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'Meet this moment': Growing coalition calls for Palo Alto to expand access to Foothills Park

Original post made on Jun 10, 2020

Calling it a policy that sends a terrible message, dozens of Palo Alto residents and community leaders are petitioning the City Council to abolish a law that keeps residents who live in other cities from visiting Foothills Park.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Wednesday, June 10, 2020, 12:32 PM

Comments (10)

Posted by Shari Emling
a resident of Martens-Carmelita
on Jun 10, 2020 at 2:56 pm

I owned a home in Los Altos Hills for 35 years and thought it was not only odd, but laughable that this park was open exclusively for Palo Alto residents - when the ONLY access to it was on Page Mill Road in Los Altos Hills. Should LAH have prohibited Palo Alto residents all use of Page Mill Road, and thus access to their private park?
What a hideous message this exclusion gives to the rest of the population - and how very shameful and outdated.

Posted by Frederick M
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Jun 10, 2020 at 3:00 pm

Elitist Policy. Just terrible! Every other city welcomes non-residents but not Palo Alto. Is that why they call it Shallow Alto! Foothills Park would make a great County Park or a Palo Alto Park for everyone.

Posted by Rossta
a resident of Waverly Park
on Jun 10, 2020 at 3:31 pm

Long overdue. Just imagine if any city tried to create such a restriction now. How would that be received? I live in Mountain View, a city that has put in a great many parks and trails. Palo Altons haven't chipped in money for any of those. What if Shoreline specifically excluded Palo Alto residents? It's ridiculous and I am sure the current city council will recognize that and respond appropriately. My friends in Palo Alto have shared similar sentiments with me for years, suggesting that Palo Alto turn over the property to county parks or Midpen.

Posted by Kjell
a resident of Castro City
on Jun 10, 2020 at 6:35 pm

I would love to be able to bring scouting troops to learn how to camp and enjoy the great outdoors at Foothills! Palo Alto please do the right thing!

Posted by Steven Nelson
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Jun 11, 2020 at 11:30 am

The above comment about MV's Shoreline Park is extremely on-point. Shoreline is funded from a special property tax diversion district that yearly diverts tens of millions of General Fund tax revenue dollars from the schools, county, and CITY General Funds! Palo Alto residents - using Shoreline Lake for instance, have paid collectively $0 in taxes to support Our Park!
- So, PA City Council: please listen to your own Parks & Rec current majority and the majority of past mayors.

Posted by Former PA resident
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Jun 11, 2020 at 11:56 am

Contrast the comments above vs. many of those on the Palo Alto copy of the same article: Web Link

Reluctance to share; dire predictions for consequences of non-Palo-Alto hordes; various old arguments against it. "I haven't seen a single rational argument yet for opening the park further to non-residents." "not impressed by the "growing coalition" of dozens of residents [calling to expand park access]...Sounds like a vocal and annoying minority." "No to opening the park to LAH residents unless the city of LAH agrees to pay 50+ years of use fees, with interest. LAH residents have been sneaking in all along."

This happens on the Palo Alto website each time the subject comes up. Some of the arguments come across (to anyone outside PA and many inside) as strained, selfish rationalizations.

Five current comments there, from people claiming Palo Alto addresses, even complain about experiencing crowding at Rancho San Antonio Preserve (located in Cupertino and Los Altos), which has never excluded visitors from Palo Alto (none of those 5 commenters appears conscious of the irony).

I like Shari Emling's comment on this page, that the Park's road access is through Los Altos Hills, which has never questioned Palo Altans' use of it. (Even those who now gripe that "LAH residents have been sneaking in all along."

Posted by MtnViewMomTryingToFindParksWithParking
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Jun 11, 2020 at 6:21 pm

I went to Heritage Oaks Park in Los Altos yesterday and it had all the parking blocked off saying the park was closed (though I did then see locals walking and biking to the park and using the grassy area) - is parking blocked off at all Los Altos parks?

Posted by Exclusion
a resident of Martens-Carmelita
on Jun 11, 2020 at 7:40 pm

[Post removed due to disrespectful comment or offensive language]

Posted by Exclusion
a resident of Martens-Carmelita
on Jun 12, 2020 at 3:27 pm

I'm sorry, I stated this respectfully and without any offensive language. It is deeply important to point out the hypocrisy of Shari Emling above; she has worked hard to overturn Measure V and to roust our unhoused neighbors in this city. These are facts, stated dispassionately. She has chosen to be a vocal proponent of those policies of exclusion, and then has the audacity to decry our neighbors when they exclude her.

Posted by Peter Parker
a resident of Rex Manor
on Jun 13, 2020 at 7:58 pm

FYI Shoreline Park was originally purchased partially with county funds and so there's a requirement that MV not restrict access like Palo Alto does. Sunnyvale charges admission to Baylands Park but MV can't do that without permission from the county.

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