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Relief planned for College Terrace parking woes

Original post made on Mar 27, 2008

Residents in Palo Alto's College Terrace neighborhood may soon be paying to park in front of their own homes — as part of a solution to parking problems that have been plaguing them.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Wednesday, March 26, 2008, 12:00 AM

Comments (48)

Posted by reader, a resident of another community
on Mar 27, 2008 at 11:48 am

I would be furious if CT had parking permits. I totally agree now (did not before) with residents who blame Stanford and above all with the person who says that parking permits merely shift the problem without solving it. Stanford has caused this to happen, just as its shuttles have made it much easier for VTA to cut bus service. (CT residents, you could have used the 88 to get around on Saturday. Now you have the 89 in one direction in the morning, and the other in the p.m.)
CT residents - refuse these permits.
Stanford - get tough with your staff and students, and think about what your shuttles do.

Posted by Marvin, a resident of Charleston Gardens
on Mar 27, 2008 at 12:02 pm

Reader---I cannot believe your comment and some or the quotations in the story:

""Our behavior has to be changed, and we have to pay for permits, while the problems are being caused by Stanford," resident Colin Mack said."

Are you sure all the problems are caused by Stanford?
Aren't the streets in College Terrace public thoroughfares--available for EVERYONE to use?

"This is an incredibly well-endowed school," added Emily Marshall, who felt the university should put more money into fixing the problem."

Yes Stanford is cash cow--to be milked anytime PA needs anything

"Stanford - get tough with your staff and students, and think about what your shuttles do."

How do you suggest that Stanford "get tough"? If the Stanford people are breaking parking laws, they should be cited. Otherwise if they are using public streets for parking, what do you expect Stanford to do?

Stanford runs FREE shuttles from Caltrain stations in order to cut down on traffic and now they are getting bashed for that. Address the problems you have with the VTA to the VTA. Do not bash Stanford for providing a free service to ANYONE and EVERYONE.

AS usual with Stanford, for someone people, no good deed should go unpunished.

Reader's post is ridiculous and not very well thought out.

Posted by Mickey, a resident of Evergreen Park
on Mar 27, 2008 at 9:38 pm

I don't recall Marvin expressing concern about no parking being allowed on the streets going through the Elks development. I don't recall him saying, as he does here, that streets should be "available for EVERYONE to use."

Posted by Marvin, a resident of Charleston Gardens
on Mar 28, 2008 at 6:24 am

Mickey--the difference between the streets at the Elks development is that they are private streets, so parking can be restricted, as it is in these kind of developments everywhere.
That also means that the owners/developers are responsible for repair/maintenance of said streets. I have no objection if the CT residents want to privatize their streets--then they can set parking rules as they wish.
Please be aware of all the facts, Mickey, before you complain.

Posted by EB, a resident of Southgate
on Mar 28, 2008 at 11:08 am

Great. College Terrace will shoo the miscreant Stanford parkers out of its neighborhood. Meanwhile, Stanford will continue to ignore that their commuters are gaming the system by parking outside the monitored perimeter to make it appear as though they're choosing alternative transportation. The result? The problem will simply relocate to Southgate, the next nearest neighborhood to Stanford.

Does anyone REALLY think that creating permit parking in one neighborhood will change the Stanford commuters' habits??

Posted by Mickey, a resident of Evergreen Park
on Mar 28, 2008 at 11:11 am

Making the streets narrower than standard width gives the developers and homeowners very valuable land to increase their profit (the size of the cookie cutter houses) at the expense of others.
I know they are called private streets, that does not explain the lack of street parking which is then pushed to public streets. The payment for maintenance is a hollow excuse and irrelevant to the question of parking. A legal loophole and greed are more plausible explanations.
I am not complaining, Marvin, I am writing about the project. You need to restrain your personal nastiness.

Posted by Marvin, a resident of Charleston Gardens
on Mar 28, 2008 at 12:27 pm

EB-- I suggest that you also get some of the facts before you complain. Do you have any idea how many Stanford employees take advantage of alternative transportation?
How do you want Stanford to deal with those that park on city streets? as far as I know they are not breaking any law. I seriously doubt that Stanford can "order" employees to not park on city streets.

