Antiquated Newell bridge could be replaced by 2014 | July 6, 2012 | Palo Alto Weekly | Palo Alto Online |

Palo Alto Weekly

News - July 6, 2012

Antiquated Newell bridge could be replaced by 2014

New bridge would offer bike, pedestrian access and wide lanes between East Palo Alto and Palo Alto

by Sue Dremann

The narrow, hazardous Newell Road bridge that connects Palo Alto and East Palo Alto could be replaced in 2014 with a broader, two-lane span, according to City of Palo Alto Senior Engineer Joe Teresi.

The 40-foot-long bridge, built in 1911 across San Francisquito Creek at Woodland Avenue and Newell, is considered functionally obsolete. Drivers face a blind turn when traveling east to west and bump awkwardly over the raised pavement, he told about 30 residents from both cities last week. The gathering was the first public meeting about the replacement plan.

The 18-foot-wide roadway barely lets two vehicles in opposite directions pass, Teresi said.

The bridge replacement is part of a bigger San Francisquito Joint Powers Authority flood-management plan, which would improve creek flow from El Camino Real to U.S. Highway 101.

The existing bridge abutments are located within the creek bed, constricting the creek and causing the potential to overflow in a 100-year flood, he said.

The future upstream work would cause "more water than that bridge has ever seen" to rush down toward residences on both sides of the creek, Teresi said.

A 75-foot-long bridge with a 32-foot-wide roadbed and two 5-foot-wide sidewalks is planned. New floodwalls would be added along the creek, and new retaining walls would be added at the Newell and Woodland intersection.

Two design options are under consideration. The first would keep the same bridge alignment across the creek; the second would shift the bridge to align with the East Palo Alto continuation of Newell, which currently jogs to the west. A new alignment would make a straight, four-way intersection with four-way stop signs.

Both designs would raise the bridge height and necessitate a raised roadway gradually sloping toward Newell on the Palo Alto side and Woodland on the East Palo Alto side.

Retaining walls could rise as high as 5 feet and would extend for about 300 feet on the Woodland side, which could affect some apartments, he said.

A retaining wall would also abut some Palo Alto properties. A driveway to one Palo Alto home to the south could be affected, but reconstruction would be paid for through public funds, he said. No residents would need to move.

About 3,500 cars utilize the bridge each day, Teresi said.

Residents described the current bridge as "scary," but others voiced concern that realigning the bridge to match with Newell in East Palo Alto could cause accidents.

"This bridge does one thing very well. It slows everybody down. One concern is that people are going to go rocketing across that bridge," a man said at last Wednesday's meeting.

Speed is one thing, but visibility is also important, residents said. They asked engineers to be mindful of the blind-corner hazards when they design the new bridge.

Another resident suggested that engineers collect accident data now to establish a benchmark for after the bridge is constructed. Then they would know if accidents had increased and could identify and fix any causes.

Engineers said that the idea of restricting the bridge to pedestrians and bicycles only has been discussed and ruled out following public discussion.

A Caltrans grant is paying for 88.5 percent of the design and environmental-review costs, and Santa Clara Valley Water District will pay the remaining 11.5 percent, Teresi said.

Actual construction for the bridge, sidewalks and retaining walls are expected to cost $3 million. The city will apply to Caltrans for another 88.5 percent grant and expects to use local matching funds for the balance, he said.

The plan calls for the old bridge to be completely torn down and the crossing closed for four to six months, Teresi said. Construction is expected to last from April to September 2014.

The design and review could be completed by summer 2013.

Palo Alto is taking the management lead for the rebuild, but the city is coordinating with East Palo Alto, the San Francisquito Creek Joint Powers Authority and Santa Clara Valley Water District. The city has retained NV5, an engineering consulting firm, to assist with the design and environmental assessment.

A second community meeting is planned for next spring. Teresi said other public meetings include: in Palo Alto, the Architectural Review Board, Planning and Transportation Commission and the Public Art Commission; in East Palo Alto, the Planning Commission and the Public Works and Transportation Commission; and with the San Francisquito Creek Joint Powers Authority.

More information and maps will be posted on the project website at

Staff Writer Sue Dremann can be emailed at


Posted by Mr.Recycle, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Jul 4, 2012 at 1:36 pm

Instead of replacing the bridge, wouldn't we be better off just removing it?

Posted by Mrs, Freecycle, a resident of Barron Park
on Jul 4, 2012 at 2:25 pm

Mr. Recycle: The answer to your question is YES!

Posted by Mr. Reuse, a resident of Downtown North
on Jul 4, 2012 at 3:14 pm

I definitely second removing the bridge. Funds could be utilized to other projects, such as for example slowing down 40 mph+ traffic on Middliefield Road though multiple parts of town, better transit within downtown and connecting the two downtowns, schools ...

Posted by resident, a resident of Crescent Park
on Jul 4, 2012 at 3:37 pm

Why remove it when it provides an alternate route between EPA and PA? Or is that really your hidden agenda

Posted by pedestrian, a resident of Crescent Park
on Jul 4, 2012 at 4:57 pm

Why was restricting the bridge to pedestrians and bicycles ruled out? That makes more sense to me than building a giant bridge in its place. Leaving the existing bridge is also cheaper than removing it.

