The Barron Park Association

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.

Sep 172014
 
CPI :  Risk Assessment Report & Possible Zoning Strategies 

October 6: The Palo Alto City Council will review and discuss the the AECOM consultant’s Risk Assessment for Storing and Handling Hazardous Materials at Communications & Power Industries, LLC (CPI), 607‐811 Hansen Way, and supplemental materials, including an analysis of possible zoning strategies to establish adequate separation between plating shop uses and residences.

Staff Report: • CPI Risk Assessment Report and Zoning Direction

Consultant Report and other Attachments:• Consultant Report and Attachment

From the Staff Report: Recommended Motion 

“Direct staff to prepare a draft ordinance for review by the Planning and Transportation  Commission (PTC) and consideration by the City Council in early 2015. The ordinance should  amend the list of uses in the zoning code to explicitly identify plating shops, prohibit plating  shop uses within a specific distance of residential uses and residential zoning districts, and incorporate an amortization schedule based on updated information on the value of affected  investments.”

October 2:  City staff and consultants will be available to answer questions about the Risk Assessment and the staff report at a pre‐meeting scheduled for October 2, 2014 from 5:00 to 7:00 p.m. at the Barron Park Elementary School, Multipurpose Room, 800 Barron Avenue.

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Sep 152014
 

Below is the postcard mailer that was sent out last week to Laguna Avenue residents regarding upcoming street work.   The meeting will be held on Tuesday, September 23, 6:30pm at Barron Park Elementary School to discuss proposed street resurfacing work on Laguna Avenue from Matadero Avenue to Los Robles Avenue.

Laguna Repaving Community Meeting Notice

If you have any questions regarding the meeting, please contact the Project Engineers, Matt Brunnings at 650.617.3148 or Murdo Nicolson at 650.617.3154.

Aug 162014
 

Open Letter to Hillary Gitelman and Jaime Rodriguez:


Hillary and Jaime:

Your response to residents comments about the Speed Humps that had been installed on Matadero Ave, Update on Speed Bumps on Matadero, suggested that you were uncertain how to proceed. You wanted more input from residents before making a decision about whether to replace the Speed Humps with Speed Tables or, because they turned out to be higher than required, to just grind them down to the appropriate height.

To get input from residents, I ran a survey for the past three days, which was announced on several Barron Park email lists. Background information from Palo Alto’s “Neighborhood Traffic Calming Program – Appendix” was provided for definitions, specifications and uses of Speed Humps and Speed Tables. There were two questions:

1. Which of the following traffic calming options do you prefer?

  • Speed Humps
  • Speed Tables
  • No Preference

2. Do you have any other comments, questions or concerns?

The survey responses are anonymous.

The results are clear; with 61 responses to the question, residents prefer Speed Tables to Speed Humps by more than a factor of two to one.

Survey Results: Speed Humps versus Speed Tables

Here is a link to the results. Survey: Speed Humps versus Speed Tables on Matadero  You can also read here the responses for the second question from 39 residents who wrote about their comments and concerns.

It’s now up to you to make the corrections and changes to Matadero that reflect the will of the people of Barron Park.

Regards, Art Liberman

Aug 122014
 

Many of you have already written to the City of Palo Alto concerning your views of the Speed Bumps on Matadero.  That apparently has not been enough to change the City Staff’s decision as to what to do. THEY NEED TO HEAR FROM YOU AGAIN. And copy Hillary on the email hillary.gitelman@cityofpaloalto.org

Here is the email (8/12/14) I received today  from Hillary Gittlemen, Planning Director, which is similar to ones she has sent to others who had contacted her previously.


” Many thanks to you and to everyone who has written in and provided comments regarding the recently constructed Speed Humps on Matadero Avenue.  Many of the comments we received said the new humps feel very abrupt and expressed a preference  for Speed Tables, like those on Maybell Avenue.

