After moving to dramatically curtail access to Foothills Park last month, Palo Alto officially agreed on Monday to further revise entry rules to the scenic nature preserve and allow free entry to local students, veterans and visitors with disabilities.
By a unanimous vote, the City Council approved new rules that largely comport with recommendations from the city's Parks and Recreation Commission. This includes creating an annual pass for Foothills Park entry that would cost $50 for Palo Alto residents and $65 for visitors from other cities. The pass would provide entry to two cars from the same household. Visitors who don't have a pass will be able to enter by paying a $6 fee at the gate.
The Monday changes were the latest attempt by the council to balance the public's appetite for visiting the preserve, which has traditionally been open only to Palo Alto residents and their guests, and a desire to maintain safe traffic conditions and protect wildlife.
With the new rules now in place, the city plans to launch online sales of the annual passes on Feb. 27, according to Daren Anderson, assistant director at the Community Services Department.
To underscore the preserve's sensitive habitat, the council also approved on Monday the renaming of Foothills Park to the Foothills Nature Preserve — a change that was recommended by both the Parks and Recreation Commission and the Palo Alto Historical Association.
Teen arrested for alleged carjacking, possible robbery
Palo Alto Police arrested a 16-year-old boy on Saturday after an armed carjacking and a high-speed chase. He also is believed to have also committed a strong-armed robbery in downtown Palo Alto the night before, police said Monday.
Late Saturday night, a Palo Alto patrol officer spotted a speeding vehicle that had been reported stolen at gunpoint the night before in East Palo Alto. The driver led officers on a high-speed chase north on East Bayshore Road before stopping on Clarke Avenue in East Palo Alto.
Five people got out of the vehicle and fled on foot. A police dog apprehended the driver on a nearby pedestrian bridge.
Police said surveillance footage from an East Palo Alto gas station showed the driver from Saturday's arrest using a credit card that was stolen from a woman during a robbery on Palo Alto's High Street on Friday night.
Police arrested the East Palo Alto teen on suspicion of committing multiple felonies, including robbery, possession of a stolen vehicle and evading arrest, and they transported him to Santa Clara County Juvenile Hall.
Police ask that anyone with information about this incident call the department's 24-hour dispatch center at 650-329-2413.
—Bay City News Service
Stanford to allow students back on campus
Stanford University will allow juniors and seniors to come back to campus in late March, an announcement that signals administrators' optimism about local public health conditions and the university's ability to control the spread of the coronavirus.
President Marc Tessier-Lavigne and Provost Persis Drell announced the decision on Thursday, which will allow juniors and seniors who want to live at Stanford starting in the spring quarter that begins March 29, but still primarily attend classes online and have limited social gatherings.
The university's top leaders cited modeling by experts from the Stanford School of Medicine that suggests the trajectory of COVID-19 this spring is "likely to be manageable," and testing and response protocols have been "highly effective in limiting community spread."
Large gatherings will still be prohibited and commencement is taking place virtually.
All undergraduate students living in campus housing will have a private sleeping space. Newly arriving undergraduates will be required to be tested twice for COVID-19 when they arrive — and provided with an isolation space if they test positive — and then twice a week while living on Stanford grounds.
Currently, more than 6,600 students live on Stanford, including about 5,100 graduate students and 1,500 undergraduate students who were approved to live on campus due to special circumstances.
Since August, 183 Stanford students have tested positive for COVID-19 — an overall positivity rate of 0.12% — and 157 faculty, staff and postdoctoral scholars, an 0.18% positivity rate, according to an online dashboard.
As of Thursday, 1,300 juniors and seniors have applied for campus housing in the spring quarter.