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Overnight-parking ban eyed for part of Crescent Park

Original post made on Jul 30, 2013

Crescent Park residents whose blocks are inundated at night by cars from neighboring East Palo Alto may soon have a solution to their parking woes, though just about everyone agrees that this solution is, at best, a consolation prize.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Tuesday, July 30, 2013, 11:01 PM

Comments (51)

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Posted by Aquamarine
a resident of Stanford
on Jul 30, 2013 at 11:44 pm

"...taking up their parking spaces..."

Lovely attitude, but it got you to Crescent Park, so why stop now?


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Posted by CrescentParkAnon.
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jul 31, 2013 at 2:11 am

I don't live in this area of Crescent Park, but I have driven, biked and walked in that area. It is a mess at night, there are cars all over the place and people walking all over as well. There have been a few crimes there as well as report here.

I don't blame people for not wanting lots of strange cars at their curbs and to say there is something wrong with this is just blather.

This situation puts me in a contradictory place, as I have argued for letting people who need to, and residents at times park campers or RV or whatever in places, and I do not want to change that opinion.

However, this is a special case that is only enabled because of the proximity of the less densely parked streets of Palo Alto to the packed streets of East Palo Alto on the other side of the creek.

I think the solution here is to get rid of the bridge as is needed. The bridge has to go because the aperture under it backs up water in a rainstorm and could lead to flooding.

By removing the bridge and not replacing it with an auto or pedestrian bridge the problem is solved. Yes, it makes it more difficult to get to and from Palo Alto and East Palo Alto.

This is harsh, as it leaves EPA on the other side to solve a very tough problem, that is, the lack of parking places in their high density housing. EPA residents need to demand parking places. A park might be nice over there as well.

But why do Palo Alto streets need to serve as parking lots for EPA?

It used to be just a few cars, but for a while this whole area was filled with cars, and not only on Newell but all along the side streets as well. There is no way to get the EPA parkers to moderate their behavior.

Any one have an opposing view or a better idea?

The only permanent and full solution is to get rid of that screwed up bridge that should not even be there anyway. I'd be so curious to know what that area looked like when they build that bridge and why they build it.


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Posted by boscoli
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Jul 31, 2013 at 7:06 am

Palo Alto cannot solve EPA's problems. EPA need to create parking spaces for their own residents, as well as build their own public parks and athletic fields. Dependency on your neighbors is counter productive and destructive. EPA's priorities should include instilling some civic pride in their residents.


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Posted by Chris Zaharias
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jul 31, 2013 at 7:14 am

My wife and I often go for a walk down Newell towards the bridge, then left onto Edgewood and around the neighborhood. We virtually *never* see anyone outside who lives on Edgewood or any of the streets in question, which is to say that Palo Altans in that area do not even *use* the streets they live on themselves.

If the streets aren't being used at all by the citizens that live there, it's hard for me to understand them having an issue with others parking on their street.


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Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 31, 2013 at 8:03 am

I feel sure that it is not the cars being parked that is the real problem in this neighborhood, but the manners of those parking the cars. I have no problem with any cars being parked overnight outside my home, but if they are noisy, blocking driveways and leaving litter I would be very unhappy.

Being good neighbors with respect and manners makes a big difference. Those that are already doing this (and perhaps some may be Crescent Park residents or their visitors) are now being penalized.


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Posted by XDM
a resident of East Palo Alto
on Jul 31, 2013 at 8:08 am

If the City of EPA would fix Woodland Ave and provide parking all along the creek side of the road the problem would be solved. The road is in really bad shape with potholes and bumps everywhere so the City should be looking at fixing soon.


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Posted by squeaky wheel
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jul 31, 2013 at 8:31 am

What about banning at Chaucer? With no overnight parking in Menlo Park, we're forever stuck with Menlo Park residents parking on Chaucer and Palo Alto Avenue.


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Posted by Bay Dweller
a resident of Community Center
on Jul 31, 2013 at 9:55 am

I don't see why this is such a difficult problem to solve that it requires a journey to get there. Just do it. Put a residential permit program in place and problem solved!

On the subject of the bridge, I agree with the comment that it does not need to be there. To say the bridge is outdated and unsafe is an understatement, let alone contributing to the problem of flooding. It was not designed for the way it is being used today. Removing the bridge is the most effective way to solve a number of problems, including overflow parking.