Mickey--communities with private streets generally have parking garages and/or driveways for residents. There is also some limited visitor parking. Streets are kept narrow to prevent speeding etc. What is going on at the Elks development is no different than other communities like it in the Bay Area.
Do you know how much visitor parking will be in the Elks development? Do you actually know how much parking will be "pushed onto city streets"?
Sorry you equate wanting to hear the facts with "personal nastiness". Considering your initial post. it is like the kettle calling the pot black.

Posted by Carl, a resident of Midtown
on Mar 28, 2008 at 12:27 pm

I doubt that Stanford graduate students are parking in CT in order keep the count low. It is much more likely that they are trying to avoid paying the permit fee at Stanford.

Solution: Have Stanford charge ALL graduate students the parking fee, as the default, then only reimburse them, if their cars are not cited by the PA parking police during the entire year.

Posted by EB, a resident of Southgate
on Mar 28, 2008 at 12:47 pm

Marvin, what facts do you think are necessary for the discussion of how permits in one neighborhood would shift the problem to another?

Posted by Marvin, a resident of Charleston Gardens
on Mar 28, 2008 at 12:57 pm

EB--I should have been more clear. What facts do you have to support your statement that Stanford employees are gaming the system by parking outside the monitored perimeter to make it appear as though they're choosing alternative transportation. That is why I asked if you know how many Stanford employees take advantage of alternative transportation.

To be honest, I do not think CT really cares what happens in other neighborhoods. They, IMHO, have always been interested in their little corner of the world only and have been quite successful in getting what they want from the city

Posted by Photo Fan, a resident of College Terrace
on Mar 31, 2008 at 12:52 am

It won't be too difficult to gather conclusive evidence about who is parking along the edge of the Stanford campus in College Terrace.

On Monday, March 30, a crew of my friends and I will begin quietly but systematically photographing every person (and each car with license plate number) who parks on College Terrace streets. We won't bother anyone; we'll be using Candid Camera techniques with long professional lenses shooting in high resolution digital color. All our high def color photos will be posted on a Web site with date, location, and duration of parking beginning in June. The greater community should be able to identify virtually every parker and where each works and/or resides by the end of the summer. We will continue to build our data base of photos of everyone (plus their cars and plates) who parks in College Terrace until solutions are found to reduce the bumper-to-bumper parking on residential streets.

Stanford is very close to violating its development agreement of "No Net New Trips During Commute Hours". If it turns out that it IS Stanford students or employees 1) avoiding paying for Stanford parking or 2) avoiding being counted as a net new trip during commute hours, this could tip the balance and prove all the Stanford traffic studies and Environmental Impact Reports to be invalid. That, in turn, could add considerable delay and millions of dollars in cost to Stanford's request for permission to expand the Medical Center and Shopping Center.

Each time the Stanford expansion of the Medical Center and Shopping Center comes up for discussion, our parking findings will be shared with Palo Alto Council. Our Web site,, will be open 24/7/365 beginning this June.

Posted by Richard W, a resident of another community
on Mar 31, 2008 at 2:36 pm

I'm missing the part of local, state, federal or international law that states that a bunch of whiny affluent homeowners who happen to own property adjacent to a PUBLIC RIGHT OF WAY should have exclusive use of that right of way to store their private property.

If one wants one's own special guaranteed private storage space for one's own private excess automobiles or other junk, feel free to rent or or pay to construct a private parking space for them.

The public streets are public property. And "the public" includes those evil, evil EVIL Stanford students and employees -- you know, the ones who make your town and streets and houses worth anything, both economically and socially, and who lay the golden eggs of townie subsidy. (Note: I've never been a Stanford employee or student, just worked and lived in Palo Alto and had to deal with the "I')

Posted by Photo Phan also, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Mar 31, 2008 at 3:50 pm

A public right-of-way is a wonderful place to photograph whatever is in the public eye (houses, front gardens people in it, etc) and publish those in the same manner as Photo Fan says they will online under "those wonderful NYMFYs (not in my front yard) and SIAM's (street is all mine) of college terrace, look what they are doing today".
If there are parking spaces those are meant to be used: who uses them is irrelevant. If you don't want to be near Stanford, MOVE.
Your expensive shanties -courtesy of Stanford- do not give you the right of private ownership of public property. If a weak City Hall decides to give in to your extraordinary demands I am sure City Hall will end up with more than it bargained for.
I've never been a Stanford staff, faculty or student, just live in Palo Alto but I also have people parking in front of my house all day and night-it's the price of a civilized social exchange and a healthy local economy.
College Terrace looks like a balloon full of self importance? Nah! What nice people they possibly are.

