Almost Missed It

I have to confess that although I know a lot about Redwood City and do what I can to keep up on all of the latest, I sometimes miss things. Sometimes it is understandable; because I do most of my research on foot, I often don’t get to some parts of the city very frequently, and thus can miss things. Thankfully, I regularly hear from you, my readers, about things that I should know about. For instance, this week one of my readers wrote to me asking whether it is true that Galeotti’s Pizzeria, which has been located for many, many years in the small shopping center at the corner of Jefferson Avenue and Upton Street, is becoming a Mountain Mike’s. I had to confess that I didn’t know, but I immediately added it to my list of places to check out. I managed to pay them a visit on Wednesday, after which I had to write back to my reader and let him know that indeed, Galeotti’s Pizzeria has been sold, and it will soon become a Mountain Mike’s. While I’m very glad that this will remain a pizza restaurant, I must admit to a bit of sadness that it will no longer be the independent pizza place that it once was. I’m a big supporter of the little guy over the big chains, and Galeotti’s was certainly what I would call a “little guy” in the restaurant business. Nevertheless, the outcome could have been much worse: we could have found ourselves with an empty storefront, which would have been a real disappointment. And ever since Mountain Mike’s moved from their freestanding building on El Camino Real in Redwood City to a storefront on El Camino in San Carlos, Redwood City has been without an outlet of this popular chain. So all in all, if Galeotti’s has to go, I’m just fine with it becoming a Mountain Mike’s.

The sale of Galeotti’s to a new owner is the kind of thing that, although I wish I’d discovered it myself, I don’t kick myself too hard for missing. I don’t walk that section of Jefferson Avenue all that much, so it is understandable. But as I’ve noted before, I spend a lot of time downtown: I try to get there at least once a week. And pretty much every time I go downtown, I spend a little time in or near Courthouse Square. Thus, changes there shouldn’t come as a surprise. For instance, I did know about the art installation in one of the kiosks that line the square, thanks to the various emails that the city sends out. Thus, when they were installing it I took some pictures and immediately filed them under “public art” in my ever-growing photo library. That particular art installation — called We Make a Home, by local Redwood City photographer Erin Ashford — consisted of a wooden structure in which the roof was covered with replicas of people’s hands. It certainly was interesting, although I’ll freely admit that it wasn’t my cup of tea.

This particular art installation should be gone by now, but another should have taken its place (I must admit I haven’t checked yet); this kiosk is scheduled to house a variety of art installations throughout the entire year. Do check it out: it’s the front kiosk on the left as you face the historic courthouse.

I knew about the art installation, but I didn’t know about this:

Just when did this clock appear? It is located on Middlefield Road, very close to the corner of Broadway. I walk through that intersection quite frequently, so I’m hoping that it was installed very recently and thus I haven’t been walking by it for months, or years, without noticing. But perhaps it has been there for quite some time and it fit in so well with the surroundings that it just didn’t register in my brain. I did look back and I have some photos I took of the two palm trees you see in the photo above, photos I took back in 2014. The clock definitely wasn’t there then…

Thanks to another alert reader, I was notified about an absolutely beautiful mural down on Middlefield Road in North Fair Oaks. That’s definitely an area I don’t get to often enough: that’s a pretty long walk for me. It’s a good one, though; I usually make a big loop, walking down Middlefield Road to Fifth Avenue, and then heading back along El Camino Real. But as I said, I haven’t been down there in a while, so when I was asked if I’d seen the mural along Middlefield Road between Second and Third avenues, I added that, too, to my list of things to check out. Then, when I had a chance, I did. It really is spectacular:

If you look closely (click the above photo for a version you can zoom in on) the Papel Picado placemats strung across the top of the mural (they are painted on, of course; they aren’t real paper placemats) spell out “North Fair Oaks”. It is a really nice touch. The whole thing is really well done, with, as you can see, a lot to look at. I highly recommend that anyone interested in this type of art check it out. It is rather hard to miss if you are heading southbound on Middlefield Road: you’ll see it on your right just after you pass Second Avenue (turn on Second Avenue if you want to park in the parking lot that this mural faces onto).

