Wed03042015

News

Council considers freezing First St. development

Council considers freezing First St. development


Megan V. Winslow/Town Crier
A pedestrian walks along First Street in downtown Los Altos last week. Future construction on the street could soon be barred by an emergency moratorium on development.

Further construction along First Street could be t...

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Schools

Former NFL player huddles with Blach students about life choices

Former NFL player huddles with Blach students about life choices


Ellie Van HOutte/Town Crier
Former NFL tight end Eason Ramson visited with Blach Intermediate School students, Feb. 13 to share the perils of drug use. Now a motivational speaker, Ramson works with at-risk teens in San Francisco.

Although former ...

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Community

Music for Minors partners with Harvard to expand efforts

Music for Minors partners with Harvard to expand efforts


Palmer

When the thriving Music for Minors began to outgrow its capacity, the local nonprofit organization made new friends.

Beginning in late February, Music for Minors – a Town Crier Holiday Fund recipient – partnered with Harvard Business Sch...

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Comment

Dangerous streets: A Piece of My Mind

I’m driving along El Monte Avenue between Foothill Expressway and Springer Road at approximately 6 p.m. on a midwinter evening. In keeping with the “village feeling” of our town, there are no sidewalks and no streetlights.

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Special Sections

Lions, lambs and Cab Franc for March

Lions, lambs and Cab Franc for March


Christine Moore/Special to the Town Crier
Oven fries, a slice of feta cheese and the bite of harissa mayonnaise make for a late-winter, early-spring dinner perfectly paired with Cabernet Franc.

I can’t help but wonder whether March will come in ...

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Business

Los Altos scientist named Inventor of the Year

Los Altos scientist named Inventor of the Year


Above Photo by Alicia Castro/Town Crier; Below Rendering Courtesy of SST inc.
Robert Showen, above, the Silicon Valley Intellectual Property Lawyers Association’s Inventor of the Year, began researching his ShotSpotter technology in his Los A...

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Books

French novel

French novel "Hunting and Gathering" offers character-driven suspense


Anna Gavalda is a well-known author in her native France, where she has published six books, most of which have met with considerable praise and commercial success. Her fourth novel, “Hunting and Gathering” (Riverhead Books, 2007), is filled ...

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People

HELEN KNOFLOCH

HELEN KNOFLOCH

Aug. 14, 1920 – Feb.12, 2015

Resident of Cupertino

Helen Knofloch, 94, loving wife and devoted mother passed away on Feb. 12th. She was born in Vienna, Austria and moved to Los Altos in 1949, where she met Andy, the love of her life. They resided...

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Travel

Seoul of the city: Korean capital offers mix of old and new

Seoul of the city: Korean capital offers mix of old and new


Ramya Krishna/Special to the Town Crier
Seoul’s Cheonggyecheon public recreation space, above, features an elevated pedestrian bridge.

Seoul, South Korea, is a study in contrasts. Having grown quickly, the city is a mix of old and new.

Using...

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Stepping Out

TheatreWorks jumps into ‘Lake’

TheatreWorks jumps into ‘Lake’


Kevin Berne/Special to the Town Crier
Jason Bowen, from left, Adam Poss and Nilanjana Bose star in “The Lake Effect,” opening this weekend at the Lucie Stern Theatre in Palo Alto and running through March 29.

The TheatreWorks production ...

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Spiritual Life

Is your thought life sabotaging your spiritual journey?

My computer started having problems – there seemed to be some sort of malware running in the background. At first it was just annoying, then it began to slow down my computer, interfering with its basic operations. What is it doing? Why can...

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Magazine

Local events serve up family fun

Local events serve up family fun


Courtesy of Peninsula Youth Theatre
Peninsula Youth Theatre’s production of “Pecos Bill: A Tall Tale” is slated to open March 20 in Mountain View.

For families seeking a break from the daily routine, events abound this month and next in Los Alto...

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Caltrans signals plan to modify Page Mill, I-280 interchanges


Photo By: Courtesy of CalTrans
Photo Courtesy Of Caltrans Caltrans deemed the intersections on Page Mill Road at Interstate 280 in Los Altos Hills a safety hazard and proposed new traffic lights and design modifications.

The four-way stops at Page Mill Road when exiting Interstate 280, particularly in the southbound direction toward Los Altos Hills, frustrate motorists – and, according to Caltrans, they’re dangerous.

Caltrans engineer Ramiel Gutierrez said the agency has initiated a project to mitigate accidents at the busy intersections.

“We have an accident history at both of these intersections, and they’re correctable by regulating movement by signal,” he said.

According to Gutierrez, the southbound intersection averages more than five accidents per 15-month period, qualifying for funding from the State Highway Operation and Protection Program and the Minor Program, which earmarks funds for traffic projects that address safety risks.

A preliminary proposal for traffic lights at the southbound and northbound ramps from Interstate 280 onto Page Mill and for traffic moving east and west on Page Mill, including ancillary sidewalks and crossing elements for pedestrians and cyclists, is projected to cost $3 million.

Because Caltrans owns the property at the interchanges, Los Altos Hills bears no financial obligation. Caltrans noted that project funding has yet to be allocated, and a study report and final engineering documents could take at least three years to complete.

Although the Los Altos Hills City Council’s consensus is that the intersection is dangerous, some councilmembers and the town’s planning commissioners expressed the need to solicit further community input before proceeding.

“This is going to affect about a third of town,” said Richard Partridge, chairman of the Los Altos Hills Planning Commission, of the six stoplights proposed and how little residents know about the plan. “I think (councilmembers) really have an obligation to let people know this is coming. … If you have people coming with pitchforks and torches, you know that you’ve stirred up a heart attack.”

After reviewing Caltrans’ initial plan April 4, planning commissioners shared their reservations with the council. They determined that the project was inconsistent with the town’s rural nature, could cause an increase in traffic and required deeper study before progressing.

Even if the council hosted a public hearing and ultimately objected to the changes, Gutierrez said there is little the town could do to stop the Caltrans improvements.

“We’re kind of on the hook ourselves to do something,” he said. “Now, obviously, if you write a letter and want to stop it, it could change the mechanisms a little bit.”

Gutierrez warned the council that it could be liable for accidents at the intersection if it stalls Caltrans’ efforts to improve safety.

Councilmembers said they want to take steps to ensure that the project doesn’t come as an unpleasant surprise to residents.

“We need to get a process in place,” said Councilman John Radford. “Then, no matter what happens, we can at least be assured that we got everyone involved (through a public hearing and committee review) ... so that we know we did thorough due diligence in a timely matter to complete the project.”

View the preliminary plans for the proposal here.

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