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'Satellite parking' program trudges forward in Palo Alto

Original post made on Aug 12, 2014

A proposal in Palo Alto to create a new parking area near the Baylands and shuttle commuters downtown edged ahead Monday night after a reluctant and deeply ambivalent City Council approved a design contract for the experimental "satellite parking" program.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Tuesday, August 12, 2014, 3:03 PM

Comments (53)

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Posted by NIMByxbee
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Aug 12, 2014 at 6:14 pm

I'm pro shuttle but diverting traffic onto Embarcadero East of 101 is an ill-conceived notion. The intersection of Embarcadero / East Bayshore is already overcrowded and perilous. Barely 200 feet separate the 101 S exit ramp from the heavily congested traffic light. Traffic is at a standstill between 8 and 9:30 each weekday morning as cars, city vehicles and semi's feebly attempt to negotiate across multiple lanes of stopped traffic as they exit the freeway. The addition of more vehicles into this impossibly short interchange is folly.


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Posted by Eric F
a resident of Downtown North
on Aug 12, 2014 at 6:45 pm

This is not a good plan and we should not do it. Moving cars out of Professorville and into an environmentally sensitive area like the Baylands is like moving them out of Professorville and into some other neighborhood. They don't belong any of those places. And it's not even very many cars.

It's good everybody recognizes this is a very difficult problem. Yet the City is still allowing projects like the upcoming 385 Sherman, which even by the Planning Department's conservative numbers will add at least 70 cars with no place to park. 385 Sherman by itself would consume most of the proposed Baylands spaces. Apparently we haven't yet mastered the First Rule of Holes.

The parking problem is the result of years of poor planning and inattention to the cumulative consequences of many decisions together. Until we take a different approach, we will keep on having very difficult problems.


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Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Aug 12, 2014 at 6:48 pm

This would only work if we get rid of free parking in downtown. We need to start charging by the hour at all city garage and lots and put meters on the streets, including residential areas (with options for those without driveways to have exemptions for their own registered cars). Otherwise there is no incentive for people to use a satellite lot.

The other requirement is to make sure that the shuttles are frequent enough that people will use them. An hourly shuttle which has to make stops for residential riders, will not appeal to those who need to get to work.


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Posted by Wondering?
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Aug 12, 2014 at 6:53 pm

So .. when will these shuttles run? And who will pay for them?

This doesn't seem to be the makings of a workable plan.


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Posted by palo alto resident
a resident of Crescent Park
on Aug 12, 2014 at 7:00 pm

I work in the Chase bank building at Hamilton and Bryant. There are two City lots right there (next to the post office and next to the Chase bank parking lot.) These are parking permit lots - aka $$$ for a permit.... They are anywhere from 30-50% empty during the work day. If you can park for free near by, why on earth would you pay for parking?

To be fair to the residents of Palo Alto, particularly those who live within a short walk to downtown, we NEED a residential parking permit system. Not only are all the cars an issue for the residents, but they significantly reduce visibility and impact safety for those biking and walking down streets.

Also - if Bryant is supposed to be a "bike boulevard" why aren't there clearly marked bike lanes? Or any bike lanes at all? It is currently very hazardous to bike from University to Embarcadero on Bryant, lots of cars, limited visibility at all intersections, not to mention people opening car doors without looking for bikes.

For a City that aims to be bike friendly, we really aren't until we get some safe paths for biking.


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Posted by Eric F
a resident of Downtown North
on Aug 12, 2014 at 7:13 pm

@Resident and @palo alto resident are correct. The cars need to be out of the neighborhoods for two main reasons:

1. They don't belong there. It's a safety and neighborhood-quality issue.

2. No traffic-reduction program that uses parking access as a lever can succeed, as long as there is unlimited parking in neighborhoods.


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Posted by Wondering?
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Aug 12, 2014 at 7:25 pm

> not to mention people opening car doors without looking for bikes.

Cyclists shouldn't be riding with their eyes closed. The have as more responsibility for their safety than motorists do!


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Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Aug 12, 2014 at 7:38 pm

If you open your car door and an approaching cyclist hits it, it's legally your fault.


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Posted by common sense
a resident of Midtown
on Aug 12, 2014 at 7:39 pm

Move all city council member's reserved, free, parking from under city hall to the baylands. Do the same for city workers at city hall.

Only then will they understand why this is not such a bright idea.