The mural faces onto a great little public parking lot that I don’t recall being there before. It certainly is in good shape. I believe it was redone as part of the project that San Mateo County will be starting soon, the project to rework Middlefield Road. According to the county’s website,

The Project would reconfigure Middlefield Road between Pacific Avenue and Fifth Avenue from a four-lane, two-way roadway to a three-lane (one lane in each direction with a center left turn lane) roadway with parallel parking, bike lanes, and wider sidewalks. Expanded sidewalk would be constructed to accommodate street amenities, such as benches, landscaping, street lights, trash receptacles, street art, public spaces, wayfinding signage, and low-impact development for stormwater management.

The Project would remove the existing overhead utilities between MacArthur Avenue and Fifth Avenue, and replace them with a proposed underground joint utility trench in the new southbound travel lane of Middlefield Road

The Project includes replacing the existing sewer lines between Douglas Avenue and Sixth Avenue as part of a sanitary system upgrade.

As one who periodically walks this section of Middlefield Road, I can’t wait! Fortunately, I don’t have to wait for something very similar: while the county is reworking a part of Middlefield Road in the North Fair Oaks area, the city of Redwood City is doing something akin to this on the section of Middlefield Road between Maple Street and Woodside Road. If you walk that section of Middlefield Road, as I often do, one thing that you cannot help but see are the many overhead electrical lines, which supply power, telephone, and cable TV to the houses in the area:

It’s a real rat’s nest of wires, and I’m delighted that Redwood City has begun a lengthy project to take them all down. After that, the street and sidewalks will be cleaned up. Here is the description of Redwood City’s project:

Construction of underground facilities for telecommunication lines & equipment, and removal of overhead telecommunication lines and utility poles.  This project will be followed by a Streetscape improvement project which will replace the sidewalks and add accessible curb ramps, crosswalks, protected bicycle lanes, street lights, and street trees on Middlefield Road between Maple Street and Woodside Road.

The project is expected to take until the end of 2020, but it’ll be well worth it. My one regret is that it may be affecting one other project I’m very keen to see done: the expansion of Jardin de Ninōs park. This delightful little Redwood City park is located at the corner of Middlefield Road and Chestnut Street, and several years ago it was remodeled into what is now a jewel of the neighborhood. Around that same time, the city purchased an adjacent property and tore down the rather dilapidated house that stood there at the time. Since then the lot has sat empty, surrounded by construction fencing. I’ve kept a close eye on it, but although the planning has been done, no real work has started on the property. Almost exactly a month ago I walked by, though, and thought that my dreams were coming true: the lot that will become an extended part of Jardin de Ninōs park was covered by crushed concrete, and there was a backhoe and two porta-potties on the site.

For a few moments I thought that the park expansion was getting underway, but then I saw the sidewalks along Middlefield Road:

All of the markings on the sidewalks clearly were to indicate where the underground utilities currently run, a necessary step before the utility project contractors begin trenching for the conduits and underground pipes that will soon carry the overhead wires. Once I realized that the utility relocation project had gotten underway, it all made sense: the city-owned lot that will one day be part of the park is temporarily being used as a staging area for materials and machinery needed for the utility relocation project. Indeed, I drove by the site again just a couple of days ago and noticed that it now contains, in addition to the backhoe and the porta-potties, a bunch of pipes. So it appears that the park expansion project will have to wait until the Middlefield Road utility project is completed.

When I walk, I see so much more than when I drive, but nevertheless I still miss things from time to time. I’m thankful for my blog’s many readers, who helpfully let me know about things I sometimes miss. Although I don’t know the answers to all your questions, I love to know what interests all of you, so don’t hesitate to send me your questions and comments. Add a comment to this or any of my blog posts, or, if you have something you don’t necessarily want to share with everyone else, feel free to send me an email at greg@walkingRedwoodCity.com.