Posted by EB, a resident of Southgate
on Mar 31, 2008 at 4:15 pm

Marvin, yes, I have facts that people are gaming the system, and no, I don't have facts on the extent of the problem. Maybe the following would be helpful to you and others, so you can appreciate that the issue is larger in scope than "it's a public street; get over it."

"The General Use Permit (GUP) issued to the university in December 2000 includes a condition that morning and evening commuter traffic during peak hours stay within 1 percent of baseline levels set in 2001. To determine compliance, the county conducts traffic counts twice a year all along the perimeter of campus.

If the university is unable to keep peak-hour car trips within allowable limits for two years in a three-year period, it must help pay for modifications to more than a dozen roadway intersections in the area—a requirement that would cost millions." -- Web Link

"Stanford literally pays some employees to leave their cars at home. Last year, Parking & Transportation Services gave up to $216 to each Stanford commuter who did not buy a parking permit." -- Web Link
To be more precise, Stanford is paying employees to leave their cars outside the perimeter. They make no distinction between leaving cars parked at home, a train station, or College Terrace.

Although I've already expressed my displeasure of College Terrace implementing parking permits, there is one argument in favor: if the "perimeter commuters" can no longer park in CT (and assuming they don't all shift to Southgate), they will either choose a different mode of transportation that's more in the true spirit of alternate commute, or they'll park within Stanford, exceeding the maximum allowed trips. Both have benefits: the former is better for the environment, and the latter triggers Stanford's obligation to pay millions to upgrade surrounding intersections. Given that, I don't understand why so many people are rushing to Stanford's defense.

Posted by anonymous, a resident of Menlo Park
on Mar 31, 2008 at 4:23 pm

I am surprised at Photo Phan, Marvin, and Richard W. It has been my experience that "public" doesn't mean much: people expect to be able to park in front of their own houses and/or not have any cars park in front of their houses.

Some examples: I was at a Menlo Park City Council meeting where residents objected to cars parking on their streets while they were patronizing local businesses--the reason: the cars leaked oil. I was at a VTA meeting where a resident of Los Altos complained about the bus going down the street where his house was. In my own case, I could not even park in front of the house I did live in because the neighbor's gardener observed that the car was not moved often enough, and as I didn't want this woman to cause trouble for my landlady, I started paying to house the car elsewhere. Finally, probably all of you read about the Safeway construction in Menlo Park, and how construction workers, Safeway employees, and Safeway shoppers could not just park anywhere on the public streets around there--and probably this continues to be the case.

If you three have had different experiences of just how public so-called public streets are, you are lucky. Or insensitive.

Most people do want some say in what happens on the public streets outside their houses. In some neighborhoods there is not a problem. In College Terrace anyone can see that there is.

Why does everyone blame College Terrace residents and not find fault with Stanford employees and students? They should feel privileged to be working or studying at Stanford and should not be claiming that they are using public transit when they are not. The last thing they should do is create problems between Stanford and its neighbors.

Posted by Photo Phan also, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Mar 31, 2008 at 5:22 pm

Anonymous lives in car dependent suburbia. She claims people don't "like" cars parked in front of their houses in the very plentiful abundance of parking space. Maybe so- suburbanites are not know for their sharing space abilities or their lack of entitlement- but that doesn't mean they are right. In the SF peninsula people depend on cars to have a reasonable life (try using public transportation to get to your job if you are unlucky to live far from a direct means of public transport). The people in front of whose houses "strangers" park are not in any way unreasonably inconvinienced by those parked cars- what? mars your horizon? big deal! So all this fussy has the result of seriously impacting those who NEED to park without any significant harm the homeowners.
Students and staff do not generally have the deep pockets to pay for parking. There is already parking and plentiful and ...that's right: it's in college terrace. I have been to CT to check it out and there was plenty of parking left at 2:00 pm. I trust that in teaching our children we instill upon them two things: might doesn't make right and because we don't "like" something it doesn't mean what we don't "like" is wrong. A capricious and arbitrary
NYMFY's should not be able to dictate that the space in the public street is theirs. They should also not dictate what parking impact other neighborhoods are going to have as a result of their not wanting Stanford people (why are these people any less than their friends and acquaintances?) parking, God Forbid, in front of their shanty castles!