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Posted by Alan
a resident of Charleston Meadows
on Jul 31, 2013 at 10:46 am

How about an over-night parking ban at Cubberly too while your at it. That area is be my daughter's path to and from school, but over the past few months the problem has gotten out of control and is no longer safe.


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Posted by Berry
a resident of College Terrace
on Jul 31, 2013 at 11:45 am

I know people who live in the residential area across the Newell bridge in EPA. Too many people living in a small 2br space with like four cars to one appt' unit. And yes, they're litter bugs. Sidewalks and gutters lined with trash. They give zero cares about their own residential area or the environment. I support this parking ban.


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Posted by dtnresident
a resident of Downtown North
on Jul 31, 2013 at 11:59 am

So while Crescent Park get their needs met, the dtn doesn't. curious. How about ban overnight street parking withoug res permits. Tired of the car/van and RV dwellers. They leave lots of mess on the street, including their blackwater


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Posted by mmmm
a resident of Community Center
on Jul 31, 2013 at 12:03 pm

Overnight parking ban? What about residents who own more than one car per household or have visitors? Where do we and our guests park if you completely ban overnight parking. Not everyone in Palo Alto lives in huge houses with double wide driveways.


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Posted by CrescentParkAnon.
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jul 31, 2013 at 12:16 pm

The management of parking permits does not solve the problem, creates other problems like visitor problem - and costs money and police time to enforce.

Tearing down the bridge and not rebuilding it does solve the problem permanently.

It does not solve the Chaucer St. problem, but I don't think that is as much of a problem because the apartment density near Chaucer St. is nowhere near the Newell St. problem on the Menlo Park side.

This issue has nothing to do with other "non-bridged" parts of the city such as Cubberly.


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Posted by anonymous
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Jul 31, 2013 at 12:16 pm

On earlier threads I have been sympathetic to PA residents taking overflow parking and/or trash from a neighboring county. I only drove that way (over the bridge) once or twice since living here, it doesn't seem to make much sense. I can't speak for others closer/more affected, but perhaps the situation is leaning towards the bridge becoming pedestrian only.
With the updated ideas in this news report, my concern is that the "programs" our local politicians come up with may be too complex and require a hassle to get enforcement. Therefore, the problems, which are pretty straightforward, may not get solved and they need to be. Let's try to get simple solutions and enforcement, sooner rather than later.
When residents phone PA code enforcement, will they have the wo/man power to come out and take care of the problem promptly? Will they tow cars? How will they prevent/reduce/penalize those who dump trash on others' property? Why do you have to do a "one year program?"


 +   Like this comment
Posted by SuperD
a resident of Community Center
on Jul 31, 2013 at 12:20 pm

I agree with CrescentParkAnon - get rid of the bridge altogether. This reduces flood risk AND keeps the parking problem at bay! As others have suggested, let EPA deal with their parking issues, not Palo Alto.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by CrescentParkAnon.
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jul 31, 2013 at 12:25 pm

A pedestrian-only bridge does not solve the problem. Drivers park over in Palo Alto, and the "pedestrianate" ;-) right over to their places in East Palo Alto.

Police enforcement is problematic because for trash and the like I think someone has to see and identify the litterer ... takes too much time.

The put up no-parking signs in Newell, but then when you drive or walk through this area you see cars up and down the side streets.

The bridge has to come down anyway according to the City, so why not take it down and see what happens. I think the bridge goes down and everyone goes about their lives without much being changed.

The only argument I've heard to support the need for that bridge is access for emergency vehicles, but University and Embarcadero are fine, and if they are not should be updated to fix whatever problem there is.

People need the parking spaces in front of their houses in Palo Alto.

The City is already to hands-on in terms of regulating what parking places are used for. Why don't they quit messing with residential areas and get some more parking downtown?

Our City government needs some focus, and some courage to say no to developers.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by JA3+
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jul 31, 2013 at 1:07 pm

"I think the solution here is to get rid of the bridge ... The bridge has to go because the aperture under it backs up water in a rainstorm ..."

Agree in full


 +   Like this comment
Posted by EdgewoodResident
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Jul 31, 2013 at 1:17 pm

[Portion removed.]

The bridge needs to go. It does not serve any purpose. People with cars go over through Univ and others cross over through Embarcadero.
In any case, the bridge is narrow and dangerous for pedestrians.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by free parking
a resident of Midtown
on Jul 31, 2013 at 1:36 pm

"The bridge needs to go."
Would that be a unilateral decision? DOes EPA have a say? or they do not because they are EPA?
Time for EPA to look at calming traffic on their part of University (hint, hint--no thorugh traffic from Palo Alto)


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Newell Street Neighbor
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jul 31, 2013 at 1:36 pm

To Chris Zaharias
I don't know when you are walking on Newell or Edgewood, but your statement that you "never see anyone outside who lives on Edgewood or any of the streets in question" is hard to understand.