Posted by Mr.Recycle, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Jul 4, 2012 at 9:29 pm

Removing the bridge to prevent people from crossing isn't my hidden agenda, it is my explicit agenda. It is a crime reduction strategy.

Posted by ColeMAN, a resident of Los Altos Hills
on Jul 4, 2012 at 11:43 pm

[Post removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]

Posted by Marrol, a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Jul 4, 2012 at 11:51 pm

Remove the bridge entirely and do not replace it. It will provide traffic calming in neighborhoods on both sides of the creek. Keep the traffic on the larger streets. Reduce the traffic on the Newell corridor. This will undoubtedly save money and is a better scenario for most everyone.

I also have several friends who live in the Newell/Edgewood neighborhood. The Palo Alto streets near the bridge are frequently used by EPA residents who park their cars there and walk home. That has to get old to be providing street parking for a different city located in another county.

This story says that Palo Alto is "taking the management lead" for this project. How much more are we spending by taking the lead role? Additionally, after the Joint Powers pay into this, what portion of the balance will be paid by the two cities. If this project moves forward, I would hope and expect that Palo Alto and EPA share the cost equally.

Posted by No Surprise, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 5, 2012 at 12:15 am

Only in bleeding heart Palo Alto would they suggest widening a bridge which allows an easier escape route from our city.

When is PA Park & Rec going to restrict our pool and parks to residents only? All the parks are taken over by non-residents on weekends.

Posted by Raymond Lucas, a resident of East Palo Alto
on Jul 5, 2012 at 8:02 am

Hey Mr. recycle,

How about a wall to separate you and your possessions from the unwashed masses?

I use that bridge every single day, to and from work and Riconanada Park.

I couldn't care less about your possessions. You can't take it with you.

Posted by Marroll, a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Jul 5, 2012 at 9:13 am

And anyone using that bridge every single day, can use one of the larger, wider streets to get to where they're going. They can add a few short minutes to their commute for the sake of the greater good. The majority of people using the bridge are coming back and forth over from the San Mateo County side anyway, so what advantage does this project give Palo Alto. For that reason alone I have to question why Palo Alto has taken the "management lead" on this project. Are we paying more into the project in this lead role? If the project does go forward is EPA going to pay at least an equal share? All legitimate questions, especially considering Palo Alto's current financial situation.

Posted by Occasional Cyclist, a resident of Palo Verde
on Jul 5, 2012 at 9:44 am

On the subject of bridges in Palo Alto, my family followed our July 4 tradition of riding our bikes to watch the Shoreline fireworks, as did many others. However, the tunnel remains closed which meant that many people were climbing over the fence, carrying kids over the fence, carrying bikes over the fence, to access the tunnel. We decided to use the very dangerous alternative, San Antonio bridge.

Most of the bikes using this bridge were without lights and the traffic was heavier than we expected for a midweek holiday evening, both exiting the highway as well as using the bridge to get to the fireworks.

The one safe bike/ped crossing in north Palo Alto is not useful for us in south Palo Alto when our destination is Shoreline or points south. That tunnel must be kept open to prevent accidents of those trying to access it (which they will even if closed) or using dangerous San Antonio.

Posted by palo alto mom, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Jul 5, 2012 at 10:03 am

With Caltrans paying the bulk of the cost, you can assume that the primary purpose of rebuilding this bridge (aside from flood control) is to INCREASE the traffic going over the bridge.

Newell will become a MAJOR "short-cut" from 101 into Palo Alto. Great idea for one of the big bike lanes in Palo Alto!

Posted by bridges, a resident of South of Midtown
on Jul 5, 2012 at 10:04 am

The city keeps talking about building a year-round pedestrian/bicycle bridge from south Palo Alto to the Baylands. I'm not holding my breath. Pedestrian projects are very low priority for the city/county compared to car projects. Look at that Hwy 101 boondoggle going on right now (supposedly $100 million of your sales tax money), which ironically is the reason that the pedestrian path is closed.

If you're adventurous, you could try to make your way to the new bridge in Mountain View. It connects Old Middlefield to Shoreline Park. It is some distance from Palo Alto and there are no bike lanes connecting it to Palo Alto, but if you study Google Maps, you can find some convoluted, poorly signed, low traffic routes that will take you to the Cubberly area.

Posted by Palo Alto native, a resident of Charleston Meadows
on Jul 5, 2012 at 10:46 am

The bridge has been there for so many years. Why is it now an issue?

Posted by Crescent Park Resident, a resident of Crescent Park
on Jul 5, 2012 at 10:55 am

The residents around the Newell bridge on the Palo Alto side want the bridge taken down!! Yes it provides easy access to our own homes from the 101 but as soon as the sun goes down, residents on the EPA side move their cars to the PA side. At least 40 cars line up in all directions and that part of the neighborhood becomes a parking lot. There is no place for homeowners to park on the street in front of their homes.

