Midtown News
Spring 2003 Newsletter

FROM THE CHAIR - Annette Ashton
As we look ahead to 2003
Thanks to all our supporters of Midtown Residents Association for a year with much success.
Here is a recap of 2002 and our 2003 priorities

* In March, Steve Emslie, Director of Planning & Community Environment, shared the new rules for Residential Housing
* Our July meeting, featured the Palo Alto Police Department team on "Crime Busters"
* The October meeting focused on the Middlefield Road Improvements including the new Midtown Center Traffic Light at Bryson
* Also in October, we held a special interest focus group on the Matadero Creek headwall design
* In December, we co-sponsored a city-wide town hall on Emergency Preparedness

* Continued Coverage on Community TV: Matadero Creek, Public Art in Midtown, Traffic
*Unveiling and celebration in May of the Liz Lada mural on Longs north side!
*Grand Opening of the Hoover Park bathrooms in June
*September Social and Celebration of the Seale Park Renovation
*Second Annual Ice Cream Social in October
*Start of Midtown Poetry Wall Contest for the second Midtown Mura

* Funding in the City 2003 Budget for a Middlefield Traffic Light
*Successful team work with the Water District, City, Barron Park Association on the Matadero Creek wall heights and design
*Instigated the process to pass a city ordinance to reduce Urban Blight in our neighborhoods in September

Commercial Shopping Areas
  Our focus will be to see that all Midtown shopping areas, Middlefield businesses as well as Alma Plaza, conform to the MRA Goals of Neighborhood Serving Retail which are: Local Scale, Pedestrian/Bicycle/Vehicle Safety, and Retail Variety/Convenience.
Emergency Preparedness
  Our focus on Safety and Community Building will start by encouraging Midtown residents to attend PANDA and Red Cross training, establishing block coordinators, and organizing several pilot blocks to be independent in case of an emergency.
  We remain committed to the installation of a traffic light at Midtown Center. Other areas of focus will be the shopping areas, pedestrian and bicycle safety, and traffic calming.
Water Issues
  The onset of the Matadero Creek work will require our attention, as will scrutiny of the storm drain initiative.
Thanks for a great year!
Hope to see you at the upcoming February 25th meeting on the Budget Deficit.
Tell your neighbors.

Matadero Creek 2002 Success and 2003 Challenges
Sheri Furman, Creek Committee Chair
On June 19, the Matadero Creek Committee cosponsored a stakeholders meeting with the Santa Clara Valley Water District to discuss alternatives to the proposed flood and headwall heights proposed by the District's DEIR for the Matadero/Barron Creeks Long-Term Remediation Project. 27 people representing eight different groups, including city and county officials, attended the meeting.

Although most of the alternatives were dismissed as either impractical or too costly, we did achieve significant results in reducing the wall heights.

The District submitted a risk-based statistical analysis for reducing the wall height requirements, which FEMA approved. This is the first non-Federal case EVER approved by FEMA - a real coup for the SCVWD as well as a benefit to us. It's also a positive outcome for residents west of Ross Road - flood protection and no more flood insurance. The outcome:
Bridge Downstream Upstream
Headwall Existing Height New Height Existing Height New Height
Greer 3.1 feet 3.8 feet 3.8 feet 5.0 feet
Louis 2.2 feet 2.2 feet 2.8 feet 4.3 feet
Waverley 2.2 feet 3.8 feet 2.2 feet 2.2 feet

We still face major disruptions from the project - the Louis Road bridge will be demolished and the road raised a foot. Floodwalls will be built up, traffic will be impacted. We will, however, continue to work with the City and Water District to mitigate disruptions as much as possible.

Construction Timeframe
Upstream (West) of 101 April-October 2003 Louis Road Bridge Replacement - 3 months
U-frame Channel modification - 2 months
Grading and drainage on Louis Road - 2 months
Floodwall improvements - 5 months
  April-October 2004 Floodwall improvements - 5 months
Headwall improvements - 3 months
Downstream Bypass Channel June -October 2004 Channel grading, dewatering and construction of the concrete channel bottom
Vegetative wall, floodwalls, landscaping and site restoration

Headwall and Railing Designs Chosen By Residents
Part of the project also includes improving the look of the three rebuilt bridge headwalls. Because the upstream (west) headwalls on Louis and Greer will be higher, the sidewalk next to those walls will be raised to allowed continued visibility into the creek. Raised sidewalks necessitate a safety railing.

Midtown residents were asked to vote on some of the proposed wall and rail designs (which were themselves limited by the City and various legal requirements). Resident preferences are shown below. Although the preliminary design has been favorably received by the SCVWD and the Public Arts Commission, the final approval has yet to occur. I will keep you informed of the progress.

Traffic Focus in 2003
Sheri Furman, Traffic Committee Chair
Traffic concerns are an ongoing issue in Midtown. As the new Traffic Chair, I urge you to join me in working on the various aspects of this issue. I propose forming the following subcommittees to identify problems and propose and help implement solutions:

Midtown Center/Middlefield Traffic
In addition to the Middlefield reconfiguration and traffic light, areas of focus include the entrance to Midtown Court, internal circulation at the Center, parking in the shopping area west of Middlefield, and delivery trucks on residential streets.

Alma Center Traffic
Jay Hammer is heading this committee to work on solutions for the problems stemming from the new development at Alma Plaza.

Bicycle/Pedestrian Safety
Areas of focus may include the lack of bicycle paths near Midtown Center, the lack of adequate bicycle parking in Midtown Center, and the lack of crossing areas on Middlefield between Loma Verde and Colorado. Other areas of concern are the impact of the Matadero Creek project, school areas, and skateboarders.

