News

Palo Alto set to approve new signs, monument at City Hall

City plans to spend early $330,000 on signs, directories and large monument

Seeking to make it easier for the public to find, and get around, the freshly renovated City Hall, Palo Alto plans to spend nearly $330,000 on signs, directories and a large monument in the coming weeks.

The City Council is scheduled to approve a contract on Monday night with Express Sign & Neon Inc. for the installation of wayfinding signs in and around the Hamilton Avenue building, as well as in City Hall's underground garage.

The contract includes $298,000 for creation and installation of signs, as well as a $30,000 contingency budget for any unforeseen work.

The signs are the newest component in City Hall's major renovation, a $4.5 million project that the council swiftly approved last year and also includes a new community room on the first floor, a new space for the Information Technology Department, a refurbished Council Chambers and a renovated lobby with a digital display.

The contract with Express Sign & Neon calls for installing exterior signs in the areas surrounding the building, including the plaza, garage entrances and exits, portals over the main lobby and the entrance to the Police Department.

The building's tinted-glass walls would be adorned with aluminum letters spelling out "city hall" at the entrance. Similarly, a sign saying "police" would be placed near the Forest Avenue entrance to the Police Department, according to a report that was reviewed last year by the Architectural Review Board. There would also be a large monument along Hamilton Avenue, near Bryant Street, according to a report from Public Works.

Inside the building, new signs would direct the public to room locations and departments. New building directories would also be installed in the building lobby and inside elevators.

The eight-story building would also now become a nine-story building, though defenders of the city's height limit need not be alarmed. The city plans to stop calling the building's Mezzanine level by its current name and start referring to it as "second floor" to reduce confusion. As a result of this change, the current floors two through eight will become floors three through nine, according to the report.

Related content:

Palo Alto officials defend City Hall remodel

Palo Alto launches City Hall makeover

Comments

3 people like this
Posted by Ellie
a resident of College Terrace
on Apr 8, 2015 at 11:20 am

What is the "monument" and where will it be?


37 people like this
Posted by Incompetence
a resident of Downtown North
on Apr 8, 2015 at 11:59 am

It's a monument to City Manager Keene's ego. What a waste of taxpayers money.


11 people like this
Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Apr 8, 2015 at 12:11 pm

Signs should be simple, visible and to the point. No fancy signs are required.

Monument? Sounds like another piece of art that will cause dissent.


16 people like this
Posted by Dennis
a resident of Downtown North
on Apr 8, 2015 at 12:29 pm

I'm hoping "The Monument" will be commissioned to promote the Palo Alto ethos: The famous Palo Alto Wayfinding. I suggest "You Are Here" as a possible title.


25 people like this
Posted by Marie
a resident of South of Midtown
on Apr 8, 2015 at 12:34 pm

$4.5 million for renovations and not a penny for the closed and deteriorating Baylands Interpretive Center. Last I checked, the city staff was "working on plans" which would be disclosed in the Fall pf 2014. But not a word....

Dozens of new employees to help speed up development and none to add to the 2 overworked code enforcement officers. Of numerous complaints I made late in 2013 and early 2014, only one has been remedied and only because it was being sold. I assume the new owner was not interested in purchasing a property being investigated for zoning violations. Is it any wonder there are so many sidewalks almost impassible caught between overgrown vegetation and cars parked on the sidewalk in south Palo Alto?


24 people like this
Posted by History Buff
a resident of another community
on Apr 8, 2015 at 1:14 pm

Aren't Palo Altans among the smartest people in the universe? Shouldn't they be able to find their way around a simple box of a building without "wayfinding"?

This is an incredible waste of money, even for Palo Alto.

For an image of the "monument" see:
Web Link


16 people like this
Posted by History Buff
a resident of another community
on Apr 8, 2015 at 1:24 pm

Also note in the above link that the cost back in July 2014 was $300,000. Nine months later, it's increased by 10 percent. Imagine what it will be when the final bill is presented.


17 people like this
Posted by Online Name
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Apr 8, 2015 at 2:39 pm

Why would anyone think the 1st floor of City Hall should be like "your living room?" How many of us have -- or want -- a $4.5 million constantly updated living room to tell us where we are?? Earlier it was also going to tell us "who" we are. Such a deal.

What's the ongoing budget each year so they can keep updated with this critical information?

This whole project is just so odd. I'd like to know how many PA citizens even visit City Hall each year to warrant this type of expenditure.


24 people like this
Posted by Mama
a resident of Crescent Park
on Apr 8, 2015 at 3:33 pm

Who authorized this? Outrageous! And who is choosing our monument? What is that?? This is way too much for a few signs and somebody's idea of a good monument. How do things like this get by...is there no vetting process?


