Town Square

Post a New Topic

Palo Alto ponders ways to spend Stanford funds

Original post made on May 7, 2013

Two years after Palo Alto approved a dramatic expansion of Stanford University Medical Center, city officials find themselves in a pleasant quandary as they look for ways to spend the cash that Stanford had contributed as part of the development deal.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Tuesday, May 7, 2013, 1:33 AM

Comments (37)

Posted by common sense, a resident of Midtown
on May 7, 2013 at 6:19 am

No mention of spending the $40 million on a public safety building. And after several blue ribbon commissions on infrastructure & the need for a new public safety building.

And what of the downtown parking problems and the need for parking garages? already forgetten about.

Instead the citizens are seeing the money being proposed for bike bridges, etc. And the city council wants to put an infrastructure bond on the ballot next year.

The council will always spend on pet projects, and then moan & groan about being in poverty and that the citizens need to be taxed more. What a piece of work some of these council members are.


Posted by Bill in MV, a resident of Mountain View
on May 7, 2013 at 6:31 am

Some sort of parking structure for Downtown, please. A lot of the fun of PA went out when visits during peak periods became more traffic frantic than relaxing, for my wife and I.


Posted by Mistral, a resident of Professorville
on May 7, 2013 at 7:01 am

If you think visiting Downtown is not fun, imagine living near it!


Posted by Be Smart, a resident of South of Midtown
on May 7, 2013 at 7:13 am

Here's an overdue idea on how to spend the monies.

LET CARS ON ALMA GET TO THE DAMN HOSPITAL BY ELIMINATING THE IDIOT BLOCKING INTERSECTION AT ALMA AND EL CAMINO.

I'm amazed at the constant stream of traffic driving north on El Camino that makes a U-Turn in Menlo Park to return to Stanford.

Will someone need to DIE before the City has the courage to stand up to the tyrants from the north of University neighborhood?

Of all the half baked, pandering, planning nonsense the City has caved to over the past ten years...the blocking of Alma from Stanford takes the cake.

Its about COURAGE to do the right thing verses PANDERING.


Posted by resident, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on May 7, 2013 at 7:22 am

I know - let's give all the city management a fat raise !!


Posted by Not an issue, a resident of Community Center
on May 7, 2013 at 7:26 am

$25 million for a state of the art, world class, bike bridge over 101. $5 million for consultants. $5 million for campaigns to push walk able neighborhoods, biking and the use of reusable bags. $10 million for road diets for every major thoroughfare in palo alto .


Posted by Resident, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on May 7, 2013 at 7:29 am

I agree with Be Smart.

If this money is supposed to alleviate traffic problems, then this would do it.

Opening up that intersection would improve traffic flow at Town & Country and Churchill as at present these two routes are the only viable option for getting to Page Mill Road from areas south and east Palo Alto as well as 101.


Posted by Resident, a resident of Downtown North
on May 7, 2013 at 7:40 am

Be Smart,

Nobody in DTN feels like a tyrant, I can tell you that.

The root problem is the City continues to allow massive over-development in Palo Alto, far beyond anything remotely related to zoning codes and the Comp Plan. One of many huge negative side effects is turning residential neighborhoods into commute zones and parking lots.

You're saying, yeah yeah, that's those guys' problem. But you better believe it's coming to you too.

El Camino from Page Mill to San Antonio is on track to be a high-rise canyon over the next 20 years. Midtown itself may be the last "underdeveloped" part of the city, but with Palo Alto land and office space demand in the ionosphere, no part of the City will escape this, even Midtown. Anybody planning to be here over then next couple decades, or have their kids be here, had better think about this.

The City has no plan, other than to let a handful of development tyrants (including Stanford btw) make a fortune on land, and residents pay the price.

If you want to live in an office canyons, you're set.

Otherwise, PC spot zoning (Chop Keenan's term!) needs to be eliminated, and the 2014 city council election is a big, big deal.



Posted by Crescent Park Dad, a resident of Crescent Park
on May 7, 2013 at 7:43 am

Alma/ECR intersection: if you think downtown traffic (and neighborhood cut through traffic) is bad now, open up the intersection and see what happens. You want downtown gridlock? You'll get it with every east-west commuter trying to go between 101 & 280.

