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Palo Alto City Council looks to technology to fix parking problems

Original post made on Aug 19, 2014

Palo Alto, a city that takes pride in its high-tech savvy, is now looking to technology to help it solve the vexing and increasingly urgent problem of insufficient downtown parking.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Tuesday, August 19, 2014, 9:58 AM

Comments (19)

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Posted by Joe
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Aug 19, 2014 at 11:25 am

> Palo Alto, a city that takes pride in its high-tech savvy,

Certainly the private sector is tech-savvy, but the city government has shown little in the way of understanding what a computer is, other than as an expensive door stop.

There is a lot of parking lot techology out there. Google a little and you will find many solutions. Will be interesting to see what the Transportation people come up with--given their lack of the use of technology, by and large.


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Posted by curmudgeon
a resident of Downtown North
on Aug 19, 2014 at 11:31 am

Sounds impressive to the rubes but, hey, gang, realistically:

(1) How many new parking places will this geewhizzbangdoodad build?

(2) How will (can) they be a cheaper alternative to parking for free on residential streets?

(3) Is it really a good idea to encourage drivers to use their devices while driving? That's illegal, you know.


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Posted by CrescentParkAnon.
a resident of Crescent Park
on Aug 19, 2014 at 12:11 pm

>> Palo Alto, a city that takes pride in its high-tech savvy

OMG, you've got to be joking. That's the funniest thing I've read here in years.


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Posted by CrescentParkAnon.
a resident of Crescent Park
on Aug 19, 2014 at 12:16 pm

Do not add parking meters!

The installation of parking meters in Palo Alto, downtown or otherwise is just going to add to the eroding feel of community. Look at downtown Redwood City, it's already starting to feel like San Francisco. Contrast that with Mountain View that does have a relaxed feeling. Parking meters really suck, particularly in a downtown that really needs to be re-designed or something because there are so many traffic fatalities.

Design downtown right, add parking structures if necessary ... I repeat again ... one adjacent to the Aquarius theater covering that huge lot that is always full would be ideal. Then see where we are.


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Posted by speechless
a resident of Greenmeadow
on Aug 19, 2014 at 12:34 pm

Last I heard, they are still ordering hardcover book in the new library.......


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Posted by 5 Coats
a resident of Barron Park
on Aug 19, 2014 at 12:54 pm

Just build another garage for only employees of local stores.


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Posted by Midtown
a resident of Midtown
on Aug 19, 2014 at 1:13 pm

"3 to 6 months for proposals". We can see how this is going. The RPPP program will be put on indefinite hold until the proposals are studied. This is exactly what the developers want. Free parking all day, every day. Nothing will change unless we throw the bums out.


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Posted by Margita
a resident of College Terrace
on Aug 19, 2014 at 2:39 pm

Some things I see in SF that could be implemented in Palo Alto include a parking garage that has a sign indicating how many spaces available on each level, and parking meters that can be operated with an app and a credit card. Looking forward to new ways of managing parking in Palo Alto.


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Posted by 37 year resident
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Aug 19, 2014 at 6:49 pm

Why not hire someone to count the number of cars used in each downtown garage during the week? Do the counting over a 3-4 week period of time to get an average. The cost will be minimal and we will find out if indeed, we have a shortage of parking spaces.My guess is not. Based on the observations of a man who has done some leg work on this and has written to both the Daily and the Post, there appears to be plenty of unused parking spaces in all the downtown garages. Will the city take a simple action? They'd rather spend a bunch of our taxpayer dollars to use to find out what a few people with click counters can do for little money, but that's NOT the Palo Alto Way.


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Posted by Joe
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Aug 19, 2014 at 8:11 pm

> Why not hire someone to count the number of cars used in each
> downtown garage during the week?

Well .. you could do that .. but you could also buy a counter that will operate 7/24 and provide completely accurate results of garage activity for not very much money.

