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Community

Third Street Green changing color of downtown Los Altos landscape


Courtesy of Brooke Ray Smith
Families gather on the Third Street Green in downtown Los Altos for a recent live performance by the local group Libertine Circle.

Toddlers chase one another in the grass, arms flailing above their heads. Older adults sit in wooden patio chairs engrossed in books, cups of coffee by their sides. Teens quietly read on their laptops at tables shaded by umbrellas. A piano sits in the corner, inviting anyone interested to step up and play a tune.

That’s the scene on a typical day at the Third Street Green, the downtown Los Altos patch of street at the corner of State and Third streets that has been transformed temporarily into a public pop-up park. For the month of August only, vehicular traffic is being replaced by foot traffic and the pavement covered by swaths of lawn.

Local residents have reacted positively to the urban park. A sampling from recent visitors:

“It’s awesome,” said Amel Ali, as she babysat two local boys. “What are we going to do when it’s gone?”

“I like driving by here and seeing all the children with their families,” Dianne Wiklander said.

“You can chat here (as opposed to) a noisy coffee shop,” Shar Thorson said.

“It’s like a village green in a little town,” Kay Reed said.

The Green is a project of Passerelle Investment Co. of Los Altos, which also introduced the larger State Street Green last year while a portion of State was closed off during construction along First Street.

As with the first Green, Third Street has provided a venue for numerous events, from slackline clinics to yoga classes and live performances from local bands.

Brooke Ray Smith, director of community development at Passerelle, called the Third Street Green, a “triumph of the public process.” An independent research group from the Stanford Prevention Research Center polled visitors and business owners in and around the State Street Green last year and found the reaction overwhelmingly favorable.

“A decent number of people said, ‘Yeah, we would love to see it again,’” Smith said.

The group’s findings, presented at a Los Altos City Council meeting in March, spurred the council’s go-ahead for the current Third Street Green. The same Stanford group is conducting a new research study at the Third Street Green. Findings will be made public later this year.

Passerelle is conducting its own online survey on its Third Street Green website.

To take the survey and for more information, visit thirdstreetgreen.com.


Third Street Green - Photos by Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier

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