News

To limit visitors, Palo Alto will close parking lots at nature preserves

City warns it may close off open spaces entirely if too many people show up

Seeking to prevent crowds at popular recreation areas, Palo Alto announced Wednesday that it will close parking lots near the city’s three open space preserves: Foothills Park, the Arastradero Preserve and the Baylands.

While all three open spaces will remain open for now, visitors will only be able to access them by foot or bicycles starting Friday. The move mirrors a similar policy from Gov. Gavin Newsom, who on Sunday announced parking lot closures at dozens of state parks in five counties, including Marin and San Mateo counties.

The announcement by City Manager Ed Shikada that parking lots will be closed came a day after the city closed bathrooms and drinking fountains at preserves as part of a strategy to limit access. Shikada told the council on Monday that the city is employing a strategy of "access limitations" — rather than outright closure of open spaces — for reducing crowding on trails.

He also noted Monday that if this strategy is unsuccessful, "closure would presumably be the next step, unless we can come up with any strategies in between." The Wednesday afternoon announcement states that "the difficult decision was made to protect the community and to ensure social distancing is maintained."

"The city is urging the community to stay at home. This will save lives. If large crowds continue at our parks and Open Space Preserves, we will have no choice but to close them for the safety of the whole community," Shikada said.

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While Mayor Adrian Fine reported a high number of visitors at the Baylands over the weekend, the crowds were nonexistent on Tuesday afternoon. The preserve had only a few vehicles parked at its Embarcadero lot and only a few walkers and runners who were well spread out over the expansive nature preserve.

The impending closure of parking lots follows several weeks in which Palo Alto has gradually shut down its community centers and recreation facilities, including tennis courts, pickleball courts, playgrounds and athletic fields.

Related content:

Keep Parks Safe' -- Authorities plead with visitors to follow social distancing rules or face closures

Find comprehensive coverage on the Midpeninsula's response to the new coronavirus by Palo Alto Online, the Mountain View Voice and the Almanac here.

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To limit visitors, Palo Alto will close parking lots at nature preserves

City warns it may close off open spaces entirely if too many people show up

by / Palo Alto Weekly

Uploaded: Thu, Mar 26, 2020, 9:42 am

Seeking to prevent crowds at popular recreation areas, Palo Alto announced Wednesday that it will close parking lots near the city’s three open space preserves: Foothills Park, the Arastradero Preserve and the Baylands.

While all three open spaces will remain open for now, visitors will only be able to access them by foot or bicycles starting Friday. The move mirrors a similar policy from Gov. Gavin Newsom, who on Sunday announced parking lot closures at dozens of state parks in five counties, including Marin and San Mateo counties.

The announcement by City Manager Ed Shikada that parking lots will be closed came a day after the city closed bathrooms and drinking fountains at preserves as part of a strategy to limit access. Shikada told the council on Monday that the city is employing a strategy of "access limitations" — rather than outright closure of open spaces — for reducing crowding on trails.

He also noted Monday that if this strategy is unsuccessful, "closure would presumably be the next step, unless we can come up with any strategies in between." The Wednesday afternoon announcement states that "the difficult decision was made to protect the community and to ensure social distancing is maintained."

"The city is urging the community to stay at home. This will save lives. If large crowds continue at our parks and Open Space Preserves, we will have no choice but to close them for the safety of the whole community," Shikada said.

While Mayor Adrian Fine reported a high number of visitors at the Baylands over the weekend, the crowds were nonexistent on Tuesday afternoon. The preserve had only a few vehicles parked at its Embarcadero lot and only a few walkers and runners who were well spread out over the expansive nature preserve.

The impending closure of parking lots follows several weeks in which Palo Alto has gradually shut down its community centers and recreation facilities, including tennis courts, pickleball courts, playgrounds and athletic fields.

Related content:

Keep Parks Safe' -- Authorities plead with visitors to follow social distancing rules or face closures

Find comprehensive coverage on the Midpeninsula's response to the new coronavirus by Palo Alto Online, the Mountain View Voice and the Almanac here.

Comments

resident
Mountain View
on Mar 26, 2020 at 10:08 am
resident, Mountain View
on Mar 26, 2020 at 10:08 am
7 people like this

fyi - some of the car parking lots at Mountain View Shoreline Park are still open. Some of the trails are too crowded, but others are not bad.


Anon
Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Mar 26, 2020 at 10:29 am
Anon, Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Mar 26, 2020 at 10:29 am
8 people like this

I have been out to parks some, and, I mostly haven't seen an issue. I see strangers staying apart from each other. I have seen obvious couples walking a few feet apart (less than 6), as well as touching their high-touch small children. I have seen a few women who appear to be just friends talking more closely. It is a tough habit to break, but, yes, they should back off. The only "sociopathic" behavior I've seen was at a gas station. Some people just won't back off. I won't need to buy gas again any time soon, though.


