New day care center eyed for East Bayshore Road

Palo Alto City Council to consider proposal for 'Mustard Seed' day care center tonight

Palo Alto would get a new day care center on East Bayshore Road under a proposal the City Council is scheduled to weigh tonight.

The "Mustard Seed" day care center, which would accommodate 117 students, would move into an existing building at 2585 East Bayshore Road, just south of Oregon Expressway. The city's Architectural Review Board and Planning and Transportation Commission have already approved the project.

The proposal would include several changes to the 1-acre site, including a new children's play area, fencing, a handicap ramp and parking stalls in the front lot. The additions would reduce the number of parking spaces on the property from 49 to 31.

At the Feb. 8 meeting of the Planning and Transportation Commission, several neighboring property owners argued that the new day care center would create traffic problems on the block, particularly when cars queue up at the entrance to the new facility. Edwina Cioffi, who owns the property north of the proposed day care facility, said the proposal would be "dangerous to the children" and said the applicants are "grossly minimizing" its traffic impacts.

Yates McKenzie, who represented the owners of 2595 East Bayshore (immediately south of the proposed day care facility), noted the two properties share a driveway and voiced opposition to the project.

"We've got a driveway and a shared easement and the proposal is going to significantly, significantly impact the traffic we're going to have on that shared easement and put an undue burden on our property and our tenants," McKenzie said.

The city's traffic consultant found that the new day care center would have no major impacts on traffic or on driveway congestion.

The day care center would typically be open between 12:30 p.m. at 6:15 p.m. and would possibly include a preschool operation in the future, city Planner Russ Reich told the commission. It would occupy a 16,000-square-foot building that has been vacant for more than a year.

The commission approved the project by a 6-0 vote, with Greg Tanaka absent. Commissioners also urged staff to "work with neighbors to figure out the most harmonious way to deal with potential traffic impacts." They also considered a proposal, offered by Commissioner Arthur Keller, to change the driveways on the property so that cars would enter the center from a northern driveway rather than the shared southern one. Members ultimately decided not to include this change in their approval.

Commissioners were also in general agreement that the city could use more day care facilities.

"I think there's a need for more day care in Palo Alto so I'm happy to try to support this need," Keller said.


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Posted by why there?
a resident of Midtown
on Apr 9, 2012 at 10:14 am

Anyone else think this is an awful location for a day care center? It is really difficult to reach without driving, so it creates hundreds of additional car trips around town. Lots of cars is exactly what you do not want around children.

The bicycle bridge over Hwy 101 near Oregon Expressway has a series of bicycle traps that prevent bicycles with child trailers from using it.

Is this day care intended for Palo Alto residents or for out-of-town residents who work near Palo Alto?

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Posted by palo alto mom
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Apr 9, 2012 at 10:40 am

This sounds like an after-school day care center. It is an odd location for a daycare though.

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Posted by Palo Verde Mom
a resident of Palo Verde
on Apr 9, 2012 at 10:47 am

My son is in this afterchool. Most, if not all, kids do live in Palo Alto while their parents work out of town. Because this is an aftershool facility, they pick up kids from Palo Verde, Ohlone, Hoover, and other elementary schools.

I think the new facility is better in terms of everything compared to its current location at 2585 East Bayshore Road. Most kids there have two working parents (that's why they go to afterschool, not home)so traffic is not much different for parents to pick up their kids after work.

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Posted by chris
a resident of University South
on Apr 9, 2012 at 11:15 am

I think you mean the current location is on W Bayshore.

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Posted by chris
a resident of University South
on Apr 9, 2012 at 11:15 am

I think you mean the current location is on W Bayshore.

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Posted by Harrison
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Apr 9, 2012 at 11:25 am

I agree. It is indeed an odd location. Leads me to believe this facility has more regional aspirations, say East Palo Alto residents or commuters working along that corridor.

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Posted by Palo Verde Mom
a resident of Palo Verde
on Apr 9, 2012 at 12:09 pm

Chirs, you are right. The current location is on W Bayshore. 2585 East Bayshore Road is the new location.

The new location is much better than the W. Bayshore one. The W. Bayshore facility is very close to 101 and very crowded. The owner said if they can move to the new facility, they would have enough space to have a kitchen and some art class. They also consider a daycare for preschool kids and I can't wait to send my yonger one there so I can pick both of boys from the same location after work.

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Posted by Gary
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Apr 9, 2012 at 1:48 pm

Traffic is not a concern for an afterschool since pick up time is spread out, come and go and after work. But it will benefit more for the working parents, for the community since Palo Alto is short of afterschool facilities.

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Posted by A mom
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Apr 9, 2012 at 1:52 pm

Recently , on W bayshore side, there are addition of Pinewood recreational facility, a new Jewish girl school and a new condo development with many units, all create additional traffic on W bayshore.
The owner of the building does not allow Mustard Seed to use it's parking lots. It's a bit scary to pick up kids by the curb of a fast moving traffic.
I would think it makes more sense if the school move to E bayshore to relieve such traffic stress on W bayshore. And for the sake of children, a parking lot/ driveway for pickup is much safer than the current location.

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Posted by jm
a resident of Evergreen Park
on Apr 9, 2012 at 1:54 pm

Does the city subsidize this day care facility?

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Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Apr 9, 2012 at 2:01 pm

Since this is an afterschool facility a good question needs to be asked about school buses parking on Bayshore.
The Girls Middle School on Bayshore has school buses parked on Bayshore which is a problem for cars, bikes and pedestrians. The daycare center on Bayshore near Greer Park causes parent cars to park.
Both of these schools may or may not create traffic problems, but they do cause problems to traffic with vehicles parking which make the street dangerous for other users.

I think increased traffic volume is less of a problem than the possible restrictions to traffic flow which could be caused by parking on what is a narrow street.

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Posted by Hmmm
a resident of East Palo Alto
on Apr 9, 2012 at 2:26 pm

West Bayshore has become scary due to all the child-related traffic. I know it's convenient given all of its connecting streets. The East Bayshore option does sound safer - I hope it works out well.

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Posted by Walter Hays Mom
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Apr 9, 2012 at 4:25 pm

Hooray for Commissioner Keller who supports childcare in Palo Alto!

As for judging the traffic implications, I would trust the city's traffic consultant. This professional found that there would be no major impact on traffic.

Mustard Seed Learning Center (MSLC) uses vans to carpool the kids from school campuses (which are all located within the Palo Alto Unified School District) to the MSLC campus. I believe they have fewer than a handful of vans.

Parents pick up their kids after commuting back to Palo Alto from work. Most likely, many employees of the neighboring buildings will have left for the day before parents arrive in the area - and there will also be those neighbors who work well after the last child has been picked up. The flow of cars will be spread out over the evening hours. Given the fact that the MSLC students are *always* accompanied to the parents' car, the level of danger must be even lower than that of dismissal time at the local schools.

Does the slightest possibility of traffic congestion on a driveway outweigh the solid benefit of an entire community?

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Posted by Marrol
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Apr 9, 2012 at 6:25 pm

The story makes no reference to any public subsidies that might be involved here. To the reporter, any idea?

Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

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