LettersRethink Stanford trails
James Sweeney has re-educated us on the background of the Stanford trails. Apparently they were not intended to mitigate the impacts of the GUP development in the form of increased traffic where those impacts were focused: at the periphery of the campus. Instead, the provision was crafted to mitigate the loss of recreational opportunities in center-campus and intended solely to benefit Stanford residents and "frequent users" (whatever "frequent" and "use" mean).
Mr. Sweeney says "gotcha" very nicely, but I must differ with his implication that the Matadero Creek Trail is an example of compliance with the GUP requirement to provide "opportunities that campus residents and facility users will reasonably and frequently use for their recreation." Anyone familiar with the Matadero Creek Trail, or the "S1" (a more descriptive label) knows it is functionally non-compliant with that provision. The proximal section, the "multipurpose trail", is a 30-foot-wide roadway running parallel to Page Mill Road. Bicyclists might ride this section, were there not a much nicer bike route, Old Page Mill Road, only 100 yards to the north. For hikers, it is simply an unpleasant place to walk — so no one does.
Mr. Sweeney avers to a trail proposal to come from the Stanford Residential Leaseholders, which will be "continuous from El Camino to the S1." Unfortunately, no such plan can rest on the value of connecting to the S1. Moreover, the leaseholds — to the credit of their designers — are crisscrossed by a network of trails far more pleasant than the S1.
Would that network be used by more leaseholders, or "frequent users" of Stanford campus, or anyone else, if another $10.3 million were spent on it? Unlikely. Would some Stanford community members take advantage of a bridge over 101 near Shoreline to bike-commute to Google? In this latter project, at least, would be some measure of genuine benefit.
Preserve Cal Ave
The California Avenue shopping center off east El Camino is really the last of Palo Alto's major shopping centers and should be left as it is.
Stanford Shopping was created to draw from a wide regional area. Downtown Palo Alto has — with the growth in the city and region itself — also been turned into a regional shopping center and not essentially a shopping center for local residents.
Over the years, people in Palo Alto have turned both to smaller neighborhood shopping, like those along Middlefield Road, and increasingly to California Avenue at El Camino in their effort to retain the Palo Alto community shopping and small restaurant ambiance.
It is hard to imagine that our city staff, many of whom do not live in the community, would understand the particular importance of retaining California Avenue for the community as it is. With its broad, wide street and tree-lined sidewalks, California Avenue is very much like the small-town California communities of the past and is much more like the Palo Alto people who have lived here for some time are familiar with and enjoy.
Leave it alone. It really doesn't need any special attention.
Marvin and Alison Lee
Even though a strong educational system is possibly the most integral factor to any thriving society and economy, the funding for California's school systems has only been plummeting. As a concerned student, I want a state senator who prioritizes funding for education and seeks to reform the overall budget to ensure that further cuts in education are halted.
State Senate candidate Sally Lieber's focus on stronger laws to protect funding for education and her determination to reform the budget as a whole is a clear step toward progress. Her push for absolute budget transparency and greater oversight on state agencies is a huge stride toward protecting funding for education and making sure schools have enough resources to reach their full potential. Anyone who wants a candidate dedicated to education reform and greater transparency should cast their vote for Sally Lieber for State Senate District 13.