Parking restrictions are only justified when the parking is insufficient and it is not intended to "shoo off" those we don't like. Palo Alto including CT doesn't have overly high parking density in residential neighborhoods, so the parking restrictions are not justifiable.
As far as being insensitive or lucky I should have to inform you that you are right: I am not sensitive to "strangers" parking in front of my house (for the past many years that's what I had with NO negative effects) and I am also lucky to have had parents who taught me not to behave like a queen screaming" off with their heads" to those parking across from my front window. I am sorry you seem to have been an orphan- no parents to teach you to put the minor inconvinience of seeing "strangers' cars" in front of your shanty versus their own very real need not to pay for parking. Or do you think that anybody who can pay for parking would purposefully park far away from their destinations just to annoy you? are you that important?

Posted by EB, a resident of Southgate
on Mar 31, 2008 at 5:47 pm

PPA, although a couple of your points have merit, why don't you read the links I posted before you spout off. The problem isn't dreamt up by CT residents; the city of Palo Alto and Stanford both acknowledged that spill-over parking in CT may become an issue. Stanford gave Palo Alto money specifically to be used for parking permits, should the need arise. They also acknowledged that parking permits in CT might cause the problem to shift into Southgate.
The problem isn't as simple as "college students can't afford parking permits". Stanford is pressuring their employees and students to not commute during peak hours of the day. Their GUP and associated agreements are at the root of the problem.

Posted by anonymous, a resident of Menlo Park
on Mar 31, 2008 at 6:09 pm

Photo Phan completely misunderstood me. I don't mean that it's RIGHT to have the idea that you can dictate what happens in front of your house. I would personally disagree with that notion just as strongly as he/she does--if I did not know how embedded it was.

And I thought he/she was going to criticize me for being so sensitive that I moved my car because the neighbor didn't like it being there.

I did give up and do use public transit. That does take a long time and does mean that some things are just too complicated to consider doing. Yes, it restricts me, but I couldn't stand things before.

Now do you see that you and I agree?

Posted by photo Phan also, a resident of another community
on Mar 31, 2008 at 6:24 pm

I certainly read the posts. As you well say :
"spill-over parking in CT may become .." it says MAY

"to be used for parking permits, should the need arise..." it says SHOULD.

there is no parking problem: for what I saw when I had the bad luck of inadvertently finding myself in CT without knowing how to get out, there are plenty of unused parking spaces. it's just that people feel possessive about public streets; they feel entitled to a bit of our common patrimony courtesy of taxpayers (they are not buying the streets for all I know). What they really want is a convenant with the city as a sponsor.

what about the next neighborhood that has to absorb the CT parkers?

Is CT saying that what's good for them is good for Stanford (S has already done their part by upping their property prices by virtue of its neighborly placement, so now they should go away ?)
Neither stanford nor the city should not give in to the demands of this "special interest" group whose little shanty enclave should deserve no more attention or privileges than the rest of us.

Posted by photo Phan also, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Mar 31, 2008 at 6:27 pm

to anonymous:

yes, I misunderstood you. I am sorry I did. You are also a victim of these bullying homeowners.

Posted by marvin, a resident of Charleston Gardens
on Mar 31, 2008 at 6:37 pm

eb you provide no proof that stanford is gaming the system. Stanford provides incentives not to drive I campus and a free shuttle for everyone. Now you are bashing them for that. The real question is can stanford order employees/ students not to park on public streets. This has nothing to do with the GUP and all to do with a prime donna neighborhood used to getting what they want from a weak council

Posted by Henry, a resident of Midtown
on Apr 1, 2008 at 1:15 pm

Right on, Marvin! The city council should ignore the citizens who elected them and cowtow to the biggest most aggressive richest developer. Yea Stanford, boo citizens.

Posted by Marvin, a resident of Charleston Gardens
on Apr 1, 2008 at 1:35 pm

Henry--very amusing.
The city council should listen to ALL citizens-not just neighborhoods that are the most vocal. Our council does plenty of kowtowing in that respect
Stanford and the city has done plenty to help mitigate College Terrace's "problems".
Stanford is a world class university and must evolve with the times--go to any big university in the world and see if they do not need new buildings/infrastructure.
Also remember that other private entities that had big footprints in Palo Alto (i.e. Sun, HP) were never made to jump through the hoops that Stanford has to.