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Posted by Bikes2work
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Aug 12, 2014 at 8:12 pm

Bryant Street is a bike boulevard. Bikes are supposed to use the full lane and not ride in the door zone. Cars should only pass when it is safe to do so and the other lane is clear. Cars are second to bikes on Bryant Street.


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Posted by Bikes2work
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Aug 12, 2014 at 8:16 pm

To learn more about how to drive your bicycle, check out this website:

Web Link


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Posted by Wondering?
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Aug 12, 2014 at 8:17 pm

> If you open your car door and an approaching cyclist hits it,
> it's legally your fault.

If this is true--then it's a law that needs changing. Cyclists are too irresponsible, as a group, that motorists should not be at a disadvantage when a cyclist runs into their cars. Cyclists are constantly running the stop sign near my home--making it almost impossible to back out of my driveway without having one of these bozos running into my car. Many of the cyclists are riding at too fast a speed for their own good.

Time for a change!


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Posted by Marie
a resident of Midtown
on Aug 12, 2014 at 10:10 pm

Marie is a registered user.

My understanding is that Palo Alto had parking meters downtown many years ago and removed them to help retail stores downtown compete with Stanford Shopping Center. The day Stanford Shopping Center charges for parking is the day Palo Alto can start charging for short term parking, otherwise downtown retail is dead.

I do believe there should be a way to pay for a one day all day parking permit without having to walk into city hall. Why don't we convert some of the monthly permit spots, much of which is unused, to daily paid spots? Why can't we develop a phone app for paying for them? The parking police would know who had a permit by license plate number.


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Posted by PatrickD
a resident of Barron Park
on Aug 12, 2014 at 10:27 pm

Who is this program targeted toward? People who work downtown but can't find parking?

I'm not really sure who would want to use it; if free parking is first-come-first-served, either you try and show up early and snag a space, or you show up late and circle because it's probably faster than riding on a shuttle bus. If the shuttle isn't free, you get the double whammy of having to pay for the inconvenience of the shuttle.


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Posted by Neal
a resident of Community Center
on Aug 13, 2014 at 7:41 am

Hello Wondering,

Cars are never at a disadvantage when there is a collision between a bike and an automobile. Simple physics.

I too, have a lot of cyclists on my street that made it difficult to back out of my driveway safely. Now I back into my driveway because cyclists are much more visible from that view point. Conversely, leaving my driveway by driving forward greatly improves my ability to spot bikes or pedestrians.


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Posted by anonymous
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Aug 13, 2014 at 9:04 am

I absolutely oppose this plan:
101 and Embarcadero is an already overburdened intersection. This is obvious. Do NOT add to the congestion right there.
Why should traffic be shifted to OUR neighborhood - Duveneck St. Francis. - which is nowhere near downtown, whereas currently traffic to downtown approaches from many sides/routes?! Some driving to this parking lot will now drive through here and then the shuttle busses will increase noise and add to our neighborhood traffic. Remember objections neighbors had to Facebook shuttle busses loudly going through College Terrace?
Why should the Baylands Nature Preserve be used as a city parking lot?!


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Posted by Annette
a resident of College Terrace
on Aug 13, 2014 at 10:28 am

It is encouraging to see all the comments opposed to this plan. To be effective each concerned citizen should drop their anonymity and speak up about this by writing to City Council and/or key City managers such as Jessica Sullivan, Jaime Rodriguez, and Hilary Gitelman. Or write to one of our papers. The Council is anxious to prove that they are doing something to address the parking problem. This satellite parking lot plan qualifies as something so despite misgivings, five of them voted for the contract. Those of us who think this is a bad plan that will in fact create problems and not do much to solve the real problem need to do more than talk about it here. I have and I urge each of you to do the same.

Annette Ross


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Posted by bike rider
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Aug 13, 2014 at 10:36 am

Several years ago, not on Bryant, a car door was opened unexpectedly just as I was parallel with the car. There was NO way to stop in time.. The result was abrasions on my legs and arms and a bent bike wheel. I hit the car door with such force hat the owner could no longer close it. He was outraged, screaming that it was my fault. Amazing. He ultimately had to pay up for both my bike repair and for his damaged door. Drivers must look before opening car doors.


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Posted by observer
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Aug 13, 2014 at 10:46 am

This shuttle plan is so idiotic it is shocking- it makes no sense
from a logistic, visual,environmental,neighborhood, Baylands, cost perspective yet the Council must do something, that is their political reality, so let's make the bad in Palo Alto worse. I don't believe there is a worse local government in the country where there is so much at stake.
Thanks go to Burt,Holman, Schmid for trying to draw a line in the sand.