Over the last year, there are 70-90 cars parked up and down these streets, arriving starting at 6-7 pm and getting pretty full by 11:30 pm or midnight. This has been verified by neighborhood leaders and the city of Palo Alto. Neighbors park their cars on the street a little also but there often isn't room when residents come home from work or when they have guests for dinner, given the number of cars that are already there throughout the evening. Many stay for a few days. Neighbors use the street and the neighborhood just like all who live in Palo Alto.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by MIdtownRes
a resident of Midtown
on Jul 31, 2013 at 2:06 pm

My brother's town in southern california, does not allow overnight street parking. An exception is made for resident's who have vistors/guests, and only then when a required permit is obtained.

It is all done online - go to the city website, fill out the permit form, pay the fee ($7/night), print it out and put it on your dash.

Solves the problem of keeping the streets from become parking lots. The fee discourages abuse, but it is fair when needed.

The city might want to consider this as an option.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by CrescentParkAnon.
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jul 31, 2013 at 2:14 pm

>> An exception is made for resident's who have vistors/guests, and only then when a required permit is obtained.
>> It is all done online - go to the city website, fill out the permit form, pay the fee ($7/night), print it out and put it on your dash.

What a pain in the neck ... why should anyone have to pay to park or have their friends park in front of their own house ... that is ridiculous. It's even more ridiculous if they forget and then get a ticket or get towed. That is a screwball way to solve this problem.

And this comment, trying to nudge towards racism or something, kind of irks me too ...

>> DOes EPA have a say? or they do not because they are EPA?

Do you get to use reverse-racism and deny that the people in Palo Alto have the right to be unhappy and complain because they are complaining about less afflient minorities? This just gives me a headache.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by free parking
a resident of Midtown
on Jul 31, 2013 at 2:22 pm

CPA--cool your jets,
The question was a simple one--the bridge is also in EPA--so do they have a say in whether the bridge is removed or not. Simple as that--no racism or reverse-racism [portion removed.]


 +   Like this comment
Posted by CrescentParkAnon.
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jul 31, 2013 at 2:33 pm

No whining involved,
if you have a point then try to make it clearly.

> DOes EPA have a say? or they do not because they are EPA?

"Because they are EPA" does not factor in to any decision the bridge.
The bridge has to go so that in a major storm neither city floods in this area.

[Portion removed.]


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Free parking
a resident of Midtown
on Jul 31, 2013 at 2:44 pm

"The bridge has to go so that in a major storm neither city floods in this area."
Maybe you should become aware of the plans for the bridge replacement. The current bridge is an issue when it comes to flooding. The replacement bridge will not have those problems.
But the question I asked, is since the bridge is also in EPA, do they have say or is it just you making the decision saying the bridge must go--sounds pretty unilateral to me.

[Portion removed.]


 +   Like this comment
Posted by CrescentParkAnon.
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jul 31, 2013 at 2:50 pm

You asked if the bridge needed to go, not if it also needed to be replaced.
I'm drawing a distinction between the two.

I think that replacing the bridge is a waste of money, and should not be done,
this issue is just another reason why not.

[Portion removed.]


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Xenophon
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 31, 2013 at 3:13 pm

When our son lived in an apartment in EPA, there was no parking garage for the development, so everyone parked on the street. Several times, his car windows were broken and anything inside was stolen.

The solution for him was to drive across the Newell Bridge and park there, then walk the short distance to his apartment on EPA. He did this for two years, until he could afford to move to a better neighborhood.

If EPA apartment complex owners would include parking spaces or garages with security cameras in their development plans, there would be far fewer cars being parked a Ross the bridge in Crescent Park!


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Posted by Crescent Park Dad
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jul 31, 2013 at 3:17 pm

It wasn't that long ago that PA put up a locked gate on the Chaucer Bridge. Perfectly legal. PA does not have to agree to another bridge at Newell.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Midtown guy
a resident of Midtown
on Jul 31, 2013 at 4:52 pm

[Post removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]


 +   Like this comment
Posted by CrescentParkAnon.
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jul 31, 2013 at 5:27 pm

"Midtown guy", is this speeding you are talking about a part of the subject of parking?