17 people like this
Posted by 38 year resident
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Apr 8, 2015 at 3:43 pm

Nearly 330,000.00 dollars will most likely turn into 475,000.00 or more and take twice as long as expected to finish. It's the Palo Alto Way.


12 people like this
Posted by Rose
a resident of Mayfield
on Apr 8, 2015 at 5:33 pm

While they are at it, could the City please clean the City Hall's underground parking? It's disgusting. It's startling to see what the city spends on things like upgrading the conference room, lobby and signage, while they don't seem interested in the most basic maintenance of the garage.


2 people like this
Posted by musical
a resident of Palo Verde
on Apr 8, 2015 at 5:34 pm

Not another April Fool Day joke.


5 people like this
Posted by Jim H
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Apr 8, 2015 at 6:14 pm

Do that many people even go to City Hall? I think I've been there once in the last 20+ years.


9 people like this
Posted by bp, no not that BP
a resident of Midtown
on Apr 8, 2015 at 8:36 pm

I went to City Hall recently😊. I go in there after I drop off my Utility Bill payment. Sometimes, I use the restroom. Last month after leaving City Hall I walked down Bryant to University, noting the broken and cracked sidewalk. A lot more people see that sidewalk (and hopefully not trip and fall) then go into the City Hall. Who hangs out at City Hall and why do we want folks to hanging out at City Hall? In the old days, I believe there was a desk in the lobby where you could go and ask the human being sitting there for information. How quaint, how friendly. I bet you could even get a volunteer to do that. But no, our city leaders want a new lobby for a building that was a mistake in the first place.


11 people like this
Posted by Another raid on city treasury
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Apr 9, 2015 at 9:21 am

The City Manager has been making raids on the treasury, this is one example.
It reflects his lack of style, or that of his new PR staff.


9 people like this
Posted by disconnected
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Apr 9, 2015 at 9:51 am

The roundabouts on Everett Ave remain unlandscaped. Even the poorest of
communities landscape their roundabouts. City Hall has its own agenda,
its own priorities,is arrogant and out of control in serving its own
interests, with no other values,doesn't understand,doesn't care,and is completely disconnected from the residents.This has real consequences, so when you drive around the City that is what you see.


8 people like this
Posted by anon
a resident of Evergreen Park
on Apr 9, 2015 at 9:53 am

are loads of folks getting lost on the way to city hall???
once inside are they wandering the halls lost again.
There is a directory just when you walk in of the department location.
what is the value in changing the floor numbering system.

random….given the amount of improvements that are needed such as the boardwalk at the ballads, or park improvements, maybe landscaping the ugly traffic circles around town.


10 people like this
Posted by musical
a resident of Palo Verde
on Apr 9, 2015 at 10:11 am

We could have called the ground floor, "the ground floor",
called the mezzanine "the first floor", and left the higher floors unchanged.

But here in Palo Alto I always thought number-one equated to being on top.
So it would make more sense to number the floors downward from the roof.
Just one more way we could be unique.


2 people like this
Posted by Nayeli
a resident of Midtown
on Apr 9, 2015 at 10:57 am

I don't mind any of this. We should take pride in our city. Sometimes, people are so caught up in change (good, bad or the lack thereof) that they stop and smell the roses.

That said: I think that the most beautiful "monument" is found in nature itself. Why not plants some Redwood trees around City Hall? They could serve as a monument that lasts thousands of years rather than until the eventual demolition or redesign of that space.


2 people like this
Posted by Nayeli
a resident of Midtown
on Apr 9, 2015 at 10:58 am

*Edit:

I don't mind any of this. We should take pride in our city. Sometimes, people are so caught up in change (good, bad or the lack thereof) that they forget to stop and smell the roses.

That said: I think that the most beautiful "monument" is found in nature itself. Why not plants some Redwood trees around City Hall? They could serve as a monument that lasts thousands of years rather than until the eventual demolition or redesign of that space.


8 people like this
Posted by Mama
a resident of Crescent Park
on Apr 9, 2015 at 12:18 pm

Is there a way to put a stop to this? City Council? Again I adk, how did this get approved?


10 people like this
Posted by Kate
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Apr 9, 2015 at 6:05 pm

This is beyond ridiculous, and as yet the POST and the Weekly have not weighed in - or did I miss this while I hid in the closet from civic embarrassment? The city now has delusions of grandeur along with other delusions. It is embarrassing, and the voting residents are powerless to stop this idiocy. Or ARE THEY??? It is time for this city manager, Jim Keene, to find another golden garden and take the overabundance of overpaid over-staff with him - maybe back to Oakland. The civic blood pressure is heating up, and it is not pretty. It is already boiling.
FIX THE SIDEWALKS! FIX THE STREETS!! FIX THE EMBARCADERO-PALY LIGHT!!! How many more years will that take??
AND FIX THE SAD BAYLANDS - THE INTERPRETIVE CENTER BEFORE IT TOO FALLS IN THE WATER LIKE THE BOARDWALK WHICH WILL COLLAPSE SOON!!! And cut the weeds while they are at it.


