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Editorial: A bridge apart

Original post made on Sep 6, 2013

As the Palo Alto City Council's unanimous vote on Aug. 12 showed, there was little doubt that residents on streets near the Newell Road bridge connecting the Crescent Park neighborhood with East Palo Alto would be successful at obtaining relief from their parking nightmare. That's about all that went right with this process.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Friday, September 6, 2013, 9:32 AM

Comments (67)

Posted by Crescent Park Mom, a resident of Crescent Park
on Sep 6, 2013 at 11:35 am

I think Palo Alto staff did a great job working to solve the parking issue in Crescent Park. They tried to work with EPA staff to come to a mutual solution but clearly weren't getting anywhere fast and the Crescent Park residents were anxious to get something done. Its been unbearable.

In order for PA staff to have more accurate information about the residential issues on the EPA side, EPA staff would have had to provide it. Clearly they didn't. Makes you wonder how closely EPA staff was really working with PA staff as they claim.

This problem all stems from the transient residents on the EPA side of the creek. Not our lovely long-term residents on the EPA side of the creek. They are just caught up in this mess.


Posted by resident, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Sep 6, 2013 at 12:00 pm

Excellent editorial. In this case the process was all wrong but the
results are right. This is the exception. In everything else I
see from Planning and Transportation the process is all wrong and
the results are all wrong.


Posted by james, a resident of Barron Park
on Sep 6, 2013 at 12:14 pm

poor staff - take that however you want.


Posted by Hmmm, a resident of East Palo Alto
on Sep 6, 2013 at 12:59 pm

[Post removed due to disrespectful comment or offensive language]


Posted by Phil, a resident of Downtown North
on Sep 6, 2013 at 12:59 pm

No, the residents of Palo Alto are only being impacted with a parking problem due to the inability of EPA being able to solve their own problems. Palo Alto residents should not have to cope with the fallout of issues occurring in a separate city located in a separate county. With the parking prohibition the Palo Alto problem will be essentially solved. Anything going on in EPA is their own business. Besides, it's quite apparent that Mr. Abrica and EPA have much bigger problems they should be working on like the shootings and gang violence. Ridiculous for him to be taking exception with Palo Alto on this matter. Get real.


Posted by TheLastStraw, a resident of Crescent Park
on Sep 6, 2013 at 1:31 pm

[Post removed.]


Posted by Ruth, a resident of Meadow Park
on Sep 6, 2013 at 2:19 pm

The senior, experienced city staff members left en masse in the past few years. We have lots of new staff people who don't know the city, who haven't been trained properly in procedures, who haven't learned about process - which is also true of some council members.

This is also true regarding Palo Alto's long-cherished values, like protecting the environment.
We have some staff members pushing their own vision rather than the residents' vision on plans for our open spaces.


Posted by Sharon, a resident of Midtown
on Sep 6, 2013 at 2:54 pm

A wise vote, good outcome

SM is another county/tax base


Posted by stigg, a resident of Monroe Park
on Sep 6, 2013 at 3:02 pm

[Post removed.]


Posted by boscoli, a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Sep 6, 2013 at 3:23 pm

One city should not be expected to solve the parking problems of another. It's really a matter of self reliance. There are enough smart people in EPA who can find a solution to their parking space deficiency.


Posted by no surprise, a resident of another community
on Sep 6, 2013 at 5:09 pm

Another excellent editorial. This episode just adds to Palo Alto's elitist image and is another example of the planning department's disregard for communication. Just what does that high-priced communications person do?


Posted by Crescent Park Dad, a resident of Crescent Park
on Sep 6, 2013 at 7:11 pm

Last time I checked, a public relations manager is not responsible for peer to peer communications between cities.
[Portion removed.]


Posted by Marie, a resident of Midtown
on Sep 6, 2013 at 7:25 pm

Marie is a registered user.

I agree that the staff did a poor job finding out the source of the shortage of parking. However, I had a question about Mayor Abrica's letter. He states that Woodland Ave. has always been no parking they only added signage to remind people of that fact. Does that mean people were parking on Woodland without any consequences? Did the signage impact where people parked?

And lastly, would it really be that bad if people did park on Woodland, at least temporarily until the other parking lots open.

And what do the owners of the apts. have to say? Their silence has been deafening. Are there unused spots because they are charging a lot or are all the lots full?

And $5 a night to park in front of your own house seems steep. Is this a way to satisfy staff who feel the way to encourage inadequate mass transit by making it more expensive to park cars? This seems to fit that agenda more than recovering the costs of a few signs that say no overnight parking.


