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City to vote on Palo Alto reopening popular street to cars

A few blocks of California Avenue in Palo Alto were closed off to cars in 2020 to make room for outdoor dining. 

Most businesses wanted to keep it and city leaders extended the closure through the end of this year, but on Monday night, the city will decide whether or not to reopen it.

“The other day I was seeing kids play here and I feel like that just opened up the place for more community and that’s what it’s all about,” said Neelesh Lalwani of San Jose.

The city council will decide if it should remain closed to cars for another year and while a consultant conducts a 12-month study on how to improve California Avenue. 

The manager of Zareen’s restaurant wants to keep it closed. 

“It’s way easier for the businesses here. So many people can come out here and they like the vibe outside, and they often tell us ‘this is really nice, the outdoor seating,’” said Vyas. 

Five different businesses penned an op-ed for the Palo Alto Online, noting some businesses have left the avenue. 

They’re asking for a compromise to at least open one-lane until the study is completed to improve visibility for all businesses. 

Most of the businesses behind the opinion piece were closed Monday and couldn’t be reached for comment. 

Two friends were walking in the area to research the issue for themselves. 

“But I really enjoy being able to stroll around so I think it’s a good thing,” said Deb Stapleton of Palo Alto. 

“I think the idea of having one lane where a car could drop off a person who couldn’t walk the whole distance would be a lovely idea,” said Libby Roth of Palo Alto.

The city council is expected to make a decision late Monday night.

Source: NBC Bay Area

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