Around town | September 6, 2013 | Palo Alto Weekly | Palo Alto Online |

Palo Alto Weekly

News - September 6, 2013

Around town

MAPMAKER, MAPMAKER MAKE ME A MAP ... As Palo Alto rushes to become America's top bicycling destination, its students and school volunteers continue to lead the way. On Aug. 23, school officials were delighted to count 878 Gunn High School students riding their bikes to school — up from 768 on the same date last year, according to Penny Ellson, a leader of the Safe Routes to School team. "This news makes my heart sing," Ellson wrote in an email to city and school leaders. Other hearts quickly joined the happy chorus. Councilwoman Karen Holman called the latest count "unbelievably awesome"; school board member Camille Townsend wrote back, "Fantastic!"; and school district Superintendent Kevin Skelly issued a hearty congratulations to the volunteers who made the high numbers possible. The number is "super-impressive," Skelly said, particularly because Gunn's enrollment this year is within 15 students of last year. He also pointed to another welcome side effect of this trend: more open parking. "I know that it makes the hearts of Gunn administrators sing to have plenty of parking," Skelly wrote. "As we all know, nothing makes people (including teachers and students) more upset than not having enough parking. Smile." Even with the recent success, school volunteers and city officials continuing to push the the biking program into higher gear. On Monday, the City Council is set to approve a set of detailed "Walk and Roll" maps developed by the Safe Routes to School program for 10 public schools: Addison, Walter Hays, Palo Verde, Ohlone, Barron Park, Briones, Escondido, Duveneck, Terman Middle School and Gunn. Each map showcases recommended paths, current stop signs and traffic signals, parking spaces, crossing guards and estimated times for walking and biking (they are available Maps for other schools are scheduled to be completed before the end of the school year. The project was aided by a $528,000 grant from the Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority.

APPLE COMES CLEAN ... After two years of blithe "no comment" from Apple, the tech company is finally acknowledging what has long been apparent to all — it's building a new store at Stanford Shopping Center. At 10 a.m. on Saturday, Sept.7., the 12,000-square-foot retail space will open adjacent to Neiman Marcus. Three glass walls and a cantilevered roof will enclose the front part of the store, in what Apple is calling its new "pavilion" design. The back half, separated by an interior wall, will house the Genius Bar and other services. A source familiar with the project told the Weekly this summer that the opening had been scheduled for last November, but delays may have been due to the building's sensitive glass design: "The glass technique used in this building is very advanced. Unlike other materials, there is no forgiveness with glass. It has to be precise and must fit perfectly." The 23-foot-tall store will not be the largest Apple retail outlet in the immediate area. Apple's University Avenue store in downtown Palo Alto, at 16,600 square feet, holds that title. It opened last October. Apple has operated a small store at Stanford for nine years and currently employs 110 workers. The new location is seven times larger than the old one, an Apple spokesperson said.

TEAM LAWRENCE ... The family and friends of Lawrence Viariseo, the late Palo Alto resident and paraplegic bicyclist, are taking up his mantle in the Canary Challenge bicycle ride on Sept. 28. Viariseo became disabled after falling off a 100-foot cliff while skiing at South Lake Tahoe. He was just 21 years old. He taught himself to ride a bicycle using a small set of thigh muscles and his lower back, despite being told he would never walk again. He became an avid cyclist, riding up to 40 miles at a time. Viariseo was gearing up for the 100-mile Challenge when he died from bladder cancer on Jan. 30 at age 54. The Challenge is an annual benefit for the Stanford Cancer Institute and the Canary Foundation, which conducts early cancer-detection research. Viariseo's family and friends are racing in his memory, his niece Megan Cox said. Information about the Canary Challenge and Team Lawrence is available at


Posted by Not an issue, a resident of Community Center
on Sep 7, 2013 at 1:51 pm

"MAPMAKER, MAPMAKER MAKE ME A MAP ... As Palo Alto rushes to become America's top bicycling destination,"
Does the weekly actually read what they write or they just being cheerleaders for the bike coalition? We know they are cheerleaders for the council , already.
Where do,they get this " America's top bicycling destination" ? Why would anyone come here to just ride a bike?
Maybe instead of wasting time trying to one up other cities, maybe our city should focus on local problems and stop trying to show the world how to do things.
It would also help if the weekly would not enable these egotistical individulas by writing garbage opening lines.

Posted by parent, a resident of Midtown
on Sep 7, 2013 at 3:55 pm

We love that Palo Alto is putting in the time and effort to make our streets safer for bicycling and walking. If we were just going to drive everywhere, we may as well live in a cheap ugly suburb in the East Bay. Studies have shown that cities with safe routes for pedestrians and bicyclists are healthier, happier, and have higher home values.

Posted by Not an issue, a resident of Community Center
on Sep 7, 2013 at 4:27 pm

I won't argue with some of your points, parent. But why do it to become a top bicycling destination-- why not do it for the people of palo alto??? Why does ego trump public good?
And why insult the east bay?????? People live their-- it is their home. Of course, some people in palo alto,think our city is something special.

Posted by parent, a resident of Midtown
on Sep 7, 2013 at 4:40 pm

I think that "bicycling destination" headline is just dumb. Palo Alto is not trying to become a "bicycling destination". Palo Alto is trying to make its streets safer for residents bicycling to work, school, and around town. Palo Alto will never be a bicycling destination like central Italy or southern France or even Napa Valley.

Posted by Van Daan, a resident of College Terrace
on Sep 8, 2013 at 7:52 pm

Do not forget Dwnmark and the Netherlnds,

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