Posted by Hmmm, a resident of East Palo Alto
on Sep 6, 2013 at 8:52 pm

Marie - re the parking issues on Woodland - you said:

I agree that the staff did a poor job finding out the source of the shortage of parking. However, I had a question about Mayor Abrica's letter. He states that Woodland Ave. has always been no parking they only added signage to remind people of that fact. Does that mean people were parking on Woodland without any consequences? Did the signage impact where people parked?

Here's the deal:
Woodland Ave in EPA has always had parking. They added some parking by removing some red zones on the creek side along one block. They re-marked the other existing red zones to be clear where parking isn't allowed on the narrower stretches. In other words, they actually created some more spaces on Woodland by opening up a stretch for parking on both sides, whereas it previously had only been allowed on one side.

As for unused parking spots, I think that they're in some of the apt complexes & they're charging for those spots. Whether that's against the rules is not clear & that's being investigated. On one hand, given EQR's (Equity Residential, the landlord) scurrilous practices of nickel & diming tenants, I can see why tenants don't want to/can't afford to pay for more parking spaces. OTOH, if EQR quit playing ignorant & enforced the allowable # of people per unit, this likely would also address some of the parking issues.

The city can't regulate how many cars people can own, but since this wasn't a problem under previous landlords - not matter how much some commenters lie about it - EQR started it.


Posted by Sharon, a resident of Midtown
on Sep 6, 2013 at 9:47 pm



The result is for SM/EPA taxpayers/voters to fix

Palo Alto made the wise ruling for our community - Palo Alto


Posted by Mr.Recycle, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Sep 6, 2013 at 11:32 pm

If the paper sent a reporter to the city council meeting instead of reading the report they would know that the Palo Alto staff did share the basic facts at the meeting, including the parking lots coming on line, and the conversations with EPA. The council was fully informed before they voted. I invite people to watch it online.

Ultimately it doesn't matter why more people are parking on Edgewood, or who they are. The fact is that there are a heck of alot more cars than there used to be. I don't care if is Equity refugees, or more Edgewood kids, it is a problem, and I thank the Palo Alto City Council for dealing with it.


Posted by Phil, a resident of Downtown North
on Sep 7, 2013 at 10:59 am

Exactly right Mr. Recycle. Every community and city has issues and problems that they have to cope with. Abrica and EPA have had plenty of time to take problem solving measures with the parking issues on their side of the creek. What should not be accepted in Palo Alto is to have their parking problems become our parking problems. In representing our residents, in our county, the Palo Alto City Council took decisive measures to eliminate the problem in our neighborhood. We are not responsible for the parking issues in EPA. I'm so happy that our city officials did not allow themselves to be shouted down with guilt trips and the "you're just picking on us" mentality.


Posted by Aquamarine, a resident of Stanford
on Sep 7, 2013 at 12:30 pm

They should be - and are - being called on the carpet for their poor handling of the situation, as regards their relationship with Mayor Abrica. I am glad that he has spoken up. Too often, Menlo and Palo Alto throw their weight around to manipulate E. Palo Alto and the usually unruffled, thoughtful mayor's frustration is an indication of the lack of proper handling of this, peer to peer and city to city.

Equity is a whole other subject. They do not have an admirable track record in their dealings with tenants or communities when they create problems.

If Wells Fargo had done as the city advised and broken up the property portfolio, this likely wouldn't have happened.


Posted by wondering, a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Sep 7, 2013 at 1:34 pm

Also it's telling that this neighborhood gets immediate action regarding their issues with EPA, whereas Professorville, etc. with serious parking issues get nothing. The City was catering to rich people who don't want regular people parking on public streets. I see their concerns but the City needs to take care of other neighborhoods too or else it seems like a really questionable situation.


Posted by Phil, a resident of Downtown North
on Sep 7, 2013 at 1:34 pm

Abrica and EPA can speak out all they want, but they have no standing. They have been well aware of the parking issues occurring in their town for a long time. They failed to take constructive measures, and allowed EPA parking problems to become Palo Alto neighborhood parking problems. This has nothing to do with being pushed around. It has to do with common sense. Palo Alto has taken care of the parking problem in our city. If Abrica and EPA have a parking problem in their town then it's just that, their problem. Palo Alto has nor should they have any further interest. [Portion removed.]


Posted by Hmmm, a resident of East Palo Alto
on Sep 7, 2013 at 2:00 pm

[Portion removed.]

PA City Council blew an opportunity to work with Mayor Abrica. Given PA's history of trying to push other local communities around, it's no surprise from that pov. But from a city-city & peer-peer perspective, yes, PA was lousy.

Why so much anger toward our respected mayor & the residents whose options were limited by a greedy conglomerate while letting EQR skate? Please direct your ire toward EQR, who caused this problem.