Traffic Calming Programs
Problem areas include the Midtown Center/Middlefield reconfiguration, the Matadero Creek project, and speeding on West Bayshore. One recent program includes speed bumps and the installation of a traffic circle in the Moreno/Indian area.

If you are interested in participating in one of these committees, please contact me at sheri11@earthlink.net or call me at 856-0869.

Midtown Water Resources Committee
Areas of focus in 2003 include:

Matadero Creek Project 2003-2004
* Monitor problem areas
* Work with SCVWD and Public Art Commission

Storm Drains/Sewers
* Evaluate feasibility/effectiveness of proposed Storm Drain Committee recommendations
* What's really needed in Midtown?

Storm Watch
* Need resident near each creek bridge to notify SCVWD when debris hinders water flow
* Prepare list of people who may need help if creeks overflow

For more information, contact Sheri Furman at sheri11@earthlink.net or call 856-0869

Stanford Hospital "Partners In Caring" Program Needs Volunteers!
Do you have just two hours a week to help members of your community who are homebound? Opportunities may include friendly visiting, transportation, grocery shopping, and caregiver relief. Volunteer visits bring joy, companionship and the human connection of caring into the lives of others. Volunteers have feelings of having done something very worthwhile and volunteering is good for your health!

For more information contact: Candace Mindigo, RN Director, Partners in Caring Stanford Hospital and Clinics. Phone: 650-725-4137 or candace.mindigoİmedcenter.stanford.edu

A Neighbor's Independence Depends on You!

Guest Editorial - City of Palo Alto Mayor - Dena Mossar
Traffic and transportation are one of the City's top five priorities. To preserve our quality of life, we have dedicated a great deal of time and effort to various programs that are designed to make Palo Alto safe and comfortable. These projects are outlined on the City's website www.cityofpaloalto.org in the Transportation Division of the Planning Department.

What are some of the things that Palo Alto has done recently? Neighborhood traffic calming includes added police enforcement, our new Neighborhood Pace Car program, electronic traffic signals, and at least four different ways to monitor speed.

We are committed to reducing traffic congestion. We are one of a few cities that has a concentrated effort to improve alternative transportation with a free shuttle bus, employer incentives for commuters, and bike lanes.

We also need to recognize that as individuals, we can all do our part to make Palo Alto a safer community. We need to drive more safely, and be more aware of bikes and pedestrians.

Please join me in becoming a part of the solution. You can take the "Neighborhood Pace Car" pledge, by calling Ruchika Aggarwal at (650) 617-3136. I've taken the pledge and now proudly display my "Palo Alto Resident - I Drive Safely" bumper sticker on my car.

With you help, we'll see lots of safe driving in our town!!!

The Midtown Residents Association Steering Committee Slate of Officers for 2003 follows:
Chair: Annette Ashton
Treasurer: Sylvia Gartner
Business Relations: Karen Lawrence
Communications: Sheri Furman
Emergency Preparedness: Keen Butcher
Events: Molly Rich
Membership and Development: Karen Lawrence
Midtown Shopping Beautification: Mimi Wolf
Public Art: Annette Ashton
Publicity and Media: Stepheny McGraw
Traffic and Water Issues: Sheri Furman
Zoning: Lynn Chiapella
Members at large: Tom Ashton, Jay Hammer, Ron Wolf
These names will be formally presented and approved at the General meeting held on February 25th.

The latest word on the opening of our new Midtown restaurant Como Esta and Walgreens Midtown is that it will be in mid-May. We are planning a gala celebration and a poetry reading by the winners of the Midtown Poetry wall competition. Stay tuned!

The Midtown Residents Association wants to represent you and your issues. We seek your feedback about our focus issues and ongoing programs. By becoming a member (and sending in your email if you have one) you enable us to work for you and present your issues to Council, staff and the city commissions. There is strength in numbers! Join us! Please note that your mailing label contains the date you last sent us a check for a one-year membership.

Many thanks to those who joined or renewed in the last few months! If you haven't yet joined, MRA membership is a bargain for $10/year. Your dues enable us to hold meetings, and fund our mailing of postcard announcements, newsletters and flyers. To join, just mail the attached card to our treasurer Sylvia Gartner. For current members, we invite you to share the newsletter and membership card with a neighbor.

NOTE: In the next month it will be possible to use your credit card to join or renew your MRA membership! Stay tuned.

Brigid Barton Andrea Boehmer Keen Butcher
Chris and Rebecca Davis Friends Nursery School Jane Harris
Vera Leung Anne Firth Murray Jennifer and Andrew Mutz
Abbas Rafii Dan and Nancy Smith Greg Snodgrass
Shelby Valentine Hana Verny Jason Wilburn

If you are in interested in getting more involved in our Midtown Neighborhood, we have openings on several committees. For more information or questions, contact MRA Chair, Annette Ashton, at 321-1280 or Annette_Gİatt.net.

Keep informed on Midtown Happenings. Subscribe to Midtown enews. We also accept for publication brief announcements or newsworthy items. Send your news and your email address to MidtownNews@ATT.NET.

If you change your email, please let us know so you can continue to receive the news!

Friends Meeting Place -- 957 Colorado; Doors open at 7:00; Meeting starts at 7:30 PM

Come to the first MRA general meeting of 2003 and hear our City Manager-Frank Benest-and County Supervisor Liz Kniss discuss the current budget deficit, moderated by MRA founder and past Chair Debbie Mytels. Audience questions will be addressed.

Doors open at 7PM. Come early, and talk with our invited guests and council members about your issues and concerns.

* Celebration of Poetry Wall, Recognition of Winning Poets & Reading of the Winning Poems.
  Formal opening of Walgreens / Como Esta
* Third Annual Ice Cream & Issues will be held in September at Seale Park
* City Council Candidates Forum will be held mid-October
* Middlefield Traffic Light Ribbon Cutting will be held in the fall

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