There is nothing to indicate that the speeders are residents of East Palo Alto that park around the Newell Bridge, is there? I think we might both agree that the Palo Alto Police need to pick up traffic enforcement in certain areas.

Palo Alto Ave. follows the creek, then turns into Marlowe St. and then T's into University more or less a mile away from Newell St. So, what's your point here?

As a bike rider myself I try to stay off curvy roads where there are a lot of cars and it's harder for me to be seen. I know Palo Alto Ave. is a more scenic route, but cars have a harder time seeing you there.

Some of "those people" who are "service economy workers" probably do not speak English well and have a hard time trying to survive, but it sure seems like you are just picking on them. I'd wager there are just as many college students or lawyers in flashy cars driving down Palo Alto Ave. as well!


 +   Like this comment
Posted by David
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jul 31, 2013 at 6:39 pm

If EPA won't fix their parking issues, then Palo Altans should have the right to close the Newell Bridge. If EPA won't work with PA regarding the parking problem in Crescent Park, then PA shouldn't be hesitant to take steps to protect itself against the EPA parking invasion.


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Posted by palo alto parent
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Jul 31, 2013 at 6:54 pm

The City of EPA is not to blame for the parking problems as much as the managment company of the apartments that border Newell. They allow each apt one parking space and charge $100 month for any additional spaces. I'd park offsite too.


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Posted by Not an issue
a resident of Community Center
on Jul 31, 2013 at 6:55 pm

David-- I guess them EPA would have the right to close university avenue to prevent cut through traffic from palo alto.
Are the people parking in crescent park breaking the law by parking on that street ?


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Posted by Crescent Park Dad
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jul 31, 2013 at 7:14 pm

Actually, PA and EPA already do this but implementing their varikus traffic calming programs. EPA redirects traffic near the Home Depot center. PA does the same thing in DTN and CT.

Cities do what they need to do....


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Jon
a resident of Stanford
on Jul 31, 2013 at 8:26 pm

Palo Alto may feel a social obligation to help EPA in some ways.
But helping with their parking problems isn't one of them.


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Posted by Gail
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Jul 31, 2013 at 8:29 pm

East Palo Alto always gets a "pass" because Palo Alto is afraid of being called racist. I'm tired of it.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Gail
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Jul 31, 2013 at 8:36 pm

Menlo Park doesn't allow overnight parking on its residential streets.
Why doesn't Palo Alto implement the same policy. End of problem.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by CrescentParkAnon.
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jul 31, 2013 at 9:22 pm

> Menlo Park doesn't allow overnight parking on its residential streets.

UH ... Last I checked East Menlo Park was not a different city from Menlo Park. There are cars all over the streets over in parts of East Menlo Park, and that is what some of the mentioned Palo Alto streets are starting to look like.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by 70-90 parked cars?!
a resident of Jordan Middle School
on Jul 31, 2013 at 10:56 pm

Banning overnight parking in Crescent Park would be a headache for the neighborhood. Blow up the bridge. There are other routes to enter Palo Alto. And there are plenty of Walter Hays and Jordan Middle School children riding their bikes on Newell Rd. Less traffic on Newell is safer.


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Posted by Crescent Park Dad
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jul 31, 2013 at 11:06 pm

CPA: if you're referring to the Menlo Oaks neighborhood, that area is unincorporated and does not have parking restrictions.


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Posted by Lived there once
a resident of East Palo Alto
on Jul 31, 2013 at 11:17 pm

I don't think I saw any comment here about the effect closing the Newell bridge would have on traffic at the Woodland-University intersection specifically or at other Univ Ave intersections, Middlefield Road, or the Embarcadero-West Bayshore intersection as EPA residents commute to Stanford Industrial Park, shop at California Ave, Midtown, etc.


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Posted by Crescent Park Dad
a resident of Crescent Park
on Aug 1, 2013 at 6:35 am

Well it would force the cut through traffic to take roads that are designed for heavier and more frequent traffic.


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Posted by Jessica
a resident of East Palo Alto
on Aug 1, 2013 at 7:41 am

"Blow up the Newell bridge" ??? I promise to drive through all the side streets like E. Crescent and Southwood if this happens. So will thousands of other drivers. Everyone needs to come up with valid solutions. Seriously. EPA deals with all the "outsiders" parking in our city when the International School in Palo Alto on Laura Lane and East Bayshore can't provide enough parking for their families.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by CrescentParkAnon.
a resident of Crescent Park
on Aug 1, 2013 at 10:06 am

Jessica, I don't think anyone has a problem with your driving around as much as you want wherever you want .... the problem is too many people using other people's streets as their own personal parking lots ... and secondarily without even respecting them.

