Around the Terrace: April 10, 2019

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

2019 Best Places to Live in California
Niche.com recently published a list of the best places to live in America based on crime rates, public schools, cost of living, job opportunities, and local amenities. Their #1 neighborhood in all of California? College Terrace, of course!

Expect Delays at Page Mill Road and Junipero Serra Boulevard
From now until June 22nd, PG&E will be closing lanes intermittently for gas pipeline upgrades. This article contains the full schedule of lane closures, as well as maps of the affected areas.

Upcoming Stanford GUP Meetings
The County of Santa Clara is holding a few meetings this month related to the ongoing Stanford GUP process, including meetings of the Historical Heritage Commission on the 10th and 18th and a Housing, Land Use, Environment and Transportation Committee Meeting on the 18th.

Planning for Rising Waters Event
Save Palo Alto’s Groundwater and the City of Palo Alto are hosting a talk on how cities can adapt to sea level and groundwater level rise in a seismic zone. The event is April 24th at 7pm at Mitchell Park’s El Palo Alto Room.

How Stanford’s Desire for a Booze-Free Town Gave Birth to Palo Alto
For history buffs, KQED’s “Bay Curious” answers the question of why Palo Alto has two downtown districts (University Ave and California Ave) with this short piece about the history of Palo Alto and Mayfield. College Terrace was part of Mayfield up until Mayfield’s annexation by Palo Alto in 1925.

Statewide Housing Legislation Gains Steam

While Palo Alto’s City Council grapples with ways to address the current housing crisis, legislators in Sacramento are proposing a wide range of bills aimed at spurring development, some of which restrict cities’ abilities to limit or block housing development.

Senate Bill 50 (SB-50), for example, aims to bolster housing development near major transit stops and bus routes, as well as “job-rich” areas, by exempting projects in these areas from local limits on density and parking requirements.

The Embarcadero Institute recently published an analysis of SB-50’s impacts on Palo Alto. It’s worth reviewing the potential impacts on our neighborhood, as parts of College Terrace are within a quarter mile of a “high quality bus corridor” (VTA Routes 22/522) and nearly all of Palo Alto will likely be deemed “job-rich.”

Given Governor Newsom’s aggressive goal to build 3.5 million new homes in California by 2025, it’s worth watching these bills as they progress through the Legislature. The future of Palo Alto housing may be decided in Sacramento and not City Hall.

Stanford/Bowdoin Crosswalk Improvements Coming

This spring, the City of Palo Alto Office of Transportation will install high-visibility yellow crosswalks and required school crossing signage to the Stanford/Bowdoin intersection. This project was initiated by PTA Transportation Safety Representatives of Escondido and Nixon Elementary Schools approaching the City of Palo Alto’s Safe Routes to School and Stanford staff to improve student visibility.

After several observations with PTA volunteers and design iterations by Stanford’s consultants, City staff and the project stakeholders agreed that the striping and signage project was an important step in enhancing safety at this busy intersection for students and other road users due to the proximity to two elementary schools and high use by students of all ages.

After installation, the City and Safe Routes partners will continue to monitor the intersection as a regular activity of the Safe Routes to School Partnership. Questions about the project can be sent to SafeRoutes@cityofpaloalto.org.

In other good news for neighborhood pedestrians, Caltrans is installing Pedestrian Hybrid Beacons (PHBs) at several intersections along El Camino Real, including one at College Avenue.

PHBs are flashing signals that tell drivers to stop when pedestrians are crossing the roadway. The installation process at Palo Alto intersections (Vista Ave, Barron Ave, Fernando Ave, College Ave, and Palo Alto Ave) is scheduled to begin this month and the full project should be completed by summer.

Please see the City of Palo Alto’s Stop for Pedestrians flyer for more information on how drivers and pedestrians should use these crosswalk safety enhancements. For more information, contact Caltrans Public Information Officer for District 4, Victor Gauthier at victor.gauthier@dot.ca.gov.