California Avenue work prompts road closures this week

Section of commercial strip to be closed to eastbound traffic between Tuesday and Thursday

A segment of California Avenue will be closed to eastbound traffic from Tuesday to Thursday as work crews reconstruct the section of the road between the sidewalk and the median island.

During construction, traffic heading east will be detoured to Cambridge and Sherman avenues, according to an announcement from the city. The section that will be closed is between Birch Street and Park Boulevard.

The commercial strip, often referred to as Palo Alto's "second downtown," is undergoing a major renovation that includes widening of sidewalks, reduction of lanes from four to two, new street furniture and new public plazas. The project is scheduled to be completed by the end of the year.

In addition to the road reconstruction, workers are also scheduled to install new curbs and gutters this week on the south side of California Street, between Park and Birch. Crews will also be rebuilding sidewalks on this segment, as well as on the north side of the street between Ash Street and El Camino Real.

Work will remain limited to between 8 a.m. and 6 p.m., with a quiet period between 11:30 a.m. and 1 p.m. Traffic flow will be limited to a single lane in each direction, with the exception of the closed segment between Park and Birch. Bus stops will also be moved to accommodate the construction.

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Posted by parent
a resident of Midtown
on Aug 11, 2014 at 2:01 pm

We're looking forward to this project finally being finished. The new wider sidewalks and more visible crosswalks at the east end of the street are looking very nice.

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Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Aug 11, 2014 at 4:44 pm

It would have been nice to have been told about the repaving on Oregon this weekend in advance. I could easily have rerouted myself around the work, but ended up getting stuck in bad traffic on Saturday. Just because it was a Saturday, it doesn't mean that we don't have to be places on time.

Thanks for letting us know about this work.

Like this comment
Posted by Jaime Rodriguez
a resident of another community
on Aug 11, 2014 at 5:12 pm

The Oregon Expressway Improvement project is being led by the County of Santa Clara whom operates and maintains both Oregon Expressway and Page Mill Road. The County provides regular updates on its project website at

This past weekend’s street repair work on Oregon Expressway was due to the County trying to complete as much work as possible before the start of school next week, construction equipment failures resulted in extra-long delays. The County has more work scheduled for Wednesday, August 13th to complete the pavement repairs in areas that could not be completed this past weekend.

Jaime Rodriguez
City of Palo Alto

Like this comment
Posted by Well now
a resident of Southgate
on Aug 11, 2014 at 6:18 pm

This is just what the city council promised us would NOT happen! Bet the merchants are red-hot furious.

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Posted by mom
a resident of Evergreen Park
on Aug 11, 2014 at 8:19 pm

The construction crew has been doing a very bad job and rerouting cars and keeping pedestrians safe. I walk around a lot with my 3 children trying to get to parks and I don't feel safe with all of the construction and extra traffic around. Make safety a higher priority. Especially with school starting soon I don't want to have to worry about biking my kid to school through this danger zone.

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Posted by Neighbor
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Aug 11, 2014 at 10:29 pm

@Jaime Rodriguez

Is the landscape in the median of Oregon Expressway, and the subsequent maintenance the responsibility of the City of Palo Alto? If so what percentage?

Like this comment
Posted by notice the hills!
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Aug 11, 2014 at 11:54 pm

This would be a good time to admire the hills in the background of this photo.

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Posted by driver
a resident of Downtown North
on Aug 12, 2014 at 9:25 am

[Post removed.]

Like this comment
Posted by Silly
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Aug 12, 2014 at 11:57 am

Mr. Rodriquez,

Have you noticed all the cars forming their own lanes on Middlefield so we run the risk of head-on collisions when people get tired of the interminable backups?

So how's your 9-year study of the traffic light timing on Embarcedero near Town & Country coming? I love sitting at green lights where the traffic isn't moving because you've got a red light not too far in front of the green light.

Do you ever get out of your office to see first-hand the mess you've made?

Like this comment
Posted by Pullll-eeeeze
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Aug 12, 2014 at 1:51 pm

Please put some priority on the problem at T & C on Embarcadero and take out one of those stoplights!!!!! The Paly kids can go to the crosswalk at the entrance to T & C instead of bringing heavy traffic to a dead stop by pushing the button.

A lot of traffic goes through there to get to Stanford, PAMF, etc!

Like this comment
Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Aug 12, 2014 at 2:13 pm

Thank you Jaime for your explanation and particularly about informing us about the work on Wednesday.

It would be best if the PA Weekly were to headline this as a warning to all of us road users that this work will be happening.

Like this comment
Posted by jerry99
a resident of Barron Park
on Aug 12, 2014 at 2:50 pm

This is a complete waste of time and money and serves no purpose at all. It will decrease the number of lanes and just make traffic slower all day. [Portion removed.]

Like this comment
Posted by Grateful long-time Resident
a resident of Evergreen Park
on Aug 12, 2014 at 3:04 pm

Since we signed up to receive weekly email updates on the project, it's been a breeze to negotiate not only driving through there, but also walking. We are in Evergreen Park. Even in the middle of the day, it's never been a problem. The workers are gracious and professional.

No one should be in the dark or surprised by anything going on now. This PA Weekly article just supplemented what the city communicated. The renovations look wonderful. It's really beginning to take shape.

Kind of Mr. Rodriguez to take the time to read these comments and respond. Wow. An unexpected surprise, showing communication from the City to interested people about this project is there, and it's much appreciated.

Like this comment
Posted by barking mad
a resident of Midtown
on Aug 13, 2014 at 12:58 pm

it sure would have been nice to know that ross, louis and greer were all going to be closed between colorado and oregon expressway this morning. this caused me to have to double back to middlefield! the signage put up on greer monday and tuesday said "no parking" not road closure. it sure would have saved some headaches this morning! UGH.

the city only communicates what is within several 100 feet of ones residence...which is not helpful with regard to for mr. rodriguez' statement am i supposed to know where and what project the county didn't finish over the weekend? more detail please!

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