City Manager Weekly Update Blog Series: March 15, 2021

City of Palo Alto
Mar 18 · 6 min read

Learn about recent City of Palo Alto updates and news.

Each Council meeting, City Manager Ed Shikada provides “City Manager Comments” sharing recent City news, and updates for the community to stay informed on important issues facing the community. This blog series summarizes these weekly updates.

If you’d prefer to watch the City Manager share this week’s updates and news at the March 15, 2021 Council meeting, click the video below.

A YEAR AGO THIS WEEK

A year ago, the World Health Organization declared that the rapidly spreading new virus was now a pandemic and the County issued a shelter in place order on March 16 in response to safeguard our community from the spread of the Coronavirus. This blog provides a moment to reflect on the uncertainty that continues through this pandemic and ways we can manage these difficult times together.

Some statistics to note:

  • 112,712 COVID-19 cases in Santa Clara County to date
  • 1,858 COVID-19 deaths in Santa Clara County to date
  • Over 3 million COVID-19 tests have been performed to date in the County
  • Over 371,867 vaccines have been administered to County residents over the age of 16

Santa Clara County and over 65% of the State continues in the State’s Red Tier, which eases restrictions allowing increased indoor activities.

FEDERAL RELIEF PACKAGE TO AID LOCAL GOVERNMENTS

Recent Presidential approval of the $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief package will positively impact Palo Alto’s fiscal situation. Relief funds can be used to mitigate the fiscal effects stemming from the public health emergency and staff will be working with the Council through the budget process on allocation of funds. Palo Alto’s specific allocation is estimated at approximately $12 million (one-time over 2 years). Staff are tracking this closely to stay up to date on timing and requirements for allocation/receipt of these funds as well as the various additional allocation that Palo Alto businesses may be eligible for.

VACCINE ROLLOUT & COVID-19 TESTING OPTIONS

County Vaccine Updates Continue at sccFreeVax.org

Availability of vaccines locally continue to be limited. Vaccinations eligibility continues for healthcare personnel, long-term care facility residents, and people who are age 65 and older, workers in education and childcare, emergency services, and the food and agriculture industries. On Friday, the State expanded eligibility to include people with certain significant, high-risk medical conditions or disabilities are eligible for vaccines statewide, to help save the lives of people who are at high-risk of death and severe complications from COVID-19.

For more vaccine information go to www.sccfreevax.org

COVID-19 Testing Continues to be critical

As a reminder, COVID-19 testing is available this week in Palo Alto on March 17 & 19

Go to www.cityofpaloalto.org/testing for timely information on upcoming testing opportunities and to book your appointment online.

COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT OPTIONS THIS WEEK

Next Uplift Local Community Check In on Tuesday, March 16 at 5:30 p.m.

We invite the community to join us as we share Uplift Local and other City updates and offer an open opportunity to share their experiences, ask questions and more.

For other ways to experience the City’s Uplift Local effort and for meeting details including the Zoom link can be found at www.upliftlocal.org

Wellness Wednesdays: Monthly Series Starts Wednesday, March 17 at 5 p.m.

New event series starts this week focusing on community wellness and wellbeing. Join Palo Alto Police Chief Robert Jonsen for an Introduction to Mindfulness for Adults. If you missed this event, it was recorded and will be posted soon to our YouTube Channel here: https://www.youtube.com/c/cityofpaloalto/

For all dates and more details about this event series, go to www.cityofpaloalto.org/bewell

SPRING BOARD, COMMISSION & COMMITTEE RECRUITMENT

Spring recruitment for Palo Alto Boards, Commissions & Committees is now open

Interested in volunteering? Apply for these opportunities before the deadline on April 6

  • Human Relations Commission (3 Positions)
  • Public Art Commission (3 Positions)
  • Storm Water Management Oversight Committee (4 Positions)
  • Utilities Advisory Commission (2 Positions)

To apply and for more details, go to http://bit.ly/bcapplications.

PUBLIC SAFETY BUILDING CONTRACTOR WORK TO BEGIN THIS WEEK

The Public Safety Building contractor will be starting to mobilize later this week and there are several ways that the public can stay informed:

  • Mailed notification was sent to residents and businesses in and around California Avenue
  • Signage will be posted with contactor and City contact details.
  • The community can sign up to receive regular email updates at www.cityofpaloalto.org/psb
  • Join us at this week’s Uplift Local Community Check-in Meeting on March 16 with questions.

The following work will be taking place over the next few weeks:

  • Electrical work will occur in the area to relocate service from the transformer in the parking lot. Traffic control will be in place.
  • Temporary reconfiguration of the County Courthouse parking lot and construction trailer set up; as a result, Sherman Ave between Park Blvd and Birch Street is expected to close.
  • Parking lot C-6 is expected to close the public later this month.

Check out the project page at www.cityofpaloalto.org/psb

VTA GRANT ANNOUNCED

On March 4, the VTA Board approved funding for transit service projects, including a grant award to support a new Palo Alto On-Demand Transit Services pilot program. While there is several more steps to implement the program, including the Council consideration of grant award agreement, this is exciting news. The City of Palo Alto received the largest grant award of $2 million requiring $500,000 in local match funds over two years. The services that is proposed is a pilot on-demand transit services model that will cover most of Palo Alto, except the East and West ends of the city that house large open space and conservation lands. The project is proposed to assist in post-pandemic recover, and will provide door-to-door services and virtual stops.

For more information about the City’s transportation projects and focus areas, go here: http://www.cityofpaloalto.org/transportation

ADDITIONAL UPDATE

Mountain View Police Incident Involving a Palo Alto Police Canine Team

Following up on the council’s discussion on the canine incident back in June 2020, the City provided additional information on the incident that you can find here.

NOTABLE TENTATIVE UPCOMING COUNCIL ITEMS

March 22:

  • Prescreening of Town & Country Village proposal for medical office use
  • Community and Economic Recovery Strategy

March 23:

  • Connecting Palo Alto Rail Grade Separation Update and Final Report From the Expanded Community Advisory Panel (XCAP)

April 5

  • Unhoused services Study Session
  • Police Department Year in Review Study Session
  • Council selection of the Housing Element Working Group

April 12

  • Study Session to Review the Citizen Satisfaction Survey Results
  • Consideration of Boards, Commissions and Committees Term Limits

April 19

  • Sustainability/Earth Day Study Session
  • Council to consider including extending the City’s parklet program and street closures as part of the City’s Uplift Local efforts

May and Beyond

  • Prescreening of 123 Sherman to redevelop as a Mixed-use Project
  • Recommendation on the North Ventura Coordinated Area Plan
  • Human Relations Commission recommendations related to CDBG funding
  • Regional Housing Allocation Appeal

For all Council meeting materials, go here: www.cityofpaloalto.org/councilagendas

STAY INFORMED

City Manager Comments Blog Series at: Medium.com/paloaltoconnect

Gain Coronavirus Updates at: CityofPaloAlto.org/Coronavirus

Sign Up for Coronavirus Updates at: CityofPaloAlto.org/newslettersignup

Call us: (650) 272–3181

Community Support Call Center is available to answer community questions

PaloAltoConnect

Official communications from the City of Palo Alto.

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