The Barron Park Association

May 242015
 

This thank you is going out to all the volunteers who helped make this years May Fete a huge success!  We had one of the largest number of people in attendance in recent history, the weather cooperated, albeit a little windy, the BBQ was busier than ever and the raffle netted more than ever before.  The cotton candy machine was a popular addition and the bounce house was a hit with the kids.

I would like to directly thank the following people for their wonderful efforts:

  • Sarah Van Zanten- Event Coordinator and Family and Friends who handled obtaining the crafts and games, the food and soda, the raffle and tickets.
  • Larry Breed and crew who bought the ribbons, cut them and re-spooled them, assembled the May Pole, attached the ribbons and the floral basket and directed the setting up of the pole, put the floral basket up, and disassembled the May Pole, long after most people were gone.
  • Gary Breitbard who organized the music and the Morris dancers
  • Rich Elder-  stage construction
  • Alan Winston- dance caller
  • Hassan at Barron Park Florist & Market- provided the flowers and assembled the Flower Basket for free!
  • Doug Graham- Barron Park History Display
  • BPA Board member Lisa Landers-Membership Table
  • BPA Board member  Peter Mueller- Membership Table
  • Boy Scout Troop 14 – There were 3 scouts there from 9:00am to 5:00pm to assist throughout the event. They helped with the cotton candy machine, running the activities, the food booth and taking down the tables and chairs. They were there to fund raise for a trip to Japan for the World Scout Jamboree this July.
  • BBQ- John King, Karen Saxena and Gene Iwamoto

…..and of course the Donkeys and their Handlers

Ad Sponsors

Gwen Luce, Coldwell Banker Real Estate
John W. King, Keller Williams Realty
Ernies Wines and Liquors
Jim Davis Automotive
Ace of Sandwiches
Celias Restaurant

In Kind Donations

Copy Factory
Barron Park Florist

Lets see everyone next year!

John W. King
Volunteer Coordinator
Barron Park May Fete coordinator

May 052015
 

JOIN US FOR MAY FETE 2015!
SUNDAY, MAY 17TH AT BOL PARK FROM NOON TO 4 PM

Come and enjoy live musicians and dancers. They will perform all afternoon, with a Maypole dance at 2:30. Bring the family and a blanket and make a picnic of it. Hamburgers, hot dogs and pizza will also be for sale. Wear ribbons. There will also be games and crafts for the children, donkeys and donkey art, and the history exhibit. Activities will include face painting for children, donkey parade and more! Suggestions for other activities from the Barron Park community are welcome.

The May Fete is a volunteer effort. If you’d like to help and volunteer, or if you’d like to propose a display or activity, contact the event organizer John King at johnwadeking@gmail.com or the event planner Sarah Van Zanten at bpmayfete@gmail.com, the event email address. Look forward to seeing you there!

Apr 042015
 

There will be a Senior Lunch on Tuesday, April 14, 2015 at 1:00 PM at the Corner Bakery. It is located at 3375 El Camino Real at the corner of Fernando where the Boston Market used to be, with plenty of parking either in front or behind the restaurant.

The Corner Bakery is cafeteria style so you will each pay for your own selection at the counter, and they will deliver your order to the table when it is ready. The prices are modest and there are no tips involved. You can look at the menu in advance by going to wwwcornerbakerycafe.com.

If you are interested in joining us, please email Julie Spengler at juliespengler at sbcglobal.net or call at 493-9151 so we can make a name tag for you. Changes in plans can be made up until 10:AM Tuesday be calling
Rosemary Jacobsen at 493-9151.

Looking forward to seeing many of you there.

Mar 312015
 

BPA Members are part of an influential community that interacts with local residents and city officials to enhance the Barron Park community. Members of BPA receive quarterly newsletters, access to baby sitting/job posts in addition to the many other resources offered by BPA.

Membership dues support popular Barron Park activities such as Email lists, neighborhood social/cultural events, BPA Newsletters, Emergency Preparedness, BPA website and the annual May Fete. We appreciate your timely renewal, as dues received by April 30th enable BPA planning for upcoming activities.

How to join:

  • A membership form is in the center of the Spring newsletter and can be mailed in
  • Membership can be processed on our website

Please note the many volunteer positions listed on the BPA membership form.  The more participation BPA receives, the better we can meet the needs of our community.

Jan 312015
 

Our bi monthly senior lunch will be on Tuesday, February 10, 2015, at 1:00 pm at Da Sichuan Chinese restaurant, located at 3781 El Camino Real, with easy access to the parking lot at the back entrance by turning off El Camino at Curtner and making an immediate left into the lot.

The cost for lunch will be $15, including tax and tip, and features 8 different dishes.

We need to make reservations by Friday, Feb. 6th, so let us know as soon as you can if you are interested in joining us by either calling me (Julie) at 493-9151 or emailing me at juliespengler@sbcglobal.net.

We look forward to having a great group of seniors, as usual.

