Around the Terrace: April 22, 2020

Here are some recent announcements and news stories of interest to College Terrace and the surrounding area.

City of Palo Alto Coronavirus Daily Report
If you haven’t already subscribed, this is an excellent daily email from the City of Palo Alto that includes news from the city and county, online events, and resources for families and businesses.

Palo Alto Braces for $30 Million Revenue Loss
At Monday’s City Council meeting, City Manager Ed Shikada presented potential options to address the city’s projected revenue shortfall due to the pandemic. These options included closing library branches, scrapping its shuttle program, and suspending plans to spur housing production.

Stanford COVID-19 Community Town Hall
Join Stanford Medicine’s Office of Community Engagement this Thursday at 3:30pm for a virtual Town Hall on the COVID-19 outbreak. A panel of health experts will discuss current recommendations for shelter-at-home and social distancing, share latest COVID-19 research efforts at Stanford, and answer community submitted questions. Pre-register and a Zoom link will be sent before the town hall begins.

Stanford Dish To Be Closed

We’re sharing a message from Stanford regarding the Dish and other recreational spaces on campus…

Hello Neighbors,

Last week, we implemented additional health and safety measures at the Stanford Dish to allow us to be able to keep the area open as long as possible. Extensive signage and increased staff presence were intended to reinforce and educate Dish users to act responsibly in the interests of the entire community. While many visitors have taken those measures to heart, unfortunately, there have been a persistent minority of individuals who have not complied with these rules and have, therefore, put others at risk. Many community members have expressed their concerns about what they have experienced at the Dish.

We have a responsibility to ensure that anyone on Stanford property follow state and county social distancing guidelines to protect public health and safety. At this time, we regretfully believe the only way to do so is to close the Dish area.  We will close all entrances to the Dish at 5 p.m. Friday, April 3rd.

We realize that this will be a disappointment for many in our community, but the health and wellbeing of our community needs to be our primary objective. We will be actively looking for ways to safely reopen the Dish area, and we will communicate with you as soon as we feel that is possible.

Also, the updated Santa Clara County shelter-in-place order that extends through May 3, requires more stringent action with regard to the use of outdoor spaces that are used at Stanford for recreational activities.

Please see our most recent healthalerts.stanford  e-notification issued today from Russell Furr, Associate Vice Provost, Environmental Health & Safety for more details. 

We appreciate your understanding during these unique and challenging times.

CTRA Spring Newsletter & Stanford Dish Info

Normally, the CTRA distributes its semi-annual newsletter by delivering printed copies to every doorstep in College Terrace. This time around, we’re doing virtual delivery via PDF, so here’s the Spring 2020 Newsletter:

Download the Spring 2020 CTRA Newsletter

For those who still enjoy touching things, we actually printed the newsletter before the pandemic and have placed paper copies in many of the Little Free Libraries around the neighborhood. If you can’t find one there, let us know and we’ll drop off some more.

The following is a notice from Stanford regarding using of the Dish:

Attention Stanford Dish Users

The Stanford Dish is currently open for outdoor recreation.The Dish website will be updated if conditions change


The Alpine gate will be closed starting Thursday, March 26, 2020.
The remaining three gates will remain open: Stanford Ave., Gerona, and Frenchmans.

Expectation for Dish recreation users:

We are all in this together and Stanford cares deeply about keeping this regional treasure open while we all take precautions in line with Santa Clara County’s shelter-in-place order.Stanford asks for your partnership in ensuring that all users take responsibility to keep the public safe and healthy. As the signs at the entrance to the Dish indicate, the rules on social distancing must be observed.

Accessing the Dish:

  • If the Dish area or parking areas are crowded when you arrive, please return at a later time or use the Matadero Trail, which can be accessed at Foothill Expressway and Page Mill Road. Additionally, there is access and parking to the Matadero Trail from Coyote Hill Road.
  • Please follow the pedestrian crossing signals while crossing the roadways.
  • While waiting to enter the gate and crossing roadways to the gate entrances, please do not cluster near others.