Such a bad idea.


Posted by Resident, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on May 7, 2013 at 8:49 am

CP Dad

I disagree with your assessment of traffice from 101 to 280 using Alma/Sand Hill. If traffic wants to get from one to the other, Oregon/Page Mill would be the route of choice. Now 101 to Sand Hill is another story. But this traffic is already finding cut through routes and Town & Country/Churchill are a mess as a result. Churchill is a school route with no traffic allowed to go straight on Churchill to Alma in the morning but they still do.

T&C is a mess. Churchill is a high school entrance as well as the school buses. Both of these areas would benefit from Alma/Sand Hill being opened.

Alma is the continuation of Central Expressway and carries a great deal of traffic that would benefit. This traffic is going to happen and getting it where it needs to go without inefficient U turns or using Churchill makes a great deal of sense.

ps, it would also help me too. :)


Posted by palo alto parent, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on May 7, 2013 at 9:09 am

Underpass for the train, anyone? Churchill, East Meadow and Charleston are all a mess and are only going to get worse with increased train and auto traffic. Don't fritter this money away on little projects, put it towards something big that will really make a difference.


Posted by Crescent Park Resident, a resident of Crescent Park
on May 7, 2013 at 10:56 am

Use some of that money for flood control on San Francisquito Creek. Stanford development contributes to run-off, and we in Palo Alto are at increased risk of flooding. Replace Pope-Chaucer bridge!


Posted by Jim H, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on May 7, 2013 at 11:18 am

Why has the city already spent over $500,000 on development work for Arrillagas project? Why is the city paying money for the developer????


Posted by Jim H, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on May 7, 2013 at 11:18 am

Why has the city already spent over $500,000 on development work for Arrillagas project? Why is the city paying money for the developer????


Posted by shocking decline, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on May 7, 2013 at 11:35 am

Resident Downtown North is exactly right. Our neighborhoods are
commute zones and parking lots from the massive over-development.
The City's response- plaster the streets with signs, paint, and ugly laddered crosswalks - Downtown now on Lytton, in the residential corridors like Channing Ave for example. Compare what we are doing to the attractive colored crosswalks in Menlo Park on Santa Cruz Ave. This is Palo Alto's response to the traffic monster it has created, cannot control and continues to feed. Palo Alto as we once knew it is being completely obliterated in a total assault by the City. Palo Alto- for pedestrians,bicyclists, motorists and residents- is more congested, less safe, and uglier every day.



Posted by Jeff, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on May 7, 2013 at 11:45 am

When the MacArthur Park area is turned into high rise offices downtown north traffic will be a total disaster. The developer should be forced to fund whatever is needed to cope with it ... including an Alma - El Camino solution.

Last I saw the HSR was going to raise tracks and trench road crossings (late 2020's).
Web Link

Weren't the estimates for a parking structure something like $20M+. One downtown parking structure and the money is spent.

There is numerous needs, hopefully the "pondering" is focused on important needs and carefully predicts the affects of what is already in the pipeline.


Posted by Crescent Park Dad, a resident of Crescent Park
on May 7, 2013 at 11:48 am

Actually the problem would be solved if Menlo Park would re-commit to building the Willow Expressway as they planned to do back in the 60's.


Posted by Crescent Park Dad, a resident of Crescent Park
on May 7, 2013 at 12:08 pm

Resident,

We can agree to disagree on destinations (280, 101, Sand Hill, Stanford, etc.). But I don't think anyone would disagree that the impact on University Avenue, downtown and the DTN would get hit pretty hard.

Why don't you take the Alma loop onto University/Palm and then head north on ECR, take the left-hand turn (at the signal) onto Sand Hill?


Posted by 33yrresident, a resident of Midtown
on May 7, 2013 at 12:27 pm

For a start, fix the streets. Waverley southeast of Embarcardero, which I drive every day, is bone-and-teeth jarring!