Posted by PA Dad, a resident of College Terrace
on Apr 1, 2008 at 7:40 pm

Marvin -- I'm not sure that HP and Sun have ever charged their own employees for parking. That's, essentially, why CT has the problem. And it is a problem. College Terrace has many small rental units (one thing that makes it a great and non-snooty place to live, contrary to the impression of many posters here). Many of those units don't have enough parking, so residents need to park on the street -- hence the conflict. It's not about people being upset at having cars parked outside their mansions when they have their own driveways to park in.

Besides, Stanford has plenty of parking -- but it needs to be seen to be encouraging employees not to use it because of its deal with the county, so it charges hundreds of dollars a year to park on campus.

I'm not a great fan of parking permits as the solution. The idea, as I understand it, will have only some blocks in CT use them. That's simply going to push the problem to the CT blocks that don't have permits. Then those blocks will want permits and then the Stanford employees and students will move to Southgate and so on and so on.

The answer is for Stanford -- an immensely wealthy institution -- to stop charging its own staff very high rates for parking and accept that their growth means a growth in traffic -- and that if that means they are breaking the deal the university made with the county, then they will have to pay the penalty they negotiated.

Sure -- world class institutions grow -- but Stanford should do so honestly, and not by instituting employee incentives that allow it to meet its agreed traffic targets at the expense of its neighbors.

Posted by Marvin, a resident of Charleston Gardens
on Apr 2, 2008 at 6:33 am

PA Dad--So far I have not seen anyone provide any real proof that Stanford's incentives for employees lead to employees collecting the money, driving to work and parking CT.
What percentage of people that get the cash incentive actually do drive to work? 1%, 10%, 50%??? And of those how many park in CT? Let's see some facts that Stanford is gaming the system as others have suggested
And actually Stanford does not have plenty of parking--to the contrary there is not enough parking on campus.
It has always been easy in PA to bash Stanfors--this is just another opportunity

Posted by PA Dad, a resident of College Terrace
on Apr 2, 2008 at 6:59 am

Marvin -- yes, I'd like to see some figures, too. But remember there are two incentives, not one. Stanford pays people not to drive (it's something like a couple of hundred bucks a year). But then it also charges people to park (which can cost many hundreds of dollars depending which area you park in). So one can be ethical and not take the payment but still save a huge sum of money by driving and parking for free outside campus in nearby streets. I think that's what a great many do. Maybe Photo Fan's photography project will provide evidence of just how many people are doing this soon.

As a CT resident I certainly see people parking on my street every work day, take their bike out of their car and cycle over to campus. Others do the same but walk. And mine is not the worst street at all.

One last thing -- there's a huge amount of very parking close to the heart campus that is never used: the streets right outside faculty homes. Why is it never used? Because Stanford has made it permit parking! Why do they get to have empty streets outside their huge houses at the expense of CT residents with tiny houses and no driveways?

I agree that we shouldn't kill the golden goose that is Stanford, but we also shouldn't have to live with it uncritically.

Posted by Marvin, a resident of Charleston Gardens
on Apr 2, 2008 at 7:14 am

PA Dad--I am not sure that Photo Fan's project is real--think of the logistics to do it on a daily basis for a couple of months. If it is real this will only tell us how many people are parking in CT and walking to Stanford. It will not tell us how many of those collect the $216 from Stanford and still drive to CT.
I think every university in the US charges people for parking--this is not something that Stanford does alone.
Which streets of faculty homes on campus are you referring to?
Stanford does plenty to try to mitigate traffic--car pooling, guaranteed rides home, free shuttle buses locally, inexpensive shuttle buses to the east bay, van pools, incentive snot to drive etc.

Posted by anonymous, a resident of Menlo Park
on Apr 2, 2008 at 8:08 am

Marvin, ceaselessly defending Stanford, but not knowing about the "SH" permits that control who parks in the Stanford faculty ghetto...

Marvin, not seeing that Photo Fan's project (surely a joke) might open a door. Who are those cars registered to (in this day and age of no privacy, that can't be hard to find out), and do the people the cars are registered to get clean air cash?

