Obituary: Joseph Kott | February 22, 2019 | Palo Alto Weekly | Palo Alto Online |

Palo Alto Weekly

Community Pulse - February 22, 2019

Obituary: Joseph Kott

No matter how daunting a task, Joseph Kott believed that Palo Alto and the greater Silicon Valley region could become a national model for how to cope with a deluge of motor vehicles.

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Comments

27 people like this
Posted by Such sad news
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Feb 19, 2019 at 5:05 pm

Such sad news is a registered user.

May his memory be a blessing.

Joe Kott was a deeply thoughtful and ethical man. He was willing to take risks and fight for visionary solutions. He was always, unfailingly, polite and professional in his work--willing to take time to answer questions patiently and bring people together to help us find consensus.

He was a good man and will be missed. I am so very sorry to hear this news.


2 people like this
Posted by Former CA Resident
a resident of Greendell/Walnut Grove
on Feb 19, 2019 at 5:19 pm

[Post removed.]


14 people like this
Posted by III
a resident of Midtown
on Feb 20, 2019 at 8:17 am

For a while in late 1990s-early 2000s I was involved in Palo Alto
traffic concerns, with a front row seat. Despite my age, length of
marriage, and career skillset. Diplomacy was simply a difficult part
of my traffic concerns.
Joe was the steady hand in our concerns. Sadly he had to do it by the
book. Make sure large tracts of concerns were met. And abide by the
Palo Alto city rules and regulations. I was suggesting to simply
tear up the rules, Joe was the knowlegable guardian and presenter :----)
Thank you belatedly Joe for all of your contributions and improvements
to Palo Alto. We got most of our concerns and recommendations though the
gamet of requirements. Despite me, and because of you. :------).....


18 people like this
Posted by Stuart Berman
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Feb 20, 2019 at 10:56 am

Stuart Berman is a registered user.

Joe was ahead of the game in seeing the traffic problems that would beset Palo Alto in the future and he tried to offer timely solutions with visionary yet practical plans. I was sorry to see the opposition that he often faced and even sorrier to see him leave his position at the City of Palo Alto. Was it because of the roadblocks to progress that he faced? I don't know, but I have missed him since he departed Palo Alto. And now he is lost to us forever. I'm sad the he is gone.


14 people like this
Posted by Tricia Dolkas
a resident of Downtown North
on Feb 20, 2019 at 1:48 pm

Joe was an amazing, unique man. No matter what the issue and whether you agreed with Joe or not, he was a man with 100% integrity. His passion for getting people into more environmental transportation modes couple with his patience with people's natural hesitation to change made him a rare person who was humble, gracious, smart and compassionate. He will be missed.


8 people like this
Posted by Sheri
a resident of Midtown
on Feb 20, 2019 at 1:50 pm

Sheri is a registered user.

A kind, thoughtful, funny and eminently good man with whom I kept in touch. Although we didn't always agree on traffic solutions, he was always willing to listen and explain things. A true loss to the world.


10 people like this
Posted by Lynn Krug
a resident of Midtown
on Feb 21, 2019 at 2:20 pm

I am so sorry to hear of Joe Kott's passing. I also worked for the City of Palo Alto during that time and Joe and I would run into each other on the Cal Train ride to work. Joe was kind and dedicated to his family. He was the type of person that had generosity of spirit and when he talked you knew he had time for you and was accepting. I really liked Joe. I wish more people were like him.


6 people like this
Posted by Lynn Krug
a resident of Midtown
on Feb 21, 2019 at 2:22 pm

I am so sorry to hear of Joe Kott's passing. I also worked for the City of Palo Alto during that time and Joe and I would run into each other on the Cal Train ride to work. Joe was kind and dedicated to his family. He was the type of person that had generosity of spirit and when he talked you knew he had time for you and was accepting. I really liked Joe.


8 people like this
Posted by inspired by Joe's example
a resident of Escondido School
on Feb 22, 2019 at 12:54 pm

inspired by Joe's example is a registered user.

Previous commenters have rightly noted Joe Kott's personal integrity, compassion, patience and combination of vision and practicality and more. All these are true! In addition, Joe inspired a generation of Palo Alto citizens to go from thinking globally to getting involved locally on energy and transportation issues.
He was hired in 1999 with a mandate to move our city toward the top transportation goal in the 1998 Comprehensive Plan, to "reduce dependence on the automobile". Yes, he was a visionary, recognizing how a narrow traffic engineering approach based on maximizing throughput of automobiles was not going to solve Palo Alto's congestion problems, and that a more complete vision of streets for all users was needed. But his ability to engage with people along the full spectrum of public opinion on transportation issues was unsurpassed. He knew that dialogue was only possible when people felt heard, and he incorporated changes based on continued engagement throughout the public process, whether a project involved speed humps on neighborhood streets where speeding was rampant to larger projects on arterial streets dealing with both congestion and safety issues. May today's city leaders be re-inspired by Joe's willingness to engage in dialogue as essential to any change that will benefit our community in the short, medium and long term.


6 people like this
Posted by Cedric de La Beaujardiere
a resident of Barron Park
on Feb 27, 2019 at 5:58 pm

Cedric de La Beaujardiere is a registered user.

Joe Kott was Chief Transportation Official in Palo Alto for many years, starting in that role about the same time I joined the Palo Alto Bicycle Advisory Committee (PABAC). I always appreciated his support of efforts to improve cycling conditions in the city, and his willingness to try new ways to increase safety for all modes of travel. In the years after he left the city, every few months he'd send out a short email informing of various transportation or planning related happenings or articles, keeping the community abreast of developments in this area. As noted above, he was always kind and willing to listen to the residents he served, and he will be missed.


Like this comment
Posted by Yoriko
a resident of University South
on Mar 5, 2019 at 11:43 am

Yoriko is a registered user.

"A memorial service will be held at 11 a.m., on Saturday, March 9, at Corpus Christi Church in Piedmont."
I am missing Joe sorely already. A couple of us will be carpooling to this service - let me know at yoriko12330@icloud.com if you are interested in coordinating.


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