Like this comment
Posted by musical
a resident of Palo Verde
on Apr 9, 2015 at 7:26 pm

Looks like some people here are misconstruing what's meant by "monument".
Not anything like a statue -- more along the lines of a broad headstone.
Inscribed simply "City of Palo Alto, 250 Hamilton".
I suppose we could add "1894 - TBD"

Speaking of longevity at City Hall, "Aurora" (the LED light-sculpture tree) was switched on Nov 16, 2013 with a life expectancy of 12 months. The last reprieve I saw from the Public Art Commission extended the tenure only through January 27 of this year. Anyone else hearing different?


Like this comment
Posted by Online Name
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Apr 9, 2015 at 8:12 pm

The Aurora light sculpture is great and may bethe only decent piece of public art we've got. A few years back I wanted to research it some more but the Public Art Commission's site was down and I think it's still down.


Like this comment
Posted by musical
a resident of Palo Verde
on Apr 9, 2015 at 10:42 pm

Aurora should be in the category of "if it ain't broke, don't fix it."

Public Art Commission -- Web Link

Public Art Program -- Web Link (scroll to bottom for Aurora)


6 people like this
Posted by member
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Apr 10, 2015 at 10:18 am

Who doubts that the signs are so that city employees' web-surfing will no longer be interrupted by members of the public seeking direction?

A truly fitting monument would be a monument to money wasting; perhaps an eternal bonfire. A portion should be adorned with Mercedes-Benz three pointed star badges, taken from Mercedes vans that the PA Utilities employees drive around. City employees pryed off the iconic Mercedes Benz badges so no one would notice that they felt they deserved the best.


10 people like this
Posted by Citizen
a resident of Crescent Park
on Apr 10, 2015 at 6:02 pm

City Manager Keene and the rest of his kingdom at city hall don't care about the wishes of the residents of Palo Alto. Keene is out of touch and should be fired. Chief Transportation Officer Jaime Rodriguez was asked to "leave," thanks to a group of Palo Altans that were relentless in exposing his incompetence, and more. A group of Palo Alto citizens need to organize and put pressure on the city council to fire Keene. The city council is Keene's boss.


10 people like this
Posted by Another raid on city treasury
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Apr 10, 2015 at 9:38 pm

It does have to come from the residents. The council people are probably aware of his shenanigans, maybe they see even more than we do.I just know what I read in the papers.
I notice they avoid criticizing him, maybe they can't because he will retaliate in hidden, painful ways. He has a lot of staff beholden to him, to do his bidding.
I recall a rule that Council people have to thank the staff when they make a report, or answer a question, or some such. Yes, a rule.
WHAT CAN WE DO?


4 people like this
Posted by Show Up at the City Council Meeting and Be Heard!
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Apr 11, 2015 at 8:15 pm

For all of you that hate this ridiculous and unnecessary expenditure, PLEASE come to the City Council meeting on Monday evening and speak up! Get all of your friends to come! You CAN make a difference!


4 people like this
Posted by disconnected
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Apr 12, 2015 at 11:58 am

The City botches everything everyway you can as far as signs, private and public. To illustrate,drive down to Shoreline Blvd in Mountain View. First, at the corner of Middlefield and Shoreline there is an attractive, nicely done Shell station under both sign and architectural control. Compare that to the Shell station recently renovated at Embarcadero and 101 in PA under
no architectural or sign control at the entrance to our City and a residential area and adjacent to the new neighborhood shopping center, Edgewood Plaza.

As far as informational signs, back to MV, at the corner of Shoreline and Stierlin there is one blue sign on the street light pole, clearly visible and appropriate with directions to "Downtown". It's attractive, it's visible, and it makes sense. Compare that to the two small blue informational signs in PA at the corner of Hamilton and Alma. They are small,both are hard to see and read and one is actiually completely blocked from Alma northbound by the signal box. One says "Shops and Dining" with an arrow which seems rather superfluous there and the other says "City Hall- Police Station".


4 people like this
Posted by disconnected
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Apr 12, 2015 at 6:02 pm

Follow-up. The superfluous sign at Alma/Hamilton "Shops-Dining" is the
visible one, the possibly useful informational sign "Police Station-City
Hall" is the one which is blocked by the signal box driving northbound
on Alma. Both signs are too small to be readable going southbound on
Alma. The City does signs for the sake of doing signs whether it makes
any sense or not.


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

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