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Wider Foothills Park access gains support

Original post made on Sep 29, 2019

In the latest Around Town column, a proposed one-year pilot program to open Foothills Park access gains support and the new President Hotel owner resubmits plans to turn the apartment building into a hotel.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Sunday, September 29, 2019, 9:19 AM

Comments (58)

12 people like this
Posted by ronald
a resident of Menlo Park
on Sep 29, 2019 at 10:44 am

Keep for residents only who are also registered Democrats


81 people like this
Posted by Gus L.
a resident of Barron Park
on Sep 29, 2019 at 12:27 pm

Talk about Fake News..
"Wider Foothills Park access gains support"
Support of Who?? Not anyone I talk to, And I have lived here for 56 years. This Park will be trashed if they open it up, Rangers will have to double in number, Fires will be even More of a concern than ever before.
This will be a big mistake, mark my words..


60 people like this
Posted by George
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Sep 29, 2019 at 4:30 pm

This is really an outrage. What exactly does gaining support mean - an ad hoc committee get's an idea? That ad hoc committee of who? - should not have the right to determine the future of this valuable preserve. Maybe Anne Cribbs, concerned that '.. it doesn't feel right' should move. It's not a matter fo be decided by Anne's feelings. Palo Altans should not allow this frivolous violation of a natural preserve and a valued piece of the cities legacy. And why is Cordell advising the council? Ladoris Cordell has no official standing in this - her urging of the council should carry no special weight.

First a little, then more, then more still, then gone. Leave the preserve to the flora and fauna.

Outrageous.


56 people like this
Posted by Pass on the extra cost!
a resident of College Terrace
on Sep 29, 2019 at 5:00 pm

Foothill Park is essentially a nature preserve and we should add "Preserve" and call it Foothill Park Preserve to make its special status clear. It is not just any city park. This is a fragile environment and needs to be protected, especially as more and more development (and fencing) is creeping up the foothills encroaching on wildlife habitat. Palo Alto pays for many city parks as well as the Baylands and Astrodero Preserves which are open to all, and the Mid-Peninsula Open Space District has so many lovely preserves which anyone can experience.

If the Commission should recommend Foothill Park be opened to non-residents during the weekdays, then there must be no additional costs to residents to do so. The Commission's recommendation must be accompanied by a plan to demonstrate that the price of non-resident admission will fully cover the cost. Including additional staff time to administer this new program and any costs for more ranger time at the park to staff the entrance during the week to check non-residents in, park monitoring and maintenance. Plus the cost of additional liability insurance in case non-residents should have an accident on uneven trails and decide Palo Alto is a cash cow they can sue.

We are so fortunate Palo Alto had the opportunity and foresight to purchase the park despite no other cities being prepared to share the considerable cost to do so or contribute a dime toward the annual expense.


8 people like this
Posted by AJ Capital
a resident of College Terrace
on Sep 29, 2019 at 5:05 pm

AJ Capital is a registered user.

Don't see how they can get around the lack of parking, unless they purchase a nearby lot entirely for their valet parking I suppose. Could the city require that they only have a hotel license as long as they provide sufficient off-site parking?


60 people like this
Posted by Martha Dogood
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Sep 29, 2019 at 6:06 pm

Martha Dogood is a registered user.

Totally agree with Gus and George! Preserve the PRESERVE! Also, the kind and generous family that bequeathed this very special land to Palo Alto did so with explicit directions in the agreement that it would only be open to Palo Alto residents and their guests.

This unelected commission does NOT represent the voters of Palo Alto, and clearly they remain oblivious to the original charter from the donors of this land, who wished it be carefully protected and PRESERVED for the flora and fauna.

There are plenty of County, State and Federal Park lands up and down the Peninsula, open to all.

Message to Anne Cribbs: if you have a problem with your feelings, please go to an analyst, don’t make public policy based on your arbitrary emotions. Besides, you’re not even an elected official, you are a volunteer. It’s not a license to let your feelings dictate important public policy decisions. Where do these people come from!?




50 people like this
Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Sep 29, 2019 at 8:48 pm

Do not be taken in! A pilot program is just a soft way of getting this instituted under our noses. Never is there a pilot program that ends up reverting back to the original way of doing things.

On another note, I want to know how this will work financially. Who will pay for the extra manning of the gates? Where will the extra visitors park? On weekdays the gates are not manned. On busy days such as Labor Day, parking is already difficult to find, this will add to the difficulties.

On a completely different note. What happens if there is a fire and the park has to be evacuated quickly. There is no cell phone signal so how will word get out to evacuate. On evacuation, how will anyone know whether to leave the park and turn left or right to avoid the fire?

With only one access point to a very windy road, trying to evacuate in a fire or emergency will be very problematic, particularly with all the bikes and residential vehicles also evacuating.

