Fri04292016

News

Loyola Corners economics, traffic rise to top of planning concerns

Loyola Corners economics, traffic rise to top of planning concerns

Alicia Castro/Town Crier
Loyola Bridge construction parallel to the Fremont Avenue frontage may lead officials to alter circulation plans for the area.

Loyola Corners stakeholders last week mulled the issues that will likely shape the area&rsquo...

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Schools

LAHS Green Team commemorates Earth Week

LAHS Green Team commemorates Earth Week


Traci Newell/Town Crier
Los Altos High School Green Team members, above, quiz their classmates about water conservation. The club distributed plants as prizes during the club’s Earth Week activities.

Members of the Los Altos High School Green...

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Community

Local pianist, 11, slated to perform Saturday at statewide competition

Local pianist, 11, slated to perform Saturday at statewide competition


Courtesy of the Cha family
Spencer Cha plays piano at a Santa Clara University recital. The sixth-grader also enjoys soccer, tennis, golf and skiing.

Spencer Cha has come a long way since he first sat down at the piano at age 2.

“I remem...

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Sports

Spartans net second place, eye top prize next season

Spartans net second place, eye top prize next season


Megan V. Winslow/Town Crier
Jeremy Hsu, Mountain View High’s top singles player, competes against Pinewood Thursday. The Spartans won the match 7-0.

With freshmen playing the top three spots in singles, the future of the Mountain View High boy...

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Comment

Los Altos at a leadership crossroads: Editorial

Don’t look now, but there could be some major changes ahead regarding how the Los Altos city government is run.

The current city council has the opportunity to hire a new city manager in the wake of Marcia Somers’ recent resignation. Fur...

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Special Sections

How to personalize the wedding bar

How to personalize the wedding bar


Christine Moore/Special to the Town Crier
A seasonal signature cocktail adds interest beyond the standard wedding bar’s spirits and mixers. Focus on one set of fresh ingredients, such as blueberries, blackberries and mint for a dose of budget...

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Business

Farmers prepare to market season's bounty

Farmers prepare to market season's bounty


Alicia Castro/Town Crier
Journeyman farmer Jen Friedlander waters Hidden Villa’s greenhouse plants, which will grow stronger in the controlled indoor environment before being transferred to the field outdoors.

Around Hidden Villa, the gree...

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People

BUOL JOANNE DOUGHERTY

BUOL JOANNE DOUGHERTY

1930-2016

Heaven gained a beautiful angel today. Our beloved mother’s blessed life ended in her Los Altos home surrounded by her loving family on April 18, 2016.

Buol Joanne Dougherty was born Sept. 28, 1930 in Chicago. At the age of two, M...

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Stepping Out

'Catch' comes to conclusion LA Stage Co. comedy  ends run this weekend

'Catch' comes to conclusion LA Stage Co. comedy ends run this weekend


Richard Mayer/Special to the Town Crier
Bryan Moriarty, left, stars as Yossarian and John Stephen King plays the Psychiatrist in Los Altos Stage Company’s “Catch-22.”

Los Altos Stage Company’s presentation of “Catch...

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Spiritual Life

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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