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New nonprofit to manage downtown Palo Alto's traffic problems

Original post made on Aug 26, 2014

From a "satellite lot" on Embarcadero to new garage technologies, Palo Alto officials this month have been busily brainstorming ways to boost downtown's insufficient supply of parking. At the same time, the city has quietly launched a bold new initiative that aims to attack the problem from the demand side.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Tuesday, August 26, 2014, 9:54 AM

Comments (23)

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Posted by Thank you
a resident of Leland Manor/Garland Drive
on Aug 26, 2014 at 11:07 am

Thank you Mayor Shepherd, Vice Mayor Kniss, Councilman Scharf and Councilwoman Price for taking the leadership on this issue! I know you've done a lot of research into best practices and propose three solutions to alleviate our parking and traffic concerns. Many people don't know what Traffic Demand Management is, but they'll learn to appreciate it!


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Posted by Quality of life
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Aug 26, 2014 at 11:14 am

Dear Councilmembers,
Please lead by example and give up your dedicated parking spots under City Hall. I would like to see Liz Kniss in particular get off her high horse and take a bike to and from City Hall. This is not just a snarky comment. Boston transit was just gross until Governor Michael Dukakis took the T to work every day, and thus were born the improvements we still benefit from today. These Councilmembers in particular seem to enjoy doing unto others without any intention of those decisions hitting them close to home. If they were to adopt every suggestion first themselves, they would understand far better the consequences and problems with their proposals. It's particularly galling to have them repeatedly put development and their pet goals and dismissiveness about South Palo Alto in particular above safety and quality of life. They can't understand unless they experience it.

This shouldn't just be for the little people they expect are eating cake, they should walk the walk (literally) first themselves. Start by giving away the dedicated spots. They may be available during the day but just having the signs there is often a deterrent to other people using the spots. Then have City meetings across town on a regular basis, that they attend only by public transit or bike/foot. Then and only then will we see the kind of soul searching, action, and solutions to overdevelopment and transportation we need (at least from this crowd - the other answer is to vote them out).


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Posted by Joe
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Aug 26, 2014 at 11:36 am

The photo attached to the story says it all doesn't it? The horror of cars parked along the bucolic streets of north Palo Alto. When will the suffering end? A half million dollars is a small price to pay to keep developers happy!

Meanwhile, in south Palo Alto, drivers along El Camino now have to deal with the blinding sun reflected off the glass of massive hotels built to the curb during the evening commute. Palo Alto's ARB reserves seats on the board for architects so they can anticipate this kind of thing. I guess they'll do better next time, eh?


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Posted by Senor blogger
a resident of Palo Verde
on Aug 26, 2014 at 11:53 am

Maybe the Council should park in the free parking down at the Duck Pond and take a non profit shuttle to their business in city hall.
Maybe all the dedicated spots in City Hall should be done away with.


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Posted by Bike commuter
a resident of Midtown
on Aug 26, 2014 at 12:10 pm

I know they are in East Palo Alto, but it would be great if someone could convince the management at University Circle (4 Seasons Hotel complex) to stop actively discouraging bicycle commuting. One tiny bike rack in front of the building, and then they took it away! Why is it so hard for them to have a convenient place to lock up a few bikes?


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Posted by resident
a resident of Midtown
on Aug 26, 2014 at 12:42 pm

The city is willing to fung $500,000 to solve parking problems for businesses, but want to make the residents pay for the parking permit program in their own neighborhoods.

The residents did not create the parking problems in their neighborhoods; the city did, by approving zoning variances permitting higher density development that allowed, and by approving projects that were under parked.

That $500,000 should have gone to the residential parking permit program first. Then the city should have been charging businesses for the $500,000 to solve the parking issues that they had a hand in creating.


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Posted by Midtown
a resident of Palo Verde
on Aug 26, 2014 at 1:13 pm

Yes, growth is inevitable, but it doesn't have to look like the horror being built on El Camino near San Antonio or the one at El Camino and Charleston. South Palo Alto is being sacrificed to the developers and their captive City Council.
November is coming, Vote all the Council members out and let's have a clean slate that can fire the "planners."


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Posted by Pissed off for a while
a resident of Charleston Gardens
on Aug 26, 2014 at 1:24 pm

Agree with Midtown.
Fire the council and investigate their links to the developers.

El Camino between Charleston and San Antonio begins to look like LA. Most part of that high density housing is not even up yet but the traffic is already killing. Given VMWare, Tesla, and other companies up Arastradero and adjacent streets, try to take Foot Hill or Arastradero at 5-6 PM.


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Posted by Aileeny07
a resident of Evergreen Park
on Aug 26, 2014 at 1:33 pm

How about the parking problem in California Ave surroundings! Since we know it will be as bad as downtown Palo Alto in the near future, why don't we study at the same time?


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Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Aug 26, 2014 at 1:35 pm

Anyone else concerned that they are "hiring" a "non-profit" at a cost of almost half a million dollars?

Non-profit sounds a bit fishy to me. It might be all OK, but shouldn't we be told a little more about this end of it?


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Posted by Bill
a resident of Barron Park
on Aug 26, 2014 at 1:47 pm

Don't a number of council members listed as "solving" this problem own or have interest in commercial property in downtown Palo Alto? Isn't this something that directly benefits them, and their (over-)developer friends?

