Traffic Calming Meeting at Belwood May 11 2011

Los Gatos Parks and Public Works Director Todd Capurso leads the Belwood Gateway Traffic Calming Meeting

Update May 17, 2011:

At the meeting described below, several residents complained that Bacigalupi Drive is the worst for speeders – possibly because it is so wide near Harwood Road.  Yesterday an electronic device was placed in this stretch of the road which displays how fast cars are travelling. It would be great if this slowed traffic down – thank you, Town of Los Gatos!!

Until tonight, I’d never been to a traffic calming meeting.  It was anything but “calm”!  Los Gatos Parks and Public Works Director Todd Capurso did a great job running the gathering despite strong feelings and loud voices.

Prior to tonight, there had been 2 other meetings just for residents along Belwood Gateway.  Apparently they had a large number of signers on a petition requesting that the town of Los Gatos consider measures to slow traffic down along that road, which joins up with Almond Blossom and creates a cut through to Camden Avenue.  Neither I nor other area residents were aware of the prior meetings because only Belwood Gateway residents were invited since it was that street which had requested the meeting. (Lesson # 1 of the night: if you want traffic calming measures taken in your area, get a petition signed by residents and present it to the town.)

Some of the meeting attendees at the traffic calming meeting for Belwood Gateway on May 11, 2011 at the Belwood Cabana

Since ONE of the previously proposed solutions was to partially barricade Belwood Gateway at Harwood and that would impact nearby streets, those of us in the “impacted areas” were invited to tonight’s meeting.  My family and I live on Bacigalupi Drive and we would definitely be impacted if that road were blocked, so I was made aware of this ongoing process recently.

Clearly, the issue is not just along one street, though perhaps Belwood Gateway has the biggest problem due to the “shortcut” being taken.  Almost unanimously, the 50 or more people present indicated that the problems are these:

  1. Many people DRIVE TOO FAST in the neighborhood
  2. Motorists IGNORE STOP SIGNS entirely or merely roll through them

Other issues were raised too, such as left turns onto courts which resulted in vehicles being on the wrong side of the road at the end of the turn or folks on Harwood Road having great difficulty backing out of their driveways, concerns about areas without sidewalks and all sorts of somewhat reckless driving.  Soon neighbors were discussing speeding along Westhill and other roads too.  (Also present was Los Gatos/ Monte Sereno Police Officer Sam Wonnell, who once lived in the Belwood of Los Gatos area himself. He explained that they need residents to tell them when to be present to catch speeders and those who ignore stop signs but that of course they can’t always be here.)

Los Gatos/ Monte Sereno Police Officer Sam Wonnell, a former Belwood resident, speaks to the Belwood Gateway neighbors

Todd patiently recounted the chronology of events leading to tonight’s meeting and explained, over and over, that at this meeting a solution was not going to be decided, but instead what would be firmed up was simply what residents would vote on in the future.  Belwood Gateway residents would be able to vote on adding a stop sign and speed bumps.  Nearby neighbors would be allowed to vote on whether or not a “triangle” could be placed at the intersection of Harwood and Belwood Gateway.

The meeting began at 6:30 and was scheduled to end at 8pm.  At 8:05 the crowd was beginning to leave and many who remained began to speak so loudly that Todd could not hear questions being posed (nor answer without having to yell).  It was dissolving.  I left at that point.  It was nice to see so many neighbors (whom I normally see only while out walking our black lab, Bella) and to learn what the process is for requesting that traffic patterns be evaluated by the town and local residents.

Voting on what should be put on the ballot for traffic calming

Now we wait for the ballots – it will probably take a month or two for them to be created and mailed out.  As for me, I’m all for more speed bumps and stop signs, but I hope that they don’t block off part of that one road…it will, in my opinion, only encourage drivers to take alternate routes.  I’d love to see traffic calmed throughout Belwood, Belgatos and Surmont.  If only civilians could give tickets!

 

Traffic Calming Meeting for Belwood Gateway

If you live near Belwood Gateway, be sure to attend the traffic calming meeting at the neighborhood cabana on Wednesday, May 11th from 6:30 to 8pm. Be on time as the agenda and discussion periods are chronological and all of it will be relevant to our neighborhood traffic patterns.

If you’d like more information, call the Los Gatos Parks and Public Works Department at 408 399-5770.

See you there!

 

Oil in Belwood of Los Gatos

Los Gatos is a great place to live, but the early explorers must have been truly thrilled when oil was discovered at Moody Gulch and later in areas that are now part of the Town of Los Gatos. A few years ago, my Live in Los Gatos blog covered the topic of the old oil pump that can be seen in a parking lot on Los Gatos Boulevard.  My better half  became intrigued by this topic, did some research and is providing a guest blog here, this time on the Belwood connection to oil. (Jim’s previous contribution was April 22nd, when he posted on Harwood Road being a meridian.)

Oil in Belwood? Guest post by Jim Handy, originally published on Live in Los Gatos

It may come as a surprise to most of us that there was oil drilling as far north as Los Gatos.  After all, that’s a southern California phenomenon, isn’t it?

