2019 is starting off busy with many proposals lining up in an attempt to trump local land use and zoning governance, all of which will further erode quality of life and deteriorate the uniqueness of our cities and character of our neighborhoods.
I particularly want to bring your attention to the MTC/ABAG CASA Compact and San Francisco’s Senator Scott Weiner’s Senate Bill 50 (his previous bill SB 827 was vetoed). I am writing about the CASA Compact because time is of the essence.
The Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC) adopted and approved a radical and aggressive plan to address housing in the Bay Area through a plan called the CASA Compact (https://mtc.ca.gov/sites/default/files/CASA_Compact.pdf).
The CASA Compact proposes ten “elements” for state legislation which supposedly, will solve the housing “crisis” by focusing on the 3 P's (Production, Preservation and Protection). Recognize, this is going to be enforced by the State through a regional body which has appointed representatives, not elected officials.Read more
We have updates on a number of road work projects in Palo Alto, including:
- Ross Road Debacle, includes Louis, Amarillo – Follow up to the June 12 Council Town Hall meeting
- Update on Charleston Arastradero Corridor “upgrades/modifications”
- Update for University Avenue traffic light synchronization
- Road "Enhancement" project - San Antonio at East Charleston Rd traffic safety meeting - September 5th
Caltrain representatives held a community meeting on August 28, 2018. Here is a link to their presentation http://calmod.org/wp-content/uploads/PCEP_Community_Presentation_Palo-Alto_Aug.28.18_Final.pdf
Here are my “take aways” from this meeting:
- There is a “paralleling station” at the Page Mill Road rail location, Caltrain representatives explains it to an electrical station for the electrification.
- Caltrain has started their construction work in Palo Alto, in particular what they call “foundation potholing”. Some of the construction work does take place during the night time from 7:00 p.m. to 7:00 am. Caltrain representatives say that they try to decrease the light and noise intrusions by using barriers that lessens these impacts.
- The trees and shrubbery that have provided aesthetics and noise barrier between homes and the railroad and trains will be trimmed extensively or removed. There are over 200 trees that will be removed and Caltrain representatives indicate they will be replacing removed mature trees with baby trees and have really not provided good answers to the replacements.
Caltrain representatives were adamant that Caltrain’s electrification project has no bearing on a city’s grade separation
The potential of home/property takings by eminent domain has been taken off the table for the Churchill, East Meadow and Charleston areas. Residents should continue to monitor and to be aware and hold Council and City Staff to task on ensuring that there will be absolutely no property takings.
You should be aware of the following possibilities, even though staff report indicates “return to Council with a report on the impacts…”;
- Street Closure at Churchill Avenue (full or partial) – commit to adopt appropriate mitigations to address diverted and additional traffic on Embarcadero Road and minimizing cut through traffic into the adjacent neighborhoods.
- Street Closure at Palo Alto Avenue – build a bike/pedestrian crossing undercrossing and widen University Avenue.
- Loma Verde Avenue – build a bike/pedestrian crossing to connect Margarita Avenue. Will there be home/property takings by eminent domain?
Palo Alto's effort to revitalize its aged animal shelter received a big boost Monday night, when the City Council agreed to make more than $3 million in improvements to the facility as part of an agreement with the shelter's proposed new operator, Pets In Need.
By an 8-0 vote, with Adrian Fine absent, the council supported a proposal for staff to conclude its negotiations with the Redwood City-based nonprofit. In doing so, it acceded to Pets In Need's request that the old facility on East Bayshore Road be upgraded, with the costs of the renovations currently estimated at $3.4 million.
It has come to my attention that State legislators, Senators John Thune (R-SD) and Brian Schatz (D-HI), have introduced legislation, SB 3157 to further streamline small cell deployment due to the rapid evolution and modernization of leading-edge infrastructure necessary to enhance small cell deployment act.
SB 3157 has been referred to the Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation.
Palo Alto has a unique opportunity to influence SFO's future GBAS landing system to reduce airplane noise for many Bay Area residents. The SFO team made it clear that their #1 goal is to “Improve Noise Impact to the Community”. In this endeavor, we finally have a chance to be proactive and provide input on design that could potentially reduce noise for many residents, including but not limited to Palo Alto residents. However, the City of Palo Alto government must be proactive and it is critical that Palo Alto communicates its position on the topic to SFO before SFO submit requests to the FAA.