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Posted by Carol Gilbert
a resident of University South
on Aug 13, 2014 at 10:51 am

I don't know it this is a good plan or not, but it sets my teeth on edge when a government entity sets up a plan and then exempts themselves from it. I agree with "common sense", all employees, including those at City Hall should come under it.
Personally, I think the top floor(s) of CPA parking installations should be free for people employed in downtown. Employers should register their employees, car description, and license numbers for exemption.


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Posted by curmudgeon
a resident of Downtown North
on Aug 13, 2014 at 11:04 am

"It's probably going to be thousands of dollars per car removed," Levinsky said.

It already is. To be precise: $1,363.64 per car. Now add on the recurring costs of operating the shuttles on a schedule that makes this parking an attractive alternative. A thirty minute wait for a shuttle probably won't cut it, even in daylight in good weather, and shuttles will need to run between 6:00 AM to 9:00 AM, and from 4:00 PM to 7:00 PM, at least.

All this for only 132 parking spaces. The cost per car removed will be somewhere between huge and astronomical.

Holman nailed it: "I find it a bit frustrating that we're spending a lot of time on this concept. It's a high cost per space in an environmentally sensitive area."


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Posted by David Pepperdine
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Aug 13, 2014 at 11:08 am

[Post removed.]


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Posted by Juan O
a resident of Mountain View
on Aug 13, 2014 at 11:16 am

The cyclists I see that are irresponsible and behave as if they own the streets are 99% of the time the ones dressed up with expensive gear. Why they go so fast and hold up traffic, I'll never figure out. Irresponsible drivers text and talk on their cell phones, they don't pay attention some times and when they collide with a bicyclist the never get hurt, but can cause great pain and suffering to the person they hit. The cyclists I speak of don't seem to understand this. I guess.


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Posted by Professorville Resident
a resident of Professorville
on Aug 13, 2014 at 11:24 am

Baylands/Embarcadero parking lot to alleviate a problem is a useless idea.It accomplishes nothing for a lot of money, a traffic nightmare, and a visual mess. As much as I would like relief from neighborhood parking, this is too little, too late. Why not charge downtown office businesses without on site parking a fee to subsidize free parking in the parking garages.
Street parking in residential neighborhoods is proliferating daily with increased building in downtown and no relief in sight.

As for the safety aspect on Bryant Bike blvd, it is outrageously dangerous at the cross streets in the Professorville neighborhood. Cars are packed to the corners, and it is impossible to see approaching bikes and cars. The very least that needs to be done is to have the corner curbs painted red.


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Posted by resident 1
a resident of Adobe-Meadows
on Aug 13, 2014 at 11:26 am

If anyone has been on Embarcadero lately during the work week it is full of large earth moving trucks and other construction vehicles going to the Athletic Center to install the new soccer fields. If you roll in the upgrade of the golf course and energy plant then you have construction in mass going on. Why would you add parking on this road and reduce the number of lanes? Because someone who runs the shuttle service has a good deal from the PACC? Or the PA utility Department?

Then consider the police scrutiny that is required for the after dark - coming soon - people getting off work?
So add in the police protection, shuttle service contract, overall dirt covering cars from construction vehicles, etc.
Whoever think up this type of stuff does not see the whole picture - only focuses on a specific element - parking - and how much money can be gained from charging people - all of which will not cover the overall cost and damage to the area.
Please put a name on this - a city representative that is responsible for overseeing this effort?


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Posted by Please Keep us Informed
a resident of Community Center
on Aug 13, 2014 at 11:39 am

Please keep these parking stories coming. This stuff is amazing


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Posted by Honor
a resident of another community
on Aug 13, 2014 at 11:48 am

Honor is a registered user.

I don't think that anyone would dispute the fact that there is a serious parking problem in and around the downtown of Palo Alto. What the best solution is remains to be seen. If nothing else, I hope that the City Council and the Planning Department are looking at this as a "lesson" for future development. There has been tremendous growth in the downtown over the past few years, a lot of it without adequate parking. Now we've reached that point of critical mass. Yes, by all means, do something to mitigate the problem; however, don't be so free and thoughtless when approving plans for further and future growth.