"Stanford does plenty..." Yes, but what it does not do or try to do is provide leadership and an atmosphere that would make its affiliates feel part of something valuable--but also vulnerable. Vulnerable: It IS a privilege to be associated with Stanford, and Stanford NEEDS, among other things, to have good relations with its neighbors--what kind of initiative can Stanford launch with what kind of leaders to get that message across to cynical affiliates?

Posted by Marvin, a resident of Charleston Gardens
on Apr 2, 2008 at 8:31 am

Anonymous--Reread my post--I was asking what specific streets was the poster referring to--he claimed that many streets outside of faculty homes are not utilized because they are permit parking only-I just would like to know which ones he was referring to. I know all about the Stanford permit parking system. In fact almost all streets within Stanford are controlled by paid permit parking. Also remember that Stanford streets are private streets.

I also am interested in finding out if all of these parkers in CT get clean air cash and what percentage of them do. Perhaps you can get the license numbers, go to the DMV get the owner info and follow up with Stanford about this and then let us know.

So far no one has presented any real evidence that Stanford is gaming the system, so to speak. And can Stanford ORDER affiliates to not park on public streets.

So anonymous--what was the point of your post???

Posted by anonymous, a resident of Menlo Park
on Apr 2, 2008 at 9:09 am

Time for me to quit. If we have got to have PROOF of "gaming" and have to have a Stanford that ORDERS people, then I give up.

Posted by Marvin, a resident of Charleston Gardens
on Apr 2, 2008 at 9:24 am

Sorry, anonymous--but in our society if you want to accuse people of cheating then you need to provide some proof of that and you also need provide some solid proof that Stanford is aware or behind this "gaming" that you refer to. All we have is accusations that Stanford employees are parking on public streets and collecting clean air cash--no numbers to back up said accusations.
Just another excuse for someone to bash Stanford.

Posted by Juliet, a resident of Midtown
on Apr 2, 2008 at 10:27 am

Marvin, like his soul-mate Mike, requires evidence of the obvious. And always has to have the last word.
Don't feed these trolls, folks.

Posted by PA Dad, a resident of College Terrace
on Apr 2, 2008 at 10:31 am

Marvin -- like I said, even if commuters are not parking and collecting the incentive cash, there's the prior (and much larger) incentive of not paying the parking fees. So it's not about cheating. It's about who pays. Stanford want to avoid triggering county impact penalties. Employees want to avoid paying for parking. So CT takes the hit. Works for them, but not for all of us in CT.

As I said before, I don't think permit parking is the answer because it will simply shift the problem. A longer term solution needs to be worked out between Stanford, the county and employees that doesn't impact Stanford neighbors.

Is there really a problem? Sure, hard numbers are hard to come by, but it's clear to anyone living in CT that commuters do fill entire streets around the university. That *does* impact people without driveways or where people on low incomes share houses and have several cars but only room to park one off road. Even the university acknowledges that there is a problem.

As for streets with faculty housing with permit parking, it took me ten seconds to find a map at: Web Link

Download the 'Parking and Circulation' map and you'll see that parking is restricted 24/7 on Alvardero Row, Santa Ynez, Dolores, San Juan, San Francisco, Pine Hill Rd, Cabrillo, and on and on into the faculty housing area off the map -- as well as the whole area of housing by Governor's Corner (Los Arboles, Searsville etc.).

So faculty rich enough to afford houses close to campus get clear streets at the expense of CT residents. Is that right when the university is creating the traffic?

There's a great deal I admire about Stanford. And you are right that they do a lot to reduce commuter traffic. But if one consequence of those efforts negatively impacted you, would you feel that your admiration for the great institution required you to accept their every action as unanswerably wise? Of course not.

For all its fabulousness, Stanford is not above criticism. It can change but it won't unless people make it. That's the dialog that's going on here - seems healthy, not mindless 'Stanford bashing' to me.

Posted by Marvin, a resident of Charleston Gardens
on Apr 2, 2008 at 10:59 am

Juliet--clearly people that engage in a dialogue here and exchange opinions that you disagree with are "trolls that have to have the last word". unfortunate you feel that way and yes i do require evidence before I accuse people of cheating--since it is not yet been proven to be "obvious".

PA Dad--what do you suggest as a workable solution for the problems in CT??

