Car Free Streets: California Ave & Ramona Street

Uplift Local

Project Description

There are several efforts underway that focus on enhancing the community experience and economic vibrancy of Palo Alto. These efforts also support the City's Uplift Local initiative.

The City is seeking community and business input on Cal Ave. and Ramona St. street configurations and other visioning and programming. A Request for Proposals to study street configurations is set for spring of 2023. Input will inform the study focus.

Uplift Local Car Free Streets Introduction

The Uplift Local Car Free Streets: Cal Ave. & Ramona St. project is a Council-supported effort enabling outdoor dining, retail, and personal services in business districts such as California Avenue and the downtown core. Currently, California Avenue is open to pedestrians and closed to through vehicle traffic from El Camino Real to Birch Street. Ramona Street is also open to pedestrians and closed to vehicle traffic for a half block in between Hamilton Avenue and University Avenue. The City Council authorized Car Free Streets early in the COVID-19 pandemic as an economic recovery effort and to provide community members with outdoor spaces to gather. 

In May 2022, the City Council extended the program through the end of 2023 and directed staff to issue a Request for Proposals (RFP) to study various alternatives and impacts of different street configurations. Prior to RFP issuance, staff will engage key stakeholders and the community to better understand priorities for California Avenue and Ramona Street, and to determine the topics and themes to study and include as part of the RFP.

Scope of Work

  • Preliminary stakeholder and community engagement
  • Issue a Request for Proposals
  • Onboard a Consultant

Project Status

Happening Now

Survey results, focus group meetings, and feedback received during the December 7, 2022 in-person community workshop will inform the City's next steps, and in early 2023, staff will update the City Council on the status of the program, including a summary of outreach findings and information on the work required to evaluate long-term options.

Community Engagement

Community input will help shape the upcoming study of different street configurations and options. Community input will be planned for early 2023, to inform the release of the Request for Proposals for the study in early spring 2023. Stay tuned, more information to come!

Project Timeline

  • Phase 1

    11/2022 - 12/2022

    Preliminary engagement with the community and impacted businesses

  • Phase 2

    02/2023 - 04/2023

    Release the Request For Proposals (RFP), then onboard consultant

  • Phase 3

    04/2023 - 12/2023

    Alternatives Analysis Study

Past Meetings

The City hosted focus group meetings in November and early December 2022 and a community workshop on December 7, 2022. Thank you to those who joined us! City staff and the consultant team are currently reviewing and going over the thoughtful input and data collected, and anticipates providing an update to Council on the feedback received plus next steps in early 2023.

December 7, 2022 Community Workshop Materials

LocationsCal Ave Existing Conditions Map Cal Ave Existing Conditions Mimosa Lane to Birch Street