[Portion removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]

Posted by Wow., a resident of another community
on Jul 5, 2012 at 11:11 am

Sometimes its easy to see the "ugly side" of many Palo Altans. Enjoy your city, you deserve each other.

Posted by Floyd, a resident of Green Acres
on Jul 5, 2012 at 11:14 am

Remove it.

Posted by Marrol, a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Jul 5, 2012 at 11:53 am

What is the "ugly side" of this issue as it involves Palo Alto Wow? The problems arising from traffic concerns and overflow parking from EPA are legitimate. There are also a myriad of crime problems, street violence, and gang activity in EPA that quite frankly I would not mind having a greater barrier against. These are facts. It has absolutely nothing to do with race or social perception. It has everything to do with personal behavior and how people choose to live their lives. This doesn't apply to all by any means, but certainly a disproportionate number. How can you condemn people who are simply trying to preserve their quality of life. Remove the bridge.

Posted by Crescent Park Dad, a resident of Crescent Park
on Jul 5, 2012 at 12:07 pm

The bridge needs to be removed so that the creek canal will not be impeded as it is today.

At most, replace with a pedestrian/bike bridge please - otherwise no need to replace the bridge at all. Do not need the traffic or the overnight parking issues.

Posted by Marroll, a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Jul 5, 2012 at 12:14 pm

Even with a pedestrian/bike only bridge Crescent Park Dad, I predict the parking problems would continue. The EPA motorists would simply park their cars on the Crescent Park side and walk back and forth. In order to eliminate the problem, and reduce the exposure and impact of other issues, the bridge has to be removed and not replaced. No bridge!

Posted by Andrew Boone, a resident of East Palo Alto
on Jul 5, 2012 at 12:27 pm

Several residents who attended that meeting requested that a bicycle/pedestrian only design be considered. Such a design would maximize traffic safety, reduce vehicle parking impacts on the Crescent Park neighborhood, and would be much cheaper to build.

But Project Manager Joe Teresi replied that such a design is not under consideration, and gave no explanation as to why.

Who wants a bike/ped-only bridge to be added to the options under consideration? Or for removal of the bridge completely to be added to the options? If so, please email me at

Together we can come up with a strategy to convince the Public Works Department, and if necessary, the City Council, to do this.

Posted by taxpayer, a resident of Palo Verde
on Jul 5, 2012 at 12:49 pm

Don't waste money on it - remove it

Posted by Mark Weiss, a resident of Greenmeadow
on Jul 5, 2012 at 12:54 pm

This is somehow reminding me of the Bridges organization that Carolyn Tucher and Myrtle Walker started a few (too many) years ago...

Posted by Kevin, a resident of Downtown North
on Jul 5, 2012 at 1:18 pm

The best and most truthful comment of all time:

Posted by Wow., a resident of another community, 1 hour ago

Sometimes its easy to see the "ugly side" of many Palo Altans. Enjoy your city, you deserve each other.

Posted by palo alto mom, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Jul 5, 2012 at 2:48 pm

Again - the main purpose of this bridge is to INCREASE traffic flow through the area. That is the reason that the project engineer would not answer the question of why not just install a pedestrian/bike bridge.

Under the guise of flood control (a valid concern which could also be solved by simply removing the bridge) Caltrans is looking to alleviate traffic on other roads.

If it is easy and quick to cross, the bridge will become a busy route from 101 into Palo Alto.

PS - why do people park on the other side of the bridge instead of at their own homes? Serious question.

Posted by N Paly 2 cents, a resident of Crescent Park
on Jul 5, 2012 at 3:54 pm

Marrol: well put. There is no reason we have to apologize for having an opinion and stating it. We have a right to state that the spillover from EPA in terms of crime, traffic and PA funded costs for maintenance of park usage is real. This is not anything close to a race issue.

Posted by Marrol, a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Jul 5, 2012 at 4:29 pm

No apologies on this end Paly 2 Cents. I see no reason to apologize for simply acknowledging the obvious. For those criticizing this, or suggest that it's uncaring, may I recommend that you expend more of your energy working on the conditions that lead to this very real perception. We should not be expected to tolerate behavior that is that far over the top.

Posted by Howsthatworkingforya, a resident of Menlo Park
on Jul 5, 2012 at 4:52 pm

What a bunch of opinionated thugs live in Shallow Alto. Of course, they're monied thugs who live in large houses.

It's both laughable and incredible how uninformed many of these
comments are from people who want the bridge removed for your petty grievances and bigotry.

Good luck dealing with your "parking issues" which are in actuality pretty minor compared to your Palo Alto Process and car campers. I've driven Newell and the surrounding streets in the area discussed and the parking problem isn't bad at all. It's not what Palo Altans WANT but it's not bad. BTW, complain to the scumbag landlord that so many of you raved about when all the properties in EPA's west side were sold - Equity. These are their tenants and the management company is called Woodland Park. Call them and complain - but of course, you're complaining about something legal. Good luck with that. They started charging a lot of parking, so tenants rebelled and park on the street.

