End of LACI project a ‘missed opportunity’
I’m saddened to read the Town Crier article about the First Street office-park project by Los Altos Community Investments being halted (“First Street office-park project abruptly halted – reaction mixed,” Oct. 18).
I live on the corner of Edith and Los Altos avenues and would have been affected by the heavier traffic, but I think the benefits of bringing customers to our downtown outweigh the inconvenience of heavier traffic at my intersection!
Why commissioner opposed LACI project
I serve on the Los Altos Parks and Recreation Commission and voted against Los Altos Community Investments’ First Street Park proposal. Here’s why.
Following LACI’s first presentation, I voted to support its small park idea. The proposal would have taken away half of Parking Plaza 7 and incorporated it into the LACI office building as an underground garage with a landscaped park on top. By the time LACI returned to make a more detailed presentation to our commission, I had learned that reduction in Plaza 7 parking would allow Safeway to terminate its 2012 parking agreement with the city, which provided Los Altos residents 124 public parking spaces whether they were shopping at Safeway or not.
LACI’s underground parking would replace the 67 lost surface spaces. An additional 40 underground public parking spaces were offered as a “public benefit” to build a 45-foot high, three-story office building. If Safeway terminated its agreement, the LACI offer would no longer be a benefit, because we would end up with 84 fewer spaces (124 minus 40) at the west end of town.
I hope that when LACI resubmits development plans for its lots across from Safeway, it will allocate any “public benefit” funds to build a park located in a less congested part of downtown.
Garbage trucks are worst litterbugs
The garbage collection trucks are the worst highway litterbugs.
As we all know, the freeways, including the ramps, are littered with all kinds of garbage. When picked up, it doesn’t take more than a few days to be filled with litter again.
Recently my suspicion was confirmed that the worst litterbugs are the garbage trucks. Following a garbage truck heading onto Highway 85 going north on the always-litter-filled Fremont Avenue on-ramp to 85, I saw flying debris of all sorts coming off the truck. Shame on them for not covering the garbage as they transport the load to the dump. How they can be allowed to transport our garbage without cover is beyond me!
Let’s all contact our local garbage collection company and demand answers.
How to make Los Altos a destination
Recently a poll was placed on the Nextdoor website that asked what would be the single best thing to make downtown Los Altos cool, hip, current and attract a more youthful spirit.
As a longtime resident of Los Altos Hills, I was compelled to respond. My response:
Simply put, it needs to be a destination. There is little reason to go downtown other than coffee and the occasional bite. I would block off Main Street, introduce more outside seating and significantly improve parking (underground). I would put in some anchor stores, things like an Amazon bookstore, Restoration Hardware, Sur La Table, a variety of family restaurants, full bars, that type of thing.
Places like Palo Alto have already set the precedent. I don’t think this is a problem of ideas, it’s a problem of people letting go. “We don’t want to spoil the charm.” What charm? It’s irrelevant if no one visits. The town rolls up the sidewalk every evening after 6 p.m.
Los Altos has a rich heritage dating back over 110 years, yet has stagnated. We try so much to preserve that heritage that we are missing current and future opportunities.
As a data point, my kids, now young adults, never went to downtown Los Altos growing up, not because it was far. Instead, they chose to go to places like Mountain View that had more to offer them.
Downtown Los Altos should be a place people don’t want to leave, not hesitate to visit. In my opinion, it is time we looked forward instead of living in the past.
Los Altos Hills