PARKING CRUNCH ... Changes come at a cost and in the California Avenue business district's case for a new parking garage, that sacrifice is losing 143 spots. On Monday, the city closed parking lot C-7, which is located behind several businesses including Starbucks, Zareen's and Antonio's Nut House, to begin construction for a new 636-space parking garage. To help alleviate the loss of the C-7 spots, the city made arrangements to turn 43 spaces at the Santa Clara County parking lot at 275 Grant Ave. across the street from the Palo Alto Courthouse into two-hour public parking spots. The construction work has also blocked traffic on Sherman Avenue between Birch Street and Park Boulevard. The new parking garage, made up of two underground levels and four levels above ground, is expected to be completed by 2020. One the structure is completed, the city will begin building a new public-safety building next door slated to be finished by 2022. Earlier this year, the city removed 35 trees they deemed wouldn't survive if they were replanted elsewhere to make way for the new structures. The largest tree removed from the site was a coastal redwood, which the city planned to take wood from to incorporate into the California Avenue district project or another city facility.
NOT SO FRESH AIR ... Santa Clara County may be home to successful tech companies that have turned the valley into a landmark for innovation, but it sadly claims a failing grade in this year's "State of the Air" report released Wednesday by the American Lung Association. The county maintained its "F" grade for its ozone level, rising just above the association's annual weighted average number of high ozone days, and passed the association's parameters for annual particle pollution as seen in last year's report. However, its particle pollution within a 24-hour span fell from a "C" grade in 2018 to an "F" grade this year. The county's conditions reflect the state of air across the country, where more than four in 10 people live in counties with unhealthful levels of ozone or particle pollution, according to the association. Climate change is considered a major player in the harmful air quality resulting from warmer weather and varying rain patterns. In California, the report points out how higher temperatures and wildfires made an impact on air quality in several cities. "California communities face too many unhealthy air days, and we know that these burdens hit our most vulnerable residents hardest," Will Barrett, director of clean advocacy with the American Lung Association in California, said in a statement. "We must confront the reality that climate change is making the job of cleaning our air much more difficult."
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