For all these reasons, I don't think enough thought has been done on this. I am not in favor of allowing more visitors into the park until answers to these questions have been given.


19 people like this
Posted by Spot the Fear Mongering
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Sep 30, 2019 at 6:04 am

Can you spot the people, desperate in their situation, making up ooga-booga scenarios of imminent doom and destruction. This is a common tactic when the rational argument is not available. Do cut to the reality though, all one has to do is ask:

Are there other parks in this area open to the public?(Yes).

Have they been "ruin" or "trashed" over decades of open use? (No)

Have they been responsible for causing fires over the decades? (No)

Can we use the open parks in the area that have been working fine w/out issues as an example of what to expect at Foothills? (If we're smart, Yes)

Would someone opposed to the opening try and scare you with baseless threats of the park being ruined or being ground zero for a big fire? (See for yourself by reading above.)

There are REAL WORLD and LOCAL EXAMPLES of many many parks in this immediate area that are open to the general public and existing without the example-less fear mongers.


58 people like this
Posted by merry
a resident of Palo Alto Hills
on Sep 30, 2019 at 7:25 am

merry is a registered user.

Why are we still talking about this? A deal is a deal.
PA purchased when other cities were not interested.
The park/preserve works just fine as is. It’s. Treasure. Leave it alone.


47 people like this
Posted by George
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Sep 30, 2019 at 7:55 am

The news story is misleading'.. Wider Foothills Park access gains support'. Nothing in the story suggests that the citizens of
PA are suddenly expressing 'wider support' . This is fake news in support of a minority agenda by a few activists who continue to push opening foothills. This seems to be a story about a small group that decided - or were instructed to draft an alternative use plan.
Foothills should be officially recognized as a preserve created and supported by the citizens of PA. It should not be necessary to make a plea for Foothills - anyone who has been there would understand that like Muir Woods, it needs to be preserved.
That the city is once again threatening this land raises real concerns. The city can't be trusted. Foothills destiny can't be in the hands of 'ad hoc' volunteer committees changing the rules at will. Foothills can't be forever at risk to handfuls of activists. It needs a permanent charter drafted to preserve it's present character and use separate from the basketball courts, picnic benches, and dog parks managed by Parks and Recreation.



18 people like this
Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Sep 30, 2019 at 8:04 am

Asking realistic questions is not "fear mongering". It is being sensible.

You can't do something without looking into the possible consequences and preparing for them. That would be irresponsible.


22 people like this
Posted by Lee Thé
a resident of Greenmeadow
on Sep 30, 2019 at 9:41 am

We should open up Foothills Park to the residents of any nearby city that coughs up their fair share of the purchase price of the land,the cost of converting it to a park, and the cost of maintaining it, all updated to current prices to take inflation into account.

That was the original deal that Palo Alto offered surrounding cities, which every one of them rejected. But if they want to change their minds now and pay their fair share to put their money where their mouths are, sure, let's do it.

But otherwise why would we let othrs pluck the fruits of the tree we planted and watered and pruned for all these years? Right now many of our city parks are full of folks from surrounding towns who take advantage of Palo Alto's foresight in having many city parks while surrounds towns opted for having far fewer ones.

So before we throw open our only city park that isn't already open to--and being used by--citizens of surrounding towns, how about coming up with a way for those towns to pay their fair share of the city parks like Mitchell that their citizens already use, and use a lot.

For example, we could have Palo alto's parking patrol periodically check the license plates of cars parked in the parks' parking areas and then come up with a formula for the city of residence of those license plate holders to help support our parks that they use.

Only after that is done--or something like it--should be consider even more mooching.


16 people like this
Posted by Hogwash
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Sep 30, 2019 at 10:45 am

If letting non-residents use this one PA park is considered "Mooching", every PA resident that has used Shoreline park owes Mtn View some money. Same with any city park in any other town you have used.
This example is given to shine a light on how silly the idea is that we all pay for using a parking another city.


10 people like this
Posted by Welp
a resident of another community
on Sep 30, 2019 at 10:50 am

If only PA residents are allowed up there, PA residents, can you please keep tabs on your high-schoolers who I watch continually in the park drinking in their cars? As a cyclist I frequently ride through unfettered and I've seen your kids doing some pretty unbelievable things up there in their cars, esp during after school hours on weekdays.
Normally I'd notify the ranger, but I like being able to come and go into FH park as I please and don't want to call attention to myself begin a non-resident.


23 people like this
Posted by Julian Gómez
a resident of Palo Verde
on Sep 30, 2019 at 11:10 am

Julian Gómez is a registered user.

Challenge to the Palo Alto Weekly staff, who claim credit for this article:

Show the actual data indicating "wider support". You've made the assertion, now prove it.