Mistake
Midtown
on Mar 26, 2020 at 10:30 am
Mistake, Midtown
on Mar 26, 2020 at 10:30 am
67 people like this

I am very disappointed with this, and think it is a mistake. People now more than ever need to get outside and exercise. There is more than enough room to keep a 6-foot distance to do this in our preserves, and even in our parking lots. Rather than close off this resource to so many people, we should instead find ways to remind people of the need to keep distance in these areas. I strongly hope that the city revisits this poor decision.


YP
Crescent Park
on Mar 26, 2020 at 10:36 am
YP, Crescent Park
on Mar 26, 2020 at 10:36 am
51 people like this

Very disappointing , we should let our leaders know this policy is too restrictive. Why can't we be smarter , if too many people is the problem find ways to limit the number of those that enter. For Shoreline enforce parking areas, only park in designated lots, write parking tickets for those that park illegally.
For Foothill Park, establish a maximum number of cars that can be in the park at once. When you hit the limit only allow cars in when a car leaves. Is that really that hard to do?


Anon
Greenmeadow
on Mar 26, 2020 at 10:39 am
Anon, Greenmeadow
on Mar 26, 2020 at 10:39 am
30 people like this

We went to Arastradero yesterday and unfortunately, many people would not keep their distance. People on their bikes passed very closed to us even if we stepped on the side of the trail to give them space. Another family had unleashed dogs that tried to lick my kids. It's a frustrating situation for sure but understandable since people can't follow simple rules.


chris
University South
on Mar 26, 2020 at 11:05 am
chris, University South
on Mar 26, 2020 at 11:05 am
38 people like this

Mistake and YP,

Most people in Palo Alto are educated and understand the severity of the crisis. The number of identified COVID-19 cases is still rapidly increasing. Mixing large numbers of people together in the last thing we need.

Please rethink your complaints and do not bother city officials with your petty complaints. This is a matter of life and death.


JR
Palo Verde
on Mar 26, 2020 at 11:23 am
JR, Palo Verde
on Mar 26, 2020 at 11:23 am
34 people like this

Closing these facilities will contribute to the spread of the COVID-19 virus. Now that large parks are effectively closed, more people will cram into small parks. If small parks are closed, people will cram into the streets. These measures are not effective at reducing the spread of disease and they are not acceptable actions for a free society. Shame on the city manager.


CrescentParkAnon.
Crescent Park
on Mar 26, 2020 at 11:36 am
CrescentParkAnon., Crescent Park
on Mar 26, 2020 at 11:36 am
30 people like this

Does our City government really understand how the CoronaVirus is spread? Where is the CofPA getting the idea that it needs to close outdoor areas? Who is giving the City this medical advice and are there any contradictory opinions?

From the NYT: Web Link

How does coronavirus spread?
It seems to spread very easily from person to person, especially in homes, hospitals and other confined spaces. The pathogen can be carried on tiny respiratory droplets that fall as they are coughed or sneezed out. It may also be transmitted when we touch a contaminated surface and then touch our face.

Did CofPA miss the CONFINED SPACES qualifier?

I've always thought we should have government that has to have proportional and reasonable logic behind actions that limit the rights of citizens. Sure, err on the side of caution, but what is the caution here. What is the reason parks are being limited or being considered to be closed?

The restrooms in our most spacious parks are well ventilated and all that is needed to ensure people do not infect themselves is to wash their hands well with soap and dry them with paper towels and hold the paper towel in your hand while you open the door to exit.

I must be missing something .... so, please tell me what?


Resident
Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Mar 26, 2020 at 11:44 am
Resident, Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Mar 26, 2020 at 11:44 am
27 people like this

Very bad move. Our local parks are very full when the sun is shining. Getting more people to the local parks is not a good idea. We need to be able to access Foothills Park and the Baylands so that we are able to get away from the crowds! Not all of us are able to bike to get our exercise, we like to get our exercise away from home.

It is evident that there is a move to make us all fat, unhealthy and eat nothing but takeout pizza or drive through fast food and designer coffee. It is getting harder to buy staples such as eggs, rice, pasta and flour although it seems that at present we are still able to buy produce. Now that we can't get some fresh air and exercise we will turn into diabetics.

The priorities are making no sense whatever.


bemused
East Palo Alto
on Mar 26, 2020 at 12:11 pm
bemused, East Palo Alto
on Mar 26, 2020 at 12:11 pm
15 people like this

The more we can stay in our own neighborhoods to get exercise, the better. Places like Arastradero and Baylands end up with people from all over the peninsula mingling and when social distancing is not being followed, that can cause the virus to spread more widely than if we all stay in our local neighborhoods. We all are missing the beautiful locations we normally visit but I hope we're mature enough to adjust for the time being. These are all still allowed: walking/jogging/biking in one's own neighborhood, doing a workout video in the house, sitting on a balcony/porch to get fresh air, gardening if you're lucky enough to have a yard.


