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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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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