Posted by Resident, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on May 7, 2013 at 12:43 pm

CP Dad

Thanks for that idea, it never crossed my mind. I usually use Oregon, Embarcadero or Churchill and all seem onerous. I will try the Alma University loop as you suggest next time.


Posted by Rose, a resident of Evergreen Park
on May 7, 2013 at 1:03 pm

How about creating more community gardens? With more dense housing, Palo Alto's multi-story housing residents would enjoy an opportunity to grow their own tomatoes and get a little sunshine.
And someone mentioned PA's bone-jarring streets -- how about finishing the repaving job on the streets south of Cal Ave? Birch, Ash and Park have so many potholes and cracks that they are very dangerous. One can't take their hands off their handlebars to signal a turn because the roads are incredibly uneven and dangerous for bicyclists. The east/west roads have been repaved (Sheridan, Grant) -- let's get the job finished!


Posted by Wish list, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on May 7, 2013 at 1:26 pm

A wish list:

--Contribution to funding for rail grade separation at Churchill, E. Meadow, and Charleston.

--Adobe Bike Bridge and bike plan priority projects

-Seismically stable home for Police Department.

--Funding that moves us toward the recommended shared use plan with PAUSD for Cubberley

--the downtown developers should create their own parking. You build a building, you provide parking for the people who will occupy it. That is part of YOUR cost. I'm not interested in spending my tax dollars to increase your profits. I had to pay for the garage and driveway for my home. This is YOUR responsibility Mr. Rapp and Mr. Baer, and Mr. Arillaga.

I am sorry to learn that ANY money was given to the Arillaga project with so little public discourse on the subject. Not one of Council's better calls.


Posted by anonymous, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on May 7, 2013 at 1:35 pm

My wish is that the money would be used meaningfully, that is, NOT for consultants and frittered away in dribs and drabs.
In a way, selecting one project or two and getting it/them completed in a reasonable time frame with accountability would be worth it to me. I fear that won't happen...
I would prefer that Stanford pay for traffic mitigation in this city; I am heavily affected by Stanford traffic as a Duveneck area resident.
I dislike that our city funds have been used to assist on studies that benefit a billionaire Stanford developer.
We KNOW we need a new police building; this should have been prioritized for public safety and reasonable police operating ability.
We KNOW many streets/basic infrastructure need repair/upgrades.
FIRE any negligible staff positions added recently: PR staff, sustainability staff and so on. Focus on the principal business of local/municipal government.


Posted by Dan, a resident of Southgate
on May 7, 2013 at 1:41 pm

Piss it away on consultants?


Posted by Gail, a resident of Old Palo Alto
on May 7, 2013 at 2:28 pm

Palo Alto city council members think the important priorities are

1) Flying a multi colored gay flag
2) Building bike bridges and naming them after city council members
3) Raises, retirement pensions and generous medical benefits for city employees
4) More hideous public art
5) Wasting more money on incompetency, especially as it relates to building city buildings.


Posted by addition, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on May 7, 2013 at 3:43 pm

Wish List

On your list you missed Steve Reller - 524 Hamilton Ave


Posted by anonymous, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on May 7, 2013 at 3:58 pm

@Gail
You got that right.


Posted by Palo Alto Parent, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on May 7, 2013 at 4:12 pm

@Jeff

The blog you cited about raised HSR tracks is far from the final word on the subject - it just links to another blog from an HSR enthusiast who doesn't work in rail at all. Not to mention that HSR doesn't have the funding to do whatever they might propose here.

Imagine how much better traffic would flow in Palo Alto without train crossings.


Posted by negative, a resident of Professorville
on May 7, 2013 at 4:13 pm

Half million from Palo Alto already spent on Arrillaga's proposal at 27 University? What if the community says NO to this huge project? Will it be possible? Or are we looking at another fait accompli?


Posted by resident, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on May 7, 2013 at 4:58 pm

re:Wish list

Excellent list but don't be too harsh on Roxy Rapp - he gave us
The Cheesecake Factory on University Ave


Posted by Stan, a resident of Downtown North
on May 7, 2013 at 10:14 pm

I predict, that after excessive straining, visionaries in city government will squat somewhere over the city and drop a $40M utterly useless piece of ****. There will be a ribbon cutting ceremony and plenty of congratulations spread all around. Then back to business as usual: more whining about no funds to deal with all those boring deferred maintenance and infrastructure needs that get ignored year after year, a rallying call to float a bond for a new police station, and revelations of even more millions hidden in the utility department for the mystical dark fiber network.