Posted by Marrol, a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Jul 5, 2012 at 5:18 pm

Who is uninformed here HowsThatWorking? Do you deny that there are real problems and issues that we in Palo Alto have to cope with as it relates to EPA. You say nothing to address the conditions that create those problems, but yet reserve your frustration and criticism to those who simply point it out and wish to preserve a better quality of life. That does not make us thugs or shallow. Save your commentary for the real thugs who are responsible for the vastly disproportionate amount of street crime, violence, and gang activity that exists in EPA. I will not apologize or be made to feel guilty over stating the obvious. If by removing the bridge provides a greater barrier from all of that then so be it. It's called reality, deal with it.

As for the parking issue, it is not unreasonable for Palo Altans to express frustration over our streets becoming a spill-over parking lot for those living in an entirely separate city and county. It may be legal, but the practice is symbolic of a greater problem. Inconsiderate and not respecting other people and their environment.

Posted by Long Time EPA resident, a resident of East Palo Alto
on Jul 5, 2012 at 5:26 pm

If want to remove the bridge to disconnect EPA from PA, then why
do you think it's okay to drive through East Palo Alto to
get to Dumbarton Bridge? To Home Depot? To Nordstorm Rack?

Do we tell you to stay in your city and not
use us for your we don't, East Palo Alto residents are not
as ignorant as those Palo Alto residents.

Stop your ignorance.

Posted by Sharon, a resident of Midtown
on Jul 5, 2012 at 5:54 pm

A pedestrian/bike bridge will a sane and cheaper solution.

A two lane car bridge is a crazy idea-it will destroy valued neighborhoods and their property values as it would become a major commuter short cut between 280 and 101 as well as to Dumbarton Bridge.

Replace it with a pedestrian/bike bridge-

-save money, property values and save the air and quality of life in Palo Alto

Posted by Marrol, a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Jul 5, 2012 at 6:27 pm

You miss the point Long Time. By removing the bridge we prevent excessive traffic on the Newell corridor, a narrow stretch that runs entirely through residential neighborhoods in both cities. That benefits everyone. Traffic traversing both cities would be routed to larger streets where it belongs.

By removing the bridge it would most certainly end the spill-over parking from EPA residents onto Palo Alto streets in Crescent Park. Again, it may be legal, but it makes no sense to have residents from a separate city and county using a neighboring cities streets for parking. It is inconsiderate and disrespectful plain and simple. This issue is strictly one-way. Palo Alto residents are not typically using EPA streets for overnight parking.

Additionally, ignorance has absolutely nothing to do with the legitimate concerns that many Palo Altans have in coping with the myriad of problems that exist in EPA. No one is telling anyone not to drive through our city, do business, shop, or dine. We also do not need to have a Newell Bridge in order to accomplish that. When I drive over to EPA and visit the Home Depot I park in their lot, shop, and leave. I'm not parking in front of someone's home in EPA and leaving it there overnight on a daily basis. See the difference?

It is also not ignorant for you or anyone else to expect us to ignore and blindly tolerate the many problems that exist in EPA with the disproportionate amount of crime, violence, and gang activity. That is simply dealing with reality and acknowledging the facts. Like most people I fully realize that not everyone in EPA is involved in this negative activity. Give us some credit, we get it. But you have to acknowledge the fact that EPA has a vastly disproportionate number of people who are, and quite frankly, how do you expect people to respond to that. Of course people want to protect and insulate themselves from that as much as possible.

This isn't about ignorance, intolerance, or racism. It's about acknowledging certain facts and conditions that cannot be ignored. For most of us our concern is only based on the behavior, actions, and the way people choose to lead their lives. If they choose a negative, destructive, and criminal lifestyle, then yes, I have a problem with that. When the behavior and conditions change, then eventually so will the perception of others. It's in their hands and their hands alone.

Posted by Howsthatworkingforya, a resident of Menlo Park
on Jul 5, 2012 at 6:36 pm

This isn't up for a vote, so save your hot air for your other extremist opinions. Yes, this is intended for uninformed and bigoted commenters who refuse to accept the importance of the bridge for flood control and emergency services. The bridge has nothing to do with crime/deterrents, where residents park or Palo Alto's perception of neighboring cities' residents.

Posted by Marrol, a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Jul 5, 2012 at 6:57 pm

Extremist opinion? Now I'm an "extremist" for being concerned about crime problems, street violence, gangs, and apparently for stating so. As if those problems are mainstream and should be an accepted part of society. Worse yet, any hint of concern for these very real problems labels one as an extremist or worse. I am condemned for pointing out the concerns, yet you fail to acknowledge who is causing the concerns even in the slightest manner. Absolutely unreal.

For your information, the flood control is not predicated on having a bridge on Newell. Removing the bridge will solve that problem. We don't need a new one in order to maximize flood control. Not in the least. As for the emergency response, the alternate routes for fire, police, paramedics, and utilities are within the prescribed recommendations in terms of distance and access. Besides, there is an entirely separate emergency response plan for either side of the creek due to the fact that it separates two entirely different cities and counties.

Using this opportunity to remove and not replace the bridge will be a wise move in my opinion for several reasons.

Posted by Howsthatworkingforya, a resident of Menlo Park
on Jul 5, 2012 at 7:20 pm

Marrol the Expert of Everything - now you have something new to complain about.