Posted by Resident, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Apr 2, 2008 at 11:06 am

Many places in the world can't guarantee a parking space outside their own home, why should any popular parking area be any different. If the residents can't park in their own garages, driveways, etc. then they should clear out the junk and they would have plenty of space. Is the real problem, too many cars, too much junk and too many residents living in one house with only one parking space, I wonder?

Posted by PA Dad, a resident of College Terrace
on Apr 2, 2008 at 11:23 am

Marvin -- I think Stanford could allow employees to park in the areas currently designated as SH (i.e. all the streets where faculty live on campus). That's a lot of parking space right there.

I think it could stop charging employees such high fees for parking. I think it could build more, multistory car parks on campus, below ground if people think that would be unsightly. I think it could accept that it wants to grow at this location, then that will inevitably mean more traffic whatever the university's best efforts to encourage people not to use cars -- simply because few of their employees will ever be able to afford to buy a home within walking distance of the site.

All of this, of course, would mean that more cars would be recorded as entering the campus -- which is the nub of the problem and why solving it only for CT will merely pass the problem on to another non-Stanford area.

So lastly, I think Stanford needs to accept that it can't meet the levels of traffic to which it has committed and still grow in the way it wants. That will cost it in terms of penalties negotiated with the county.

It can rue the deal it made, but I think it should accept those penalties as the honorable price of growth in a pretty much built-out area-- instead of avoiding those penalties at the cost of its neighbors. Is that unreasonable?

Posted by Marvin, a resident of Charleston Gardens
on Apr 2, 2008 at 11:33 am

PA DAd--interesting idea.
Let's see if CT agrees with that plan and if the city council will suggest it to Stanford.

Posted by Craig Laughton, a resident of College Terrace
on Apr 2, 2008 at 11:45 am

I have commented on this issue in the past. I live in CT. I am a strong supporter of Stanford growh and excellence. However, Stanford also needs to take care of its own issues.

CT has unique pressures, thus it requires unique solutions. Permits are one possibility, but I would only buy into it as a last resort. Having spoken with a couple of individuals who are involved in this issue, I like the idea of Stanford charging a parking fee by default... with the non-car owners/drivers getting a rebate at the end of the year, if they are not found in violation. This would eliminate any incentives to game the system by parking in CT.

I had a long conversation with the top traffic engineer in Davis. Davis has a heavy permit system. Their permit system expanded, as one neighborhood after another sought protection from the commuters, once a closer in neighborhood got permits. Yes, this problem will expand in PA, if permits are the first approach. Also, Davis spends over $500k/year on parking enforcement. Interestingly, the problem in Davis has more to do with downtown business employees than it does with U.C. Davis. The university provides plenty of parking, and makes money off of the meters (meters are a big money maker!). Of course, there are still those who drive their pickups into an outlying neighborhood and ride their bicycles to campus, to avoid paying anything. This will probably happen in PA, as well, except it will be BMWs instead of pickups.

Let's try the Stanford default payment, before we go down the path of permits. JMO.

Posted by anonymous, a resident of Menlo Park
on Apr 2, 2008 at 11:46 am

(had to come back) Whoa! Stop right there! Stanford residents have been known to dislike not only having cars parking in front of their houses but having cars park anywhere on their street - and even SEEING vehicles at all is disturbing in some cases.

Posted by Marvin, a resident of Charleston Gardens
on Apr 2, 2008 at 1:15 pm

Anaonymous--I love the way you provide these "factoids"--now it is Stanford residents not wanting cars parked in front of their homes.
Sounds like what happens everywhere--some people are under the impression that the street in front of their house is private property for them only. Not unique to Stanford

Posted by anonymous, a resident of Menlo Park
on Apr 2, 2008 at 1:23 pm

Fact, Marvin. Not factoid. Reality, as I've said.

With friends like Marvin, Stanford doesn't need.....

Stanford plans to build faculty housing in an area that could be described as being in close proximity to Stanford Avenue. Proof matters to them? I don't think so. Just evidence of CT residents being upset is enough.

Posted by Marvin, a resident of Charleston Gardens
on Apr 2, 2008 at 1:28 pm

Okay anonymous--provide some links to these "facts"--"facts" that show that Stanford is gaming the system, that all Stanford residents do not want parking in front of their homes. Just provide some real facts--not your musings and personal comments about me.

