Palo Alto at 125 | April 26, 2019 | Palo Alto Weekly | Palo Alto Online |

Palo Alto Weekly

News - April 26, 2019

Palo Alto at 125

Time capsule provides opportunity to look back at expectations, predictions from 25 years ago

by Linda Taaffe

Go to PaloAltoOnline.Atavist.com to view an interactive timeline of Palo Alto's 125-year history

This story contains 1186 words.

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Associate Editor Linda Taaffe can be emailed at ltaaffe@paweekly.com.

Comments

9 people like this
Posted by The Public Interest
a resident of Charleston Gardens
on Apr 26, 2019 at 8:08 am

"Palo Alto was primarily a bedroom community serving San Francisco, he explained."

Yes, a bedroom community, which explains the single family homes.

Let's retain the character of our community, which is why we moved here in the first place.

Do you want tall apartment buildings, with little parking, built next to your single family home? Yes, that's what will happen if SB 50 passes.

Please oppose SB 50. Please contact St. Seen Jerry Hill and Assm. Marc Berman.


6 people like this
Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Apr 26, 2019 at 8:43 am

In many ways Palo Alto is still stuck in the 50s. We have very poor infrastructure and very poor public transportation. Our power lines are still swinging amongst trees susceptible to storms bringing them down and frequent power outages. Our traffic lights refuse to become peak time only or go to flashing mode overnight when there is no need for being stuck at a red light when you are the only car on the road at 1.00 a.m. We have no shuttles for most of our secondary schools and unless students ride bikes or are lucky enough to live within walking distance, cars are the only way to get there from many neighborhoods. The creeks have accessible paths for crews, but there is no pressure to open these up as bike paths and pedestrian paths. Our pedestrian underpass under 101 closes for 6 months or so each year and we can't get any bridge although we are told it is coming. The only method to get to both nearby airports is by car as any method by public transport takes approximately 2 hours - just not viable for someone ahead or after a 10 or 15 hour flight. We have no electronic signage at garages showing accurate empty space count or ability to pay for parking by phone app. The permit process and inspection process for even a simple remodel upgrade of kitchen or bathroom takes months instead of weeks. Grocery and household affordable shopping has to be done outside Palo Alto as the lack of big box stores and full service supermarkets makes local shopping sadly lacking. Our choices for broadband are poor. The list goes on.

Palo Alto is in the centre of Silicon Valley. Palo Alto residents are at the forefront of innovative technology that is used by the rest of the world. Visiting Palo Alto one would never know this is the 21st century as it is not evident in the way the City makes us live our lives.


3 people like this
Posted by The Original Public Interest
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Apr 26, 2019 at 12:29 pm

It used to be an attractive town up until the mid 90's. Now the neighboring towns are more attractive for livability.


3 people like this
Posted by The Good Days In PA Are Long Over
a resident of Evergreen Park
on Apr 26, 2019 at 12:37 pm

As Peter Fonda told Dennis Hopper towards the end of 'Easy Rider', "We blew it."

The same can be said for Palo Alto...as of TODAY.


10 people like this
Posted by Ming Le
a resident of Midtown
on Apr 26, 2019 at 3:21 pm

Did not live here 125 years ago. Imagine life in Palo Alto not good for Chinese people.

Today Palo Alto is good living environment with excellent public schools and shopping opportunities.

Housing also very affordable. If one has at least $2,500,000 in cash you can buy home in Palo Alto. Nothing fancy but OK for small family with grandparents.

Much talk about high-rise dwellings being added to city. Nothing wrong with that as other people need place to live too. In China, not uncommon for entire cities to look like San Antonio Road area.

> As Peter Fonda told Dennis Hopper towards the end of 'Easy Rider', "We blew it."

Did not know what this meant until I asked older person at work. He said two drug dealers on Harley-Davidson went looking for America and never found it.

When I was younger, single and still living in China, university friend & I bought used Honda motorbikes and went looking for rest of China. We ran out of gas.


3 people like this
Posted by @Ming Le
a resident of another community
on Apr 26, 2019 at 4:15 pm

"Housing also very affordable. If one has at least $2,500,000 in cash you can buy home in Palo Alto."

Yes, very affordable for the average multi-millionaire.


7 people like this
Posted by A Trip In The Way Back Machine
a resident of Barron Park
on Apr 26, 2019 at 6:36 pm

125 years ago...Palo Alto = predominantly a white (lower to upper middle class) population. Minorities (Asian, African-American & Hispanic) relegated to manual labor or domestic work.

