In the latest column, news about a Belgian teen pilot who recently stopped by Palo Alto as he attempts to break the world record for youngest person to fly solo around the world and the removal of tents for outdoor dining on California Avenue.
THE SKY'S THE LIMIT ... Mack Rutherford's quest to become the youngest person in the world to fly solo recently stopped by Palo Alto. The stop on Aug. 7 marked day 126 of his journey, which started in March, according to macksolo.com, a website documenting his world record attempt.
He was welcomed by families and members of the Palo Alto Police Department. Palo Alto police shared the meeting in a tweet, noting that the Silicon Valley visit was filled with blue skies.
The 17-year-old Belgian teen wants to meet young people making a difference during his trip around the globe. The trip was delayed by six weeks in Heraklion, Greece and another six weeks in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. The delay was "mainly caused by paperwork nightmares and political turmoil in the world," according to an Aug. 8 post by the MackSolo team. "One thing is sure, Mack has proven grit and resilience, as well as remarkable calm and determination in pursuing his dream."
If Rutherford completes the journey, he'll become the youngest person to circumnavigate the world in an aircraft, a title currently held by his sister. Zara Rutherford, now 20, completed her trip in 199 days when she was 19 years old. Her journey, which included a stop in Palo Alto, wrapped up earlier this year.
TENT CITY NO LONGER ... Visitors to California Avenue this week may have noticed that the vibrant commercial strip looks a bit different. The diners are still there, but the motley collection of tents that went up along California Avenue in 2020 is gone.
The latest changes are part of the interim plan for the street, which will be car-free at least until December 2023. It includes new perimeter rules and an emergency access lane along the street.
On Wednesday, as visitors enjoyed al fresco meals under the open sky (or in the shadow of a table umbrella), employees from the Public Works Department painted road markings to establish the new configuration. The street was also swept and power washed over the week, with the cleaning taking place overnight to avoid interruption of business operations, according to a report from City Manager Ed Shikada.
The evolution is expected to continue. City staff have also begun working with a consultant to further develop the "closed streets" at California Avenue and in downtown and to help create a stakeholder engagement plan, according to Shikada.