Los Altos City Council-March 2017

March 14, 2017

The City Council approved the draft implementation schedule for the 2017 Strategic Priorities as requested at the February 28, 2017 council meeting. The schedule includes the staff’s list of objectives and tasks with dates for implementing, and dates for stated objectives for each of the seven priorities. Also included are the financial and human resources required for implementation and completion. Staff has been divided into teams to deliver on each priority with quarterly updates and notification of changes that come up. Note that Hillview Civic Center is scheduled to break ground for the new project in December 2018 and be completed in December 2020. In addition, staff have scheduled the $2.5 million for improvement of safe school routes in Los Altos by 2018/19.

City Council concurred with the Community Engagement Plan (Priority 7) aligned with the Downtown Vision Process (Priority 1). The council heard from RRM Design Croup, represented by Debbie Rudd, and Land Econ Group, represented by Bill Lee. The presentation analyzed the strengths, challenges, constraints and offered policy recommendations. First, the consultant, Debbie Rudd, recommended ten ways to engage the community, including using an available commercial space as a “Step In” for city staff to get input, and sponsoring a “kick-off” event in March (if possible) to start the process.

Consultant Bill Lee presented four future scenarios for the downtown area, especially recommending the downtown as ideal for a pedestrian district. Scenario 1 describes small tweaks to downtown as it now stands. The next 3 describe plans with different levels of building height limits and amount of parking space per 1000 square feet. Of interest is Scenario 3 which accounts for public use like a theater and parking structures. After viewing the possible scenarios, seven recommendations from types of services to historic importance of structures were outlined. The final recommendation is to institute a review, using the community engagement strategies outlined to city council members.

March 28, 2017

Every two years the council is required by state law to reconsider speed limits in the city. Currently, Los Altos residents are troubled by the traffic on residential streets. City Council did not adopt Resolution #2017-12 that would have approved an engineering and traffic survey for raising the speed limit by 5 mph on Cuesta between Springer and San Antonio Road, one of many identified street segments of concern in Los Altos. Fourteen speakers who live on or near Cuesta said “no”, and, instead, asked for traffic calming measures, such as blinking lights at cross walks, speed bumps, raised curbs, mobile speed trailers, and increased visible speed limit signs.

Related to traffic concerns, the City Council by vote of 3/1 directed council members Jeannie Bruins and Lynette Lee Eng to act as liaisons with staff to coordinate changes for and to reconsider the responsibilities of the Planning and Transportation Commission and the Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Commission. Three speakers addressed the city’s problems with transportation commissions, suggesting a complete street commission and looking at resolutions by Fremont in the East Bay. Council member Jan Pepper requested a schedule and date when the group would come back with a result and/or options. Bruins suggested a month from now, April 2017.

Claire Noonan, Observer