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Letters to the Editor

New Safeway poses little competition

With the grand opening of and all the excitement for the new super Safeway in The Village at San Antonio Center in Mountain View, I needed to see for myself the likely impact it would have on downtown Los Altos.

Some doomsayers claimed that it would pull away many residents in north Los Altos to enjoy the ambience and wider selection at the new market.

Alas, my visit allayed any such concerns. The ambience is great, but the cavernous setting reminds me of why I really enjoy the charm and coziness of many of our downtown stores, including the grocery stores.

Next, I looked for certain high-quality products that our comparatively small Draeger’s Market carries in multiple varieties, but I either could not find them or the new store carried them only in a limited variety.

Finally, many of us may be just lazy enough that we really prefer not crossing El Camino Real unless there is a really good reason to do so. For me, the new Safeway is simply not a good enough reason.

Without doubt, the Safeway executives are very smart and needed to provide a competitive alternative in Mountain View to Costco and Walmart. And indeed it is a great alternative to those stores.

But for now, I’m sticking to Draeger’s and our Safeway, and hoping that when Safeway replaces its store on First Street downtown, it becomes a real competitor to Draeger’s, not just a mini version of the Safeway at San Antonio Center.

Ron Packard, former mayor

Los Altos and Mountain View

Civic center deserves renewed support

I was pleased to read that the Los Altos City Council plans to review the Civic Center Master Plan at a study session this summer (“Council revisits Civic Center Master Plan,” April 3).

Our city is in need of a unifying project that would improve the community and rally all generations to work toward a goal that could benefit all its residents.

Hopefully, the city staff suggestion, designated as option 2, will be selected. Replacing the rundown Hillview Community Center as the first and foremost need would send a positive message. While the police station and city hall may require some renovation and expansion, the primary focus should be building a new community center.

Public support for the bond measure took a downturn when it was revealed that the community center would not be started until after the police and city hall projects were completed. When I attended the first presentation by the consultants, the community center was the primary focus.

An honest and forthright picture of the new building, accompanied by an accurate timeline for completion, should renew residents’ attention. A reasonable budget projection for each of the projects would help clarify the need for the bond measure.

Los Altos needs a boost to regain its once-proud community spirit. Placing a high priority on the civic center may be just the stimulant the city needs to restore that spirit.

Janet Dobson

Los Altos

Resident warns of Redwood Grove hazard

I’m writing to report a fire hazard/nuisance issue that I now see repeatedly occurring at Redwood Grove, most recently two weekends ago.

My alarm regarding this issue is raised particularly because of my awareness that fire trucks can’t access this location within the park, as they would have to drive over a bridge that won’t support their weight.

It seems that people have been using this area of the park as a party spot, as is evident from the abundance of garbage – cigarette butts, burned matches, rolling papers, marijuana, etc. – left behind.

While I was able to photograph the larger garbage, unfortunately, my camera wasn’t able to take clear pictures of the smaller items.

My question: Can this misuse of the area be prevented, or must we remove the existing bridge and build a bigger one so that fire trucks are able to reach the area in time to prevent a potential tinder box from igniting?

Peggy Hennessee

Los Altos

Fallen Leaf Lane ill-suited for trail

The Stevens Creek Trail Joint Cities Feasibility Study Task Force is eyeing Los Altos streets to connect existing multiuse trail segments in Mountain View and Cupertino. Fallen Leaf Lane is one of several options.

While I support the goal of connecting the trail, I believe this street should be removed from consideration because it is ill-suited and unsafe for trail purposes.

Fallen Leaf Lane is a quiet, tree-lined street, representative of Los Altos neighborhoods. Residents have 50-plus years of investment in landscaping, flowers and more than 200 mature trees. These would need to be removed for the proposed bike lanes.

Even with “improvements,” safety is far from assured, as trail users would have to navigate 100 driveways and 11 side streets along this 1.1 mile route.

This task force – comprising Los Altos, Mountain View, Cupertino and Sunnyvale – wants to use the city’s right-of-way to remove up to 9 feet of our residents’ front yards on both sides of the street.

Los Altos officials have yet to protest this concept, which is in direct contradiction to our General Plan.

We cannot let outsiders repurpose our streets or our front yards. Please help us oppose this scheme by contacting the Los Altos City Council.

For more information, visit FallenLeafLane.org.

Michael Eiger

Los Altos

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