I’ve shopped at and pointed people to Keeble & Shuchat on California Avenue in Palo Alto, CA. They have a huge supply of every kind of photo gear imaginable. Given their apparent opposition to pedestrian safety, I’m not sure I can recommend them anymore.
Traffic surveys on California Avenue show pedestrians and cyclists outnumber people who drive here (locally pronounced “Cal Av”). The mom and pop shops and bistros make a go of livening up their business district, but they’re hamstrung by a crumbling four-lane dead end road with outdated street design. The district is devoid of any sense of place or identity. If any place screams out for a streetscape renovation, this is it.
Cal Ave directly in front of Keeble & Shuchat Photography. You can see how heavy traffic is on this street.
Most local residents and business owners support the proposed streetscape project, which reduces four lanes to two, enhances safety for walkers and bicycle riders through traffic calming, and adds a sense of place and distinctiveness, all while adding more parking. This 1500 foot long section of California Avenue begins at the heavily traveled El Camino Real and is anchored by the California Avenue Transit Plaza. The Caltrain station at the Transit Plaza sends several hundred people walking and biking down Cal Ave every workday.
The four lanes currently running down California Avenue are unnecessary. Parking might be limited, but traffic congestion is not an issue here (as you can see in the Google Streetview image above).
I’m surprised that a couple of local businesses, including Keeble & Shuchat Photography, oppose the plan so much they filed a lawsuit alleging environment review violations and prevailed. Shuchat and the other plaintiffs believe cutting down the lanes will result in less traffic for their store, but given the existing level of traffic on Cal Ave, that’s hard for me to believe. Did I mention they’ll get 20% more parking, and that people will probably be encouraged to linger in the neighborhood longer?
Can somebody explain the opposition? Do they believe they’ll see less traffic due to the road diet?