Posted by Marrol, a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Jul 5, 2012 at 7:34 pm

Not complaining in the least. Apparently complaining by your definition is when someone states something that you don't agree with. Spare me the cheap shots and sarcasm. I've never discouraged anyone or disrespected them for having an opinion, including if its contrary to my own. These forums were designed for free dialouge and exchange of thoughts and ideas, assuming that's its done within the rules. Otherwise no one should be determining who should post, discourage others, or subject them to personal attacks. Keep the discussion on topic. What possible value does it have on this topic for you to target me for sarcasm and accuse me of just complaining.

Posted by Long Time EPA Resident, a resident of East Palo Alto
on Jul 5, 2012 at 7:34 pm

Marroll, it is about PA residents being ignorant and racially profiling. From the last time I checked the city street was for the public. If a
Resident parks on the city street what difference does it
make if they are a EPA or PA resident. As long as
the driveway is not blocked it shouldn't matter who uses the city street for parking.

You are profiling many EPA residents because of where they live and their origin. We are educated and harding working individuals, we just don't make enough to buy a home in PA. I have known my neighbors for years, we watch out for each and take care of
each others homes when needed. Many of my
Acquaintances that live in Palo Alto can't name the residents that live on their own street. Don't make excuses or try to defend your ignorance and prejudice.

Posted by Sharon, a resident of Midtown
on Jul 5, 2012 at 8:05 pm

A bike/pedestrian bridge will be environmentally and economically prudent.

The best solution.

If a traffic bridge were built it would be expensive, not environmentally prudent

Also the home owners property values in the area will collapse very dramatically

Posted by Howsthatworkingforya, a resident of Menlo Park
on Jul 5, 2012 at 8:11 pm

[Post removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]

Posted by Marrol, a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Jul 5, 2012 at 9:05 pm

Hear me out Long Time, I have never once said or even suggested that everyone in EPA is anything less than law abiding and hard working. Scroll back to my earlier posts and you'll read that I prefaced my comments by saying that it certainly doesn't apply to everyone. True dialogue cannot be achieved by omitting or selecting just what you want to hear or happen to disagree with.

What I have said repeatedly is that EPA has a DISPROPORTIONATE level of crime, street violence, and gang activity. That word is defined as something that is out of proportion in size, shape, or amount. There is no disputing that is the case in EPA, and I truly find it unreal that anyone could fault others for expressing concerns about that fact. It is also unfair to simply dismiss that opinion or concern by labeling it otherwise. It has nothing to do with racial profiling, where people live, their origin, ignorance, prejudice, or anything else. It has everything to do with the reality of the circumstances. People have that perception of EPA because the conditions are real. Please don't try to justify, rationalize, or shift the responsibility of these conditions to others. If EPA had a low crime rate, little or no gang activity, and few incidents of violent crime then we wouldn't even be having this discussion.

As for the parking problem we've been discussing, I beg to differ with you. Again, I prefaced my comments by acknowledging that the practice is indeed legal. It's also in my opinion inconsiderate of the people who live in Crescent Park. That's exactly why permit parking areas are created. Our College Terrace neighborhood and apparently portions of our downtown neighborhoods will have permit parking. Is that because they are prejudice, ignorant, or practicing racial profiling? No, of course not. It's because they experience a steady flow of spill-over parking from surrounding areas like Stanford, or the many people that work and patronize downtown.

The Crescent park residents simply can't park in front of their own home, an expectation that any homeowner should enjoy the majority of the time. The folks living in Crescent Park should also enjoy that simple measure of respect and consideration. It's ridiculous that residents from an entirely different city and county choose to use our city streets for their overnight or extended parking.

I'm really not sure if you can or willing to consider this side of the issue without immediately branding me as a racist or hater. That's a big jump to label someone in that manner, especially since I truly believe there is a reasonable expectation and argument here.

Posted by ChickenLittle, a resident of Southgate
on Jul 5, 2012 at 9:29 pm

But, according to posters on other threads, we don't have enough money to build a bridge. Even if the bridge is paid by other agencies, Palo Alto always runs over estimates and the city may be on the hook for overruns, so we don't have enough money to even think about this. In the same vein, we don't have enough money to tear down the old bridge. What if the demolition costs go over the estimates? Oh, poor us, all we can do is hide under the covers until the situation somehow improves.

Posted by EPA Mom, a resident of East Palo Alto
on Jul 5, 2012 at 9:50 pm

I know. How about a big wall to keep the East Palo Alto residents out of Palo Alto - the streets, the pools, the schools, the parks? These same comments come up anytime anything about crime, Tinsley or East Palo Alto comes up here. So, either out-of-sight, out-of-mind ... or accept that we are all one community and a creek doesn't make it all go away. We can all make both cities better. We're not "them".

Posted by palo alto mom, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Jul 5, 2012 at 10:02 pm


It is not about what is good for the neighborhoods or about parking or keeping EPA and Palo Alto separated. THIS IS A TRANSPORTATION ISSUE, PERIOD.