Good move
Charleston Gardens
on Mar 26, 2020 at 12:14 pm
Good move, Charleston Gardens
on Mar 26, 2020 at 12:14 pm
21 people like this

Good move, thank you the city of PA.
I get it, people like to complain, particularly in PA. This is not a government overreach. Chris is right, this is a matter of life and death.
It’s ok to exercise outside. It is NOT ok to cruise around to visit places thinking this is the time. Isn’t that obvious that this is how infection spreads?
You are free to go to where you can walk. Parking lots are closed, not the parks. You can WALK or bike there. This is what they call EXERCISE.


JB
Evergreen Park
on Mar 26, 2020 at 12:20 pm
JB, Evergreen Park
on Mar 26, 2020 at 12:20 pm
38 people like this

Oh,no! Foothills Park has kept me sane during this isolation period. The only time I have seen crowding was last weekend. We have walked almost daily during the week and have found very few people there. Please, please only close the Foothills Parking lot on the weekends. We need the fresh air and beauty, and we pass at most 2 or 3 people on the trails, sometimes just one person. We all know to step to the side of the trail and face away from one another.


MustBeMe
Barron Park
on Mar 26, 2020 at 12:25 pm
MustBeMe, Barron Park
on Mar 26, 2020 at 12:25 pm
12 people like this

Excellent and wise move by the city. Hey people, follow the guidelines and be creative! A man finished a full marathon in his tiny balcony, and you still can't figure out how to get a fresh air?!


Giraffe
Duveneck/St. Francis
on Mar 26, 2020 at 12:25 pm
Giraffe, Duveneck/St. Francis
on Mar 26, 2020 at 12:25 pm
18 people like this

I would think that in most parks, walking people can maintain the 6' distance. The problem is bicycles. They go fast, thus pass lots of walkers, and there frequently is no room for the bicycles to pass walkers 6' away.

So with parking lots closed, lots of bicycles will STILL get into the parks, but it will be much harder for walking people to get in. A better move would be to ban bicycles and not close the parking lots. Being out in nature is really important to keep people's spirits up. Please don't make things worse than they already are!!


Member
Palo Alto Hills
on Mar 26, 2020 at 12:41 pm
Member, Palo Alto Hills
on Mar 26, 2020 at 12:41 pm
9 people like this

They are already heading for the hills to MROSD lands. I live and mountain bike up on Skyline BLVD over 30 years and have never seen as many groups of hikers on the trails. I did a 50min ride yesterday after 5pm and passed (holding my breath) over 30 hikers. 25 of them were in 5 groups of 4, all walking and talking close together.


Anon
Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Mar 26, 2020 at 12:46 pm
Anon, Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Mar 26, 2020 at 12:46 pm
13 people like this

Posted by CrescentParkAnon., a resident of Crescent Park

(Agree 99%)

>> The restrooms in our most spacious parks are well ventilated and all that is needed to ensure people do not infect themselves is to wash their hands well with soap and dry them with paper towels and hold the paper towel in your hand while you open the door to exit.

>> I must be missing something .... so, please tell me what?

I think the restrooms are/could be an issue, although, I also think that those issues could be mitigated by the city (with effort). But, I agree about the rest. It is easy to stay 20 feet away from others except briefly passing on trails. Also not an issue. Face away, hold your breath, when someone passes you.

There is no evidence of sparsely distributed people outdoors spreading coronavirus or any other airborne virus. OTOH, there is plenty of evidence that it spreads easily, indoors and out, when people are in very close proximity. NYTimes article about the aftermath of Mardi Gras: Web Link


There's no place like home
Stanford
on Mar 26, 2020 at 12:49 pm
There's no place like home, Stanford
on Mar 26, 2020 at 12:49 pm
11 people like this

This place is too crowded! Wherever we go for some outdoor time, we end up returning home because dodging others doing the same is too stressful.

Parents of teens: Please educate your independent kids on bikes to respect the 6-feet rule from pedestrians AND stay off paths that clearly state "No Bikes"! While on a narrow, designated bike-free sidewalk yesterday, I winessed 3 fast-biking teens refusing to slow down or stop as they approached 2 senior pedestrians. If the pedestrians hadn't quickly moved aside, they would have been knocked down.


bemused
East Palo Alto
on Mar 26, 2020 at 12:51 pm
bemused, East Palo Alto
on Mar 26, 2020 at 12:51 pm
1 person likes this

@Member, there's an hour loop I hike in the SC mountains that I've _never_ seen anyone else on. Last week I passed ten people on the trail. Many cars parked on the roadside where there'd normally be 1 or 2.


Resident
Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Mar 26, 2020 at 1:11 pm
Resident, Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Mar 26, 2020 at 1:11 pm
29 people like this

Closing the Baylands and Foothills Park make no sense. They are huge and much more able to cope with crowds than the local parks.