The point of this article, and the thrust of the City's actions, is that it's time to start employing technology--which is available from numerous vendors, to do the both the basic jobs of counting, and then the more complicated job of getting that information out to motorists who need to find a place to park downtown.


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Posted by Ben
a resident of College Terrace
on Aug 19, 2014 at 8:48 pm

Palo Alto is high tech savvy, really?

Isn't the city going to spend $4M, yes, $4M, to put signs up around and in city hall too hard to find? People get lost in the garage under city hall, so says city hall.

City council and staff have danced around 'solutions' to the parking problems that they have created for years. Their eager embrace of 'technology!' because "We're in Palo Alto. We have high standards" is absurd. In a few years, after hundreds of thousands of dollars has been squandered on 'experts' and consultants, and probably millions on useless gadgets, we will be hearing from a future city council about how much smarter THEY are, but how the technology of yesterday failed them, it's not their fault, and of course, the solution of today did not live up to their "high standards" of tomorrow.

What is the cost of tried and true parking meters on the street, and in the parking garages?


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Posted by Money, money
a resident of Community Center
on Aug 19, 2014 at 9:35 pm

No one on the staff last night knew how much money there is in the In-lieu parking fund.
Astonishing.
Makes me wonder whether they really collect it or is it another invisible giveaway to developers.


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Posted by observer
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Aug 19, 2014 at 11:08 pm

It is very hard to figure out how much Epiphany Hotel actually put in the
in-lieu parking fund.Anybody know? Also,when Holman brought up the very relevant issue of sign clutter all over the City, the issue was dismissed by Keene and the staff as not relevant since the consultant will take care of that- on this project.


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Posted by Al
a resident of Adobe-Meadows
on Aug 19, 2014 at 11:54 pm

>> ... how much money there is in the In-lieu parking fund.

Per the adopted FY2014 operating budget, the "Traffic Mitigation & Parking In‐Lieu Fund" will be just under $7.5 million by the end of FY2014. Expected revenue for FY2014 was $586K.


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Posted by jaa
a resident of University South
on Aug 20, 2014 at 2:47 am

Well, thank-you Palo Alto for more of your "bright ideas" and installing that insufferable lime and yellow neon street sign, on an impasse, glaring right at the window of my absurdly overpriced studio. I once actually had a view of a tree and the sky. So what's next, a flashy digital sign directing traffic to that lovely castle the keep? This in the most historic part of downtown and now it feels like the freeway entrance. Finally, why is there always an assumption that technology will "fix" everything. It won't. Learning to plan and redesign a downtown in which human beings, not robots, want to live and work, actually, might be a better idea.


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Posted by Mike Alexander
a resident of St. Claire Gardens
on Aug 20, 2014 at 6:20 am

The most helpful feature I've seen in a garage was at Santana Row, where each parking space has a light visible from the end of the row. The light is either green or red to indicate its availability. I think there is other signage indicating availability of spaces on each level. Very helpful.


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Posted by palo alto resident
a resident of Crescent Park
on Aug 20, 2014 at 8:45 am

@observer - I don't think the Epiphany Hotel had an in-lieu parking required. I think they were grandfathered as an existing structure that was renovated.


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Posted by musical
a resident of Palo Verde
on Aug 20, 2014 at 12:11 pm

@Mike A. -- except when the "available" spots are bordered by two sloppily parked monster SUVs.
Those spots remain available until maybe a motorcycle comes along.


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Posted by Silly
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Aug 20, 2014 at 12:51 pm

"Palo Alto takes pride in its tech savvy." Really? The web sites where they request citizen input don't work while they claim they want "citizen input." Even their public art web site doesn't work. Ask any techie who got involved in the failed attempt to wire the city for high-speed access.

And I love getting my Verizon bill where we pay the city $2.25 each and every month for wireless access while the other state and federal taxes and fees are each under $0.35! The only thing Palo Alto is "tech savvy" about is milking us for money.


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