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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Los Altos mysteries explored


Google Earth image taken April 2013
Some contend that the city of Los Altos initially purchased the .78-acre site at First and Main streets for parking. Approximately how many of the above parking spaces were lost is a matter of confusion – the city cites 54 spaces in one memo, 96 in another.

Mystery 1: How many parking spaces has the Los Altos City Council eliminated since June 2010 in downtown Los Altos, and what will it cost to replace them?

To find out the total number of eliminated spaces, it is useful first to determine part of the answer, which is how many parking spaces the city council eliminated at First and Main streets (400 Main St.). This is complicated by the fact that two important city documents have different numbers for how many spaces were eliminated at First and Main.

The Downtown Parking Management Plan, dated June 2013 and adopted by the city council Sept. 17, 2013, counts “96 parking spaces” at First and Main. However, the Downtown Public Parking Data sheet, dated July 17, 2013, which the city council discussed and put into the record when it adopted the parking plan, states that regarding “Loss of Public Parking District Spaces Due to Downtown Improvements,” the “First and Main Redevelopment” accounts for “54 spaces.”

Which is the correct number: 54 or 96? The actual number of parking spaces (including spaces under trees) at First and Main is shown in the accompanying April 2013 Google Earth image – 96 spaces. The data sheet number is off by 43 percent.

Fiscal impact

The Downtown Parking Management Plan projects the cost to replace parking spaces with a garage as $38,081 per space if the city paid cash. If the city finances construction of the garage over 30 years, the projected cost per net new space, including construction, financing and maintenance costs, is $127,138 (Parking Plan Cost Estimate).

The projected cost in cash to replace the 96 spaces lost at First and Main is $3.6 million. The projected cost to finance construction of the 96 spaces over 30 years, including construction, financing and maintenance, is $12.2 million. The city sold First and Main to the Jeffrey A. Morris Group for $3.1 million, substantially less than what it will cost to replace the parking lost there. This may surprise people who think that the city acquired First and Main for parking.

Read more in the following weeks to get additional clues for figuring out this mystery.

Kim Cranston is a Los Altos Hills resident and downtown Los Altos property owner.

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