14 people like this
Posted by Underutilized, Over paid
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Sep 30, 2019 at 11:21 am

The fact of the matter is that many PA residents want to continue to have PA pay for this money pit all themselves regardless of costs. The reason why they're talking about opening it up is because it is a huge cost to the city. Resident use is pitifully low so we have this great space that nobody uses, but we'll still throw our arms around it and proclaim "Mine!"
Eventually it will cost too much and when the city is forced to sell it, then there will be an actual loss instead of the perceived loss some think may happen if it's opened to other users.
Whatever. People are funny sometimes.


Like this comment
Posted by Evidence of gained support
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Sep 30, 2019 at 11:30 am

It's pretty clear in the article when it was written:

"...when members of the Parks and Recreation Commission generally supported a one-year pilot program."

That's wider access gaining support. I'm sure there's a nit to pick, there always is, but it seemed pretty clear to me when I read it.


14 people like this
Posted by Neighbor
a resident of Greenmeadow
on Sep 30, 2019 at 12:08 pm

If you look at the discussion on Nextdoor, you will see that, while there is some support, it can hardly be characterized as "wide support". This article is woefully lacking on specifics -- other than the Parks Commission, where is the wide support??? Also unclear is what 50 tickets mean? Does this mean 50 people, or does it mean 50 vans loaded with people, which could mean 400 people each day?

In my opinion, this is a slippery slope and a bad, bad idea.


14 people like this
Posted by Lee Thé
a resident of Greenmeadow
on Sep 30, 2019 at 1:11 pm

This comment thread isn't a rigorous poll, but the fact that the response here to the proposal to open Foothill Park to nonresidents is overwhelmingly negative is still significant. If we put the proposal on the next ballot, I bet the advisory vote would reflect what we see here.

One commentor on my original post, hiding behind an alias, said that following my reasoning I should pay for using Shoreline Park. I do use Shoreline Park, but I never recommended charging individuals for using the parks, but instead charging the cities the visitors come from, say by reading license plates in the parking areas.

If everyone did that my visits wouldn't count, since I always walk in from Palo Alto's adjacent Baylands Park. But it was also disengenuous to cite Shoreline because I'm pretty sure that's the only park in any adjacent city that Palo Altans visit in any numbers, and I'm reasonably sure that other city residents' use of Baylands is roughly comparable. Nor does either park have picnic areas with firepits or barbecues, and it's those in parks like Mitchell that get used by other cities' residents in substantial numbers every summer.

But I'm glad to let the chips fall where they may. Let Mountain View and Menlo Park etc. use license plate readings in parking lots and us in ours and see what usage patterns are revealed, and compensate the area's cities accordingly. We might even be able to use FasTrack to automate the process.

Another commentor, also hiding behind an alias, opined that the city would be forced to sell it at some point because it costs too much to maintain and not enough people use it. To him (and it's almost certainly a him) I'd say that Palo Alto's premier money pit is our nearly half billion dollars of unfunded pension plans lavished on city employees. Compared to that the cost of keeping up Foothill Park is a pittance. Still, I could see trying out opening the park to outsiders via a day use feel comparable to other city/county/state parks--say, $8 per car, $10 for vehicles holding 7 or more people (and a nominal $2 for bicyclists maybe)--something like that--and see what the results are for a year, and then poll residents on the results.

What I think most residents would object to is giving free access to the park when we paid so much as a city to create and keep it, when the other towns around us refused to contribute.

I sense a belief on the part of those who want to open it to one and all for free that they occupy the moral high ground on this issue. That Palo Altans are by definition rich toffs and the residents of surrounding towns are poor folk we owe something to, because "property is theft" or some such ideology.

Hard to make that claim about Los Altos, Los Altos Hills, most of Menlo Park, Atherton...and poorest id East Palo Alto, but it's rapidly gentrifying. Look at housing prices there these days. and Mountain View...you know, the city that's building a concrete canyon all along our border because their city council never saw a high density development plant they didn't like as far as I know, and who are now trying to throw out their homeless RVers...it's hard for me to generate a sense of moral obligation towards Mountain View these days. And which community has Palo Alto exploited or done wrong in some way? Our parks show that we are the least materialistic of Peninsula towns, sacrificing short term profits for quality of life amenities. Yay us.





16 people like this
Posted by Thought it was just me
a resident of Crescent Park
on Sep 30, 2019 at 2:49 pm

I had to laugh when I read the comment above about the PA teens frolicking in the park. 3 times I've seen kids drinking up there: Guy/Girl and a tequila bottle, 3 Guys and beer, Guy/Girl and champagne(Ooo classy).
I've seen them mistake the park for a bedroom as well.

If having a few more people around inhibits their liquor and love sessions, I'm for it.


2 people like this
Posted by long view
a resident of South of Midtown
on Sep 30, 2019 at 4:17 pm

long view is a registered user.

