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Palo Alto looks to modify popular parklet program

Original post made on Mar 8, 2023

Seeking to bring some order to the haphazard parklet ecosystem, Palo Alto is preparing to adopt next week a set of new rules to govern the new dining areas, including size limits and license fees.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Wednesday, March 8, 2023, 9:17 AM

Comments (11)

Posted by Rose
a resident of Mayfield
on Mar 8, 2023 at 12:01 pm

Rose is a registered user.

There shouldn’t be any dining parklets on California Avenue! Cal Ave is a major East/West throughway for pedestrians and bicycles traveling to and from the Caltrain station, the Stanford Industrial Park and the campus. While the City keeps trying to get residents and commuters out of their cars and onto their feet and bikes, practically shutting down Cal Ave for dining is a huge mistake (no matter how popular it might be with diners). The egress and ingress to Cal Ave for autos was challenging before the street was closed. Now it’s a disaster. As Greer Stone said: "We need to make decisions based on what's going to provide the greatest utility for the public and not be as concerned about the wants of an individual business." This applies to Cal Ave too, in terms of the movement of traffic, pedestrians and bikes. Thank you, Greer.

Posted by MyFeelz
a resident of another community
on Mar 8, 2023 at 12:18 pm

MyFeelz is a registered user.

"This is public property," PERIOD.

Not only is it public property, but the way the city is permitting illegal use of it violates ADA laws. I'm in a mood to file a petition against the city for denying access to disabled people. Everybody says, "go around" or "park in back" or otherwise accommodate the venue. That's not how it works. The venue provides the accommodation for disabled people. Not the other way around.

Posted by Sunshine
a resident of Barron Park
on Mar 8, 2023 at 3:47 pm

Sunshine is a registered user.

Please, there are too many large parakeets on California Ave, especially on Sunday when the Farmer's Market is also there. The parakeets take up too much space and block our the market stalls. The street should be available for the Farmer's Market on Sundays. The new parakeets make it impossible to shop on California Ave. It is also difficult to access regular businesses that still remain in California Ave.

Posted by revdreileen
a resident of East Palo Alto
on Mar 8, 2023 at 4:52 pm

revdreileen is a registered user.

Thanks for the hearty laughs, Sunshine. I'm picturing a flock of large parakeets flying through Cal Avenue, nipping at shoppers. They certainly aren't quite as frightening as crows or ravens, but if there are enough parakeets, I suppose it would be frightening, a la Hitchcock's "The Birds".

Posted by TR
a resident of Menlo Park
on Mar 8, 2023 at 7:22 pm

TR is a registered user.

On CA Ave, we should consider simply closing it to vehicle traffic. Stop letting parklets (and stalls) block the whole roadway and make a safe walking and bike path through CA Ave. Leave the cross streets open for easy access. Parking remains behind. Tada! We have a walkable shopping district

Posted by eileen
a resident of College Terrace
on Mar 8, 2023 at 7:22 pm

eileen is a registered user.

I did not read anything about some sort of design standards. Will the white tent-like structures remain?

Posted by wise
a resident of Downtown North
on Mar 8, 2023 at 8:04 pm

wise is a registered user.

What is the rule on blocking sidewalks like Tamarine does on University Avenue?- They are putting a rope across the sidewalk forcing people to walk in the street.

Posted by Sorry to hear this
a resident of Crescent Park
on Mar 9, 2023 at 8:45 am

Sorry to hear this is a registered user.

while the dining experience may be better on Cal Ave than before, the street with all its variety of tables is a mishmash and an eyesore. The street is more than wide enough to have a few parklets on one side and driving on the other. I used to drive down Cal Avenue at least once a week and pop into stores. Since the pandemic has hit, I never do. Do you miss me Leaf and Petal and Bob, at Palo Alto Eyeworks? I don't even go to the restaurants as much as I used to. I find having the whole street blocked off a mental barrier to entry. It's not a good consumer experience for me.

Posted by eileen
a resident of College Terrace
on Mar 9, 2023 at 3:09 pm

eileen is a registered user.

Personally, I would like to hear about the parklet DESIGN standards.
The whole street looks horrible with a circus/fair tent look. Can't we come up with a beautifying standard that includes plants, trees, and a few benches for people to sit on? Not everyone wants to eat at a restaurant! What has the city proposed?

Posted by Native to the BAY
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Mar 10, 2023 at 12:04 am

Native to the BAY is a registered user.

I reside across the street from “Cal Ave”. I’ve invested in the street for 7 years. I’ve seen 15 business’ leave.

Now. Pandemic restitution. The so called “park lets” are troublesome. Compared to RWC Menlo Los Altos or MV l, Cal Ave is an ugly step son, twice removed. What the hey!

University Ave ? Hello! Jing Jings on Emerson? The Chamber or Biz Assoc is doing little to incentivize, supplement, support or accommodate these small business’. Palo Alto cares not about it’s small struggling, business aesthetic or it’s inclusion of small town merchants and resident consumers. Cal Ave is a particular mess.

After the loud, gruesome grinding away at it’s street in 2015, removing public art, and refusing to remove any 23 in number of the empty dilapidated, unused last Century paper
racks (sidewalk obstacles), the so called “park-lets” are as transitory as our massive, unhoused population. These small business’ are handed a temporary green light until the real estate is needed for other financial means.

And. yes. I’ll take my $$ and
go to More welcoming and accommodating zips: San Mateo, RWC, Menlo, Los Alto or MV to dine. The aesthetic, ambiance, inclusion and joy of supporting a city’s economy so much more inclusive. The soul of literally dining out in PA has been sucked out of local support.

I suppose the chamber is counting on the adjunct / hybrid employee of SU or Stanford Research Park or other to fill in the gaps.

As a resident, my family does not have a relaxed dining out experience in Palo Alto. Whether w my kids r not, there is no local, local cal here. It’s a do or die dining situation. The out of town restaurant servers are only here for the tip money (I totally understand) while further abusing their physical bodies on concrete surface and walking further to serve a table.

Who ever said Palo Alto was known for its customer service, good food or yes, a small business to support? Out door dining here is a contentions experience.

Posted by Sunshine
a resident of Barron Park
on Mar 10, 2023 at 10:25 am

Sunshine is a registered user.

I note several comments about getting out of your car and walking more. What happens to people who are disabled either by injury or age? What the parakeets do is eliminate the possibility of older and disabled people dining there. Too bad. Many of us still have money to spend. Guess we will go elsewhere.

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