PaliHi Gateway Project Landscaping Completed–

The City bus shelter and bench blocks the path for Palisades High School students.

Corner of Temescal and Bowdoin Is Redesigned

Many motorists who stop and wait at the signal on Temescal Canyon Road at Bowdoin Street have noticed that the northwest corner has been redesigned and landscaped.

This project was started in 2014 by internationally recognized architect Doug Suisman, at the urging of the Palisades High School Booster Club.

Suisman, who has an undergraduate degree from Yale and a master’s from Columbia, originally volunteered to help find a site for a donated bronze dolphin statue. There was talk of placing it under PaliHi’s digital information sign at the Temescal/Bowdoin corner.

“That intersection is so dangerous,” Suisman said in an interview in 2014. “Every morning 1,000 students squeeze through a bottleneck that is three and a half feet between traffic and a fire hydrant, and the flashing message light is a distraction to motorists.”

As he searched for a more suitable site for the dolphin, Suisman suggested redesigning that corner, removing the sign and making the location ADA-accessible, safer and visually closer to what the original school architects may have envisioned. (The dolphin is now by the flagpole at the entrance to the campus quad.)

The projected cost to enhance student safety and beautify the corner was $125,000.

“We want to transform the corner from a dangerous entrance and an eyesore and bring back the view obscured by benches and fences and the sign,” Suisman said five years ago. “You should be able to sit here and look all the way down Temescal and see the water.”

At the time, his daughter was attending PaliHi and he promised her the project would be completed by the time she graduated.

A Pali Gateway Project committee was formed and included two 1979 PaliHi grads, Cheryl (Kelton) Clark and Sheri (Redke) Sharp, plus Rachel Galper (whose husband Steve is a ‘79 grad), Ivy Greene, Pam Mann and Susie Newman.

When David Riccardi, the Palisades High director of operations, left the school the project stalled. Now, five years later, the digital sign is gone, the handball courts have been removed and the area widened. Over the past two weeks, the soil was prepped, and plants were installed. A decomposed granite walkway was installed and will allow kids to cut the corner, meaning they will no longer spill out in the street before and after school.

Suisman, whose daughter is in college and whose son will be a senior at PaliHi, has promised that the project will be completed in 2019.

“I should make this promise,” Suisman said, noting that there will be a ribbon-cutting event in August when school resumes, with thank-yous to all the donors.

There is just one small problem. A bus shelter and bench, and a large sign containing advertising on two sides need to be moved. Currently the bench blocks access to the pathway and the advertising sign takes up valuable room on the sidewalk—a clear safety hazard.

Circling the News was told that Councilman Mike Bonin has been notified and he reportedly said that the bus shelter, bench and sign will be moved. CTN hopes it happens before mid-August when the new school year begins.

In addition to destroying the aesthetics of the newly planted corner, a City-approved advertisement poses a safety hazard to the large number of PaliHi students who routinely use this sidewalk.

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