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Posted by Silly
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Aug 13, 2014 at 11:56 am

>Mayor Nancy Shepherd called the (parking) problem a "puzzle" that the city needs to solve.

A puzzle??? The city keeps approving bigger buildings under the ridiculous belief that no workers, hotel guests etc. will have cars that need to be parked all day and sometimes all night while they decimate retail business where people park for only a short time.

Please wire $184,000 to my Swiss bank account. I can happily beef out that puzzle solution with some sexy graphics for another $50,000

Seriously, take away the reserved parking spaces for Council members, Gittelman, Keene and Rodriquez and let them experience the joy of their policies like the rest of us.


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Posted by Annette
a resident of College Terrace
on Aug 13, 2014 at 11:59 am

@Resident 1: Jaime Rodriguez, Jessica Sullivan, Hilary Gitelman. WRITE THEM and CC City Council, or vice versa. If decision makers don't hear from people they can easily conclude that their ideas have merit AND that there's no opposition or the opposition is slight. Sometimes they disregard oppositon anyway, so it helps if arguments are cogent. In this instance there's a surfeit of practical reasons why this plan is not a worthy one. Preferences and emotional connections to the Baylands matter, but given the severity of the problem that CC is trying to solve, my guess is that practical considerations will prevail over preferences and emotions. Please put your list together and send it to the people making decisions.


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Posted by Deep Throat
a resident of another community
on Aug 13, 2014 at 12:10 pm

The 132 parking spaces will be taken by employees who work in the in the office buildings closest to the parking when the building owners realize they can get more rent by increasing the number of employees per square foot while the City provides free employee parking for them on Embarcadero Road. The parking spaces won't be used by employees commuting to Dowtown.

You can write all the letters and emails you want to City officials, but if you really want to reverse this bad decision then you have to replace the Council Members who voted for it (Price who is leaving the Council, and Scharff and Shepherd who are seeking reelection) with new Council Members who will oppose this bad idea. Klein is also leaving the Council. His replacement also needs to vote against this bad idea. We need to replace all four of these Council Members with four new people who will serve residents interests instead of serving developers who live in Atherton, Woodside, and other cities.


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Posted by Work@Harbor
a resident of Mountain View
on Aug 13, 2014 at 12:20 pm

I used to work at the Harbor on Faber place. Traffic in both morning and evening rush hours swamped the 4 lanes of Embarcadero. It would be madness reducing that to 2 lanes, because then there would be no freedom of movement, especially with people pulling into the lanes from both sides of Embarcadero.
In addition, I find it very interesting that Palo Alto is "taking control" of the airport as well as the Golf Course - connected properties that would be affected by this proposal.
Besides, this would be a LONG WALK from downtown if you happened to miss the last shuttle due to a late dinner.


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Posted by observer
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Aug 13, 2014 at 12:28 pm

@Annette
Writing letters/emails makes no difference. None of this is based on
logic, or a shared value system. This is a power struggle for the
future of Palo Alto, and what is left to protect. The only hope is
the election in November to not just change the balance on the Council,
but provide the new Council with an overwhelming mandate.


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Posted by observer
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Aug 13, 2014 at 12:57 pm

To be clear, if Scharff and Shepherd, the former Mayor and current
Mayor do not pull out of the Council race,then the vote must be large, decisive and overwhelming to provide a clear mandate for the new Council.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Susan
a resident of Midtown
on Aug 13, 2014 at 1:46 pm

Maybe more people would park in the parking garages downtown if there were increased security patrols to protect them from crime.


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Posted by Annette
a resident of College Terrace
on Aug 13, 2014 at 2:14 pm

@Observer and Deep Throat - I sadly appreciate your point of view and agree that how we vote this time is critical. I share the concerns noted about the incumbent Council candidates who voted for this contract; I am also concerned about a newcomer to the race who looks to have political aspirations beyond Palo Alto (imagine!). I think it likely his votes will be more protective of his political well-being than they are the well-being of this city and that's not what we need. That said, I also think it important to write b/c silence can so easily become acquiescence.


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Posted by Sunshine
a resident of Barron Park
on Aug 13, 2014 at 5:51 pm

As I get older, I realize that such solutions as shuttles from a lot near 101 are definitely not on for me.
So now you want to put seniors into having to move their cars frequently if they want to shop downtown. Of course, the alternative is to stop shopping downtown.
I recommend that this program start with ALL city workers. Don't expect to foist such an untenable program (especially for seniors) on residents. Start with yourselves.