The problem is that those "thousands of other drivers" will not be using those streets if the bridge is removed ... because there is no logical reason to be driving through there. The bridge puts people from one small area of one city into a another small area of the other city where there is virtually nothing there commercially and no reason to have them connected. If I want to get to the 7-11 in EPA from PA .... I will have to go a little bit farther, or just go to the downtown 7-11 ... how many 7-11s do we need?

The other issues you mention with East Palo Alto is not the same as the parking is not all the time, overnight or in a quiet residential area.


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Posted by AR
a resident of College Terrace
on Aug 1, 2013 at 12:59 pm

Bay Dweller makes a good point. Establishing a RPPP anywhere in this city should be formulaic at this point. If the neighbors need to vote as we did in College Terrace why not get on with it? If John Arrillaga can get an entire football stadium built in less than a year surely City Staff can repeat an already established procedure. Just do it for goodness sake. This should not have to be a major event.


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Posted by Barriers
a resident of East Palo Alto
on Aug 1, 2013 at 2:18 pm

I empathize with many of the points that have been brought up so far. I do want to mention that Equity Residential and Woodland Park Apartments have a long history of ignoring the needs and complaints of its residents. In addition to the lack of adequate parking, residents also struggle to have simple necessary repairs completed in their units and a group of complexes has recently begun a legal battle with Equity because the quality of water in their units was found to have levels of manganese above the legal limits for several years. Equity has not shown itself to be responsive to the complaints and needs of its residents, and unfortunately, at the end of the day, they are the main force that can help alleviate this parking problem.

The problems that exist in EPA are systemic, and I don't think blame or burden to solve its problems can be placed on any one party. I certainly don't think it is Palo Alto's "responsibility" to solve EPA's parking problems, but at the same time, EPA's residents are also not in a good place to solve these problems either. Many do not speak English fluently, are not aware of their rights as renters, do not own property, may not be registered voters, and are struggling with a whole host of other issues that threaten their community (e.g., violence, subpar education, lack of access to health care, etc.).

I would like to be able to make some progress with EPA's city council and Equity on this parking issue, but given what i have mentioned above - Equity's apathy to the plight of its residents and the other issues that pose barriers to EPA residents trying to tackle this specific issue, I'm not sure anyone should get too hopeful about this parking issue in EPA being alleviated or get frustrated with EPA residents for not being able to make progress.


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Posted by An Edgewood Resident
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Aug 1, 2013 at 4:58 pm

XDM is correct in saying that EPA should build parking all along the creek; PA should insist that the bridge replacement project include this. When ample parking is available on the east side of the bridge, the parking problem at Edgewood and Newell will disappear. Removing the bridge completely would simply force traffic onto the already over-burdened University Road.


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Posted by Observer
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Aug 1, 2013 at 6:22 pm

Whoever is saying parking should be built along the creek side of Woodland is either blind, stupid or doesn't know the area. There're areas of Woodland where parking is allowed on both sides of the street, but for the most part, more parking can't safely be added. Widening a road is one thing, widening a road where there's a creek on one side is a whole other problem.

This problem didn't exist prior to Equity Residential purchasing a large number of properties on the west side. Complain to them, Christopher Peter is the manager: cpeter(at)eqrworld dotcom or woodlandpark(at)eqr dotcom or (866) 220-7449 or (650) 566-2000


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Posted by An Edgewood Resident
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Aug 1, 2013 at 7:27 pm

Plenty more cars can fit on Woodland. Simply make Woodland a one way, one lane for the few blocks surrounding Newell and have nose-in parking at an angle on both side of the street. Available parking will triple. Add meters and charge a nominal fee for overnight parking and EPA makes revenue. Win-Win.


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Posted by Andrew Boone
a resident of East Palo Alto
on Aug 2, 2013 at 9:20 pm

People are parking cars? And walking? The horror! Call the city! Enact an ordinance!

The things Palo Alto people complain about are ridiculous. #paloaltoproblems


 +   Like this comment
Posted by CrescentParkAnon.
a resident of Crescent Park
on Aug 2, 2013 at 11:36 pm

Edgewood resident, constricting Edgewood down to 1 lane so that parking can be increased on either side of it would be dangerous if there was a fire and emergency vehicles have to get in there.


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