Around Town | September 2, 2011 | Palo Alto Weekly | Palo Alto Online |

Palo Alto Weekly

News - September 2, 2011

Around Town

LIVE WITH IT ... Residents who live near downtown Palo Alto have been increasingly frustrated by the dearth of parking on their blocks, a problem they blame on downtown employees who refuse to pay for garage permits or to park in colorful two-hour zones. But to Russ Cohen, executive director of the Palo Alto Downtown Business and Professional Association, the parking challenges are, in fact, a sign of a vibrant downtown. While residents in the Professorville neighborhood have argued that they are being forced to subsidize downtown businesses that provide inadequate parking, Cohen countered in a letter to city officials this week that it is businesses in the downtown assessment district that are bearing the greatest burden. "While Palo Alto Business and Professional Association will continue to educate its members to the benefits of purchasing parking permits, the businesses can no longer bear the sole financial responsibility in responding to parking-demand issues," Cohen wrote. "The City of Palo Alto and the residential neighborhoods that border downtown must work together to share the fiscal burden." Cohen also wrote that the proposal by Professorville residents to create a "residential parking permit" program in their neighborhood could be problematic because it could shift the parking problem to another neighborhood and would privatize parking spaces that are currently public, an action he calls "unacceptable." "Living near any town feature (recreation center, school or train station, etc.) has benefits and burdens," Cohen wrote. "Those who choose to live near them accept and acclimate to their unique environs."

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