Dec 292014
 

posted by Markus Fromherz

Over the summer of 2014 the BPA ran a survey of the Barron Park neighborhood about interests and priorities in the community. We got a wonderful response. 172 people filled out the survey. The number does not describe the amount of write-in comments, though. Before I get into details, I’d like to draw attention to the informal gathering we have planned for January 7, 5-6pm, to discuss two of the top interests. Please see our email on BPA-News and RSVP if you’d like to help and contribute to the BPA.

In this post, I’d like to summarize the survey responses and comments. Full details can be found here.

First, there is strong support for the BPA’s activities. A great majority of the respondents find the annual meeting, May Fete, and casual/cultural gatherings important. There are good ideas on how to improve some of them and what other events to organize. For example, how about a teen event? There is also near-universal support for and interest in the newsletter, website, and email lists. The responses on general activities and interests were more differentiated and will help us understand where to put our energy and look for help. Emergency preparedness scores very high, while the ratings of the other interests (e.g., babysitter list, senior activities) reflect the local demographics.

We asked about a number of safety, livability, and environmental concerns. All safety issues rate high, with the relative exception of crime. Some people would like to see more sidewalks, others fewer bumps on their roads. There is strong support for cycling, but it is recognized that there are a good number of unsafe drivers and unsafe cyclers in the neighborhood. All livability concerns score high, especially (and not surprisingly) housing density, building codes, Barron Park’s rural character, and traffic. However, respondents have diverse ideas about how to address these concerns. On shuttles: “I want to see much more public transit and shuttles.” / “Keep shuttles out.” On sidewalks: The desire for more sidewalks comes up repeatedly, but others want to keep the streets unchanged. On CPI: “I really value that we can speak as one voice through the BPA on the CPI site issues.” / “The BPA has been noticeably absent in helping Chimalus Drive residents.” (Notice that several BPA board members and residents have provided detailed evaluations and recommendations that have clearly influenced city staff dealing with the issue. Some respondents seemed unaware of such valuable contributions.)

People are also divided on the role of the Barron Park Association in these matters. Some want the BPA to take an even more active role in addressing these issues, while others think the board is too activist and anti-change and want it to stay out of politics. The comments remind us that not everyone is against increasing housing density, for example, if it can be done in a reasonable way. Yes, many are siding with this sentiment: “Population density will destroy this area. Barron Park will be the only quiet, graceful, safe place for family’s to live in peace. Stop the madness!” But a noticeable number of respondents expressed this opinion: “The number one problem in Palo Alto is the shortage of affordable housing. That should trump all other concerns.” As one person wrote, “There are many different points of view in the community.” It is an ongoing challenge for the BPA to represent all residents in these matters.

To my delight, there is quite a bit of interest in a Barron Park community center. What would it be like to have a place with meeting rooms, a BBQ patio, perhaps even a swimming pool in Barron Park? A sentiment by more than one respondent was, “This would be AWESOME to have here in the neighborhood! I don’t know where we would put it – but I would LOVE it if we had such a place!” While not everyone agrees there is a need, there are many ideas for location and features.

We also got several pages worth of comments on our request for the top five items of priority for the BPA. I can’t possibly do them justice here, and many fall into the hot topics mentioned previously. As intended, the responses will help us prioritize our efforts. There are many ideas we will have to pass on to the city or county. Clearly, all residents like this neighborhood and would like the BPA to foster community and preserve livability. One respondent reminds us to “Make Barron Park more friendly AGAIN – know, greet and help your neighbors.”

As you have seen in my recent newsletter columns, the BPA board has been quite active on many of these concerns. Most of the work happens outside board meetings and often out of sight, e.g., when Nancy Hamilton and Patrick Coyne spend countless hours assembling the newsletter, Richard Elder manages the mailing lists daily, Lydia Kou prepares for a multifaceted movie in the park evening, and many board members attend regular housing development, traffic, CPI, and Palo Alto Neighborhoods meetings.

However, it is important to remember that the BPA is not a separate entity with paid staff. You are the BPA. The BPA is a group of neighbors volunteering to get things done, and we are all volunteers with families and day jobs. So if something is important to you, please join the board and contribute. More community services via the BPA are very much needed and appreciated.

Looking for ideas? Emergency preparedness got a 95% importance rating, but we need a new chair! Housing development appears in every other comment, but we lost our housing chair to the startup life. There are votes to revive social meetings like the holiday party or the welcoming party, but we need those caring people to organize them. The community needs you! A good way to check out opportunities to help is the aforementioned gathering on January 7.

Thanks again for your input to the BPA. Please consider volunteering for the BPA and working on one of those important issues.

(This is an updated version of my Fall 2014 BPA Newsletter column.)

Nov 202014
 

posted by Art Liberman

The Palo Alto VA is undergoing another phase of significant building construction. In the previous phase of VA building expansion, several new medical facility structures and a parking garage were built along the Matadero Creek side of its property. This second phase is in the rear area of its property, which borders the Bol Park Bike and Pedestrian Shared Path (‘the Bike Path’). The initial projects in this latest phase of construction activity involve moving the VA’s Loop Road close to the VA property boundary (labelled number 3 on the following figure), building a new, five story Parking Garage (number 2) along that Loop Road and adding a Radiology Unit (number 1) to the main hospital building.

