City Council

Los Altos City Council Agenda – April 10 – Civic Center Bond Poll Results Coming

Billboard for Los Altos Civic Center Bond
Written by lalahpolitico

Highlights of the Los Altos City Council agenda are:

1) the Civic Center Bond Poll results and potential calling of a bond election for August 28,  and
2)  steps towards the Sorensens’ 40 Main Street parking lot restripping and other Downtown Parking Management approaches.

Arrive on time if you want to hear those Bond Poll results. It’s the first item up after the consent calendar.

Here is the Full Agenda Packet in a single file.



1. Minutes of March 27


Los Altos Bike Plan Revision - Signage & Improvements

2. Bicycle Transportation Plan  (148 pages)

The consultant, Alta,  has completed the contract obligations to update the bicycle transportation plan. This is required to occur every 5 years.

Fiscal Impact: The City’s adopted five-year Capital Improvement Program (CIP) includes $2.5 million for bicycle and pedestrian improvements such as the Intersection Bicycle Loops, Covington Road Class I Pathway, Grant Road Bicycle Lane, Miramonte Avenue Path and Carmel Terrace Class I Pathway. Although additional funding is not being requested as part of the BTP adoption, this Plan does present a number of projects, including the above adopted CIP projects, to improve bicycle transportation opportunities in Los Altos. Such projects total $9.9 million. Staff will use this document in evaluating annual CIP updates on a going forward basis for Council consideration.


The packet contains the full 150 page plan.  There are maps of the collector road traffic calming plans.  There is a table of bike parking capacity at public and private schools.  There is a bike collision analysis section. About half the time the bicyclist was the party at fault ( either caused by unsafe speed, the wrong side of the road, or not following the traffic rules of the road) Table 4.4 It also contains maps of suggested bike routes to school, for each school.


3. Annual Concrete repair

CIP includes a budget of $200 K.  Three bids were received. The staff recommends the low bidder $168K  which has successfully completed similar work for several cities in the area.


4. Transportation Development Act Article 3 Grant

The city is accepting about $20K and will apply it to the Grant Road pathway project.


5. Share-Use Path Signage

The standards for such signage are not comprehensive.  Therefore going forward, the city will consult with a traffic engineer on a case-by-case basis as the need for Class I Bikeways restriping occurs.  Several specific changes to bike signs in several locations are recommended to clarify the nature of the shared use.


6.Financial Systems Upgrade – Grant Tracking and Research

The City is spending $17,500 on E-Civis software. Project 03-16. License fees will be built into future operations. There is a possibility that the research function could help the city locate grant opportunities, such that the software would pay for itself.


7. Donation of Sculpture – The Thinker!!!

The  8-foot Thinker, once accepted as a donaton, will be installed in front of Woodland Library. There will be an installation cost, but it can be handled by the Maintenance Services Department.


8. Report of Development Impact Fees – AB1600

When a developer incurs a park-in-lieu fee, the fees collected must be used for purchaseing or improving park or recreational faciltiies.  When a developer incurs a traffic fee, the fees collected are used for transporation improvements.

There are about $37K of unexpended park-in-lieu fees over 5 years old.  By law these need to be explicitly recommitted by council.

A CIP project Collector Street Traffic Calming – Fremont from Miramonte to the city limit was mistakenly marked as completed in the Dec. 2011 mid-year CIP report.  It will be corrected in the next quarterly CIP report.

The impact fees report shows a current year balance of the parking fees at about $1.3M.  This amount must be the new Packard Building parking-in-lieu fee, just collected last week by Mayor Carpenter.

The report also shows how parking fee funds were disbursed on various City Park projects.  Such fees paid for more than half of Rosita Park improvements. ($927K of $1.7M)

The report also shows the Fee Schedule or prices of development.


9. Sublease Agreement between County Fire and Rural/Metro

The county is changing a subcontractor and the City has to agree to that.




10. Payday Lending Moratorium

The city seeks to impose a temporary moratorium on the establishment of such businesses in the city.  This will provide time for staff and the City Attorney to study how to limit the operation of such businesses and to limit the demand for such services within the City.


EDITORIAL COMMENT:  It will be interesting to see if the lobbyist from the Community Lenders Association shows up to comment, like he did at the first meeting when this item was on the agenda.




11. Community Center Master Plan



The polling was completed only on March 27, but us citizens will be thrilled to get a sneak preview of the findings, when Mr. Godbe presents the PREMIERE of the results Tuesday night.   Neither a written report, nor a copy of the questionnaire are included in the agenda packet.  Why not? The results are not yet available, yet they are available enough on April 10.  [Perhaps a copy will be placed in the city council chambers ante-room in a binder a hour before the meeting, just like the bad old days.]


Quoting the pro forma, says nothing, two-page report, “While the results of the survey are not yet available, firm president Bryan Godbe will be prepared to present the results at the April 10, 2012 meeting… Recommendation: receive the report and direct the staff accordingly.”

Just what kind of direction will council give? To distribute the written report to the public and the press and take the matter up again on April 24?  Or to call the election immediately?


12. Draft Scope for Parking Management Plan RFPs


“As Council may be aware, the 40 Main Street Offices, LLC developers, Ted and Jerry Sorenson, have submitted a proposal to City staff to reconfigure the parking layout in Plaza 10 to gain 20 additional stalls in that plaza. Staff recommends that the Parking Management Plan review that concept and see how it may apply to all ten parking plazas. In addition, the study will determine if these additional stalls would assist with eliminating an existing parking deficit or if they would provide a surplus supply.”


“Identify options for increasing the existing supply of parking, including, but not limited to, restriping or reconfiguring existing off-street parking, potential locations for structured parking and opportunities for joint development on private property.” “Identify and evaluate financing options for the capital cost of expanding the parking supply and for on-going maintenance and operating costs, including, but not limited to, permit fee revenue, an in-lieu parking program and a parking assessment district.”


Los Altos Politico supposes the restriping option will come to pass.  It’s the cheapest and even if it only is a fix for 5 years, it’s probably cost effective.  However, we wish the City would charge for parking.  Unfortunately the narrow sidewalks downtown probably can’t absorb parking meter poles. All those sculptures, and planters, and sitting walls…


The consultant would likely cost between $100K to $150K. The funding will be considered by council as part of the June 2012 CIP a couple months from now.

13. Partnership Opportunity for a Plastic Bag Ban

San Mateo County is bringing forward a regional approach for a ban on carryout bags. “Participation in the regional effort, being paid for substantially by San Mateo County, could result in significant cost savings for the City from not having to do its own study should we decide to move forward in adopting the regional ordinance or some similar version. Staff estimates that such an EIR study could cost $25,000 if done by the City independently.”

“Such a ban in the City would contribute a substantial trash reduction credit towards meeting the City’s 40% goal by July 14,2014 as required by the MRP.” In case you were wondering, this is all about reducing pollution of storm drain run-off.

About the author


Norma Schroder is an economics & market researcher by trade and ardent independent journalist, photographer and videographer by avocation. Enthralled by the growth of the tech industry over the decades, she became fascinated with the business of local politics only in the past several years.