Other cities have purchased parks, and welcome visitors from any city. I love the views at Menlo Park's Bedwell Bayshore park. I love the Dish, owned by Stanford. I am only a 30 year resident of Palo Alto, so I was not a resident when Foothills park was purchased. I don't think we should prohibit residents of any city from visiting any of our region's parks. The more we give all our region access to breath taking beauty, the more we build our collective will to protect all our open spaces.


19 people like this
Posted by Douglas Moran
a resident of Barron Park
on Sep 30, 2019 at 6:42 pm

Douglas Moran is a registered user.

> long view: "Other cities have purchased parks, and welcome visitors from any city."

So has Palo Alto. Palo Alto has purchased far more park space/capita than most (all?) of the nearby cities, and even at that Palo Alto has a deficit of park space relative to official recommendations/guidelines in this area. For decades there have been complaints from residents about the larger parks being overcrowded on weekends, with a significant portion of those there coming from nearby cities. Similarly for park use by athletic groups that were heavily non-resident.
Foothill Park is the only park/preserve that has restrictions.


15 people like this
Posted by dissenter
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Sep 30, 2019 at 7:00 pm

Logical push-back is a one-year pilot program making all our parks Resident-Only.


9 people like this
Posted by Lee Thé
a resident of Greenmeadow
on Sep 30, 2019 at 11:53 pm

Our parks differ greatly in character and uses. Foothill Park is more like the day use area of county and state parks; it even includes some overnight camping facilities. So one policy for all our parks doesn't make sense.The uses are too different.

We have the small parks mostly used just by the surrounding neighborhood; the larger city parks which are often used by folks from neighboring towns, who take up the picnic facilities, to Baylands park, used by hikers and bikers and birders, to Foohill Park.

If we hike and bike and birdwatch in Shoreline Park and other hike and bike and birdwatch in Baylands, no biggie. Thus far those adjacent parks haven't been overloaded, and neither are for nicnicking.

Likewise the small neighborhood parks haven't had overuse problems.

The problem is that the larger city parks have a finite number of places with firepits/BBQs/tables, and those are what have been taken over by residents of other communities, because those communities built fewer parks than we did. The fact that we go for walks in Shoreline Park doesn't make up for this usage issue.

If we threw open Foothill Park I don't know whether its limited number of picnic areas would get flooded by out of towners. Its relatively remote location is a counterindicator. But there's no fair reason to give other city residents something for free that Palo Altans pay for through their property taxes (which renters also pay indirectly). But I can see a day use fee for nonresidents plus something to reserve one of the picnic sites, at least on a trial basis for a year.

However, whatever the city does with Foothill Park doesn't deal with the issue of nonresidents hogging the picnic facilities in the main city parks. Maybe we need to number the sites and have a reservation system with city residents having priority until two days before and nonresidents paying a reasonable fee for the use?


Like this comment
Posted by Mark Weiss
a resident of Downtown North
on Oct 1, 2019 at 7:28 am

Mark Weiss is a registered user.

Why don't we require AJ Capital to manage the park in exchange for letting them detroy The President and ruin the lives of the 100 Palo Altans who have lived there?


13 people like this
Posted by Gethin
a resident of Midtown
on Oct 1, 2019 at 11:19 am

Gethin is a registered user.

*Park Access Gains Support* is just a meaningless way of acting as if Palo Altans are becoming more positive about the idea of changing the park's rules, but what is the basis of that statement? My friends, neighbours and colleagues are all opposed to opening up Foothills. There are 100,000s of acres of open park land all within easy drive of Foothills Park available to everyone. Palo Alto itself has 28 neighborhood parks, a total of 4,500 acres, that are free and open to anyone that wants to use them. Considering the history of the park and Palo Altans long investment in the maintenance of the park I see no reason for changing its status.


8 people like this
Posted by I was just up there at dawn
a resident of another community
on Oct 1, 2019 at 11:34 am

I like to get "First tracks" up there, esp this time of the year when the rut is heating up
So it's supposed to be only for residents of the city of PA? Oops ;)


Like this comment
Posted by Anon
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Oct 1, 2019 at 11:53 am

Posted by Gethin, a resident of Midtown

>> *Park Access Gains Support* is just a meaningless way of acting as if Palo Altans are becoming more positive about the idea of changing the park's rules, but what is the basis of that statement?

The headline reads "Wider Foothills Park access gains support". It doesn't say that wider access gains wider support from the public-- the support is from the Parks and Recreation Commissioner Jeff Lamere. He is entitled to his opinion, but, personally, I don't think the proposal makes sense. If access truly remains metered, then, it will just result in a few more people from LAH being able to drive across Page Mill in their SUVs to picnic. They already walk in surreptitiously, but, at least the current policy keeps more picnic sites open, and, helps LAH residents with their waistlines.