Well, the truth is that there were ten oil wells in the Los Gatos area around the turn of the last century, and one of them was right here in the Belwood neighborhood.

Old Los Gatos map showing location of oil well in Belwood neighborhood

Old Los Gatos map showing location of oil well in Belwood neighborhood

 

A USGS map found in 2000 shows that there was an “old oil well” near the intersection of Harwood and Belridge*.  This map was drawn about 100 years ago, and there was oil exploration here as early as the 1860s, so there’s no telling when it was drilled.  In those days citizens weren’t as circumspect about telling the state what they were up to as they are today.
I’ve looked around that intersection, and have found no trace of the well, but by the time these homes were built it may have been long gone, along with any traces of its existence.

Los Gatos was not much of an oil producer.  There is no evidence of any commercial activity except in the Moody Gulch area on the other side of the summit.  The USGS says that most wells on this side of the hill were used privately.  Still it’s interesting to think that a little part of this history happened right here in Belwood!
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* Note on the map: This map shows railroad lines and trolly car lines that don’t now exist, roads with different names then the ones we know today and major thoroughfares like Blossom Hill Road entirely missing. I have taken the liberty to add a few notes to clarify the spot. Many of the numbers on the map (13, 14, 18) indicate townships and some of the straight black lines are the limits of the township and not streets. Also, the squiggly line running through most of the image is the base of Blossom Hill – the hill for which the major road was named.

Spring Hail in Belwood

Don’t like the weather? Wait a minute or two!

Today change has been the name of the game  As I write this post, the sun is shining and the wind is but a small breeze.  But a couple of hours ago the hail was pounding down and it lasted for several long minutes.

Hail in Los Gatos: Happy Spring!

The first photo is upclose – you can see that the hail is not large, but it did come down with a ferocious, pounding drive.  The next image gives a better sense of the quantity – the ground was white with fallen hail!

So much hail it looked like snow next to the rose bushes in our side yard. (Los Gatos March 21 2011)
We live on the far eastern end of Los Gatos in the Belwood area. Not sure if downtown Los Gatos got the same hailstorm. Anyone care to fill me in?

A few days ago, this series of storms caused the Los Gatos Creek to overflow.  To read about that, please visit Alastair Dallas’ blog, “All Things Los Gatos“.

Some Good Value & Opportunity in Surmont

Normally I don’t blog about other people’s listings, and never do it without permission, so the info below is shared with the consent of the listing agent.

Yesterday I stopped into an open house in the Surmont area of east Los Gatos when I was driving home to neighboring Belwood.  I suppose it’s like a “bus driver’s holiday” but I love to keep a pulse on the market so like viewing homes…even on my days off.

The house at 115 Old Orchard Drive, Los Gatos seems to be a good value.  It offers 4 bedrooms, 2.5 baths, about 2150 square feet, nice looking pool in back, single story and is priced at $975,000.  The home is somewhat updated, but not fully remodeled.  Perhaps best of all, it’s got a fabulous location on a beautiful street.

For more information, c;heck out the virtual tour:
www.tourfactory.com/712028

This one seems priced on the money, so if you’ve been wanting to live in this beautiful part of Los Gatos, don’t wait!

Listed by Chat Hagood of Coldwell Banker in Willow Glen.

 

Harwood Road in east Los Gatos is a meridian

Jim Handy and Bella at Belgatos Park

Jim Handy and Bella at Belgatos Park

Do you like maps?  My better half, Jim Handy, is crazy about them. And when he learned that the road just on the other side of the house next door is actually a meridian, he got pretty excited. I think it’s the engineer in him – that beautiful, inner geek – that loves the analysis of it all.

Today’s blog entry, then, is a Guest Post by my map enthusiast (and former volunteer parks commissioner), Jim Handy. This post originally published on LiveInLosGatos.com.

Many think of Harwood Road as the far eastern boundary of Los Gatos, which it nearly is, but there’s much more to this humble road than that.  Travel uphill to the top of the road and you can see views of the entire valley and get into beautiful Belgatos Park and Santa Rosa Open Space, but the majority of the street, the straight part of Harwood Road, has the distinction of following the Mount Diablo Meridian.

View of downtown San Jose from near the top of Harwood Road and Belgatos Park

View of downtown San Jose from near the top of Harwood Road and Belgatos Park

 

Back in California’s early days, great tracts of land known as Ranchos or Spanish Land Grants were defined by features that sometimes changed: they might run north to the edge of a creek, east to a tree, south to a boulder,  etc.  Some of  these landmarks could move a bit over time, but when you’re dealing with a tract of thousands of acres, these alterations are very small overall. Continue reading

BelwoodOfLosGatos.com


This website is provided by Mary Pope-Handy, a Belwood resident and real estate agent.

*************************

For the HOA site,
and phone numbers for the Cabana or HOA, please visit
BelwoodHomes.org


************************* Mary Pope-Handy
Belwood area resident
Realtor
ABR, CIPS, CRS, SRES
Sereno Group Real Estate
214 Los Gatos-Saratoga Rd
Los Gatos, CA 95030
408 204-7673
Mary (at) PopeHandy.com
BRE License #01153805

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