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News

Street crack-sealing project begins Monday, May 4

The City of Los Altos is beginning a city-wide street crack-sealing project on Monday (May 4).

City officials said the traffic impact for this project will be minimal. No streets will be closed and vehicles can resume normal traffic flow shortly aft...

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Schools

Homestead students use projects  to solve environmental problems

Homestead students use projects to solve environmental problems


Alisha Parikh/Special to the Town Crier
Homestead High School junior Maya Dhar, a Los Altos resident, left, and classmate Carolyn MacDonald support the school’s AP Environmental Science classes at the Arbor Day Festival April 23.

As summer app...

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Community

CHAC appoints new leader

CHAC appoints new leader

Naomi Nakano-Matsumoto, LCSW, has been named the new executive director of the Community Health Awareness Council (CHAC). A seasoned nonprofit leader, Nakano-Matsumoto is scheduled to assume duties July 1. She takes over for outgoing executive direct...

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Sports

St. Francis swimmers shine

St. Francis swimmers shine


Megan V. Winslow/Town Crier
St. Francis High’s Benjamin Ho competes against Sacred Heart Cathedral Thursday. The junior swam on all three victorious relays at the home meet, which the Lancers won easily.

Flexing its power in the pool, host St....

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Comment

Halsey House deserves preservation: Other Voices

Halsey House deserves preservation: Other Voices


Many contributing supporters to the Friends of Historic Redwood Grove believe that the Halsey House, designated a historic landmark by the Los Altos City Council in 1981, deserves to be saved and renovated for adapted use by the community.

Set in ...

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Special Sections

Sneaky shots: A photographer’s guide to capturing the proposal

Sneaky shots: A photographer’s guide to capturing the proposal


Elliott Burr/Special to the Town Crier
A stealthy photographer scouts locations ahead of time to find not just a place to perch, but also the ideal position for the subjects.

It’s showtime.

You’re about to ask the person in front of...

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Business

Pharmaca celebrates grand opening over weekend

Pharmaca celebrates grand opening over weekend


Megan V. Winslow/Town Crier
Pharmaca is coming to 400 Main St. with a grand-opening celebration scheduled Saturday and Sunday.

If natural health and beauty products are your cup of tea, expect to find them – and hot tea – this weekend at the gran...

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Books

People

JANE BUTTERFIELD PRINGLE LYND

JANE BUTTERFIELD PRINGLE LYND

October 30, 1924 - April 8, 2015

Jane Butterfield Pringle Lynd, daughter to Liebert and Elise Butterfield of San Francisco, passed away quietly at her home in Palo Alto surrounded by her family, following a short illness. Jane was a proud third ge...

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Travel

Cuba libre: Local residents join mad rush of travelers

Cuba libre: Local residents join mad rush of travelers


Natalie Elefant/Special to the Town Crier
Los Altos resident Natalie Elefant noted the vibrant street performances as a traveler in Cuba.

The U.S. restored diplomatic relations with Cuba late last year, enabling Americans to import $100 worth of cig...

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Stepping Out

'Birds' landing in Mtn. View

'Birds' landing in Mtn. View


Ray Renati/Special to the Town Crier
The Pear Avenue Theatre production of Paul Braverman’s “Birds of a Feather” stars Troy Johnson as mafia boss Sean Kineen, left, and Diane Tasca as private eye Frankie Payne.

Pear Avenue Theatre’s world premi...

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Spiritual Life

Magazine

Practice prudent pruning: Maintaining manzanita, ceanothus and toyon

Practice prudent pruning: Maintaining manzanita, ceanothus and toyon


tanya kucak/Special to the Town Crier
Shrub manzanitas are known for their sinuous mahogany trunks and branches. If the foliage hides the bark, prune selectively to open the center so that the bark is visible year-round. This Montara manzanita is ...

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Inside Mountain View

Up to the challenge: Local leaders unite to help at-risk youth

Up to the challenge: Local leaders unite to help at-risk youth


Courtesy of Challenge Team
Jeanette Freiberg, bottom of pile, has fun with family members. The Challenge Team named Freiberg, a student at Mountain View High School, its 2015 Youth Champion.

There’s an ongoing joke among members of the Challenge...

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City explores downtown parking options


Photo By: Town Crier File Photo
Photo Town Crier File Photo

Downtown construction forces Los Altos to review parking alternatives.

The city of Los Altos is mulling the viability of alternate – and temporary – parking supply options in light of pending downtown construction projects.

The Los Altos City Council last week directed city staff to explore a handful of potential short-term parking solutions to help offset the loss of more than 110 downtown spaces during the imminent First Street streetscape construction, as well as development at the First and Main streets property and Safeway.

The council voted unanimously to examine temporary parking options to augment downtown’s soon-to-be-dwindling supply, including potential shared parking agreements with private property owners and the possibility of providing valet parking during peak hours. In addition, the council sought further review of the possible redistribution and expansion of the city’s employee parking program – the “white dot” program – to less-impacted public parking plazas.

“The reason I asked for this is because I think the city should be proactive in addressing, to the degree possible, impacts of both public and private developments on our parking plazas,” Councilwoman Val Carpenter said during the discussion.

A city staff report noted that the 96 spaces available at the makeshift First and Main lot will disappear permanently once developer Jeffrey A. Morris begins work on his mixed-use, two-story building. An additional 12 on-street spaces will be lost following completion of the city’s second phase of the First Street streetscape, scheduled to get under way in May. San Antonio Road streetscape construction will also result in the permanent loss of nine parking spaces in Parking Plaza 3. The report added that approximately 50 spaces in that plaza are unavailable during construction.

The anticipated construction projects, according to Economic Development Manager Kathy Kleinbaum, will result in an overall parking occupancy level of 88 percent during peak use – noon to 2 p.m. – above the 85-percent threshold commonly used by parking consultants. She added that the overall peak use now stands at 82 percent.

Nearby areas such as Orange Avenue and Lincoln Park, meanwhile, are slated for parking use by construction crews and queuing for trucks. And up to 16 spaces in Plaza 7, located across from the First Street Safeway, are expected to be used for construction staging purposes, according to the staff report.

Several councilmembers expressed interest in possibly redistributing the city’s white-dot employee parking spaces after Kleinbaum noted that peak occupancy varies greatly from plaza to plaza. She said Downtown Parking Management Study results revealed that plazas 7, 10 (behind Wells Fargo on State Street) and 5 (midblock between Main and State streets) were the most impacted during peak use. By redistributing white-dot spaces away from impacted parking areas to less-impacted plazas, the city could potentially see some gain in parking plazas closer to the downtown core, she added.

“This is a very near-term problem and it’s a short-term problem, and paint – even reflective paint – isn’t as expensive,” Councilwoman Megan Satterlee said of the idea. “I would be supportive of examining whether we want to, as a pilot, go redistribute those white dots and even remove them from places closest to the impacted construction zones.”

Carpenter called the $100,000-plus price tag of year-round valet parking “breathtaking,” noting that she could support a slimmed-down, affordable option.

“If we’re just talking about lunch (for valet service), even though there’s setup time before and after, I would hope that cost could be cut into a quarter of that,” she said. “I’d feel a lot better about $25,000 than I do about $100,000.”

The council also supported further exploration of potential shared-parking agreements, despite Mayor Jarrett Fishpaw’s reservations about the difficulties of making such arrangements.

“I think these are very challenging arrangements to make,” he said. “I think that private property owners have hesitation to take on the liability of somebody new driving around their closed parking lot (or) underneath their building. I think it’s going to be a lot of work, would be my best guess, from a staff perspective.”

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