60 years ago...same as above but minorities now working as civil servants (including the US Postal Service) or production jobs at burgeoning electronics companies. Communities remain well-defined with minorities residing primarily in South Palo Alto.

30 years ago to present...influx of professional East Indians & wealthy Chinese immigrants. Asian population from overseas soars to 40% with whites now becoming a minority.The new immmigrants are no longer relegated to residing in South Palo Alto as they have the financial resources to live in the nicer PA neighborhoods.

Projection for beyond...aging white PA residents 'cash-out' on their inflated & overpriced homes. Successful East Indian tech entrepreneurs & Chinese professionals in the medical fields buy a majority of the remaining Palo Alto homes. Demographics change radically...60%+ Asian (parents originally from overseas) with a white population of 30% or less with poorer Hispanic (6-7%) & African-Americans (1%) making up the remainder.

Not taking into account RV transients & the homeless who will continue to gravitate towards this affluent community due to conveniences and quality of life considerations.


1 person likes this
Posted by Rose
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Apr 26, 2019 at 8:25 pm

Rose is a registered user.

I believe Stanford was forced in years past to provide transportation from the Caltrain stations to campus and to the industrial park, and they have a network on the campus proper and it's all FREE. Our City has done nothing similar to help diminish traffic, air and noise pollution in Palo Alto. As far as I can tell, our City isn't working with other cities on the Peninsula to improve public transportation so we can get out of our cars, reduce the traffic and parking problems, and make our carbon footprint smaller. It is unbelievable that every evening after rush hour and all through the weekend, Caltrains come ONLY ONCE PER HOUR and even every hour and a half on the weekend! There is NO shelter in the Millbrae station so if you return from SF on BART and want to transfer to Caltrain, you might sit in the cold and damp air that blows through the Millbrae station for up to an hour. If you don't want to get stuck in Millbrae waiting for Caltrain, you drive to Millbrae, use BART to go and return from San Francisco, and then hop in your car to return to Palo Alto. That's a 30-40 drive each way because we have inadequate Caltrain service at night and on weekends. This is pathetic and no one is doing anything to improve the situation. We could be relaxing with a book or a podcast on the train if there were any.


Like this comment
Posted by WilliamR
a resident of another community
on Apr 26, 2019 at 8:42 pm

Weekend Caltrain service was cut back to hour-and-a-half intervals to help with the electrification work, so contractors wouldn't have to get out of the way so often.


5 people like this
Posted by Palo Alto In 1894
a resident of Professorville
on Apr 27, 2019 at 2:55 pm

"125 years ago...Palo Alto = predominantly a white (lower to upper middle class) population. Minorities (Asian, African-American & Hispanic) relegated to manual labor or domestic work."

^^^This perhaps Palo Alto's 'Golden Era'. The country was still young & there was plenty of open land.

The Spanish-American War was only 4 years away & having fulfilled its Manifest Destiny, the time was now ripe for America to become a global nation & explore the prospects and rewards of imperialism.

Everyone knew their place in Palo Alto and as a result, the various socio-economic classes & ethnic groups co-existed with minimal friction. To have been born white & of upper-middle class background was the ideal scenario as one could afford domestic servants & groundskeepers...unlike today. And those who worked for upper-middle class families were grateful for their livelihoods.

The emergence of Stanford University put Palo Alto in the same league as Cambridge & New Haven thus its nickname 'Harvard of the West'. And back then, no one complained about the Stanford mascot!

Gold coins were still in circulation too & a penny actually bought something.

To return to Palo Alto's yesteryear of 1894 would be a dream come true for those who value & appreciate the way America was truly supposed to be.


Like this comment
Posted by The Palo Alto Way
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Apr 28, 2019 at 4:05 pm

> To return to Palo Alto's yesteryear of 1894 would be a dream come true for those who value & appreciate the way America was truly supposed to be.

> Everyone knew their place in Palo Alto...

^^^ To some this may sound a bit non-PC but I concur with your sentiments.

Things were probably way better back then...fewer people = fewer hassles.


2 people like this
Posted by george drysdale
a resident of Professorville
on Apr 30, 2019 at 8:37 am

The grim reality of Palo Alto and world of the immediate future is global warming. No more fossil fuels or we'll be toast by the end of the century. Back to the stone age. Science is what we have. Seaweed oceans? Anyway, build while you can. The key number this summer: humidity. Our most important service: the fire department. Economics: the dismal science.

George Drysdale the misanthrope


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