The second California Avenue controversy -- what kind of fountain should replace the old, damaged one at the end of the business district -- has generated a huge amount of community interest, according to the city.
Online voting has "broken all records" and interest in the fountain selection is "through the roof," Elise DeMarzo, staff liaison to the Palo Alto Public Art Commission, said of the Open City Hall voting, at www.cityofpaloalto.org/opencityhall.
The deadline to vote is Tuesday noon, prior to Thursday's meeting of commission in City Hall. Models of the three alternative designs are on display in The Gallery, behind Printers' Inc. cafe, at 320 S. California.
People with no Internet access may vote by calling 650-329-2227 and casting a ballot at the Palo Alto Art Center, at Newell and Embarcadero roads, she said. The center is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday and from 1 to 5 p.m. Sunday.
The fountain-design debate is in addition to a debate over whether to reduce the lanes on California from four to two through the district, which runs between El Camino Real and the Caltrain tracks, where the fountain is located within a circular turnaround.
The three alternative designs under consideration are a traditional "bird-bath" design that would re-use the existing fountain bowl with a new base, and two more-costly alternative designs with modernistic sculptures in the center.
All would have splashing water, unlike an initial replacement proposal two years ago.
The old fountain, believed to have been installed in the 1960s, was damaged over the years by vehicles running into it, although police have no record of anyone calling in to report that they hit a fountain.