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'Spillover parking' revolt hits south Palo Alto

Original post made on Feb 6, 2009

Both old and new residents in south Palo Alto are pushing for more liberal on-site parking in large new developments because of "spillover" parking intruding on neighborhood streets.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Friday, February 6, 2009, 12:00 AM

Comments (31)

Posted by Of course people complain, a resident of East Palo Alto
on Feb 6, 2009 at 10:32 am

Even though parking on public streets is legal, the local residents don't want to share their on street parking w/other locals. South Palo Alto - for shame! Your NIMBY attitudes are annoying, outdated, laughable and petty.

Posted by Marvin, a resident of Charleston Gardens
on Feb 6, 2009 at 10:36 am

Not really surprising from the residents of Charleston Meadows and Wilkie Way specifically. Let's not forget that they are the reason we have Arbor real instead of a tax revenue generating hotel at the site.
I also remember an article in the Weekly a few months back and how certain residents of Wilkie Way were going around taking down license numbers and accosting people who park on their street (even though Wilkie Way is a public street and by definition available for parking by anyone).

Posted by More Nimby Complaining, a resident of South of Midtown
on Feb 6, 2009 at 12:03 pm

Wilkie Way is a public street, anyone may park there. With overflow parking from Stanford on streets in College Terrace, Wilkie Way residents are hardly alone in complaining about parking. Very soon residents living near the Campus for Jewish Life will have overflow parking on their streets.

Permit parking is being strongly resisted by the City because it requires enforcement. You give permit parking to one neighborhood, very soon many neighborhoods will be asking for it and that will require hiring more parking enforcement officers.

Right now the City has one part-time Community Service Officer for parking. With a $5 Million budget deficit there aren't going to be anymore.

Posted by Parent, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Feb 6, 2009 at 12:19 pm

Poor city planning and insideous degredation of EVERYONE's property values due to city's poor planning, and greedy overdevelopment.

When is this city council going to start standing up for the value of the this community and STOP THE DENSE HOUSING GROWTH.

Everyone knows that cars packed in on neighborhoods streets, without driveways, trashes up the neighborhood, draws crime, draws noise and traffic congestion, and reduces EVERYONE's property values.

SHAME SHAME SHAME on city planners and city governments for approving dense housing without adequate parking. They build these development with KNOWN deficits of parking with the excuse that they are building somehow a greener community. Its such poor logic, that even a 12 year old could tell you its false. People don't stop needing cars because they move to a small unit without a garage. They just find a different place to park.

NO MORE HOUSING until they build some transit, some local jobs and some local walkable services (like shopping), so people can actually live there without jobs. And when they build these units with less than adequate parking (on the excuse that it incentivizes less cars) then the MUST put NO CARS in the CC&Rs of that property.

Posted by Resident, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Feb 6, 2009 at 12:31 pm

There are two sides to every story and this one in particular.

Yes, the Wilkie Way residents are paying for their reluctance to Rickeys plans. Now they can join other areas of Palo Alto who complain of not being able to find a parking space outside their own homes when their garages are full of stuff rather than cars and they have to park on driveways and their guests can't find parking. It is like this for many residents in Palo Alto, those near sports fields (sometimes known as parks) Safeway in Midtown, schools, and various other popular parking places.

On the other hand, this trend will continue every time new housing is built when there are not enough plans for parking. Dense housing without adequate parking is going to make problems worse. Even if people plan to use bicyles or Caltrain some of the time, they will still want to own and park a car. Just because housing may be called "low income" it doesn't mean the residents won't want cars. They will have to have them, to drive their kids across town to school and to drive to Menlo Park or Mountain View for affordable groceries at a place where they can park while they shop.

Posted by anonymous, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Feb 6, 2009 at 1:06 pm

There has to be some solution. Look at The Crossings in Mountain View for an example of a large-scale dense development with limited parking - somehow they are making it work and they also have rising property values (partly tied to being located in Los Altos school district, admittedly). But - there is high demand for entry into that development and not everyone rides Cal Train (which has a small station right there). There are lots of cars, but somehow, they make it work.