Only 11% of the cost is being taken care of by the "flood" authority. The rest of the money is from Caltrans. Part of Caltrans mission is to "Maximize transportation system performance and accessibility". Again, no one really cares what EPA or Palo Alto would like to happen at that intersection. ITS ABOUT MOVING CARS.

Posted by DDee, a resident of Crescent Park
on Jul 5, 2012 at 11:39 pm

Since moving here I have referred to San Francisquito Creek as "The Moat" and the Newell/University bridges as the castle draw bridges ready to be raised to keep out the hordes. Wow, Marroll be careful that you don't isolate yourselves and lock your fine civic-minded fellow Palo Altans inside the Keep with your own particular version of the plague (racism and classism). You'll end up accelerating a process that has already begun in which you demonize one another and speak of people as expendable. Lord of the Flies indeed.

As someone who often has to get out of the city and go elsewhere, I shudder to think of trying to navigate either University or Embarcadero during morning or evening traffic with an additional 3,500 cars.
AND, for your fine and sensitive info, in the morning there are more people using the Newell bridge and Woodland to go east than there are people who use the bridge to go west, and viceversa in the afternoon. So, my fine friends, you would be shooting me and my fellow "get outta PA' travelers in the feet if you knock the bridge down entirely.

As for the extremely heavy parking abuse that I admit does indeed happen along the accesses to the bridge on the Palo Alto side, that could be remedied by establishing a permit parking only area either in that area alone or the entire Newell/Woodland zone. Or perhaps take advantage of the new construction to carve out one or two diagonal parking nitches such as downtown, which would not only limit the number of cars that could be left, but make the bridge access more attractive as well. If none of those ideas is feasible, we could simply slap a no parking sign on the street and give the city a field day in parking fines.

Personally, I think that the second version described by the planners should be used and line up west Newell with the east Newell continuation. Then, with the little wedge of land created on the west creek bank by jogging the road over, a nice creek access or a bench to sit and watch the creek for those few months when water runs in it be made.

Posted by Mr.Recycle, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Jul 6, 2012 at 1:36 am

DDee, how many additional robberies, burglaries, etc.. are you willing to accept so you can keep your shortcut going? You shudder at the thought of braving Embarcadero in morning rush hour - did you shudder when the two kids were robbed a few months agi by criminals using the bridge?

Posted by SAHM wife of maybe Googler, a resident of another community
on Jul 6, 2012 at 3:00 am

My husband is 32 and is a rock star in IT at an insurance company's world headquarters. He has reached the top of his field already and there will be no more promotions if he stays there. Right now he is looking at Google. He currently makes 6 figures, our house payment is 650/month for a 3000 sq ft colonial 4 bed 3 bath full basement lr fr dr kt extra bed in bsmt, 2 car at gr, huge front n back yard schools rated excellent 15 minutes from downtown in the capital city, yet considered country n very safe. I am shocked at the real estate prices here! Is this why CA is bankrupt? Goodness. From the outside living in a suburb of Columbus, OH and looking in, I find EPA pretty darn nice. I love the name wisteria dr. (man I miss my show.) I used to be a Realtor and with the rise of tech jobs in silly bigotry valley I personally think a revitalization could happen in EPA. I know for a fact that I do not want to live in PA. These PA people so so much hate! Most people around here have two people working and bringing in 50-60k per year together, so for here 6 figures is really good. I would love a little house around wisteria dr or that garden neighborhood for 250,000 and watch it grow in value and to support a community that is trying to change for the better. Now the whole biking thing seems great to me since we are currently in a city of freeways. Why so much hate?

SAHM with a BS in CIS

Posted by Marrol, a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Jul 6, 2012 at 10:10 am

Hey SAHM, good luck with that.

Posted by Aquamarine, a resident of Stanford
on Jul 6, 2012 at 12:21 pm

Good luck with your whining, Shallow Altans. There're some gated communities you can move to.

Posted by palo alto mom, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Jul 6, 2012 at 12:48 pm

I'm concerned about the potential increase in traffic on a street which is a MAJOR bike route for Duveneck, Paly and Jordan students. I don't really care whether the increased traffic comes from EPA, Palo Alto or other places ( I actually assume majority of people cwould be commuters into Palo Alto and Stanford).

SAHM - not sure what your post has to do with a bridge.

Posted by Aquamarine, a resident of Stanford
on Jul 6, 2012 at 1:04 pm

Then those students need to learn to stop at stop signs and cycle defensively. The drivers will need to be well aware of the students. There are crossing guards do that will help.

I like the bridge as is. Most of the time, what I saw when I lived in CP were people stopping for each other because they had to. Most of its users are locals. The most hazardous direction is on Woodland heading south and turning right into the bridge. If more shrubs and trees were trimmed in the creek, the visibility for drivers would be greater.

Posted by DDee, a resident of Crescent Park
on Jul 6, 2012 at 6:29 pm

Dear Recycle,

If facts can weigh as heavily as fear in this conversation, although I abhor violence and injustice on any level and could never simply overlook attacks on a few people nearby, I think it germain to point you in the direction of the Spot Crime map for Palo Alto and put in the dates from January 1 to today.