Posted by anonymous, a resident of Menlo Park
on Apr 2, 2008 at 1:39 pm

I didn't say Stanford was gaming the system (I don't think that--I have been defending Stanford here) and I did not say that ALL Stanford residents... don't distort. Again, you want proof, don't you?

Posted by Photo Phan also, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Apr 2, 2008 at 6:27 pm

Public streets are public. WHO parks there is irrelevant. I haven't seen anything that tells me there aren't enough parking spaces for all that park there. So, there is no parking problem. the only problem seems to be that the REXidents dislike seeing cars on what they deem "MY" street.
Even if you couldn't park in front of your house what is the problem? So, you leave your car a couple blocks away ( oh no it's your security blanket it has to be with you at all times otherwise you feel lost). Walk home. What's the problem?

I do not know of any Institution who doesn't charge for parking, for very good reasons. CT doesn't have a parking problem. They are inventing one.

Posted by palo alto mom, a resident of Crescent Park
on Apr 2, 2008 at 6:57 pm

Many cities with colleges have parking permits - ever been to Boston? Its not unusual. Its also not fair to expect a resident to park "blocks away and walk". What if they are elderly, ill, pregnant, carrying groceries? This isn't about looking at cars, its about being able to park in front of your own residence.

Posted by ??, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Apr 2, 2008 at 7:23 pm

PA Mom

Why can't you use your driveway to park?

Posted by photo Phan also, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Apr 2, 2008 at 8:40 pm

PA mom,

right now nobody has to park blocks away from their houses. What this writer (and neighbors did) when the writer's abode was in one of the US largest cities , was to stop momentarily in front of the house, take the groceries to the entry and then circle around till a parking place is found-not difficult. But let us not get carried away with seeing the ghost of a gigantic city in CT and infuse the imagination with the thought of walking 3 miles home just to park..... In CT there ARE unused parking places day and night were you can park, maybe just not across your house sometimes, certainly within sight most times. BTW, garages and driveways are made for parking...
and there is NO NOTICE that the number of CT residents without a specific place to park in their property is anywhere near the number of total parking places. So, CT is inventing a problem -always ending up in the limelight. The city should leave it as is or commission a study by which it will be apparent to all that the sense of entitlement of the REXidents of CT should have nowhere to park in a civilized city.
Is it more pleasant to see neighbors and acquaintances parked in front of your house than
those you don't know ( whether they work for Stanford or not)?. Yes, sure. But should that shape public policy? NO.

What a parochial place CT is! (sigh!)

Posted by photo Phan also, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Apr 2, 2008 at 9:11 pm

Palo Alto MOM,

you say
"Many cities with colleges have parking permits - ever been to Boston? Its not unusual."
I actually have been to Boston and lived in so many other places with real parking woes...
In those places there are more cars to be parked (without dedicated parking) than spaces- that is why there are permits. But CT is not in that situation. Most people have a dedicated space to park and there are MANY unsued parking spaces -I have eyes and I see them.
you say
"Its also not fair to expect a resident to park "blocks away and walk". What if they are elderly, ill, pregnant, carrying groceries? This isn't about looking at cars, its about being able to park in front of your own residence."
Your argument is silly: are you expected to persuade us that pregnant people, the elderly, the non-car people do not live in parking-difficult cities? and, that without a car in front of your house you won't be pregnant? But you also labor in error: a parking permit does NOT give you the right to park in front of your house -it only gives you the right to park for indefinite periods in a certain (wide area). Most of the time you do have to go around and find a parking place.
believe me you can be happily pregnant, elderly, sick, and buy groceries in a city with parking permits...and you also can live without your own car and not miss it...

Just as well, let me explain about parking permits- in the big eastern city where I also park
parking restrictions are as follows for my area (the busiest, since it is also a tourist place):
Sunday-unlimited parking for ANYONE parking permit or not
monday to wednesday- parking 6:00 pm -8:00am is free for anyone, before 6:00pm a two-hour restriction
thursday to saturday- 8:00am-midnight- 2 hour restriction, midnight to 8:00am free for anyone
these are typical of all the big cites where I have lived .

Why should a parking space go unused? Is the city in the business of "keeping" places for the CT residents to see? Why are they the exception?

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