Spacing is much more efficient. Times of day, days of week, odd and even plates, last name initial, first half second half alphabet, you name it, much better idea.

Those cyclists who are able to ride their bikes up the steep hill to Foothills Park do not deserve to have the park to themselves. Most of them are not necessarily PA residents anyways. Will they have their id checked for residency?

Give the parks to those of us who enjoy them, space the timing, but please do not close the par


Too Restrictive
Duveneck/St. Francis
on Mar 26, 2020 at 1:44 pm
Too Restrictive , Duveneck/St. Francis
on Mar 26, 2020 at 1:44 pm
39 people like this

This move is too restrictive. COVID-19 does not do well in sun light or outside. In Wuhan practically all cases were spread by touching surfaces, not through the air. Going to the grocery store is far, far more dangerous than walking in these parks. This is just forcing adults and kids to walk in the streets in their neighborhoods and pack in closer together. This makes it more difficult to maintain physical and mental health and reduces the duration that a lockdown is viable.


midtowner
Midtown
on Mar 26, 2020 at 1:51 pm
midtowner, Midtown
on Mar 26, 2020 at 1:51 pm
34 people like this

This is counterintuitive IMHO. The behavior at the Baylands has been very responsible (folks taking wide berth around others while walking, waiting in their cars until adjacent cars have unloaded, etc.) Worse, I believe it will have the opposite effect (e.g., people parking along Embarcadero to walk to the Baylands, prompting even less social distancing. A smarter move would be to block every other parking space, etc.


PA
Barron Park
on Mar 26, 2020 at 1:59 pm
PA, Barron Park
on Mar 26, 2020 at 1:59 pm
18 people like this

"Another family had unleashed dogs that tried to lick my kids."

typical overly entitled dog people, unleashed dogs are awful, they belong in their own enclosures


Quinn
College Terrace
on Mar 26, 2020 at 2:16 pm
Quinn, College Terrace
on Mar 26, 2020 at 2:16 pm
13 people like this

@ CrescentParkAnon. “How does coronavirus spread?
It seems to spread very easily from person to person, especially in homes, hospitals and other confined spaces. “

IE, places where multiple people come in close proximity and/or Contact. Like the idiot last Friday who passed me on the right putting his hand on my shoulder to squeeze by me on the trail.

“I must be missing something .... so, please tell me what?”

The Mardi Gras outbreaks. The spring break outbreaks. The big Florida spike after Spring Break Week.
Need more examples ?

As someone said on the previous thread, the people crowded the parks and are turning them into congested areas, particularly the parking lots and trail heads/feeder trails. The City has no choice but to shut it down since the people obviously cannot respect the rules. Now none of us get to use them. Thanks guy who passed on the right and probably parked in a “no parking” space.

I hate the entitled jerks who caused this to happen.


CrescentParkAnon.
Crescent Park
on Mar 26, 2020 at 2:20 pm
CrescentParkAnon., Crescent Park
on Mar 26, 2020 at 2:20 pm
17 people like this

Dr Ezekiel Emanual says he doesn't like "Shelter In Place, or think it is necessary,
but social distancing is very important. Quarantine is necessary and not gathering
in groups, and especially not international travel ...
... but this closing down the parks seems draconian, my words.

KQED Forum: Dr. Ezekiel Emanuel on What It Will Take to Conquer Coronavirus: Web Link


Quinn
College Terrace
on Mar 26, 2020 at 2:24 pm
Quinn, College Terrace
on Mar 26, 2020 at 2:24 pm
4 people like this

We’ll Rush Limbaugh and Fox News disagree. Does that make it so ?

Everybody is an expert.


CrescentParkAnon.
Crescent Park
on Mar 26, 2020 at 2:28 pm
CrescentParkAnon., Crescent Park
on Mar 26, 2020 at 2:28 pm
14 people like this

Experts actually are experts.


John Salwitz
Barron Park
on Mar 26, 2020 at 2:47 pm
John Salwitz, Barron Park
on Mar 26, 2020 at 2:47 pm
28 people like this

This decision seems too draconian to me. Why not just limit the number of cars in the parks or cone-off 50% of the parking spaces (every other one)?

I very much agree that getting outside now and in nature is one of the better things we can do to stay sane and to fight this thing.


Teedee
Midtown
on Mar 26, 2020 at 2:57 pm
Teedee, Midtown
on Mar 26, 2020 at 2:57 pm
30 people like this

I, too, am incredibly sad & disappointed that our best outlet (literally) is now being closed off to us, giving preferenctial treatment to the fit bikers who are able to reach these areas!
And I agree that its going to create other problems with people parking on access roads and walking more & more on residential streets.
The open air is not is not the nexus of the dangerous contagious zone!
Sigh.
People do keep their distance and pass each other very quickly.
Taking away our only FRESH air outside our homes & 'hoods is really draconian & depressing.


