Palo Alto may reopen streets sooner than planned

Local Union 271 is one of the Palo Alto restaurants that is putting tables outdoors. Post photo.

Daily Post Staff Writer

Palo Alto City Council next month will consider reopening all city street in July, earlier than the previous reopening date of Oct. 31, after closing down several streets through the pandemic to allow restaurants to operate outdoors.

City Manager Ed Shikada said at last night’s council meeting that he will recommend reopening University Avenue and Ramona Street on July 6, and waiting until Sept. 7 to reopen California Avenue.

Last month council decided to extend the closure through Halloween.

While the restaurants operating outdoors benefited from the street closures, other business people including property owners feel the streets should be reopened now.

Roxy Rapp, a major downtown landlord, told the Post earlier this month the street closures hurt businesses without much outdoor space and those that aren’t directly on the closed street.

“The city council has to realize that they’re going to have a ton of vacancies,” Rapp said.

In addition to closing portions of the streets, the city has also allowed restaurants to expand into curb-side parking spaces, creating what are called “parklets.”

“I’m for the parklets, don’t get me wrong. Give them the parklets,” Rapp said. “But don’t give them the … streets. It doesn’t belong to them, it belongs to everybody.”

Similarly, mid-Peninsula restaurateur Rob Fischer told the Post last month the streets should be open to all.

“I think we’re on the right road to reopening the economy but I think we’ve waited way too long, and I just don’t see the reasoning behind the decisions to keep everything closed,” Fischer said. “And for all those businesses who have had to close permanently, and not be able to reopen, I feel terrible for them. And I think that in order to give everybody a fighting chance, we need to reopen everything.”

Council will decide what to do about the streets sometime next month.


  1. This was a gift from the City to certain favored businesses and a giant middle finger to less favored businesses. It’s corruption. The streets ought to be reopened today. And if a restaurant wants to take over parking spaces for a parklet, they should be charged the parking in-lieu rate of $106,000 per space.

    • How about we just let all businesses take over street parking spaces? The space is much better used as dining areas anyways instead of government-subsidized storage for a car that isn’t even in use.

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