11 people like this
Posted by Resident 1-Adobe Meadows
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Oct 2, 2019 at 11:43 am

Resident 1-Adobe Meadows is a registered user.

I was up at the park over the weekend. The road up is filled with bicycle people racing downhill on the road while the bicycle people going uphill are wobbling up the hill all over the road. It is filled with many blind curves with dangerous drop-offs. The road is not made for any volume of use. To suggest that many more people will be using that road is probably illegal as it cannot carry any heavy traffic. For the city to open the preserve to general use is probably a law suit waiting to happen. If I owned a house on that road I would be suing the city for changing the rules of use. People bought on a certain set of rules.
I am concerned that the city is bending a legal agreement based on elusive people hounding them. I do not believe that there is any "support" for this from the residents. Any one who has been there already recognizes that it is a area that is fraught with fire control issues. If you are not aware people up there are having trouble getting house insurance due to potential fire damage and this city policy is further interfering with that issue. And that is illegal.


3 people like this
Posted by Cur Mudgeon
a resident of Greenmeadow
on Oct 2, 2019 at 1:02 pm

Do not open the park to non-residents unless there is an entry fee. And not on weekends in any case, when the park sees its highest use by residents.


2 people like this
Posted by dissenter
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Oct 2, 2019 at 1:09 pm

Any problem with traffic at Rancho?


4 people like this
Posted by Its already open to non-residents
a resident of another community
on Oct 2, 2019 at 1:13 pm

We go all the time. You just need to know the ins and outs. I agree, keep access for residents and knowledgeable non-residents as is.


2 people like this
Posted by Cur Mudgeon
a resident of Greenmeadow
on Oct 2, 2019 at 1:15 pm

Here is the announcement for volunteers to apply for the Parks and Recreation Commission:

The City Clerk’s Office with the City of Palo Alto has opened a recruitment for the following volunteer Board and Commission vacancies:

Historic Resources Board – 3 positions with terms ending December 15, 2022

Parks and Recreation Commission – 4 positions with terms ending December 15, 2022

Planning and Transportation Commission – 1 position with a term ending December 15, 2023

The application deadline is November 5, 2019 at 4:30 P.M.

Applications and recruitment information can be found on our City website HERE.

Our recruitment flyer explains a little more about the recruitment details.


A link to our recruitment flyer can be found HERE.

Should you require any more information or if you have any questions about these volunteer positions, please contact Jessica Brettle or Kimberly Lunt in the Office of the City Clerk at (650) 329-2571.


16 people like this
Posted by mauricio
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Oct 2, 2019 at 2:30 pm

mauricio is a registered user.

Palo Alto has more parks per population/square mileage than any other Bay Area community, and all of them are open to non-residents, who over weekends and holidays use it much more than local residents. Foot Hill was erroneously and clumsily named a park when it is actually a nature preserve, located on a narrow windy and dangerous road, unlike Rancho San Antonio for example. Opening this environmentally sensitive, hard to get to preserve to everybody would be a huge and unnecessary mistake, basically a self inflicted wound.

There are no signs that this terrible idea is gaining any support among residents, accept among those who are pushing very hard for the urbanization and densification of Palo Alto.


Like this comment
Posted by Outside user votes No
a resident of Los Altos Hills
on Oct 2, 2019 at 2:40 pm

Sorry, I like that I don;t have to pay taxes to support this vastly underutilized park. I will still occasionally use it as other non residents have described, but I sure don't want my taxes going towards yet another govt agency.

PA residents should continue to pay for it. And Thank you BTW.


6 people like this
Posted by Resident 1-Adobe Meadows
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Oct 2, 2019 at 3:44 pm

Resident 1-Adobe Meadows is a registered user.

Comment on Rancho above:
Foothill Park does not have a fire department and continual overview of park rangers.
That is in contrast to Rancho which has a fire department in the back side, cement roads, continual drive through of rangers, and close to Foothill Expressway. Rancho is fully accessible and has a number of parking lots throughout for the people who fly airplanes. Also a new flood control project which protects the houses in the direct vicinity. There are also water collection locations for when the rains comes. Rancho is directly above Foothill Expressway so is not in a high, inaccessible location. Rancho also has a farm for animals which the children enjoy.
Bottom line is that there is no comparison between the two. Rancho is built on a former school that was ruined in an earthquake. It is fully accessible and part of a bigger park system so more money devoted to the upkeep and personnel who are working there full time during the day.
If anyone visits Rancho then visits Foothill Park it is obvious that the intended use of the two locations is totally different. Rancho is high use, high maintenance, and high budget dollars.


6 people like this
Posted by Anon
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Oct 2, 2019 at 3:46 pm

Posted by Outside user votes No, a resident of Los Altos Hills

>> Sorry, I like that I don;t have to pay taxes to support this vastly underutilized park. I will still occasionally use it as other non residents have described, but I sure don't want my taxes going towards yet another govt agency.