Maybe we should file an anonymous complaint with the FPPC? The Daily Phishwrap could have.another "exclusive"!


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Posted by b
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Aug 26, 2014 at 4:30 pm

FPPC is a useless waste of time. They don't find anything unless it's handed to them on a platter with neon signs and then only if it can't be avoided.


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Posted by Something terribly wrong
a resident of Crescent Park
on Aug 26, 2014 at 5:06 pm

> "hiring" a "non-profit" at a cost of almost half a million dollars?

>Non-profit sounds a bit fishy to me. It might be all OK, but shouldn't we be told a little more about this end of it?

Very fishy. The firm is composed of architects. We've had such good experience with architects, haven't we? They are easily convinced to approve developments.
The city manager has been spending Millions lately, for weird projects. Like the 4.5 million to refurbish the ground floor of cityhall.
There doesn't seem to be anyone to stop him. Something is terribly wrong.


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Posted by Anon
a resident of Downtown North
on Aug 26, 2014 at 6:18 pm

There is a recent contract between the City of Richmond and Moore Lacofano Goltsman posted at Web Link In that contract, they checked the box for "corporation", not the box for "non-profit corporation".


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Posted by Elaine Uang
a resident of Downtown North
on Aug 27, 2014 at 11:40 am

A year after hosting a Growth Without Gridlock session @ Avenidas, it's great to see the TMA in place. I am eager for them to hit the ground running. I hope they can collect good data on the needs of local workers.

Going forward, it'll be important for the programs the TMA puts forward to be available to ALL businesses throughout the downtown area, not just the commercial core along Univ/Lytton/Hamilton. Businesses along Middlefield, SOFA, and around Professorville should all benefit. And at some point, it would be lovely if residents can benefit from the programs the TMA puts in place, like ride sharing, shuttles or discount transit passes for CalTrain, VTA or SamTrans. What matters is that the Downtown area becomes a transportation ruch node, with many mobility options. Stanford has already created such a node on one side of ECR, we can and should do the same on the other side.

Also crucial is whether the TMA can do post-occupancy analysis of major development projects going in, so those projects are held to the TDM measures and standards that were part of their conditions of approval. Not much has been discussed around this yet, but for TDM to really work for downtown Palo Alto, there needs to be some teeth and some serious sticks, not just carrots.

No one likes battle traffic and finding parking. The neighborhoods are seeking improved quality of life from parking & traffic issues, and downtown workers could have better quality of life if they had more convenient ways to come to work. If we do this right, downtown Palo Alto can become a strong force in shaping regional transportation policy.


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Posted by stephen levy
a resident of University South
on Aug 27, 2014 at 11:57 am

stephen levy is a registered user.

I agree with Elaine.

By crafting programs that help everyone, we can address parking and traffic as a community together rather than seeing these issues as pitting residents and business and workers against each other.


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Posted by If-Wishes-Were-Horses
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Aug 27, 2014 at 4:03 pm

> And at some point, it would be lovely if residents can benefit
> from the programs the TMA puts in place

Good lord! "Wouldn't it be loverly .. " a line from a movie that had nothing to do with real life.

The whole idea of a non-profit with no experience to fix the problems that the highly paid "professionals" of the Palo Alto Planning Department have failed at every time they have tried is another example of the amateurish nature of everything this Council does.

Just like the "Destination Palo Alto" debacle .. more wishing and not very much doing.


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Posted by JO
a resident of College Terrace
on Aug 27, 2014 at 8:21 pm

Seems like just another "non=profit", but in this case,apparently not really a non-profit, to transfer City money to, like the City has done with PAHC and Avenidas. Residents have no confidence in City staff, so Council pays for non-staff to take responsibility. We need a new City Council.


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Posted by Ahem
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Aug 27, 2014 at 10:47 pm

JO,

Agreed. PACC is grasping at straws in a futile (and costly) attempt to fool everyone into thinking the over-development problem they created, can be solved by rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic.

All of the development cheerleaders on the Council must go. Time to drain the swamp!


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Posted by Oldster
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Aug 27, 2014 at 11:24 pm

JO and Ahem, Yes! Clean the decks.

Who is running in November?

Which of them voted on any new buildings without making sure there was enough parking on site or ensured the builder's parking-elsewhere bribe produced real parking slots within, let's pick a random number, 5 years?

Which ones have pledged to remove IMMEDIATELY the council parking slots at City Hall?

Everyone in my family votes each and every time. As one who walks a dog daily, I chat with a lot of my neighbors every day and many of us are already waiting for a lawn sign on Ms. Kniss' front yard saying "I've given up my downtown parking space."


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Posted by Midtown
a resident of Midtown
on Aug 28, 2014 at 10:07 pm

After half a million dollars how are we to know if they reduced the parking demand? I know, another half million dollar study. I hear the sucking sound already. And the RPPP will be delayed until we get the answers.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Midtown
a resident of Midtown
on Aug 28, 2014 at 10:07 pm

After half a million dollars how are we to know if they reduced the parking demand? I know, another half million dollar study. I hear the sucking sound already. And the RPPP will be delayed until we get the answers.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Midtown
a resident of Midtown
on Aug 28, 2014 at 10:07 pm

After half a million dollars how are we to know if they reduced the parking demand? I know, another half million dollar study. I hear the sucking sound already. And the RPPP will be delayed until we get the answers.


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