DMP
Barron Park
on Mar 26, 2020 at 2:59 pm
DMP, Barron Park
on Mar 26, 2020 at 2:59 pm
22 people like this

We were lucky enough to have a lovely walk through Foothill Park this past weekend. This breath of fresh air did more for us then anything else we could have done. While the park was more crowded with cars than usual it was rare for us to pass anyone within 6 feet of each other, except for families with little kids who were meandering with strollers and then we just stepped off to the side or turned our backs.

While I totally agree with social distancing I believe this is a short site-sighted approach to managing the issue of too many people in the parks, Foothill in specific. Very few people can walk up Page Mill to get to the park and the idea of parking on the side of the road is a little bit scary. Why not just limit the number of people in the park at any given time? Or ask people to stay for a limited period of time?

Let's not give up nature at this time.


YP
Crescent Park
on Mar 26, 2020 at 3:50 pm
YP, Crescent Park
on Mar 26, 2020 at 3:50 pm
20 people like this

As I said above, this is too restrictive I would expect our city officials can find a better approach rather than shutting everything down.

I know most of you won't to agree but I find current policies too blunt and will inflict untold misery on millions of unemployed and small business closures. This week 3.3m Americans filled for unemployment vs a run rate of 200k normally. And the government assistance will help some, but many will fall through the cracks.

Perhaps policies needed for a few more weeks but we need to start thinking how to smartly get people back to work. For instance perhaps restaurants remove 50% of your tables to space people out. Why can't shoe stores, apparel stores and other businesses reopen in a couple weeks with restrictions on how many can be in the store at once to help with social distancing. Trader Joe's does that now, it works well. The current measures are unsustainable beyond a couple weeks.


Resident
Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Mar 26, 2020 at 3:57 pm
Resident, Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Mar 26, 2020 at 3:57 pm
22 people like this

What needs to be said is that they have not closed the park, it remains open.

It remains open for the cyclists who are fit enough to ride up the hill that is Page Mill Road. They may or may not be Palo Alto residents.

It remains open for those who live in the Palo Alto foothills who can walk from their homes.

It remains open for the Los Altos Hills residents who should not really be in the park since they are not Palo Alto residents.

This sounds more like discrimination against the elderly, those who are unable to ride bikes up hills, those who have very young children, those who live in the flat part of Palo Alto.

In fact, I think that if they closed the park it would be more fair than leaving it for those who don't need to drive to get there.


denise
Midtown
on Mar 26, 2020 at 4:10 pm
denise, Midtown
on Mar 26, 2020 at 4:10 pm
15 people like this

Yesterday PAPD started ticketing people parked on the outskirts of Byxbee Park, where there are NO "No Parking" signs, and people have parked there regularly forever without being ticketed. REALLY? What is it PAPD - not making your ticket quota? I hope every single person who was ticketed fights and wins in court. This is odious behavior on the part of PAPD to start ticketing where they never have. Just another form of bullying/abuse by PAPD.


Resident
Community Center
on Mar 26, 2020 at 4:12 pm
Resident , Community Center
on Mar 26, 2020 at 4:12 pm
12 people like this

I strongly support adherence to the social distancing mandates and we support any measures that are believed to promote transmission.
When we need to grocery shop once or twice a week, only one of us goes in the store. We are among the few who wear a mask and gloves, and we wipe cart surfaces with disinfectant wipes.
We walk our dog in our neighborhood and we appreciative of how contentious our neighbors have been to practice social distancing. Likewise, when we go to open space parks we have seen diligent adherence to social distancing guidelines. Despite the city not posting information about the guidelines at the parks, hikers usually move off the trails or roads to allow others to pass quickly. The CDC guidelines say that this sort of incidental contact does not pose a risk. While the parking areas at these parks are now pretty full, the hiking trails have fewer people on them than the neighborhood sidewalks that the city now wants to restrict us to. We have not seen people congregating in parking lots or elsewhere.
As we are in a stressful period with restricted movement and social isolation, maintaining mental and physical health is important and more challenging. I hope that the city reconsiders its open space restrictions to require measures that are based on the best available science. If they need to reduce the parking or access in certain locations, then they can do that.
The city was slow to respond to the emergency as we saw them still sponsoring public meetings, like the State of the City address with 100 people, after social distancing guidelines were put in place. Now, as we should be evolving to more surgical refinements to the emergency, they are implementing unilateral open space restrictions without apparent coordination with the Peninsula Open Space District or the County Park System.
If restrictions are truly needed, let’s do them. But let’s make sure they are well considered rather than rash and uninformed.


Anon
Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Mar 26, 2020 at 4:17 pm
Anon, Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Mar 26, 2020 at 4:17 pm
7 people like this

Posted by YP, a resident of Crescent Park

>> I know most of you won't to agree but I find current policies too blunt and will inflict untold misery on millions of unemployed and small business closures.