Posted by No Parking at JCC, a resident of Charleston Gardens
on Feb 7, 2009 at 7:33 am

I do agree with residents who say that developments should not be approved without increased parking. The Campus for Jewish Life will have such limited parking that a system of shared parking is envisioned.

Those that leave for the day will vacate their parking slots and those who arrive to use the JCC facilities will use the vacated slots. Bear in mind that the Campus for Jewish Life residences are for Seniors only, so they may not leave for the day. Where will everyone park?

I remember a former PA Transportation guru saying that everyone who uses the Campus for Jewish Life will have to come by public transportation or bicycle. Good luck!!!

Posted by Resident, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Feb 7, 2009 at 9:04 am

That is why there was mention of a parking garage being built at that meeting we had about the development in the area. The idea of a garage was not from any member of the community but was mentioned to us several times during the discussion.

Posted by Myths, a resident of South of Midtown
on Feb 7, 2009 at 9:44 am

There are a number of myths that are widely believed and repeated.
that poor people don't own cars
that older people don't own cars (even if they don't drive every day)
that we need more low income housing
that Albertson's left because of us (they closed all or most of their stores)

Posted by Resident, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Feb 7, 2009 at 10:17 am


You are right apart from the last which is only partly right. Albertsons wanted to remodel, in fact Lucky wanted to remodel, and would have done if permitted. When they closed, they had given up. Shortly afterwards, they closed most of their stores. If Albertsons had remodled when they wanted to, they may have still closed, but being a new store and depending on their returns, they may or may not have closed that store. They closed the store on Cal Ave, Mtn View, but on the few occasions I went in that store, they were empty. They never truly competed with Safeway across the street.

Posted by Rick, a resident of Charleston Gardens
on Feb 8, 2009 at 9:47 pm

The Ricky's site was zoned for housing years befor the current housing development was proposed. It had been planned as a housing site for a long time.
Ricky's wanted 300 condos,etc and a high rise Hotel on the same site and the neighbors complained of the super high density, high rise buildings proposed and with even less parking probably.

Wake up! our city is run by developers for developers.

High density w/o parks and even on overloaded streets that require 3 or 4 light cycles to move forward is being sold as "Best for the Enviroment!! C02 is good for the enviroment, just ask our enviromental leaders here. Our Industrial city needs 60,000 commuters every day as any City of Industry does..
These commuters pay for nothing in the city and we wonder why the roads are in such bad shape and the budget is many millions in the Red

Posted by narnia, a resident of Midtown
on Feb 9, 2009 at 10:11 am

So, the residents of those communities have and to pay indirect and direct fees to maintain
Palo Alto streets but they are not to be allowed to park on them in the same manner as the residents of those streets? And the residents of single housing claim for themselves ONLY the right to parking and therefor use more street parking than others? EVEN if it is to preserve (ONLY) an unencumbered view of the street. All this an low property tax payments for themselves, while those in the new developments pay high taxes that maintain what the single housing consider THEIR and THEIRS ONLY street and street parking facilities?
THis is very coarse selfishness sense of entitlement and parking hoarding ( and free loading on the new residents contributions). If you want a gated community move somewhere else.

Posted by Go see crossings, a resident of Charleston Meadows
on Feb 9, 2009 at 12:56 pm

Someone mentioned the Crossroads development in Mountain View. Go drive through Arbor Real and then through the Crossings. The Crossings has wide streets (most of which are public) with on-street parking - the roads in and out are connected to the local street grid. Arbor Real has narrow private roads, with not enough room for driveways, much less on-street parking. The Crossings is next door to grocery stores and a train station, yet has much more parking than Arbor Real.

