Train viaducts are disparaged by residents as a visual blight. Train tunnels are dismissed as exorbitant pipe dreams. And while the most modest proposal — the closure of Churchill Avenue to traffic near the rail crossing — has won some fans in the Old Palo Alto and Southgate neighborhoods, it also has galvanized opposition from residents around Embarcadero Road, who claim the Churchill closure would drive more cars to their neighborhood.
Faced with a menu of subpar options, the City Council voted on Tuesday night to add two more to the list — a move that may either boost the slow and constantly shifting planning process or bog it down further. Both options call for leaving the train tracks in their current position and constructing underpasses for cars. While the designs have some key differences, both involve putting some lanes in underpasses as well as some at street level.
The council's unanimous votes mean that the two new proposals will be added to the list of seven that are already on the table. This includes two options for Churchill Avenue — the closure of Churchill to traffic and a train viaduct — and three options for the crossings of Charleston Road and Meadow Drive, which are being evaluated in tandem.
The city is also evaluating two different proposals for a south Palo Alto tunnel: one that puts freight and passenger trains below grade and another that keeps freight trains above the ground.
The current seven options are a product of two years of painstakingly winnowing down a list of about 37 designs. The two new ones, by contrast, were proposed by residents who felt the city can do better.
Chan Zuckerberg Initiative awards $3.5M to local nonprofits
The Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, the private philanthropic company founded by Palo Alto residents Mark Zuckerberg and Priscilla Chan, distributed nearly $3.5 million in grants to 40 Bay Area organizations working to address critical community needs in East Palo Alto, Belle Haven, North Fair Oaks and Redwood City, the organization announced Jan. 9.
The grants, which were awarded through the organization's CZI Community Fund, range from $25,000 to $100,000 and will be used to tackle some of the most pressing challenges in these communities, including food security, workforce development, homelessness, immigration, health care, mentoring and education.
Grant recipients in East Palo Alto include: Project WeHope, Live In Peace, the Boys & Girls Club of the Peninsula, Ecumenical Hunger Program, Youth United for Community Action, Girls to Women and Nuestra Casa de East Palo Alto.
In addition to receiving the year-long grants, these organizations will partner with the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative to pursue ways to strengthen their nonprofit work.
The Facebook co-founder and his wife launched their charitable initiative in 2015, pledging to donate 99% percent of their Facebook shares toward efforts promoting equality and advancing human potential.
Man dies in Palo Alto shooting
A man who was shot in the stomach at a south Palo Alto parking lot early Tuesday morning later died from his injuries at the hospital, police said. A $20,000 reward is being offered for information related to the shooting.
He was identified as 52-year-old Armando Montelongo Espinoza of San Jose, according to the Santa Clara County Medical Examiner-Coroner's Office.
The shooting occurred at about 3 a.m. in the 700 block of San Antonio Road, near the Mountain View city line. The victim, an adult male in his 50s, was shot once in the stomach, according to the Palo Alto Police Department. He was conscious and breathing when police arrived.
Paramedics from the Palo Alto Fire Department treated the man and transported him to a hospital, where he underwent surgery but ultimately died from his injuries, police said on Tuesday afternoon.
Police are actively investigating the shooting as a homicide and said they had no motive for the case or suspect information to release.
Los Altos nonprofit Mothers Against Murder is offering a $20,000 reward for information leading to the arrest of the suspect or suspects.
Police on Tuesday morning closed eastbound San Antonio Road between Leghorn Street and East Charleston Road as they investigated the shooting and collected evidence. They are also looking for surveillance video in the area.
Anyone with information about this incident is asked to call the police department's 24-hour dispatch center at 650-329-2413. Anonymous tips can be e-mailed to firstname.lastname@example.org or sent via text message or voicemail to 650-383-8984.
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