RCC is authoring a booklet entitled “The Alleys of Downtown Palo Alto – An Alleyway Network Analysis.” The goal of the booklet is to highlight Palo Alto’s often-ignored downtown alleyway network to create a more vibrant, active and economically-successful, pedestrian-oriented central city district. RCC has studied the network block-by-block and has determined an alley typology, an alley interface typology, and out of this analysis, practical recommendations and specific interventions to guide alleyway transformations.
Tapas Alley, Existing: Presently this alley, like many in downtown Palo Alto, is used mainly for trash, parking and deliveries. Garbage and vehicular traffic discourage pedestrian activities needed to activate these undervalued spaces.
Tapas Alley, Transformed: Some suggested interventions include retail with large openings, plenty of private and public seating, and bike racks. Green infrastructure recommendations include permeable pavers, rain gardens, vegetation between hardscape, and a vertical green wall system. Overhead lighting and banners create a sense of spatial definition and partial enclosure.
Flora Alley, Existing: This alley is used primarily for trash, parking and deliveries.
Flora Alley, Transformed: Even if a retail space does not directly address the alley, adding a café, for instance, on the left of the alley can potentially activate that corner. Pavement boundaries (and/or striping) go a long way in providing a safer route for cyclists and pedestrians. Improvements developed for this project may include curb extensions, vegetated swales, tree wells, and permeable pavement.