Fri10242014

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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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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