As you will see, 90% of the crime in Palo Alto takes place west of Middlefield, with the area of University Ave/Alma and El Camino being heaviest of all, and El Camino & Alma being the roadways most impacted by criminal activity.

In fact, all year thus far there have only been 6 thefts reported in the vecinity of the bridge, of them, 3 were petty theft events - one was identity theft and two had to do with theft of car parts (one being my own I believe).

To follow the scare logic that has so permeated these comments re Newell Bridge (and any topic that concerns interaction with East Palo Alto), one's logical next move would be to throw up some serious machine-gun placements and Berlin-type walls immediately at the El Camino access entering from Menlo Park (perhaps the good citizens would allow our - much maligned and evidently overpaid anytime they are not helping each one of us individually - police to shoot to kill anyone who runs the stop and tries to make it onto Alma before disappearing into that heavily crime ridden neighborhood. The same goes for a more complicated roadblock and checkpoint situation at El Camino and San Antonio/ Alma and San Antonio and Middlefield, after all our exposure to the southern hordes is way to plentiful. (Or perhaps they are not hordes if they come from the largely Euro or Asian-American stock to our south?)

You know what, even better, how about we give up everybody's constitutional guarantees and simply go for it! We can spot chip every natural born or naturalized citizen of Palo Alto and develop a laser gun mounted on our traffic lights and burn anyone passing by who is not chipped!

Silly? Not if you follow the logical and historically relevant trail of where the kind of us/them problem solving has led other cultures and societies, and also pushed our own everytime times are tough and fear takes over.

Get a grip Palo Alto!
Life here, with our schools, parks, recreational opportunities, beautiful tree-lined streets, is what people all over the planet aspire to and come here to enjoy if only for a brief moment. THIS is the American Dream for so many people. Your my, my, my-ism reduces it, makes us petty, grasping, ugly.

Given all the innovating that our people do around the world on real problems, surely, with all our brain trust and financial means we can come up with life affirming solutions to for these little problems that will lift us from slavery to fear and racial and class divisionism.

Posted by Sharon, a resident of Midtown
on Jul 6, 2012 at 6:47 pm

The issues are in fact

Quality of life
Quality of environment
Noise and air pollution
Childrens and old peoples safety

For the PA residents impacted by such a high density traffic bridge on Newell Road

There is also the impact on housing values in that area-

-which will decrease dramatically.

Obviously- drivers-cars and trucks- need to get from 280 to 101 and onto Dumbarton Bridge--and they can-and will- do so via San Antonio Road, Page Mill Road and Willow Road-

-not through local family neighborhood streets.

A Bike/Pedestrian only bridge is the best alternative for this location and aware Palo Altans will make sure of that.

Posted by Mr.Recycle, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Jul 6, 2012 at 7:52 pm

Dee, you are cherry picking your stats. Theft is bad, but I'm worried about more serious crime. Why don't you take a look at Robberies - a life changing person on person crime. There have been 4 in the Duveneck/Crescent park area since January. By comparison, only 1 downtown, only 1 in the entire area south of Oregon Expressway, west of Alma. There is a clear disproportionate amount of trouble in the area.

You can deflect with your nonsensical rants about bunkers. But at least admit that taking down the bridge would lower crime in the area. This is my simple vision of the american dream. Letting my kids play in safe streets. Being able to take a walk at night in safety. Enjoy my house and yard without worrying about being robbed or burglarized.

Posted by Aquamarine, a resident of Stanford
on Jul 6, 2012 at 8:50 pm

Mr. Recycle needs a gun since he lacks any superpowers. 'Tis pity he's a boor.

Posted by palo alto mom, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Jul 6, 2012 at 9:06 pm

Again guys - this is not a quality of life, safety or even a Palo Alto decision. Caltrans wants to move cars and expanding this bridge is a way to do it. Period.

Posted by Aquamarine, a resident of Stanford
on Jul 6, 2012 at 9:36 pm

What was that, palo alto mom? Can you please write it several more times until we get into our thick heads that this isn't just a JPA issue?

Posted by Mattie, a resident of Crescent Park
on Jul 7, 2012 at 7:07 am

From the first time I saw the bridge (I've been here ~10 yrs), it was clear that it shouldn't be there because the surrounding streets/neighborhood aren't equipped to be nor do they deserve to be a throughway. I use it rarely, but when I do it's to avoid heavy traffic. That makes me a hypocrite, but I feel bad for the residents, like I'm letting my dog dump on their lawns without picking up or something similar.

Relatedly, many residential streets get dumped on daily as University Ave backs up heading to the 101. Worst, it's a zero-sum game because the bottleneck is the nexus near 101. This means that the people racing down quiet streets don't even help relieve the backup but are rather like folks cutting to the front of the line at a busy bakery, slowing things down for everyone else in the process. That's not fair on a couple levels.

Posted by P.A. Native, a resident of Mountain View
on Jul 7, 2012 at 4:56 pm

My Palo Alto family is shaking their heads at the comments on his thread with embarrassment for our beloved city. That creek might as well be an international border to some of you here. It's called the real world, and you're living in it. No amount of bickering or fear can change that fact. If you still feel unsafe maybe a gated community would be a better fit for you and your family.

