Thu03052015

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...

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Schools

Santa Rita students put on Kranky Kids Radio Show

Santa Rita students put on Kranky Kids Radio Show


Traci Newell/ Town Crier
Neighborhood volunteer Lishka DeVoss, center, introduces members of Santa Rita School’s Kranky Kids Radio Club to their interviewee last week. The students star in the Kranky Kids Radio Show, which airs Fridays on KZSU.
...

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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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Sports

Eagles make school history

Eagles make school history

Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
The Los Altos High School Eagles defeated Santa Clara High School Tuesday to advance to the Central Coast Section basketball finals Saturday.

The Eagles are headed where no Los Altos High boys basketball team has gone...

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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

Alicia Castro/Town Crier
Robert Showen, above, the Silicon Valley Intellectual Property Lawyers Association’s Inventor of the Year, began researching his ShotSpotter technology in his Los Altos home. Sensors are placed around a city, below, and fou...

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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

JACK JOSEPH CRANE

JACK JOSEPH CRANE

Long time Los Altos resident, Jack Joseph Crane, loving husband and devoted father of two children, passed away peacefully at the Terraces in Los Altos, Saturday, February 21, 2015. He was 95 years of age. Jack was born on June 22, 1919. He is prec...

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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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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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