So two members of the council support a project giving away rights to city land, and costing $1.5M, in return for 23 new parking spaces??? I thought Liz Kniss was an intelligent and dedicated public servant.
Let Mr. (Charles) Keenan pay to put parking into his own space, or let his employees find their way to work without cars. Downtown Palo Alto has far too many cars as it is. This is an example of the total unplanned, uncoordinated disaster that the city has created.
Downtown North, Palo Alto
A parking plan
Whenever there is a resource with high demand and low supply, the solution is clear: Use the market to price the resource correctly to decrease the demand. As with all such scarce resources, continuing to give parking in downtown Palo Alto away for free will only exacerbate the shortage.
Parking meters can raise money to invest in the downtown area. Modern parking meters can charge variable prices at peak hours to ensure that there is always parking available. This type of paid parking has been found to INCREASE downtown business in Pasadena, Truckee and other California cities.
Eventually Palo Alto will have to charge for parking anyway, so we should take this opportunity to create a comprehensive plan. This plan must include neighborhood parking permits to further encourage people to come to Palo Alto without their cars.
Cowper Street, Palo Alto
Maybell: missed opportunities
The Palo Alto Process has met its match with the exigencies of federal grants. Palo Alto has always given people time to present alternatives before doing what it intended to do, on the off chance that somebody, some time, might give some compelling reason not to. This time, the Housing Corp. dreamed up an innovation: Use its influence with the city to break the R1 zoning in exchange for money from a developer. They presented the proposal with a deadline — the date for applying for the big grant. So the Palo Alto process was scuppered.
What a pity! There were better ways to get the land. The city could have swapped some property, like a parking lot in downtown Palo Alto, enhanced by permission to build 10 stories of offices. With no parking. There could have been a public subscription to save the orchard allowing the seniors to build on it. The city could have acquired the land for its social needs, like the child care center, a senior nutrition center, rooms for classes and lectures and a pool, and the apartments could have gone on the upper floors. This would have improved chances of getting the big grant, because it would promote interaction between seniors and community. They could have split the building with seniors not poor enough to qualify for assistance.
The worst is, their bargain may kill the grant. "Planned Community" would have allowed 90 units, but they downsized to 60 to leave some for the developer. The granting agency won't like 600-square-foot units when the norm for private units, like in Channing House, is 375 square feet.
Alma Street, Palo Alto
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