Vertical Bike Stands in Downtown Palo Alto

Once upon a time — like in the late ’70’s, when I was a Stanford undergrad — neighboring University Ave. definitely wasn’t seedy, but it was no one’s idea of upscale, either:  after all, the low-rent University Creamery was practically an anchor tenant (still the best chocolate shake I’ve ever had — and lots of it).

palo_altoNo more.

Now, the six block long, downtown stretch resembles nothing so much as “Rodeo Drive North” — or at least, the nerd version.

“Rodeo Drive” . . . For Nerds

So, along with a clutch of trendy bistro’s and coffee bars, there’s an Apple Computer store, some luxury home goods stores, and a bike store.

Except that the price tags on the bikes are what you and I are accustomed to paying for cars (OK, maybe just motorcycles).

Given the area’s pricey real estate, every square foot counts — even in the public spaces.


Vertical bike stands, both to conserve space and make an architectural statement.

“High-end Homogenous”

For all that, I’m still not convinced University Ave. circa 2013 is actually “better” than the earlier version, or more interesting.

The overall effect — call it “high-end homogenous” — evoked a line from “Admission,” the book about getting into an Ivy League school.

In the words of Portia Nathan, screening thousands of overachieving 17 year-old’s, “All the applicants were remarkable in the usual ways.”

Just substitute “tenants.”

Ahh, but the sun (a few weekends ago) was glorious.

P.S.:  You know you’ve spotted a trend when even the municipal parking garages are cool (they are).

About the author

Ross Kaplan has 19+ years experience selling real estate all over the Twin Cities. He is also a 12-time consecutive "Super Real Estate Agent," as determined by Mpls. - St. Paul Magazine and Twin Cities Business Magazine. Prior to becoming a Realtor, Ross was an attorney (corporate law), CPA, and entrepreneur. He holds an economics degree from Stanford.

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