 Please follow these guidelines while using the Dish route:

  • Keep a 6-foot distance from other hikers at all times.
  • Stay on the right side of the path.
  • Related groups (persons who are part of your household) should walk in groups of no more than two people to avoid a cluster across the path. Please hike single file as much as possible.
  • Use caution while passing other walkers and keep 6 feet apart.


  • We have had complaints that people are not following this rule and if this continues, this will force us to close or limit access to the Dish.
  • Department of Public Safety personnel may periodically and temporarily close access to address crowding.

CTRA Observer Reports for January

The College Terrace Residents Association has a group of board members known as “observers” who monitor relevant public meetings and news in their assigned area and then report back to the entire board on pertinent local actions and issues of interest to College Terrace.

California Avenue Business District

Much of the discussion at this month’s CTRA board meeting centered around Khoury’s Market and what neighbors could do to preserve a grocery store at College Terrace Centre. The City is currently scheduled to discuss the issues surrounding the market and the enforcement of fines (if the market does close) at its Monday, February 10 meeting. All interested residents are encouraged to attend that meeting and advocate for the enforcement of the fines and preservation of the public benefit promised as part of the College Terrace Centre development.

City of Palo Alto

At its Monday, January 13 meeting, the City Council approved a program that allows local churches designate up to four spaces on their lots for car campers. At this point, it’s unclear whether either of the churches in our neighborhood will take advantage of it. This is a pilot program that will last for 18 months and the City encourages residents to give feedback as the program gets underway.

We also want to remind people that the City of Palo Alto has multiple email newsletters that residents can subscribe to in order to stay informed. There’s the monthly “Our Palo Alto” newsletter, the weekly “All Things Palo Alto” newsletter, as well as emails devoted to news and annoucements, Caltrain electrification and grade separation, and general transportation. You can subscribe to the newsletters on the City website.

– Margaret Heath


General Development

Nothing much to report at this time, but Supervisor Simitian is holding a gathering of GUP “regulars” for a debriefing on January 30th and the first Stanford Community Resource Group (CRG) meeting of 2020 is scheduled for March 12th.

College Terrace Housing Acquisitions & Demolitions

I noted in the Daily Post that Stanford purchased 2090 Columbia Street for $2,400,000 in November.  

Construction continues unabated throughout the neighborhood, both by Stanford and others. 

Stanford faculty & staff housing listings on the web:

  • 1015 Stanford is still listed, despite having been part of a lottery sale in December
  • 2145 Princeton still shows as “Pending”
  • 2040 and 2070 Columbia show as “In Escrow”
  • 610 California (Stanford rental) had a permit for replacement of a tankless water heater

– Pria Graves

Who Owns Silicon Valley?

This is the catchy title for the multi-part, multi-newsroom investigative reporting project involving The Mercury News, NBC Bay Area, KQED Radio and others.

This collaborative team spent a year analyzing half a million tax records to determine who really owns Silicon Valley. And it should come as no surprise to College Terrace residents that the top landowner is none other than… Stanford! 

As KQED’s Rachael Myrow points out, the University’s $19.7 billion land portfolio is larger than Google, Apple and Intel combined. 

This investigative crew visited our neighborhood back in August, taking a tour of the neighborhood and joining community members for a discussion on August 21st.  Our concerns about Stanford’s buy-up of our neighborhood and the ghost-house problem received serious coverage in both the NBC Bay Area broadcast and the Mercury News article. 

In addition to their coverage of Stanford, the team also looked at the broader picture of land ownership and countywide housing issues in a whole series of articles

The full list of news staff who created this amazing multi-part investigation includes NBC Bay Area, The Mercury News, KQED Radio, Reveal from The Center for Investigative Reporting, and Telemundo 48 Área de la Bahía.  

Meanwhile, in a surprise move that caught everyone off guard, Stanford withdrew their General Use Permit application last Friday.  While they still have 175,000 square feet of development left on the 2000 GUP, after they’ve used that, they will need to figure out where to go from there.  

Martin Shell, their VP and chief external relations officer says that the university now plans to “pause to assess what the priorities are” and President Marc Tessier-Lavigne says that they “hope to gain deeper mutual understanding of challenges facing our region.” On the other hand, they continue to insist that the majority of the community supports their continued expansion and to blame elected officials in the County and the surrounding communities for the stalemate.

– Pria Graves