>> PA residents should continue to pay for it. And Thank you BTW.

Hi, Bill, Bob, Joe, John. Maybe I shouldn't have pointed out your renegade use of the preserve? As they say, you guys were all born on third base and think you hit a triple. But, I do take exception to your "vastly underutilized" comment. The purpose of Foothills is not entertainment. It isn't that kind of "park". There is plenty of entertainment in Mitchell and Rinconada Parks.


4 people like this
Posted by Resident 1-Adobe Meadows
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Oct 2, 2019 at 3:53 pm

Resident 1-Adobe Meadows is a registered user.

Explanation of flying airplanes above - whole group of people who have model airplanes that they fly over a field. Must be a whole club of people - always a group. Vast selection of model planes, sizes, types. They have a whole section over a field at Rancho. Also horses are ridden through connecting trails. Lots of uses. Some camping for child groups. But a lion family is lurking in the backwoods so they are keeping their eyes open for the lion family.


14 people like this
Posted by It's not a park.
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Oct 2, 2019 at 6:01 pm

It's not a park. is a registered user.

1). It's not a park. It is a nature preserve. Rename it appropriately. Preserve it.

2). The wealthy people of Los Altos and Los Altos Hills were offered the opportunity to help Palo Alto purchase this land. They refused. Now they want free access. I think they could offer to pay a regular amount to support maintenance costs to cover wear and tear from additional users from their communities as well as covering the cost of additional rangers who will be needed to protect it.

If they refuse again to work with us, I'm not sure I understand why we are obligated to give them free access. I'm trying to think of a public park that I have used in either of those communities. Hmmm. None Ever. How can they help?


9 people like this
Posted by Judy
a resident of Menlo Park
on Oct 3, 2019 at 1:18 pm

Funny that Los Altos is complaining because they are denied access to Foothills Park, and yet they continue to develop the hills surrounding Foothills Park. They could have followed Palo Alto's example and preserved the hills, but no, they filled the beautiful hills with Mc mansions. Perfect example of wanting their cake and eating it too.

EVERYONE is welcome to walk into Foothills Park via the Arastradero creek trail located in the Pearson Arastradero Preserve . EVERYONE. I was a resident of Palo Alto for over 30 years and then moved to Melo Park. When I want to visit the park I LEGALLY walk in through the approved entrance. I'm not a jerk like others who enter illegally and laugh about it. I respect the park and its rules. I respect the wildlife.

To those of you who think Palo Alto is so mean for restricting the park to Palo Alto residents, with the exception of those entering on foot through designated entrances: The City of Palo Alto's Pearson Arastradero Preserve is a public park. It is frequented by the surrounding communities. Again, Palo Alto recently purchased the property and saved the land from development and opened it for the public to enjoy. There are some beautiful hiking trails in that park, and if you are really curious to see what all the fuss is about regarding Foothills Park, hike the Arastradero Creek Trail into Foothills Park and see for your self. Palo Alto welcomes you.

Quite frankly I don't see what all the fuss is about. To me the greatest thing about the park is that it is quiet and serene with some nice hiking trails. You're not going to hear a lot of yelling from soccer players and other sports activities like other parks that have turned into soccer venues. There are some barbecues for gatherings but you won't hear boom boxes like in other parks where people go for celebrations and cause a big ruckus. Visitors know about the wild life and to respect it. Other than that, there's really nothing spectacular to see. No waterfalls. No cool rock formations. No redwood forests. Just hills that are dried out most of the year. Theres also not that much wild life to see except for deer , squirrels and lizards. During my many hikes I never saw a mountain lion. If you are lucky you will see a bob cat. So anyone who hasn't been there before, you won't see anything that you won't see in similar California hills. I guess the fact that it is restrictive makes people feel like they are missing out on something. What you are missing out on will disappear if the restrictions are removed.


12 people like this
Posted by I love to poach this park!
a resident of Menlo Park
on Oct 3, 2019 at 2:30 pm

I agree, it should continue to be paid for 100% by Palo Altans.
Thanks for the quiet place, it's a great park to visit when I'm in the area.


8 people like this
Posted by vote
a resident of Charleston Meadows
on Oct 4, 2019 at 11:36 am

"Wider Foothills Park access gains support" are you kidding me?

Put it to a vote for PALO ALTO residents and see what happens.


3 people like this
Posted by Anon
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Oct 4, 2019 at 1:16 pm

Posted by vote, a resident of Charleston Meadows

>> Put it to a vote for PALO ALTO residents and see what happens.

Let's vote, and, while we are at it, let's change the name from "Park" to "Wildlife Preserve".


2 people like this
Posted by Resident 1-Adobe Meadows
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Oct 5, 2019 at 9:59 am

Resident 1-Adobe Meadows is a registered user.

