Sat12202014

News

Los Altos seeks opinions on pedestrian plan


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Residents examine a map of their neighborhood and point out potential pedestrian improvements during last week’s Los Altos Farmers’ Market.

Los Altos is seeking the public’s help as it develops a document to make the city more pedestrian-friendly in the future.

According to Los Altos Transportation Projects Manager Cedric Novenario, the city is soliciting residents’ input on possible pedestrian facility shortcomings in their neighborhoods as part of the process of developing the city’s Pedestrian Master Plan. The existing conditions assessment and outreach effort, Novenario noted, is the kickoff to a five-step approach city engineers and consultants are taking in the plan’s development. The overarching goal of the master plan, he added, is to “enhance the pedestrian experience” in Los Altos.

“If there’s a (pedestrian) safety issue or something else that needs to be addressed, it’ll be part of that pedestrian needs assessment,” Novenario said. “The public is the main user of these (pedestrian) facilities, and they have particular preferences we want to know about.”

To gather residents’ feedback, city staffers, consultants and members of the city’s Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Commission (BPAC) last week set up a booth at the Los Altos Farmers’ Market. They plan to repeat the exercise Thursday at the downtown market.

“The way I look at it is, no one knows your neighborhood better than you,” BPAC Chairwoman Suzanne Ambiel said of the city’s request for public input. “There’s no way the city can know of every single problem on every single street.”

Novenario noted that the plan will essentially serve as a policy document for the city as it weighs future pedestrian-related projects. Aside from outlining gaps and needs related to specific neighborhoods and streets, the document will also feature a detailed priority list of five potential projects for the city to consider in future years, he added.

The master plan, Novenario said, will allow the city to pursue additional grant-funding opportunities for pedestrian-related projects.

“Whenever there is a planning document in place with a city, it’s viewed more favorably by funding agencies,” he said.

As part of the plan’s development, Novenario said the city is planning study sessions with BPAC, as well as its Senior and Parks and Recreation commissions. From there, he added, the city will schedule a community outreach meeting in late November or early December. Novenario said a draft copy of the master plan likely won’t be ready until April or May. City council consideration and potential adoption of a final draft is tentatively slated next summer.

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