Posted by Resident, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Feb 9, 2009 at 1:06 pm

When Sunset magazine has its open house, an agreement to work with the neighbors has already been approved by the City of Menlo Park. It is amended each year, if necessary. The event has noise and parking restrictions. The Campus for Jewish Life in South Palo Alto which plans many outdoor events, has no noise restrictions and no event parking restrictions. Instead of working this out before the project was built, neighbors were told to work this out after the project is in use.

Posted by common sense, a resident of Midtown
on Feb 9, 2009 at 1:51 pm

The city council so influenced by the environmentalists & affordable housing advocates that it causing these problems. Both are proponents for "dense housing" - environmentalists feel dense housing for mass transit; more mass transit means in theory, there should be less parking spaces required. Affordable housing advocates see dense housing development as an opportunity to grab more housing units for below market rate units.

The voters keep voting for incumbents who support these policies, and until the vote the incumbents out, it will be more of the same.

Posted by oh well, a resident of Menlo Park
on Feb 10, 2009 at 5:48 am

Stop all the complaining. Come live in Menlo Park where you aren't allowed to park on the street in residential areas between the hours of 2am and 5am. If you accidentally forget to move your car off the street it's a $37 fine. The city's reasoning - it reduces crime by keeping the burglars from parking on the street.

So if you plan on breaking in to anyone's home in MP between 2am and 5am make sure to park in the victim's driveway so the police don't bother you.

Posted by you think you have problems, a resident of Menlo Park
on Feb 10, 2009 at 5:49 am

Stop all the complaining. Come live in Menlo Park where you aren't allowed to park on the street in residential areas between the hours of 2am and 5am. If you accidentally forget to move your car off the street it's a $37 fine. The city's reasoning - it reduces crime by keeping the burglars from parking on the street.

So if you plan on breaking in to anyone's home in MP between 2am and 5am make sure to park in the victim's driveway so the police don't bother you.

Posted by Resident, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Feb 10, 2009 at 9:07 am

Hey, that's an idea. It might stop people storing junk on their driveways and parking on the street, it might stop people storing junk in their garages and not able to put their 3 cars on the driveway.

Not saying we should do it, but there are upsides.

Posted by mp has it right, a resident of Crescent Park
on Feb 10, 2009 at 9:52 am

Just ban overnight parking on streets in all parts of Palo Alto. Works fine in Menlo Park.

Posted by Thomas Paine, a resident of another community
on Feb 10, 2009 at 1:21 pm

The public streets belong to ALL people, not just to the residents nearby. Let 'em park!

Posted by PA Resident, a resident of Greenmeadow
on Feb 11, 2009 at 11:48 am

Rumors - you all feed on each other with ridiculous inaccuracy. Do your homework before you speak.
The Campus for Jewish Life project was approved under an EIR which anticipated shared parking. Ultimately, the 230 condominiums planned for the Altaire site have been reduced down to 103 townhomes and 57 senior units. All requirements for shared parking were erased as result of this significant reduction. It's all in the EIR. The JCC and 899 Residences have more than 600 parking spaces under their buildings and all of the senior housing parking will be managed by valet. The conservative calculation for parking at the campus is listed as 570 at peak daily use. Agreements for overflow parking at Kehillah for large events along with noise limitations for everyday use are all part of the very strict requirements placed by the City of Palo Alto in the entitlement process.

Clean out your garage and park in it. Get rid of your extra vehicles - they are bad for the environment. City streets are public. Most have been designed with widths appropriate for parking to accommodate exactly what so many of you are complaining about.

Posted by rem, a resident of South of Midtown
on Feb 11, 2009 at 1:25 pm

Why don't we have a honest City Council that will honestly say "Developer (Contractors) Lobby, Developer (Contractors) Donate and we will approve!!!!"

It would be great if the City Council learned a new word – NO or new phase – DISAPPROVED…

There is no sane reason for this PROBLEM except MONEY, MONEY, MONEY and not care about the people of Palo Alto or ANY of the other communities …..