We are still feeling our way on this. Too bad that the false "optimism" of so many people has resulted in so many deaths already. Read what the very-statistics-oriented fivethirtyeight has to say about the current range of predictions: Web Link

"if we “adhere to guidance around social distancing, take all symptoms seriously, and self-isolate at the first sign of potential infection,” it’s possible the outcome will fall closer to the best-case scenario."

We have to figure out how to effectively maintain "social distancing" for the next two months minimum.


Limit Cars
Duveneck/St. Francis
on Mar 26, 2020 at 4:30 pm
Limit Cars, Duveneck/St. Francis
on Mar 26, 2020 at 4:30 pm
17 people like this

If the City is concerned about overcrowding why don't they just have a ranger at the front gate in the ranger house limit the total number of cars in the park at one time to a certain maximum. No need to close the park completely to cars.


Howard Hoffman
Midtown
on Mar 26, 2020 at 5:05 pm
Howard Hoffman, Midtown
on Mar 26, 2020 at 5:05 pm
30 people like this

It is vital for everyone to maintain physical and mental health during this pandemic. Exercise is important. The open spaces and their parking lots should be re-opened. I spend a lot of time in these open spaces, including since the social distancing was recommended and have seen nearly universal observance. I strongly urge the City Manager and or the City Council to do the responsible thing and re-open. Put up notices advising people of the recommended behavior.


Joe
Charleston Meadows
on Mar 26, 2020 at 6:53 pm
Joe, Charleston Meadows
on Mar 26, 2020 at 6:53 pm
10 people like this

Of course we get stupid rules like this when our city council includes people like Liz Kniss. Remember? She claimed a year or so that traffic in Palo Alto isn't really a problem. And more recently said that many residents of Los Altos Hills regularly ride into Foothills Park on their horses.


Wise decision
Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Mar 26, 2020 at 7:22 pm
Wise decision , Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Mar 26, 2020 at 7:22 pm
8 people like this

Really, Joe. This is the time to bash kniss? The council had nothing to do with this decision. Why don't you put aside your petty whining during this crisis. Your comments are just another example of the comments from the entitled elite in Palo alto ( oh how we are suffering, we cannot go to foothills Park).


No Parking Signs Added
Duveneck/St. Francis
on Mar 26, 2020 at 8:12 pm
No Parking Signs Added, Duveneck/St. Francis
on Mar 26, 2020 at 8:12 pm
1 person likes this

The city has just put up no parking signs outside Foothill and Arastadero Parks to prevent anyone from parking nearby and walking in.


foothill
Barron Park
on Mar 26, 2020 at 10:29 pm
foothill, Barron Park
on Mar 26, 2020 at 10:29 pm
8 people like this

IMO the problem with periodic overcrowding at Foothill Park could have been solved by keeping one of the park rangers at the front gate, screening cars to ascertain that occupants were indeed Palo Alto residents. For some reason, this was not being done any of the times we visited last and this week.


S_mom
Community Center
on Mar 27, 2020 at 10:55 am
S_mom, Community Center
on Mar 27, 2020 at 10:55 am
5 people like this

What if they just closed the parks on the weekends? I bet even with everyone home the crowds are much bigger on the weekends than on weekdays because most people are still working from home. People who really want to go will make some time that fits in their schedule during the work week which would result in natural spacing of crowds.


Chris
University South
on Mar 27, 2020 at 12:19 pm
Chris, University South
on Mar 27, 2020 at 12:19 pm
10 people like this

S_mom,

Read the response from the city on Nextdoor.

They have written a long letter to all the complainers who refuse to take no for an answer.

How do you avoid understanding the severity of the crisis and want your personal desires to be put ahead of the common welfare, including your own?


Resident
Community Center
on Mar 27, 2020 at 12:39 pm
Resident , Community Center
on Mar 27, 2020 at 12:39 pm
3 people like this

The Mercury has an article this morning about the coordinated responses by open space districts, but it is not online yet.
The agencies have taken deliberate steps to close parking lots at a limited number of overcrowded beaches and parks. They have also provided good signage on social distancing policies and restricted use of picnic and other common areas that could contribute to transmission.
Palo Alto does not seem to be coordinating on best current practices with other open space agencies. Does anyone know if this is the case?


Numbers
College Terrace
on Mar 27, 2020 at 12:43 pm
Numbers, College Terrace
on Mar 27, 2020 at 12:43 pm
5 people like this

see John's Hopkins CDC data at: Web Link

100,000 verified cases in the US. Most of any country in the world !
4.5% death rate world wide.
US death Rate 1.7%.
US increases at 20,000 cases per day now … and increasing see plot at lower LHS.
that's 340 more dead people per day! (at current growth).
Please don't spread the virus!
Its NOT ABOUT YOU.
Its about all those people you will spread it to, and all those who will die because of you.





