no reason to keep granting appeals to implement less than what is required. We just exacerbate the parking problem.
4. Constructing building at the sidewalk's edge. Builders owe something to the cities they build out. The sacrifice of a setback with maybe some softening grounds or open businesses is not asking too much. Make new buildings welcoming as well as profit-making. Widening the sidewalk by stealing it from the street is not the answer!
5. Participation in the Association of Bay Area Governments (ABAG). Palo Alto is a largely built-out city. How dare any other agency tell us how much we have to add in housing, affordable or otherwise. At least Larry Klein and Greg Schmid have tried to work on this. If every Bay Area city pulled out, there would be no reason for ABAG to exist. It's just another bureaucracy with too much power.
6. Providing affordable housing. The city could have bought the old Casa Olga which was already housing an under-served population quite well. Now it will be a boutique hotel with almost no parking to support it.
7. Removing needed recreation. The city could have bought the bowling alley which provided recreation for all ages affordably instead of letting another hotel go in. It was as important as working out preservation of the ice rink.
8. Closing car camping and not providing an alternative. I wrote a letter to the editor a number of years ago advocating that the city support our homeless with a situation at the Baylands that would allow overnight, safe, patrolled parking with showers, toilets, and pay phones. I fully appreciate how residential neighborhoods do not want this type of community in their midst. But it's not enough to shut it down and offer no other alternative. It's the last thread before being totally on the street.
There. I feel better. Now let's keep working toward answers to our social problems. Are you with me or against me?