Other Voices: Parking changes downtown require critical analysis

Friends of Los Altos’ most recent article on the Downtown Vision plan apparently got lots of people talking. Interestingly, we also got the attention of the Town Crier, which published an editorial that generally praised FOLA but questioned our view that parking is an issue that needs to be addressed before implementing elements of the Downtown Vision plan. Bruce Barton, the Town Crier’s editor-in-chief, suggests that the reason no new parking is required is that he, personally, can always find parking, and in a future Los Altos, Lyft, Uber and residents using bicycles will solve any additional needs.

We have a lot of respect for Bruce and the staff at the Town Crier. We need to remember, however, that there are dynamics that may change his current experience with parking availability. Los Altos Community Investments’ massive two-story office building on State Street near the Town Crier offices has been vacant for many years but is currently being remodeled. How many parking stalls will those future businesses and employees require? The Downtown Parking Management Plan adopted by the city said that while the downtown does not currently have a shortage of parking, as more and more retail stores convert to restaurants, more parking is required, and the current parking supply will become insufficient.


Letters to the Editor – Week of Aug. 21

Allow homeless students to sleep on campuses

We have read that nearly 20% of Foothill and De Anza students do not have housing. They couch surf or sleep in their cars.

We think it is a great idea to allow the homeless Foothill and De Anza students to park on campus in the designated parking lot(s). The fact that they are attending college is a positive indicator that they are trying to improve their lives. College is challenging enough for students without worrying about where they will sleep, shower and use toilets, as well as the safety factor.

Letters to the Editor – Week of Aug. 7

Dog photo sends mixed message

The Los Altos Arts & Wine Festival lived up to its usual enjoyment again this year.

I noted that the website for the festival stated, “Due to large crowds and often hot weather, we encourage visitors to leave their pets at home. Please do not bring them to the Arts & Wine Festival.” Yet the Town Crier featured a photo of a black dog on the front page with the article about the festival as if to suggest that dog attendance is acceptable.

Letters to the Editor – Week of Aug. 14

Reforms offered to increase vibrancy

Thank you for the great Aug. 7 editorial, “Downtown needs to get over parking fixation.” As members of the Los Altos Citywide Parking Committee, we published an executive summary that found that:

• “Since 2006, the city of Los Altos has approved eight development projects that granted variances or exceptions for 292 stalls required by code.”

Editor's Notebook: Downtown needs to get over parking fixation

For more than a few years now, we’ve enjoyed the perspectives offered by the citizen’s group Friends of Los Altos.

Although we sometimes don’t agree with its views, we respect what the group has to say. That’s because its board comprises three former Los Altos council members – Ron Packard, David Casas and Lou Becker – and a former planning commissioner, Jon Baer, all of whom comported themselves well while serving the city.

From the Mayor's Desk: Plan Bay Area 2040 fails; let's not make the same mistake

For many residents, traffic starts before 3 p.m., while our teachers and service workers struggle with prolonged and extensive commutes. People can’t get around anymore –forget about public transit. The cost of living is through the roof, state/regional legislatures favor the interests of developers as well as tech companies and income inequality has never been worse. Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again while expecting different results.

Plan Bay Area is continuing to make the same mistakes by relying on flawed projections instead of planning based on what’s better for the future. Trapped in a negative feedback loop of enacting bad policy, Plan Bay Area is in need of bold, structural change; it’s time for residents to be truly involved in the process.

Other Voices: It's up to we, the people, to save the function of local journalism

Small and regional newspapers are being shuttered, merged with larger papers or acquired by non-news entities seemingly interested in eking out a last bit of profit. Journalism across the country, especially local journalism, is struggling in its role: to provide citizens actionable information so they can make the best possible choices in their lives and in their local government.

Many of the problems faced by journalism are related to the shift to an online world. While many of us (myself included) prefer reading a physical paper, we must recognize that it is not the future. There are benefits to online news: It is much more accessible to people with a wide range of disabilities; distribution is cheap and instantaneous; and for the reporter, instead of a daily deadline, a story develops at its natural pace and is published when it’s ready.


Submit a Letter to the Editor

The Town Crier welcomes letters to the editor on current events pertinent to Los Altos, Los Altos Hills and Mountain View. Write to us at 138 Main St., Los Altos 94022, Attn: Editor, or email editor Bruce Barton at bruceb@latc.com. Because editorial space is limited, please confine letters to no more than 200 words. Include a phone number for verification purposes. Anonymous letters will not be printed.

You can also have your say right here at losaltosonline.com – scroll to the bottom of any story to add a comment. 

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