Fri08012014

News

"Brown is the new green," says local water district


Lina Broydo/Special to the Town Crier
Are downtown Los Altos flower pots getting too much water? The Santa Clara Valley Water District plans to hire “water cops” to discourage overwatering.

The Santa Clara Valley Water District is spending nearl...

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Schools

Foothill camps prepare local students for STEM careers

Foothill camps prepare local students for STEM careers


Photos Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Middle school students make robotic hands using 3-D printers during a STEM Summer Camp at Foothill College.

From designing roller coasters to developing biodegradable plastics, high school students received an i...

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Community

Local entrepreneur opens home to Afghan and Rwandan women

Local entrepreneur opens home to Afghan and Rwandan women


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Businesswomen Joan Mazimhaka of Rwanda, third from left, and Fakhria Ibrahimi of Afghanistan, in orange, traveled to the U.S. with a 26-woman delegation through the Peace Through Business program.

Employees scoop ice ...

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Comment

Moving on: The Rockey Road

Just over a month ago, we decided to put our house on the market. My husband and I had been tossing around the idea of moving back to the area where we grew up, which is only approximately 40 minutes from here. Of course, Los Altos is a great place t...

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Business

Halo heads to Los Altos: Blow-dry bar founder opens new First Street location Monday

Halo heads to Los Altos: Blow-dry bar founder opens new First Street location Monday


ElLie Van Houtte/ Town Crier
Armed with blow dryers, Halo founder Rosemary Camposano, left, and store manager Nikki Thomas prepare for the blow-dry bar’s grand opening on First Street Monday.

A blow-dry bar is set to open downtown Monday, and i...

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Books

"Frozen in Time" chronicles harrowing WWII rescue attempts


Many readers can’t resist a true-life adventure story, especially those that shine a spotlight on people who exhibit supreme courage in the face of adversity and end up surviving – or not – against the odds.

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People

DR. ALFRED HUGHES

Long time Los Altos resident, Dr. Alfred Hughes, died May 1st after a long illness. Dr. Hughes was born in 1927 in Maspeth, NY. He served in the US Army from 1945-6, attended Brooklyn Polytechnic University, then graduated from Reed College in Portla...

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Travel

Travel Tidbit: Ritz-Carlton, Lake Tahoe offers spa getaway

Travel Tidbit: Ritz-Carlton, Lake Tahoe offers spa getaway


Courtesy of Ritz-Carlton
The Ritz-Carlton in Lake Tahoe offers fall getaway packages that include spa treatments and yoga classes.

Fall in North Lake Tahoe boasts crisp mornings and opportunities to spend quality time in the mountains. Specially ...

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Stepping Out

'Wizard' winds down at Bus Barn

'Wizard' winds down at Bus Barn


Town Crier file photo
Local actors rehearse a scene from “The Wizard of Oz.”

Los Altos Youth Theatre and Los Altos Stage Company’s collaborative production of “The Wizard of Oz” is slated to close Sunday at Bus Barn Theater, 97 Hillview Ave.

T...

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Spiritual Life

Stanford University appoints new dean for religious life

Stanford University appoints new dean for religious life


Shaw

Stanford University named the Very Rev. Dr. Jane Shaw, dean of Grace Cathedral in San Francisco, its new dean for religious life.

Provost John Etchemendy announced Shaw’s appointment July 21, adding that she also will join the faculty in...

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Magazine

Festival features fun for everyone

Festival features fun for everyone


TOWN CRIER FILE PHOTO
The Los Altos Arts & Wine Festival boasts more than 375 craft and arts booths.

This weekend’s 35th annual Los Altos Arts & Wine Festival promises to be jam-packed with fun activities for just about everyone. The eve...

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Some question effectiveness of new bike law: Police say 3-foot rule easier to enforce, but some cyclists uncertain


Town Crier File Photo
The Three Feet for Safety Act, which takes effect in September, will require California motorists to give a 3-foot buffer on roadways to cyclists.

A new state law scheduled to take effect in September is intended to add a level of protection for cyclists sharing roads with motorists.

Assembly Bill 1371, known as the Three Feet for Safety Act, will require motorists to provide at least a 3-foot buffer in most instances when passing cyclists on roadways. The bill, signed into law by Gov. Jerry Brown in September, carries with it a base fine of $35 (approximately $150 with additional fees) for violators and a $220 fine in the event of a collision that causes bodily harm.

Los Altos Police Capt. Andy Galea said the city’s vast cycling community should see some benefits from the new law as it takes effect. He added that the law makes enforcement less of a judgment call for patrol officers than previous laws, which called for motorists to pass cyclists on the road “at a safe distance without interfering with the safe operation of the overtaken vehicle or bicycle.”

“Three feet is very definitive – and it’s easier to judge,” Galea said of enforcing the new law. “Really, anyone coming within 3 feet of cyclists – it’s just too close. Hopefully it will cut down on collisions and make it safer for the cycling community.”

Hard to enforce?

Two local cyclists say they’re not sure the new law will change much of anything.

Los Altos resident and avid cyclist Gary Hedden said that while the law could make enforcement easier for police, it likely wouldn’t change the overall habits of motorists in Los Altos.

“People who are careful drivers, and that’s the majority in Los Altos, leave 3 feet or more when they pass a bicycle, and they will continue to leave 3 feet or more next year,” Hedden stated in an email to the Town Crier. “The small group of people who are careless will continue to be careless. The law won’t easily change that.”

Hedden said the same logic holds true for motorists who have complained to him that the new law will make it “impossible” for motorists to pass a bike on a narrow road.

“The law allows drivers to slow down and carefully pass when road conditions don’t allow 3 feet. That’s what careful drivers do now, and will continue to do next year,” he said.

Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Committee (BPAC) Chairwoman Suzanne Ambiel, meanwhile, believes that enforcement of the new law won’t be as easy as it seems.

“The 3-foot law is nice, but is it enforceable? It’s going to be hard to do that,” said Ambiel, speaking on her own behalf, not as a representative of BPAC. “I mean, if you don’t have a way to really measure it, how could you know for sure?”

If anything, Ambiel said, the new law should be more effective in rural areas and would at least spread awareness to motorists about the dangers cyclists face on roads.

“It’s more recognition that bicycles belong on the roads, too,” said Ambiel, who noted that she’s had countless close calls “on any street you can imagine in every city.”

Galea agreed, noting that the new law should make some drivers more cautious when turning or executing other movements where potential conflicts exist.

“As this law begins to take effect and starts to get reinforced, hopefully people will become more aware of it,” he said. “That’s the big benefit of this.”

Ambiel concluded that the best advice she could give to motorists and cyclists sharing the roads is rather simple – at least in concept.

“It all boils down to everyone using some common sense and common courtesy – whether in a car or on a bike,” she said. “Common sense and courtesy go a long way in everything you do.”

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