The bridge will stay.

Posted by palo alto mom, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Jul 7, 2012 at 8:11 pm

Aquaramine - not sure what JPA means, but i'm tying to make the point that the bridge replacement has nothing to do with race, boundaries, safety, neighborhoods or what the Palo Alto or EPA residents thing should happen. (which is what everyone seems to want to debate). Its about moving cars... Caltrans doesn't care.

Posted by TipAndRing, a resident of Crescent Park
on Jul 8, 2012 at 12:58 pm

[Post removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]

Posted by Crescent Park Resident, a resident of Crescent Park
on Jul 9, 2012 at 11:08 am

I forgot to add...some of the residents on the EPA side of the bridge must want it taken down as well. They can't like the traffic speeding down Woodland Ave through their neighborhood either. I've seen some "close calls" on Woodland Ave as folks drive very fast through the blind curves. Remember the graffiti spray painted on the bridge several times a few years back? It clearly indicated they don't like having the traffic on their streets and felt Palo Alto should be responsible for fixing the streets on Woodland because of it.

A few years ago, I was going down Woodland and was just on the EPA side of the bridge when a man standing on the street corner threw a dirt ball at my car as I was crossing the bridge. I wasn't speeding. I was just crossing the bridge. I reported it to the police.

I'm surprised we aren't seeing more of those residents responding to this article. They may not know this is happening.

Posted by Jennifer Joo, a resident of Evergreen Park
on Jul 9, 2012 at 2:23 pm

Instead of replacing the bridge, how about replacing the San Francisquito Creek JPA. What have they really done in all the years since they were formed?

They are a corrupt wateful agency dating back to 2005. Enough with this waste of tax dollars.

Posted by Mike, a resident of University South
on Jul 9, 2012 at 8:11 pm

I had to look it up:

San Francisquito Creek Joint Powers Authority

Government Agency Serving Communities across Multiple Jurisdictions in Silicon Valley.

Web Link

Posted by Hmmm, a resident of East Palo Alto
on Jul 9, 2012 at 8:51 pm

Crescent Park Resident - there is a fair amount of free-floating animosity/distrust of those on your side of the bridge & vice versa. While it's understandable in a puerile way, it's silly. For example, the resentments I have are generally based on something real ;-) It's always easier to make "the other" the target.

Here's a question: If it's true that this bridge is being built in part to handle traffic, then can Woodland handle it? Big trucks aren't allowed here. But I really question the stability of the foundation here as this road is closer to the creek than on the Palo Alto side. (I've seen big trucks have problems on Newell on your side, too.)

Posted by would eliminating the bridge reduce the crime rate?, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Sep 9, 2012 at 2:26 pm

As another break-in has occurred on Edgewood - perhaps closing the bridge or making it bike and pedestrian only would decrease some of the crime in that area. From kids being held up by kids to houses ransacked to cars damaged, Crescent Park is getting hit hard!

Posted by criminals in Palo alto, a resident of Community Center
on Sep 9, 2012 at 4:24 pm

The crime rate in East Palo Alto would see a large drop in crime rate if the bridge is removed. The Pepe in EPA have put up with too much criminal activity from Palo alto.

Posted by Alex , a resident of East Palo Alto
on Oct 17, 2012 at 1:25 am

You Palo Altans make me sick! Have you seen the bridge! Have you seen how dangerous and difficult it is to drive over it! I use it every single day and it would relieve me and my community a lot of stress if we could just drive over a bridge without putting our lives and vehicles at risk.

Posted by This is our city, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Oct 17, 2012 at 9:25 am

[Post removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]

Posted by palo alto mom, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Oct 17, 2012 at 11:41 am

The main purpose of replacing this bridge is to INCREASE TRAFFIC in two residential neighborhoods both EPA and PA. Newell is a major bike route for kids to Duveneck, Jordan, Paly and even Ohlone and Stratford. Making this a bike and pedestrian bridge makes more sense.

Posted by Hmmm, a resident of East Palo Alto
on Oct 17, 2012 at 11:56 am

It's NOT just a traffic issue in the manner the above post insists it is. It's also needed for emergency vehicle access in times of flood. It provided access during the last flood.

Posted by palo alto mom, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Oct 17, 2012 at 3:02 pm

Hmmm - good point about public safety, but we're a smart group around here - I suspect the bridge could be engineered for emergency vehicles when needed and used for bikes and pedestrians otherwise.

Posted by Hmmm, a resident of East Palo Alto
on Oct 17, 2012 at 6:01 pm

Yeah, but that's not the point - the fact that it was the only way in & out during the last flood - for everyone, incl emergency vehicles - is a crucial point. Mos people don't realize this is the way it was, but it was very, very telling.

The thing I don't get is if there's supposed to be increased traffic w/this, can Woodland Ave sustain it? Semis are already a no-no, so it's not clear to me what would/wouldn't be allowed.

These 2 issues are of course separate from quality of life issues that increased traffic can bring about.

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