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.
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.