SFO’s timeline to submit “innovative approach” requests to the FAA is during the 4th Quarter this year. “Innovative approaches” means any approaches that are different from today’s approaches. It encompasses things such as higher glide slopes, curved approaches, and different touch points on the runway. Therefore, it is critical that City government communicates its position on the topic to SFO before they submit requests to the FAA at the end of December 2018.
At this time, Palo Alto does not have a seat at the SFO Roundtable, while I am assigned as a Council Liaison, I do not have a vote. The Santa Clara/Santa Cruz Counties Roundtable is not operational yet, therefore, Palo Alto does not have either channel to communicate the City’s needs and expectations to SFO.
Palo Alto must be proactive and communicate its position on GBAS to SFO at least a month before SFO submits their innovative approach requests to the FAA in December 2018. We hope that the City won’t miss this first opportunity to be proactive in influencing a design that could reduce noise for many Palo Alto residents, as well as, other residents in neighboring cities.
Please email City Council to add this to the August 13, 2018 City Council agenda. City.Council@cityofpaloalto.org
Dear Palo Altans,
Thank you to each and all who supported the resident initiative to amend the 2030 Comprehensive Plan to reduce and limit net new office/R&D development to 850,000 square feet. It provides this City government an opportunity to focus on remedying the negative impacts that affects residents’ quality of life.
I want to extend a heartfelt “thank you” to former Vice Mayor Greg Schmid for bringing this initiative forward and his continued care for the well being of the community and Palo Alto residents. Also, to everyone who worked to make this a successful initiative…Thank you.
Dear Palo Altans,
I would like to share this email from a couple of Crescent Park residents with you. It was posted to the Crescent Park Neighborhood email list-serv.
We listened carefully to the recording of Mayor Kniss at Council on Monday night where she essentially denied that we have traffic problems in Palo Alto. Astounding!
This appears to be willful ignorance of the many issues residents live with due to congested traffic. Her view might be considered a part of her support for commercial interests who want to continue growing commercial activity in and around downtown.
We think everyone in Crescent Park should be aware of the mayor’s views:
- She states that traffic is not significant problem
- Her view is in direct conflict with years of Citizens’ Survey results where traffic is rated a top concern
- She trivializes the work of residents to address traffic congestion and safety issues near downtown
- She recommends that drivers use residential streets like Channing if University is busy
The mayor did say that residents could email her if they find traffic to be a problem. May we suggest you let her know your views and help her understand that we expect our mayor to have a better grasp of the growing traffic impacts we face in Palo Alto. Liz.email@example.com
John Guislin & Greg WelchRead more
I want to wish you Happy New Year, and at the same time, I apologize for the late wishes. The holidays turned out to be a forced rest for us – our family had a family cold. We’re all recovered and rested. I hope you are all well.
Please put this date on your calendar and help inform City Council what you would consider a priority or priorities for 2018.
City of Palo Alto City Council Retreat
Saturday, February 3, 2019
9:00 am – 3:00 pm
El Palo Alto Room, Mitchell Park Community Center, 3700 Middlefield Road, Palo Alto
This year, there is much to be aware of and for you to determine whether this is YOUR vision for YOUR city…a place that you decided to call home for your family, a place that you could feel safe in all aspects, a place that you thought you could find peace and quiet enjoyment.
There is an aggressive plan/priority to build housing by deregulating and providing flexibility by changing zoning and relaxing the City’s building codes. Much of the negative cumulative impacts are deflected by the rationale that it is a regional matter. Here is a link to the draft Housing Work Plan https://www.cityofpaloalto.org/civicax/filebank/documents/63027. Page 27 will show all the deregulation. How will this impact your neighborhood and quality of life? The City is big on talking about “sustainability”, is this kind of growth sustainable? How will the City address parking? How will the City address the cut through traffic into our neighborhoods? How will the City fund all City services and infrastructure needs? The growth plan below is for the years 2018 – 2035.Read more