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Posted by Council interests
a resident of Crescent Park
on Aug 13, 2014 at 6:20 pm

There was only one speaker that I can recall in favor of this plan, a property owner named Cintz. So it's clear who on the Council want to please the business interests.
Larry Klein said his office used to be on Embarcadero and there was no traffic problem when he crossed the street to go out to lunch.
He neglected to mention that this was TEN to FIFTEEN years ago and things have changed, including office development along Bayshore etc.etc.
Gail Price as usual approves of anything the staff proposes, maintaining her alliance with the staff. I'll be interested to see whether she goes to work for a developer or someone who requires background connections with the staff. Maybe someone like Arrillaga.


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Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Aug 13, 2014 at 6:49 pm

I see that this can work, but it has to be done right.

As I said before, this has to be a cheap, quick option for people and designed for those who will use it.

This is not a service for everyone, but it can be targeted towards those who may use it efficiently.

It needs to be for those who commute in using 101.

It needs to be for workers who know when they start work and when they end work. It could really be very useful for say restaurant workers, who start at the same time each day and end at the same time each day.

It needs to be for those who can agree to use it for little or no cost but who will get an efficient shuttle service to downtown, or somewhere else.

For example, those who work at Restaurant X, who need to be at work for lunch and dinner service could reserve a free spot and use a designated shuttle at say 10.00 am, 10.30 am or 11.00 am, and return at 3 similar return shuttles.

By contacting the various restaurants and see how their employees shifts can be coordinated to enable such a service and designated parking shuttles that can be quick and efficient off peak times, an efficient parking satellite service could be an effective solution for many.

Of course there will be those that for various reasons it will not work. But we have to concentrate on making it a service that will work for enough drivers to find it a better option than they already have.


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Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Aug 13, 2014 at 6:53 pm

Additionally, think of say those lower paid workers at SFO or SJC. Where do they park their cars? Are there satellite parking facilities on the outskirts of the airport with employee shuttles that take them to the terminals?

This is the type of service which should be envisioned.


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Posted by still looking for parking
a resident of Ventura
on Aug 13, 2014 at 10:04 pm

the other day I decided to meet a friend for lunch n downtown PA. Because I have to drop off two kids a different daycares/preschools (don't ask, childcare and it's costs is another beef of mine) I had a car and decided to drive from work to downtown PA. I searched for parking to the point I was definitely in the residential neighborhoods. Do I want to park there. No not really. I want to park in those unused remit spots under city hall! or anywhere else. Come guys, you don't need to spend $$$ on a useless consultant who should really tell you 1) permit parking for residents (with additional permits costing some $$) and 2) make get rid of the permit parking in the downtown core. 3) Give business an incentive to have their staff commute or car pool. While you're at it, how about that vehicle habitation ban? How about no overnight parking on the streets with our a permit? Wow, another problem solved for free on the web costing no $$$.


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Posted by Can't stop laughinf
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Aug 13, 2014 at 10:53 pm

Sorry Silly, no big money to your Swiss account. Instead, over $180,000 was approved by 5 Brilliant Gotta-Do-Something elected officials to go a consultant.... with not a penny to "do" anything in the real concrete world. Just community outreach meetings, environmental and traffic studies with about $93,000 of the total earmaked to three subcontracter consultants.

Sixth Graders in this town could for much less money as a science project tell any adult this plan to force powerless "workers" who can't afford a downtown paid parking permit to sacrifice an extra 5 hours every week getting to and from downtown from the golf corse is.... (no nicer way to say this) .... insane.

Yes, I will be be voting in November and will not vote for any of the dubious intellects who voted to throw $181,000 down the drain.

And, insult to injury ... the consultants' contract as bid had another planned Bayland site removed from consideration at the last minute given it was on dedicated parkland at the Geng Road athletic park and would need a City-wide vote to use for this whiz-bang downtown satellite parking idea (thanks, Ms. Renzel, for your email to the Council!) but... the consultants still get the full $180,0000+ despite not having to do almost half the work as bid.

Shallow Alto, I salute you!


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Posted by badsadidea
a resident of Charleston Gardens
on Aug 14, 2014 at 2:38 am

Thank you Karen Holman for "I find it a bit frustrating that we're spending a lot of time on this concept. It's a high cost per space in an environmentally sensitive area."