VA Palo Alto Campus – Phase 2 project

The projects will proceed in stages over the next several years. As indicated in the figure, future projects include a two story Research Building (number 5) that will also be close to the new rear Loop Road and likely visible from the Bike Path, and several other facilities elsewhere on the VA site (Ambulatory Care Center, number 4; Simulation Center, number 6; Recreation Therapy, number 7; and a second Fisher House hotel for veterans’ families, number 8).

While the planning for this phase of the VA expansion had been in the works for some years, the Barron Park community became aware of it only two months ago, when the VA sent out a notice about the construction project (forwarded to BPA-News), and then six weeks later when construction activity began in earnest. David Boxerman along with Richard Placone (president of the BPA at the time of annexation of Barron Park to Palo Alto in the 1970’s and the person responsible for having the railway line right-of-way donated to the City for the Bike Path) contacted the VA project managers at the end of October. These two Barron Park residents have been joined by BPA President Markus Fromherz, Art Liberman, and Khashayar “Cash” Alaee (a management analyst in City Manager Jim Keene’s office) to form a group that has held several meetings with Ronald Bochenek, Environmental Planning Manager/Facility Planner for the VA who is acting as the VA’s liaison to the community for this project (and who provided the images in this note).

Over the past few weeks, the VA contractors erected a new chain link temporary construction fence covered with fabric screening that is closer to the Bike Path than the previous fence (which was removed), and bulldozers and excavation equipment removed trees and cleared away vegetation along the VA side of the new fence. The construction fence marks the VA property line; the Bike Path and adjacent property beyond the donkey pasture and extending to Arastradero is on Stanford land leased long term to the City of Palo Alto.

The rear entry way for pedestrians and bicyclists, which had been up a steep embankment and through a gateway between the phone booth and the donkey pasture, has been closed; a new rear entry way to the VA property is now open much further along the Bike Path, near the flood retention pond and Gunn High School.

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Oct 212014
 

Posted by Art Liberman

Some very dramatic changes are being proposed by City of Palo Alto Transportation Division to the streetscape in Barron Park to improve safety and enhance the bicycling experience in our neighborhood.

The proposed Barron Park Neighborhood Bicycle Routes project will provide Bike Route signage and Share the Road (Sharrow) roadway markings. The project will tie together the Matadero-Margarita Avenue and Maybell Bicycle Boulevard projects and support both commuter bicycle and student bicycle activities within and through the Barron Park Neighborhood.

The proposals were shown to residents by the  at a Community Meeting on Oct 16th at Barron Park School. You can download the presentation here:  Barron-Park_101614 Neighborhood Bicycle Routes Community Meeting

The streets where improvement are proposed include:

  • Barron Avenue: Laguna Avenue to El Camino Real
  • Los Robles Avenue: Laguna Avenue to El Camino Real
  • La Donna Avenue: Barron Avenue to Los Robles Avenue
  • Amaranta Avenue: Los Robles Avenue to Maybell Avenue
  • Laguna Avenue: Matadero Avenue to Los Robles Avenue

The list of proposed improvements include:

Intersection Treatments – Including landscaped Traffic Circles at:

  • Cerrito Way and Los Robles
  • Ilimia Court and Laguna Ave
  • Amaranta Ave and Georgia Ave

Traditional Bike Lanes on:
• Barron Avenue
• Amaranta Avenue

Green Backed Sharrows with Edgelines on:
• Josina Avenue
• La Donna Avenue
• Barron Avenue
• Laguna Avenue
• Los Robles Avenue

Advisory Bike Lanes (dotted white line or possibly textured pavement on shared shoulders) on:
• Josina Avenue
• La Donna Avenue
• Barron Avenue
• Amaranta Avenue
• Laguna Avenue

On streets with bike lanes, residents will be required to park the cars off the roadway if the bike lane is on their side of the street. The City officials had not conducted a survey of  which, if any, properties might be affected.

You can see the proposed plans and provide your feedback to the Transportation Division by following this link: barron-park-neighborhood-bicycle-routes
Oct 062014
 

There will be a Senior lunch Tuesday October 14 at 1 p. m. It will be at the Corner Bakery Cafe, 3375 El Camino Real. It is located at the corner of El Camino and Fernando, where the Boston Market formerly was. There is plenty of parking behind the restaurant.

The Corner Bakery is cafeteria style so you will each pay for your own selection at the counter. They will deliver your order to your table when it is ready. The prices are modest and it is nice because there are no tips. You can see the menu on line in advance at www.cornerbakerycafe.com.

If you are interested in joining us, please notify Bob Frost by Saturday, October 11th. Please reply to Bob Frost until Saturday evening at bobfrost34@gmail.com or 493-8272 so we can make a name tag for you. If you change your plans, please call Bob by 7 PM. Monday the 13th.

Seniors Rosemary Jacobsen & Julie Spengler will be at the door to great new attendees and hand out name tags to everyone. Julie will also have menus available so they can be checked in advance of going to the counter to order.