Palo Alto Officials To Revamp California Avenue

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California Ave. in Palo Alto (KCBS)

California Ave. in Palo Alto (KCBS)

PALO ALTO (KCBS) – First, it was cutting down the trees on California Avenue in Palo Alto. Now, the latest controversy involves a major change to the streetscape.

The Palo Alto City Council has voted to reduce the number of traffic lanes from 4 to 2. The hope is to make it more pedestrian and bicycle friendly.

“Cars are never really attractive to look at,” said one local resident. “So I like the idea of it just being a walkway and not having the visage of cars.”

KCBS’ Mike Colgan Reports:

But merchants are generally opposed to the changes, saying they fear it would drive away business by making it harder to park.

“If you’ve ever been to Castro Street during lunchtime, it’s nuts,” said Dale, who manages Accent Arts. “People are driving around like crazy, trying to find a place to park. People only have so much time for lunch, so I think the idea is nuts.”

While many residents are in favor of the change, some feel it should be left the way it is.

“Personally, I think it would just gentrify it and make it more ubiquitous, more like University Avenue and Castro Street,” said one resident. “I like the old-fashioned downtown feel that is Palo Alto and I think we should just leave it the way it is.”

The city is paying for about a third of the $1.7 million project.

(© 2011 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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