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News

Council hosts study session on downtown parking garage

Council hosts study session on downtown parking garage


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
The Los Altos City Council continues to explore options to address parking constraints in the downtown triangle.

The Los Altos City Council last week held the first of two study sessions to discuss the potential construct...

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Schools

LAHS Science and Technology Week features medical examiner

LAHS Science and Technology Week features medical examiner


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
A Los Altos High School student learns how to use robotic surgical equipment at the school’s Science and Technology Week event last year. Students can also attend hands-on presentations at this year’s event, w...

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Community

Ahoy, matey: Pirate Manor ramps up Halloween display

Ahoy, matey: Pirate Manor ramps up Halloween display


Town Crier File Photo
Pirate Manor is once again scheduled to arrive in the front yard of Dane and Jill Glasgow’s home on Manor Way in Los Altos, just in time for Halloween.

Although not the Walking Dead, pirate skeletons have been brought to li...

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Sports

Lancers rule the pool against Spartans

Lancers rule the pool against Spartans


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
St. Francis High’s Eric Reitmeir launches the ball over Mountain View High driver David Niehaus (2) and goalie Kenny Tang. The host Lancers won Friday’s non-league game 9-3.

There wasn’t a lot on the line Friday when ...

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Comment

Reeder, Fung for El Camino HCD: Editorial

The good news for the El Camino Healthcare District (formerly the El Camino Hospital District, for those still getting used to the new name) is that there is a contested election Nov. 4 for the district’s board of directors. Three candidates are runn...

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Special Sections

Plant-based diet offers benefits

Plant-based diet offers benefits


Photo by Ramya Krishna
Los Altos resident Nandini Krishna prepares a meat-free dish According to author Caldwell B. Esselstyn Jr., M.D., a plant-based diet can help prevent cancer.

Shirley Okita of Los Altos has found that adhering to a mostly plant...

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Business

New shop offers haute couture for girls

New shop offers haute couture for girls


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
The Girls @ Los Altos at 239 State St. offers clothing lines such as Nellystella as well as toys and other items for girls.

Cecilia Chen opened The Girls @ Los Altos as a tribute to the party dress. Whether it’s for...

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Books

Helping kids catch a few Zs: Local dental hygienist pens meditative bedtime book

Helping kids catch a few Zs: Local dental hygienist pens meditative bedtime book


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Mimi Sommers, who works at a Los Altos dentist’s office, recently wrote a children’s book.

A local dental hygienist recently published a book that aims to ease parents and children during a sometimes anxious e...

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People

BARBARA DARLING MERIDETH

1946-2014

Born in Palo Alto, raised in Los Altos, retired in southern Oregon. Survived by Peter James Merideth, sons Matthew, Jacob and John Merideth, the loves of her life.

She was a housewife who took great pride in her home, her surroundings and...

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Travel

Falling leaves: Four places in California to see autumn colors

Falling leaves: Four places in California to see autumn colors


Courtesy of Castello di Amorosa
Castello di Amorosa in Calistoga, above, boasts a beautiful setting for viewing fall’s colors – and sampling the vineyard’s wines.

Yes, Virginia, there is fall in California.

The colors pop out in...

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Stepping Out

'Sleepy Hollow' awakens at Bus Barn

'Sleepy Hollow' awakens at Bus Barn



Los Altos Youth Theatre’s production of “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow,” a musical based on Washington Irving’s classic story, is set to run through Nov. 2 at Bus Barn Theater. The cast comprises 27 young actors, directed by Cindy Powell. Courtesy o...

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Spiritual Life

Magazine

Local events add color to autumn calendar

Local events add color to autumn calendar


Van Houtte/town crier Visitors make their way through the Children’s Alley.

As Los Altos’ signature Chinese Pistache trees exchange their summer green for vibrant hues of yellow, orange and red in the fall, an abundance of local events also ad...

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Residents resoundingly reject Fremont roundabout


Photo By: Courtesy of City of Los Altos
Photo Courtesy Of City Of Los Altos

A roundabout proposed for Fremont Avenue at Fallen Leaf Lane in Los Altos met with vocal opposition from neighborhood residents, who fear its installation could create additional problems.

It may be back to the drawing board for city staff after Los Altos residents again voiced overwhelming opposition to a traffic-calming roundabout proposed for the Fremont Avenue and Fallen Leaf Lane intersection.

Packing the Los Altos City Council Chamber for the second time in eight months, most residents living at or near the intersection urged councilmembers at the Jan. 8 study session to consider alternative traffic solutions to the one-lane roundabout, which many found obtrusive and contended would only add to commuter gridlock.

“You’re going to create all these unforeseen problems,” said 30-year resident Frank Martin, who maintained that accidents involving cars and bikes would increase.

Part of a collector-street traffic-calming plan the council approved in 2011, the Fremont-Fallen Leaf roundabout was the first of four proposed for Fremont intersections. A roundabout involves a large circular patch of landscaping in the middle of an intersection that forces traffic to slow down while moving around it. The initial roundabout proposal drew approximately 110 people to a May 2012 hearing, with an overwhelming majority opposed to it.

Traffic expert Frederik Venter of RBF Consulting said roundabouts are the best traffic-calming options for reducing speed and increasing safety. He justified the proposed roundabout, citing 24 accidents at that intersection over an unspecified period of years and the statistic that 85 percent of vehicular traffic on Fremont exceeds the 30 mph speed limit by up to 9 mph.

But some residents said speed was not an issue on Fremont and that morning gridlock could be partially due to an improperly synchronized traffic light at the Fremont-Belleville Way intersection, across the Los Altos border in Sunnyvale. A big concern also voiced was the prospect of vehicles turning onto Fremont during busy periods.

“The problem is left turns during high traffic periods,” said 17-year resident Greg Frees. “The roundabout will not leave any gaps (for merging traffic).”

Several longtime residents questioned the need for any traffic calming at all, especially the roundabout, which carries a $400,000 price tag.

“I’m still not clear what the problem is that we’re attempting to solve,” Frees said.

A few residents supported the roundabout. Al Hubbard of Fallen Leaf Lane called it a “perfect solution,” noting that it’s a matter of getting used to it.

“As people become more familiar with roundabouts, it’s a solution you’re going to see more and more of across the United States,” he said.

Residents suggested a wide range of alternatives to the roundabout, from speed bumps and painted “Keep Clear” signs on the street to widening the bridge along Fremont toward Loyola Corners to relieve eastbound traffic. Others suggested raising the speed limit on Fremont from 30 to 35 mph to allow police to use radar to nab speeders.

Los Altos City Councilwoman Val Carpenter suggested that city staff explore other solutions.

“We have other alternatives that are less expensive and meet the needs of the people here,” she said.

Councilwoman Megan Satterlee approved the collector-street plan in 2011 on the premise that speeding was the main concern.

“We made a bad assumption that speed is the issue,” she said.

“If speed is not the issue, then address the access and safety perspective,” Councilwoman Jeannie Bruins said. “A $2 million investment (for Fremont roundabouts) to reduce the speed 7-9 mph – that’s a sledgehammer (solution).”

Los Altos’ Transportation and Project Manager Cedric Novenario said staff’s next step is to re-evaluate traffic-calming measures on Fremont, including examination of accident reports to determine the factors causing them. He could give no timeline for when the issue would return to the council.

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