Neighbor
Mountain View
on Mar 27, 2020 at 1:47 pm
Neighbor, Mountain View
on Mar 27, 2020 at 1:47 pm
3 people like this

I think 20% of people I saw yesterday do not provide enough space when passing: walking in the middle of the trail etc. I had to go off trail to maintain the distance. I think we have to verbally remind these people that they should socially distance. With enough pressure they may follow it. It would be a shame if they shut down parks because of the minority that do not follow the recommendations.


S_mom
Community Center
on Mar 27, 2020 at 2:55 pm
S_mom, Community Center
on Mar 27, 2020 at 2:55 pm
10 people like this

@Chris - I actually have no dog in this fight because we have no plans to visit Foothills or other open space areas, not sure why I'm getting criticized for suggesting an idea when the litany of comments prior to mine are plain complaints! But, I do think some actions are being taking reflexively without weighing the benefits and risks -- if we are really going to be sheltering in place for months we do need solutions that allow people outdoors for their physical and mental health, and open space preserves could potentially be part of that solution if we considered other ideas besides just closing off access. Maybe that will come later and we just need to sit tight for now, but I think it's reasonable to think about other solutions as it starts to look like this is a long-term situation.

Another reflexive decision has been the closing of the open lawn areas of local parks (or at least they have signs that they are closed at Rinconada and Pardee parks) while still allowing people on the park paths -- I find paths and sidewalks brings my family into closer proximity with others far more than it did when we played catch on our own on the open park lawn, not to mention that kids don't actually want to go on plain "walks" (v. playing catch) so getting them out there becomes yet another chore that parents have to force on them, in addition to all the home school and home chores. I don't think this is a wise longer-term solution unless there is actual evidence that these lawns are crowded (they haven't been, especially on weekdays when they were practically empty the last week).

I do understand that in the short term it is easier and faster to make overbroad decisions but I hope if this turns into a multi-month situation some fine tuning can occur that better weighs the benefits and risks.


Jack
Crescent Park
on Mar 27, 2020 at 3:29 pm
Jack, Crescent Park
on Mar 27, 2020 at 3:29 pm
9 people like this

>>Yesterday PAPD started ticketing people parked on the outskirts of Byxbee Park, where there are NO "No Parking" signs

@Nancy...I was super dissapointed to get one of the parking tickets you saw being written by the police in the Baylands. I was able to speak with one of the officers and he pointed out TWO No Parking Signs along that stretch of road. They arent you standard parking signs but they were there. He also pointed out that all the cars including mine were parked on top of the bicycle lane. Driving in the bicycle lane to park in it is a moving violation so i ended up being relived I only got a parking ticket.


Maria
Crescent Park
on Mar 27, 2020 at 5:10 pm
Maria, Crescent Park
on Mar 27, 2020 at 5:10 pm
3 people like this

This seems wise to me. I'm grateful that the city has taken leadership in this area.


relentlesscactus
another community
on Mar 28, 2020 at 1:30 am
relentlesscactus, another community
on Mar 28, 2020 at 1:30 am
8 people like this

Wow, this is so dumb. It's not just Palo Alto, it is happening all over the state. I had a loose dog lick me, too. So thoughtful, db. Is this even legal, OK emergency, but seriously, older people who can should get out to open air, even in wheelchairs or can't walk far or bike -- they need to drive. Having people get unhealthy physically and mentally by confinement is not a sane long-term strategy. Shouldn't we be testing everyone who handles food or works at a cash register? I've been cutting down my grocery trips probably 80%, but needed some bread so went to a local bakery - where the kid behind the counter wore no gloves and ran his finger across his nose while he was handling my debit card. Maybe I'll just eat that can of pumpkin pie filling that expired in 2009 instead.


Brit
Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Mar 28, 2020 at 9:59 am
Brit, Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Mar 28, 2020 at 9:59 am
8 people like this

We started shelter in place weeks BEFORE New York, our curve of cases is nothing like theirs. We have 7 .7 million people in the 9 Bay Area counties having to stay home...with only 1550 cases and 37 deaths. By this time last year we had more deaths from the flu....and we had a vaccine for that. Being forced to stay in our homes is overkill and MORE detrimental to families in my opinion. We have all accepted the risk of catching it each time we go to Costco or the pharmacy, yet we can’t go to the beach with fresh open air...this is crazy:(


Kat
Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Mar 28, 2020 at 10:11 am
Kat, Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Mar 28, 2020 at 10:11 am
4 people like this

The biggest risk factors for death according to published data is smoking and vaping due to the lung damage, and old age....yet we still sell cigarettes and our government had deemed pot shops essential businesses! Our government mandates that restaurants must close even if they have social distancing in the dining rooms, yet poverty and hunger is a risk factor for all citizens....not to mention the destruction these closings have on our local downtowns....and we ALL have to shelter in place .....instead of just the elderly....yet we can go to Costco and have people cough and breath all over us while trying to pick up toilet paper!