Posted by With all due respect, please get your facts straight, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Feb 11, 2009 at 2:44 pm

The Hyatt developer NEVER at any time proposed "a hotel". They proposed 302 units of HOUSING AND a 320 room hotel. A fiscal analysis of the project showed that the costs of the housing would have more than offset the the revenues generated by the hotel.

The EIR for the proposed project showed that the surrounding streets would not have been able to support traffic generated by the density that Hyatt proposed. No "compromise" project was ever offered by the developer, though the city and residents tried to get to a compromise.

By comparison...the current project added about 187 housing units, far less than the original high density 302/320 proposal.

The hotel component of the project was dropped after the bottom fell out the hotel market after 911.

The city can only approve a project that is proposed. They can't just make up a project they want. This, after all, is private property. There are limits to what Council can do.

Posted by Local gurl, a resident of Charleston Meadows
on Feb 12, 2009 at 11:12 am

I fought the development of the Rickey's site on the grounds that traffic was already miserable and that I couldn't get out of my driveway between the hours of 7-9 a.m. during the week. It is no better now. Never mind that my son was hit by a car on Charleston on his way to JLS (in the bike lane!!) by someone who decided that he was in too big a hurry to wait in that traffic. I'm not a NIMBY kind of person . . . this is a matter of my family's safety.

Posted by Sue Allen, a resident of Adobe-Meadows
on Feb 12, 2009 at 1:33 pm

I don't think anyone yet mentioned the development on East Meadow Circle. There are two large townhouse developments. The have '2 car garages' where the cars are parked front-to-back, instead of side-by-side. There are about 6 "visitor" spaces, so that forces lots of cars onto the street. It's OK now, because the area is mostly office space, but as it becomes more residential the area will have a big parking problem. The city needs to require 2 car garage, and 1 or 2 street spaces for each dwelling unit.

Posted by Resident, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Feb 12, 2009 at 2:16 pm

Tandem parking, one behind other is bad idea. It encourages street parking.

Posted by Joop, a resident of University South
on Mar 20, 2009 at 12:15 pm

The proposed "801-875 Alma Street Mixed Used Project" is another example where we as neighbors from Palo Alto should say: Enough Parking in a nice senior only low income housing project, with some retail and leave ACE expanded at Channing Avenue.
But City please build it with its own entrance/exit and 2 underground parking garages including public parking.

Feel free to sign the petition that the Neighbors For a Livable SOFA2 (NFL-S2) will bring to the Planning and Transportation Commission on April 1st 6pm in the City Counsil Chamber

click or type in:

The City needs to plan according to their own guidelines and with the business and neighbors parking problems in mind.

Posted by HUTCH 7.62, a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Feb 19, 2011 at 10:00 am

A home owner should be able to park in front of his/her own house. Not to say that they have the exclusive right and noneone else should be able to park in front of aforementioned house but other neighbors should attempt to respect that rule.

Posted by Resident, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Feb 19, 2011 at 10:22 am

Parking at the Bayshore end of Loma Verde used to be non-existent, but now on a daily basis there are trucks and other vehicles parked there. The new development is much bigger in reality than it looked on paper and is still not finished. With the bulbout (I think that is what it is called), the parking and lack of visibilty for seeing traffic coming southbound on Bayshore, that is now a very dangerous intersection.

Posted by Less parking = more $, a resident of South of Midtown
on Feb 19, 2011 at 12:46 pm

The Planning department thinks its job is to help developers get their projects approved. Do they ever just say No? Maybe once in 5 years.
The Architecture board does the same. After all, architects earn a living working for developers. They make nice all the time ok, maybe change the color or add a tree. Only once in a rare while will they say, too big, too dense, too ugly, not enough parking. Making "exceptions" is the norm.
Reduced parking requirement means the developer makes more money by using the space for housing. Very simple arithmetic. What happens later is not their problem.

Posted by palo alto mom, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Feb 19, 2011 at 6:11 pm

if every new housing unit was required to have room for 2 cars parked off street (not in a garage, but a driveway), it would solve a lot of this issue. And new office buildings should have enough parking for every employee AND every client.

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