Posted by Lee, a resident of College Terrace
on May 7, 2013 at 10:58 pm

OMG! is some unsuspecting neighborhood going to get their very own $40M digital egg?!


Posted by resident, a resident of Green Acres
on May 7, 2013 at 11:36 pm

How about spending just a wee bit more on the senior housing project so it can go somewhere near to services seniors need, and not require rezoning a residential neighborhood to high density right at the bottleneck between two congested safe routes to school traveled by thousands of children on bikes daily?

Of all the gall, to talk about that cover-for-meeting-ABAG requirements that way!

You know what would be transformative? Spend a little more money and find a place for that project, which would be a worthy one at a safer location, and turn that orchard into a playing field and community orchard. It's an inappropriate place to put density of any kind. In fact, let Arrillaga put Hostess House there! It would solve a lot of problems for everyone, and the neighbors would welcome it.


Posted by Kate, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on May 8, 2013 at 10:59 am

Fix my pet peeve....the traffic mess on Embaracdero to beyond the RR overpass. Build a crossover for Paly students going to T&C.....they can stop traffic at will. Rebuild the RR bridge - make it four lanes underneath instead of three. Last week westbound traffic was backed up all the way to Waverley which is not unusual. Sometimes traffic is backed up eastbound from El Camino and spills over onto El Camino. It's crazy. Just wait until the new hospital opens with 3000 more car trips each way per day. IT IS TIME TO TELL THIS COUNCIL--EITHER 'FISH OR CUT BAIT'. Unless this council and upper staff gets their act together, we CAN recall you. It's been done before. Are they listening?
PS And why is one council member absent so often - especially on crucial votes?


Posted by Crescent Park Dad, a resident of Crescent Park
on May 8, 2013 at 3:41 pm

You mean Liz Kniss. Professional politician. Did not vote for her.

I don't know how many people remember but the Embarcadero underpass used to have lane changes to adjust for the traffic flow. There were red and green arrows over the lanes --- in the morning it was 2 lanes flowing towards ECR and in the evening the 2 lanes flowed towards 101. The outside lanes always stayed the same, the middle lane changed with the flow.


Posted by resident, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on May 8, 2013 at 7:23 pm

Crescent Park Dad
Re Embarcadero underpass
They put fifthy surplus freeway berms down the middle- never seen
anything like this in any other city. Were there head-on collisions
there? I don't recall any. This is a nice enhancement to the neighborhood and gateway to Stanford.


Posted by MIke, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on May 10, 2013 at 6:23 pm

Why is Palo Alto in the money lending business?? Shouldn't the residents have a say where the money goes? What are the lending terms? Where is the transparency?

Private sector businesses should get their own funding!!


If you were a member and logged in you could track comments from this story.

Post a comment

Posting an item on Town Square is simple and requires no registration. Just complete this form and hit "submit" and your topic will appear online. Please be respectful and truthful in your postings so Town Square will continue to be a thoughtful gathering place for sharing community information and opinion. All postings are subject to our TERMS OF USE, and may be deleted if deemed inappropriate by our staff.

We prefer that you use your real name, but you may use any "member" name you wish.

Name: *

Select your neighborhood or school community: * Not sure?

Comment: *

Verification code: *
Enter the verification code exactly as shown, using capital and lowercase letters, in the multi-colored box.

*Required Fields

Foothills Park: a world away
By Sally Torbey | 17 comments | 1,806 views

Universal Language
By Cheryl Bac | 4 comments | 1,458 views

On Tour at Selective Schools: Chapman, La Verne, Redlands, Whittier
By John Raftrey and Lori McCormick | 0 comments | 1,400 views

The dress code
By Jessica T | 13 comments | 1,181 views

Two Days to Save This Dog?
By Cathy Kirkman | 11 comments | 755 views