Old Joe
Barron Park
on Mar 28, 2020 at 1:40 pm
Old Joe, Barron Park
on Mar 28, 2020 at 1:40 pm
5 people like this

@Kat : “ The biggest risk factors for death according to published data is ...”

Again, can we please get clear that the problem we face is the overwhelm of the medical system due to so many critically sick at the same time. We cannot stop the deaths and were past the point of trying to do that anyway. What we are trying to do is slow the rate of infection so we can keep the number of sick manageable.

You should also be aware that Doctors are getting sick and therefore reducing the care availability. My neighbor is a nurse and her husband is an emergency room physician. She is the most depressed I’ve ever seen her about the situation. They think society does not get it.

What are you going to do when the Doctors stop coming to work because idiots like you, Kat, decide this is not as bad as vaping ?


Old Joe
Barron Park
on Mar 28, 2020 at 1:46 pm
Old Joe, Barron Park
on Mar 28, 2020 at 1:46 pm
9 people like this

@ Kat : “ .and we ALL have to shelter in place .....instead of just the elderly....“

From PAOL updates:

“Of the 574 people with COVID-19, 53%, or a little over 300, are male and 46%, roughly 264, are female. A majority of the cases are people between 41 and 50 years old, which made up 21% of the total. Here's a full breakdown by age group:

• 20 years old or under: 3.5%.

• 21 to 30 years old: 9.9%.

• 31 to 40 years old: 17.8%.

• 41 to 50 years old: 21.4%.

• 51 to 60 years old: 19%.

• 61 to 70 years old: 12.4%.

• 71 to 80 years old: 9.2%.

• 81 to 90 years old: 4.4%.

• 91 years old or over: 1.2.%.

• Unknown: 1.6%

The county also reported one more person died of the disease, bringing the death toll to 20, 70% of which were male and 30% of which were female. Of the total, 75% had pre-existing conditions and 15% had none.

Here's a full breakdown of the people who died by age group:

• 41 and 50 years old: 5%.

• 51 and 60 years old: 20%.

• 61 and 70 years old: 25%.

• 71 and 80 years old: 20%.

• 81 and 90 years old: 30%.



Sorry Kat. Your a big part of the risk pool !


Anon
Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Mar 29, 2020 at 1:22 pm
Anon, Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Mar 29, 2020 at 1:22 pm
Like this comment

Posted by Kat, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood

>> The biggest risk factors for death according to published data is smoking and vaping due to the lung damage, and old age....

Kat,

So far as is known, there are about 1 Million infections in the US already, Web Link , with about 135,000 confirmed through testing. Web Link.

Death rates from the disease range roughly from 2% to 10%, depending very heavily on the availability of hospital beds with ventilators, and, nursing care for the patients. The bean counters at work everywhere, but, strongly in the US, have reduced the number of per-capita hospital beds to a level that will make it very likely that the number of patients will overflow-- exceed the capacity. Web Link. (The US does have proportionately more ICU beds per capita -- I assume that those beds make more money than non-ICU beds.)

We must practice effective social distancing right now, so that we don't overflow the available beds and nursing care required to allow patients to survive Covid-19.


C Walters
College Terrace
on Mar 29, 2020 at 2:12 pm
C Walters, College Terrace
on Mar 29, 2020 at 2:12 pm
6 people like this

One can see current projections here: Web Link

Calif will not have enough ICU beds within a month.


Good ol' Dan
another community
on Mar 31, 2020 at 2:26 am
Good ol' Dan, another community
on Mar 31, 2020 at 2:26 am
5 people like this

Even on non-crisis days Baylands wasn't crowded. As someone above said, they could block off every other parking space to apply social distancing.
So sad I can't fly model planes there.
Please reopen Baylands!


bemused
East Palo Alto
on Mar 31, 2020 at 2:44 pm
bemused, East Palo Alto
on Mar 31, 2020 at 2:44 pm
4 people like this

Today's new order includes this:

"Outdoor recreation activity must take place within 5 miles of the individual's residence."


MV resident
Mountain View
on May 10, 2020 at 9:07 am
MV resident, Mountain View
on May 10, 2020 at 9:07 am
4 people like this

Does anyone think it's time to reopen parks and their parking lots for people within the county as long as they follow social distancing? Cupertino, Los Altos Hills, Portola Valley residents can walk to taxpayer-paid parks.

Keeping parks closed may still be needed, but it also should be recognized that there is powerful NIMBY political power in the communities that would like to keep public parks as private playgrounds as long as possible.


@MV resident
Adobe-Meadow
on May 11, 2020 at 3:04 pm
@MV resident, Adobe-Meadow
on May 11, 2020 at 3:04 pm
6 people like this

You know the parks and lots were already opened when you wrote this yesterday morning right?
Go outside son.


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