Since we were talking about the comparisons to other parks in the area the road that goes up to and by Rancho takes you to a newer senior development which is at the end of that road. It is a high end senior development and the residents use Rancho as a recreational advantage of where they live. I am sure you all have received invitations to come to lunch so you can check it out and possibly get on awaiting list. Bottom line is lots of local services for fire and police protection in the immediate area.

That is in direct contrast to Foothill which is in a remote area and difficult to get to. Any fire truck would be at a big disadvantage getting there. Also any other emergency services would be at a big disadvantage.


1 person likes this
Posted by lina crane
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Oct 5, 2019 at 11:04 am

lina crane is a registered user.

I thought that part of the purchase agreement excluded non-residents.


4 people like this
Posted by Resident 1-Adobe Meadows
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Oct 7, 2019 at 3:57 pm

Resident 1-Adobe Meadows is a registered user.

IF the city of PA makes any attempt to change the existing laws on use of Foothill I am recommending that the residents in that area create a cease and desist legal action to protect their property. At this time people living in the hills are being charged more for house insurance - or being denied house insurance. The fire risk is very high. Also the road is full of blind curves and no protection barrier where there are steep drop-offs on turns. A number of homes are at the bottom of those steep drop-offs. Imagine a car coming through your roof. If anything there should be some barriers put on the sides where there is a drop-off. No work has been done on that road to make it safer.


3 people like this
Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Oct 9, 2019 at 10:30 am

And in the meantime, PG&E shuts off power and our foothills are likely to be affected.

Has Foothills Park been closed to prevent unnecessary traffic on Page Mill?

Has the Foothills fire station been manned in this time of high fire danger?

Has the City done anything to prepare for a potential fire emergency except to warn everyone that we may have no power so be prepared. Is that the best they can do?


8 people like this
Posted by Hawhawhaw
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Oct 9, 2019 at 11:48 am

"Has Foothills Park been closed to prevent unnecessary traffic on Page Mill?
Why? How many cars are expected to be up PM going to FH park? 10?
Please post the number if you think it is significant.
Personally I think that's the silliest thing I've read, but I'll wait for you to post the number of cars expected because I know you would have to have that to suggest the park be closed.
Also, do you support closing all roads in the hills?


4 people like this
Posted by Hawhawhaw
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Oct 9, 2019 at 11:56 am

@Resident 1-Adobe Meadows

Over the past 50 years I've been living in PA I've never heard of a single car going off the road into someone's roof. Are you sure this is a problem or was it just an issue when you imagined it in your mind. Just how many people do =you think will be heading up there??? It's not like people are clamoring for it, there are far superior and more natural parks within minutes drive which is why I rarely go in there other than a short stop.
If you think it's too unsafe for a few more park visitors, then it's currently too unsafe for all cars. Shut it down, bikes only. Good thinking. Safety First!


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Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Oct 9, 2019 at 1:16 pm

In an emergency, yes I do support closing all roads in the hills to non-residents, particularly bikes.

Closing Foothill Park, no of course I have no idea how many cars will visit but that isn't the point. Without traffic lights at 280/Page Mill we could have big back ups if they are to be treated as 4 way stops. Without bikes and unnecessary vehicles, it will be a little help to gridlocked traffic.

Yes, this is an emergency. How many other times have 800,000 electricity customers had no power? How many other times have we all been told to be prepared for fire emergency? How many other times have we been told to have another food and water for 7 days? If this is not an emergency then we would not have had to have these warnings.

Sensible precautions would mean stay away from areas without power and hilly roads unless absolutely necessary.


Like this comment
Posted by dissenter
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Oct 9, 2019 at 4:01 pm

Crisis de jour. This too shall pass.


Like this comment
Posted by Hawhawhaw
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Oct 9, 2019 at 4:40 pm

@Resident, I don't think anyone will take your suggestions very seriously so yes safety dictates you should lead by example, stay inside and for goodness sake, stay off the roads!!!


6 people like this
Posted by Palo Altans Should Pay
a resident of Los Altos Hills
on Oct 9, 2019 at 4:50 pm

Palo Altans should continue to pay the entire cost of operating Foothills Park. It's worked well so far, no need to change it.

I've enjoyed it many times over the past 15 years that I've lived in the area, so I 100% support Palo Altans receiving the bill to make sure it's kept up for the rest of the visitors who enjoy it from time to time.
NO CHANGE!


2 people like this
Posted by This is Why We Cannot Have Nice Things
a resident of Barron Park
on Oct 9, 2019 at 10:19 pm

Call it a park, call it a preserve, call it whatever you like (though if you call it a preserve, we're going to have to talk about the lawn and the man-made lake we've put there). What it's called makes little difference.