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Posted by Crescent Park Dad
a resident of Crescent Park
on Aug 14, 2014 at 8:49 am

A better use of time and money would be to form a partnership with CalTrain and build a garage on the lot between the hotel and the train tracks.


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Posted by stephen levy
a resident of University South
on Aug 14, 2014 at 9:54 am

stephen levy is a registered user.

I think a partnership with CalTrain for a garage suggested bybCPD above inca good idea. We need more capacity as well as a res permit program that is broad and probably pricing to incentivize use of existibg garages.


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Posted by Ahem
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Aug 14, 2014 at 9:56 am

This NEVER going to work. What we are going to end up with is, empty shuttle-buses, belching diesel exhaust, roaring up and down Embarcadero 24/7.

The only reason this passed is, some council members desperately need to look like they have a solution to the out of control development they allowed.


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Posted by curmudgeon
a resident of Downtown North
on Aug 14, 2014 at 10:10 am

"Downtown North resident Neilson Buchanan provided his latest survey of parking in his neighborhood. It showed every one of the blocks between Alma and Bryant in red, meaning they were completely full."

That's Cardinal Red, BTW, for the commuters who park there and then take Marguerite to Stanford.


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Posted by anneke
a resident of Professorville
on Aug 14, 2014 at 11:20 am

1. Attack the root causes of the parking problems, not the symptoms.

2. Root causes:

A.: Tremendous increase in dense office spaces with little or no parking,
approved by city staff and council over the past few years despite
adequate warning from Palo Alto residents who live in the affected areas.

B.: Most developers (if any), city staff and members of city council do not
live in the affected areas, so they do not experience the "pain."

C.: City staff and council have their own dedicated parking, so they do not
even feel the pain of having to look for a parking space. Stop that perk.
No pain, no gain! Feel the pain and you come up with better solutions.

D.: Garages half empty: Why..... cost of parking, darkness, danger? Find out
the real causes (as in a good consumer marketing study) and good
permanent solutions will fall into place.

E.: The city of Palo Alto has rules: make developers, city staff and city
council live by these rules, and stop all the exceptions. Do not make
exceptions the rule.

F.: Paralysis by analysis: expensive, no action, frustration. Use some sound
common sense and stop all these expensive consulting studies. We have
plenty of intelligence in this city.

G.: Encourage homeowners in the affected areas to use their garages and
driveways. Make the street spaces in front of driveways (lost space
right now) large enough so the homeowner can park a second car in that
space. Give the homes without a driveway, a dedicated space in front
of their home.

H.: Space out parking by marking each space (similar to Menlo Park
where they mark two spaces and then a half space) so a street does
not turn into a dense parking lot.

If we all work together, we will find that we will have adequate parking.










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Posted by Silly
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Aug 14, 2014 at 12:09 pm

Dear Can't Stop Laughing,

I'm crushed that the $180,000 won't be wired into my Swiss bank account instead of to the useless consultants but glad you found my post amusing.

Here's a discount report: Start by eliminating all permit parking for the City Council and the highly placed "transportation and planning" officials until they start REQUIRING the hotels and companies whose workers take all the parking to USE the existing parking garages we've already paid for. Let them stop approving the replacement of retail with office buildings."


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Posted by Can't Stop Laughing
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Aug 14, 2014 at 2:39 pm

Dearest Silly, Let's challenge everyone running for election to the City Council to pledge to eliminate THIS YEAR the Council's own parking spaces at City Hall and require every City Hall employee to find parking on their own time and dimes, too, as the majority of us in the real world must do.

And a special pledge should come from Council Member Liz Kniss to carpool each and everytime she needs to go to City Hall. On Monday night during discussion of the golf course satellite parking, she said many downtown "workers" using it would figure out how to carpool from there and thus avoid the need for shuttle buses. If she and the other Council members are too busy/important/elite people they just can't carpool, too, I want to see them bike, Vespa, or motorcycle to City Hall, (especially in the rain) to free up more parking spaces for the citizens they are supposed to serve.... instead of the other way around.

The former Red Cross building owned by Stanford by the train station is now mostly empty and is an obsolete building. Until the City lets Stanford know how that land can be used, how about allowing a demolition permit and temporary parking there for Stanford people, maybe open to the public after 5pm and on weekends as most Stanford parking is to see if more parking in that locale eases any parking pressure on the nearby neighborhood? Would Stanford be afraid that use would be permanent and fight it?