As I think you know, we asked a surveyor to measure the Humps and Tables, to see how they compared to each other and to the City’s standards.  Low and behold, the Matadero Speed Humps are above the standard of 3.5” that we use, as shown below, and we are working to get the contractor back in town as soon as possible to address this issue.
Matadero Avenue Speed Humps
No.
Location
Max Height (Inches)
Hump Width (Feet)
1
Whitsell Avenue
3.84”
12’
2
Tippawingo Street
4.8”
12’
3
Julie Court
4.2”
12’
4
Emma Court
3.54”
12’
5
Chimaulus Drive
3.48”
12’
Maybell Avenue Speed Tables
No.
Location
Max Height (Inches)
Table Width (Feet)
1
Thain Way
4.8”
22’
2
East of Baker Avenue
4.92”
22’
3
West of Baker Avenue
4.56”
22’
4
Frandon Court
5.76”
22’
We can ask the contractor to replace the current Speed Humps with either Speed Tables or with Speed Humps that meet the City’s standard and would welcome continued input on these two alternatives by email to transportation@cityofpaloalto.org.  We would also be happy to come out and walk the street with a group of neighbors, if that’s desirable.
Whichever alternative we use for the five existing locations, we still plan to install the Speed Table at Tippawingo that will double as a raised crosswalk for pedestrians.  This speed table will be constructed at a height of 3.25” and a width of 16-FT due to geometric constraints.
Please feel free to email your additional thoughts/concerns to the email box above.  We anticipate being ready to remove and reconstruct as early as the first week of September and hopefully sooner.
Many thanks,
Hillary & Jaime”

 

Jul 022014
 

Please act before July 30th!  We need your input and advice!

Our survey will help guide the BPA’s efforts in 2014 and beyond.

In the following survey, please indicate how important each of the items is to you. Opinions on issues are not asked but can be expressed in comment boxes.

We prefer that you take the survey online at https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/L8S63FN

If you prefer to mail in your responses, the newsletter version can be downloaded here.

Survey responses should be submitted by July 30.

Jun 302014
 
The Matadero Bicycle Boulevard plan is moving ahead. The recent June 19th meeting with consultants and Jaime Rodriguez and other staff was devoted to creating / enabling / enhancing other routes (not boulevards) for bicycling in Barron Park, but Jaime provided some information afterward on the status of the plan for the Matadero (Margarita) Bicycle Boulevard.

The proposal for the bicycle boulevard followed two Barron Park community meetings, in May and September of 2013. Images of the design concept were previously posted on the Barron Park Association website, Initial Concept Plan for Matadero – Margarita Bike Boulevard » The Barron Park Association   To reduce automobile speeds, and enhance bicycle and pedestrian safety, Matadero will have a number of speed humps and also a speed table (raised cross walk across Matadero from Tippawingo to Josina) .

The current plan provided by Jaime Rodriguez can be downloaded here. Basemap – Matadero Bike Blvd – Final Speed Hump Sites – 053014 The locations for the speed humps have been finalized [look at the orange outlined rectangles with single chevron in the attached pdf]. What’s not certain is the date for when the work will be begin.

Currently, as you are all too well aware, the Matadero Ave roadway is a real mess, most recently a consequence of the Utilities Department’s gas line replacement program. This work was supposed to have been completed by end of June, but there are still quite a number of steel plates covering holes. Hopefully, this work will be completed within the next few weeks. In addition to the the gas line work, the sewer line replacement repairs have left many scars on the roadway. Because of the present roadway condition, Jaime said that the Public Works will apply a ‘slurry seal’ to the entire length of Matadero, from El Camino to Laguna.

The slurry seal will cover the painted roadway markers, including the yellow center line. The initial Bicycle Boulevard plan had been to leave the yellow line in place. But, as discussed in the June 19th meeting, there are two schools of thought about the yellow line – one is that it keeps the lanes of traffic clearly marked and makes people slow down; the other is that by keeping traffic in the lane, cars are less willing to cross it and instead pass too closely to bicyclists and pedestrians. Jaime said that he is open to repainting the yellow lines if eliminating it turns out to cause issues and the community is not happy with the situation.

One further issue – Jaime acknowledged the many concerns voiced by residents about pedestrian safety along Matadero, especially near the Matadero Creek bridge, just past the Tippawingo intersection.  Here is an image from the file of the plan proposed for that location (click on the image to bring up a full size, clear image – then on your back button on your browser to return to the message):
One possible improvement for pedestrian safety, which Jaime is discussing with  Matt Brunnings (Public Works), would result from the removal of a storm water drain on Matadero near the bridge. Removal of the storm water drain would permit the city to move the metal guard rail in, towards the Creek and away from the roadway, and provide additional room for pedestrians to walk safely in that area. But removal of the drain entails a series of steps that have to happen and all pieces have to fall into place before this proposal becomes a reality. Look for work “By Others” on this figure (2nd panel in the pdf if you download it).  This storm drain receives water from the valley gutter that runs along Matadero and crosses the end of Tippawingo. So removing the storm drain, and the valley gutter leading to it that crosses Tippawingo, would require an alternate path for the runoff – one possibility would be a new section of valley gutter that would wrap around the Matadero-Tippawingo corner, joining with one on Tippawingo that leads to a storm drain at the corner of Tippawingo and Chimalus. This part of the plan is still in the discussion phase between the Transportation Division and Public Works.
Art Liberman