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Palo Alto bans new cell towers next to public schools

Original post made on Jun 19, 2019

Bowing to concerns from a group of residents, the Palo Alto City Council agreed this week to ban the installation of wireless equipment within 300 feet of public schools.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Wednesday, June 19, 2019, 4:20 PM

Comments (18)

23 people like this
Posted by parent
a resident of Gunn High School
on Jun 19, 2019 at 5:34 pm

This is just dumb. We hear about emergency situations at schools all the time. If we ban cell phone antennas near schools, then reception is going to be terrible near schools. How do people call out during an emergency situation? Poor cellular coverage is equivalent to banning cellphones in school zones.


21 people like this
Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 19, 2019 at 5:44 pm

There are dead zones all over town. We need to get better cell signals in all neighborhoods. Who are these "residents" who are preventing this? In a big disaster we will need all our cell phones. In a big power outage, we will need all our cell phones. We have no pay phones and communication is key when family emergencies or other serious events take place.


23 people like this
Posted by LOL
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jun 19, 2019 at 6:35 pm

No Surprise that the council placed oiling the squeaky wheel over science. I am Surprised that Lydia didn't try to ban cell phone towers in Palo alto.


2 people like this
Posted by Anonymous
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Jun 19, 2019 at 10:07 pm

Some of the issue for homeowners is the potential blight and ugliness of multiples of these devices/fixtures.


22 people like this
Posted by SickAndTired
a resident of Midtown
on Jun 20, 2019 at 11:30 am

I'm sorry, but I am sick and tired of this: "OH MY GOD my cell phone has to work perfectly and have 5-bar reception no matter where I am." attitude.
"MY have-to-be-connected-anywhere-24-hours-day is MORE IMPORTANT than anything else."

Do I believe the signals are rotting our brains? No.
Do I believe that there will be unintended consequences that we will not discover until much later? Yes.
Do I believe that our culture and society is being damaged by our constant possession and use of cellphones? Yes.

But, hey, that's just me it seems.


21 people like this
Posted by Do UR Homework
a resident of Midtown
on Jun 20, 2019 at 1:52 pm

"In a big disaster we will need all our cell phones. In a big power outage, we will need all our cell phones"

In a really big disaster the cell phone go out too. Cell towers are powered by electricity, not magical thinking.


7 people like this
Posted by Joe
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 20, 2019 at 2:36 pm

If the Council has decided to bow down to those technophobes claiming that wireless is the work of Satan - could it only be a matter of time before the Council bans all wireless technology from Palo Alto?


13 people like this
Posted by Me 2
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Jun 21, 2019 at 9:16 am

What's ironic is that the further away your cell phone tower, the *more energy* your cell phone has to use to communicate with it.

In essence, this ruling basically exposes more radiation to Palo Alto children and residents, not less.

[Portion removed.]


8 people like this
Posted by musical
a resident of Palo Verde
on Jun 21, 2019 at 11:22 am

It's your voluntary choice whether to carry an active cell phone 24/7.
There's no escaping proximity to towers.


9 people like this
Posted by More Study Needed
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Jun 21, 2019 at 11:38 am

[Post removed.]


12 people like this
Posted by Stacy's Mom
a resident of Charleston Gardens
on Jun 21, 2019 at 12:23 pm

Since Kinders and other elementary students rarely if ever carry phones, they'd be getting more radiation from nearby towers than from phones.

I don't get why some people are so energetically against a common sense precaution. Should we raise school zone speed limits, since after all, kids are exposed to traffic everywhere? It makes sense that we'd have conservative rules near schools.


4 people like this
Posted by Anon
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 21, 2019 at 12:58 pm

Posted by Stacy's Mom, a resident of Charleston Gardens

>> Since Kinders and other elementary students rarely if ever carry phones, they'd be getting more radiation from nearby towers than from phones.

They might be getting more from the teacher's cell phone then. It would make an interesting comparison of the "dose" from a much higher duty cycle of a (distant) cell tower vs the "dose" of a much lower duty cycle much higher amplitude nearby cell phone.

Anyone have a good simple visual explanation of inverse-square effects for the general public?

>> I don't get why some people are so energetically against a common sense precaution. Should we raise school zone speed limits, since after all, kids are exposed to traffic everywhere? It makes sense that we'd have conservative rules near schools.

"Conservative" in this case is counter-intuitive. For example, if you don't carry a cell phone yourself, your biggest RF exposure might be from the nearest major FM station. (Uh-oh; I'm not sure I should be talking about that.)


4 people like this
Posted by Say What?
a resident of Midtown
on Jun 21, 2019 at 5:46 pm

[Post removed.]


3 people like this
Posted by Tony
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 21, 2019 at 7:53 pm

Some of Palo Alto’s fire stations have had cell towers on the property for years. Firefighters have slept “underneath” these towers for years too. I wonder when the first lawsuit by a firefighter will be filed against the city.


8 people like this
Posted by Kenny
a resident of University South
on Jun 22, 2019 at 11:53 am

The anti-cell tower cadre are the anti-vaxxers of the communications world.
What is really amazing is that the Palo Alto City Council would cave in to paranoia and pseudoscience. Cell phone towers aren't going to lay waste to nearby individuals.


13 people like this
Posted by Curmudgeon
a resident of Downtown North
on Jun 22, 2019 at 1:40 pm

"Do I believe the signals are rotting our brains? No."

True for the electromagnetic component. Debatable for the information content.


6 people like this
Posted by Alum
a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Jun 23, 2019 at 5:53 pm

Alum is a registered user.

@Curmudgeon that comment made my day

Paly and Gunn have wireless networks for students to use, and coverage is generally decent around campus (save some of the large open areas). Wonder what the EMF exposure from all of those access points around the school campuses is is and how that stacks up.


6 people like this
Posted by Anon
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 25, 2019 at 10:16 am

Posted by Alum, a resident of Palo Alto High School

>> @Curmudgeon that comment made my day

++

>> Paly and Gunn have wireless networks for students to use, and coverage is generally decent around campus (save some of the large open areas). Wonder what the EMF exposure from all of those access points around the school campuses is is and how that stacks up.

Sounds like a proposal for next year's robotics club project. Build a robot that traverses campus and makes fairly RF spectrum measurements including peak and average power in various bands, e.g., TV and FM radio, WiFi, and various cell phone bands. Maybe even measure each specific band and figure out what carrier it is. Program the robot to take measurements at the same set of fixed locations every time, and, take measurements for a month. Then, post the data on a website. Might be able to do most or all of the measurements with a Software Defined Radio. Have fun.


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