Or is the real issue that our decision makers fear making any more parking spaces downtown for workers, shoppers, diners, and hotel guests means those little people won't then be "encouraged" to do the green transit solutions the decisions makers won't do themselves since they have their own designated free parking spaces at City Hall? Because, for the life of me, I've never been able to figure out why the City allows so much more density downtown, takes cash bribes from developers for parking elsewhere/someday, and then doesn't promptly build that parking.


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Posted by Sunshine
a resident of Barron Park
on Aug 14, 2014 at 6:07 pm

This is a bad idea. Also bad is the concept of residential area permit only parking.
Neighborhoods should be open parking with no time limit so that shoppers (those who patronize our shops and keep downtown vibrant can park longer than the 2 hors at lots and on street. If you block off parking, downtown will wither, except for those few who know they will only park a short time.
When I want to shop, I will not park at the east end of Embarcadero and take a shuttle to downtown. I will shop elsewhere.
Most lots in palo alto are large enough for a driveway and parking of some sort.
I saw the effect of residential area permit only parking. Once that was implemented suddenly there were NO cars parked on any of the streets in the area.
Is this what you want? No one parking?
If city Council likes this concept they should start with themselves, including the mayor, city manager, and all management level employees.


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Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Aug 14, 2014 at 7:17 pm

As I wrote above (if anyone is reading any of the posts before commenting), this should not be a shoppers/visitors solution but for targeted workers who will have a service that suits them.

The shuttles do not need to run all day long, but several within a couple of hours at the beginning and end of the work day, possibly off peak (think restaurant workers). These shuttles would be designated parking shuttles and not designed for any other use (except perhaps for the non commute return).

Think more of how workers get to SFO/SJC from satellite employee parking on the perimeter of the airport rather than how travelers get to the terminals.

Don't judge this idea by your convenience to park, instead look at this as an out of the box solution for a targeted group of workers with regular hours who will use it on a routine basis.


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Posted by Annette
a resident of College Terrace
on Aug 14, 2014 at 9:29 pm

@Anneke - I hope your many good suggestions are read by City Council. It is a concern that the contract is for DESIGN and not feasibility b/c that implies that the plan is, at least in the eyes of Staff and the Council members who voted for it, essentially a fait accompli. I work across from where the proposed lot will be and I can attest to the fact that this idea is not only not a solution to the downtown problem but also a plan that will both aggravate existing problems and create some new ones. If you agree: SPEAK UP where it matters by writing Council and Staff (Jaime Rodriguez, Jessica Sullivan, Hillary Gitelman, James Keene) and then be sure to vote wisely in November.


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Posted by southbayresident
a resident of another community
on Aug 15, 2014 at 3:06 am

132 parking spaces does not sound like nearly enough to make this scheme work for the benefit it is supposed to provide. For people to actually want to use it I would think the shuttles would need to run every 15 minutes which would result in ridiculously high labor costs. But otherwise it would simultaneously solve the petty issue of how people get from Palo Alto Airport to downtown without a car (for those too cheap to call a taxi after paying god knows how much to fly their own plane).

For the service to be popular and justify itself it will likely need to provide an overabundance of parking so when people are in a rush and not certain if they will find parking in the downtown they will choose the satellite parking option for A.) the predictability of a guaranteed parking spot and B.) if the shuttle wait time is not more than 15 minutes it may actually save time vs. looking for parking downtown.

Making the economics work may require construction of a parking garage or extending the shuttle route so it loops through the golf course, airport and baylands parking lots. Maybe even build a large surface parking lot on the former dump site that's supposed to become part of the park.

The city could ask the VTA to fund and operate it based on the logic that it will used by residents throughout Santa Clara County so the county should fund it, just like Palo Alto residents help fund the VTA's free bus shuttles to and from San Jose airport. VTA could call it the 'Baylands Park and Ride'. Provide plenty of free charging stations for people's Tesla's, Leaf's ect. and with a heavy dose of green-washing the city could designate this the "Green" parking lot. Never mind the fact some of the wetlands may need to be paved over!

I seriously don't think this is a good idea (horrible actually) but I like to entertain the possibilities of how it might be made to work. I am very interested to know what the city's paid consultant will figure out for $180,000.

I hate to use this term but I otherwise think the city may be creating something that seriously does deserve to be called a "Boondoggle". Once again it's just more wasteful spending to support peoples driving habits and push the more difficult issues further down the road. This is an approach Palo Alto seems to have been warming up to lately.


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