Another CEQA Lawsuit Prevents Streetscape Improvements

The improvements involve a lane reduction for a 3 1/2 block business district in Palo Alto known as California Avenue. The four-lane street is within a "pedestrian-transit oriented district" due to a Caltrain station at the end of the avenue.

Palo Alto won a $1.2 million grant from the Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority's TOD program to fund the $1.7 million project that will create a more pedestrian, bicycle, and transit oriented business district. It received overwhelming approval from those who testified at a Feb. 14 city council meeting. The 9 member city council approved the project unanimously.

"Mr. Terry Shuchat, whose camera business, Keeble & Shuchat, is located on California Avenue, and Ms. Joy Ogawa (a Palo Alto resident) filed a suit with the Santa Clara County Superior Court asking for the court to halt the project and require Palo Alto to redo its environmental analysis. The plaintiffs claim that the city's "negative declaration" -- an environmental analysis required by the California Environmental Quality Act -- for the project is deeply flawed. They argue in the suit that it did not consider, among other things, an "adequate project description" and evidence from business owners about the impacts of project constructions."

From Planetizen: San Francisco Bike Plan Ban Lifted: "Perhaps more than any other lawsuit based on the California Environmental Quality Act, the suspension of San Francisco's bike plan on the basis that the city had not prepared an Environmental Impact Report showing the impact that bike lanes would have on vehicle parking and traffic revealed how this 4-decade old law may be easily misused in terms of the urban landscape."

Full Story: Palo Alto sued over Cal Ave streetscape plan

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