It's people like "Palo Altans Should Pay, a resident of Los Altos Hills," "I love to poach this park!, a resident of Menlo Park," "Outside user votes No, a resident of Los Altos Hills," "I was just up there at dawn, a resident of another community," and "Welp, a resident of another community" that are the heart of the problem.

They very much enjoy our park, which I am glad of. But this is why we can't have nice things--they feel entitled to use it, without having made the investment to acquire it, or paid the taxes to maintain it. Palo Alto committed millions of dollars in public funds to purchase the park--funds which if saved would have appreciated many times over. They did so after our neighboring cities rebuffed Palo Alto's request for a partnership. These cities rejected the proposal largely because they were too cheap to pay their fair share. Actions have consequences, and the need to address the free-rider problem is real. Without the access policy, we could not reasonably expect our neighboring cities to pitch in when asked--we lose all credibility when collaborating in the future.

We are fortunate in Palo Alto to have a healthy tax base, and to have experienced a prosperous few decades. Yet our public funds are not limitless, and every public project has an opportunity cost. We all contribute in a real and tangible way to the park, as our funds are not available to be otherwise employed. Most Palo Altans, myself included, are happy to pay for the park because we understand its value. So too do the posters from other communities--yet they are content to shirk their share, and brag about doing so online. I say that is shameful--they are common thieves stealing from each and every one of us; their actions are selfish and despicable. Shame--shame on them, shame on their families, and shame on their communities. They enrich themselves at our expense, and they are a stain on the Bay Area. Must we suffer to share our park with such sleaze, when honest and upright residents are turned away?

I would be thrilled if everyone could access Foothills Park on the same terms that Palo Altans do. That is an admirable goal to which I think we should strive. However, we must do so in a way that protects the incentive structure of cooperation for our neighboring communities. It must be their city governments, not private citizens, that make recompense to Palo Alto for the cost of purchasing and maintaining the park to the present day, and contribute to its maintenance in the future. If the folks of our neighboring cities want to use Foothills Park, they should take it up with their own city councils--there lies the true cause of the access policy.

To the posters listed above, and their criminal ilk--you are guilty of a misdemeanor offense under Palo Alto Municipal Code 22.04.150(a). If you have any decency, discharge your duty as residents of your respective communities, and present yourself at the nearest Palo Alto Police station. Confess your violations, plead no contest to the indictment, pay your debt to society, and in future, obey our laws.


2 people like this
Posted by dissenter
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Oct 9, 2019 at 10:55 pm

Some commenters enjoy deliberate provocation on hot-button issues, whether park access, traffic behavior, RV parking, Airbnb abuse, leaf blowers, whatever. Gotta be taken with grain of salt, likely made of whole cloth. Anything truly egregious is tracked down through IP address. Unlike Yahoo, the number of users here is limited.


14 people like this
Posted by Get rid of the bbq's!!!
a resident of Los Altos Hills
on Oct 10, 2019 at 9:21 am

I cannot believe that in the ground zero area of possible wildfire eruptions (the lower foothills) they have OPEN BBQs!
There have been calls in the past to remove them but I guess Palo Alto feels entitled to put all the rest of the people who live along the peninsula at risk.

It's shockingly irresponsible and IMO Palo Alto is sitting on an enormous liability risk. If any fire were to start in this park, it will be Palo Altos responsibility to repay those damaged. I know I'd have my lawyers on them.

Maybe they see this and figure if they open it it reduces their liability.
It's going to cost PA a pretty penny to rebuild this area if a fire ever starts in their park.


Like this comment
Posted by Anon
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Oct 10, 2019 at 9:35 am

Posted by Get rid of the bbq's!!!, a resident of Los Altos Hills

>> I cannot believe that in the ground zero area of possible wildfire eruptions (the lower foothills) they have OPEN BBQs! There have been calls in the past to remove them but I guess Palo Alto feels entitled to put all the rest of the people who live along the peninsula at risk.

As a resident of Los Altos Hills, I guess you are only on the other side of the road when you are invited. ;-) If you were there more often, you would see that at times (of highest fire danger) fires are prohibited and some/all the BBQs are closed and bagged. Park staff are very aware of the danger.


8 people like this
Posted by Get rid of the bbq's!!!
a resident of Los Altos Hills
on Oct 10, 2019 at 11:44 am

No, I'm talking about when it's not the extreme danger. BBQ's have zero place in fire country, esp since CalFire has told us to expect longer and longer fire seasons.

The reason I'm so impassioned about this is because I have personally witnessed a small fire that was started by kids playing w/ hot briquettes on the edge of the Oak Grove area, April of 2017. I helped them put it out and gave them a good loud angry lecture.
Point being, you cannot plan for that kind of thing and once it gets going, at the base of the hills, it's to late. If you weren't so distracted by crafting a flippant reply you might be able to see the danger as well.


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