Town Square

Palo Alto looks to light up California Avenue

Original post made on Mar 5, 2013

California Avenue merchants and city officials haven't always seen eye to eye when it comes to the proposed revamp of the commercial strip, but this week they reached accord on one portion of the controversial project -- the need to install new streetlights all over the city's "second downtown."

Read the full story here Web Link posted Tuesday, March 5, 2013, 12:01 PM


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Posted by Marrol
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Mar 5, 2013 at 12:18 pm

And "voted to increase the budget again." That says it all right there. Just the beginning of what will undoubtedly lead to more and more cost overruns. Grant money or not, the city should not have been entering into this project considering the city's ongoing budget deficit, and inability to pay for vital infrastructure and public safety needs without involving another tax increase.

Our city could not afford this project. That's the bottom line. Tax payers will be left to pay the remainder of the project costs which if history plays out will increase dramatically before it's all over. I want to hear and see our city leaders and elected officials give us more than lip service when it comes to balancing the budget and paying for our base needs. I want to put vanity projects like this on hold until we pay for those base needs, and not via another tax increase. I want to see our city leaders set some financial priorities, cut spending, make the tough decisions, and not cater to every special interest group and/or vocal minority.

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Posted by pedestrian
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Mar 5, 2013 at 2:17 pm

We need brighter street lights all around town, not just in business districts. Some residential streets are so dark at night that I wouldn't want to walk there after dark, for fear of getting nailed by a car. Even if you are wearing neon colored clothes, pedestrians look black to car drivers until they are about to hit you.

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Posted by Jean
a resident of Evergreen Park
on Mar 5, 2013 at 3:23 pm


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Posted by MT
a resident of Greenmeadow
on Mar 6, 2013 at 11:38 am

$1.2M for 37 lights comes to $32,000 per light...

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Posted by Cedric de La Beaujardiere
a resident of Barron Park
on Mar 7, 2013 at 12:01 am

Cedric de La Beaujardiere is a registered user.

Actually, the $1.2M is for 48 lights, so $25K/light. I assume the cost estimate is legitimate, but it would be interesting to know how that cost breaks down. There's the fixture itself, which at 30' tall is a lot of metal. It needs to be carefully installed so it doesn't fall over in a windstorm, probably requiring a crane. All the electrical conduits to be replaced and dug deep. electronic controls; Design work; shipping; painting; insurance; many man-hours. It's obviously a much bigger project than replacing your porch light or installing some landscape lights in your front yard, but still, it vastly exceeds my lighting budget.

There was a lot of support for the lights in the Council meeting and it has been a recurring request from the business and community outreach meetings. The existing lights are ugly, and being 40 years old they are reaching their end of life and would probably need to be replaced within 10 years. So replacing the lights now when the sidewalks are already torn up will save the city the future cost of tearing up and scarring the new sidewalks later. Plus, the existing conduits are very shallow, so there is the risk that if we left the lights, their electrical conduits could be damaged when the sidewalks are replaced. These are the reasons that I support updating the lights in coordination with this project.