And to Wondering: Good thoughts in your post. What your situation has in common w/the Edgewood parking issue: developers not being held accountable for problems they create or exacerbate, to the detriment of residents & people seeking parking.


Posted by Phil, a resident of Downtown North
on Sep 7, 2013 at 2:59 pm

[Portion removed.] Abrica and the EPA council have known about the parking problems along the Woodland corridor for quite some time now. This has been well publicized and no mystery.

This is very easy. EPA began experiencing parking problems. Whatever the reason it has nothing to do with Palo Alto. EPA residents began using Palo Alto neighborhood streets for overflow parking. With that came an increase in noise and discarded litter. Not acceptable. The Palo Alto City Council listened to their citizens being impacted, and passed a parking prohibition that should essentially eliminate the problem.

From this point, the parking problems will remain where they began, in EPA. Those problems have absolutely nothing to do with Palo Alto or Santa Clara County. Abrica should focus on what he can do to improve the parking situation in his own town, and stop pointing fingers at Palo Alto. [Portion removed.]


Posted by Hmmm, a resident of East Palo Alto
on Sep 7, 2013 at 3:05 pm

[Portion removed.] Mayor Abrica has as much right to be upset & pursue answers for PA govt's attitude as PA has the right to change their parking hours. PA politicians violated the spirit of cooperation & deserve to be called out on it. Go Mr. Mayor!!


Posted by Phil, a resident of Downtown North
on Sep 7, 2013 at 3:20 pm

What responsibility does Palo Alto have in dealing with EPA's parking problems?

Knowing that the parking problems in EPA have been well known and publicized, what action has Abrica and the EPA council taken to solve the problems in their own town?

I maintain that Abrica would better serve his town if he focused on solving his own parking problems, rather than wasting his time pointing fingers at Palo Alto. The problem began and is taking place in his town. Stop trying to deflect attention from the issue. This has absolutely nothing to do with Palo Alto. Nothing. Palo Alto took action only because our neighborhood streets were being used for EPA overflow parking.

Abrica can get as upset as he wants, but you know what, that is going to do absolutely nothing in getting your parking problems solved over there. It is nothing more than wasted time and energy. And calling out Palo Alto on what? For taking constructive steps to preserve the quality of life in our neighborhoods? [Portion removed.]


Posted by Hmmm, a resident of East Palo Alto
on Sep 7, 2013 at 3:35 pm

[Post removed.]


Posted by Phil, a resident of Downtown North
on Sep 7, 2013 at 4:36 pm

Sorry that I could not read your reply hmmmm.


Posted by Yes, I do donate to charity and help the less fortunate, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Sep 7, 2013 at 4:57 pm

I'd like to know how many Palo Alto residents use the bridge daily. Seems we are being too nice again, just like we have allowed the trailer park and Cubberley homeless to live in our city. We need to think of our quality of life - how we sacrificed and worked hard to buy a home in Palo Alto. We can't be expected to house people who don't live in Palo Alto. The bridge should be demolished since it only helps other cities, not our residents.


Posted by Phil, a resident of Downtown North
on Sep 7, 2013 at 5:09 pm

Excellent points Yes. It's easy to make a case that the bridge benefits the residents of EPA and South San Mateo County much more than our own. Regardless of whether or not they demolish and choose not to build a new bridge, the parking restrictions in Crescent Park should pretty much eliminate the problem.

The vehicle dwelling ban on public streets and places is also a big step in preserving the quality of life we've come to expect in Palo Alto. I am so happy to see that our city council is finally showing some backbone and not caving to the special interest groups, or allowing themselves to be trumped with a guilt card. Palo Alto has absolutely nothing to feel guilty about, so no need in my opinion to offer apologies or explanations.


Posted by CrescentParkAnon., a resident of Crescent Park
on Sep 7, 2013 at 7:25 pm

Here's my understanding of the main facts of the Newell St. bridge situation.

1. The opening under the bridge where the water flows through is too small and under flooding conditions will cause water to back up and flood on both sides of the creek. So the bridge needs to come down to avoid flooding.

2. The bridge allows people who live in EPA to park their cars in Palo Alto. There are more people in this area of EPA now because of swelling apartment rentals. More people per apartment, more cars per apartment.

3. In some places complexes people are allegedly being charged for parking places on the order of $100 per month per parking space - so they choose to park in Palo Alto along the areas close to the bridge and walk, where they are also allegedly noisy and messy and causing problems by taking up all the parking spaces so even those who live there cannot use their own parking.

4. The traffic on the bridge in a test published here around a year or so ago was listed as 3000 cars go over it per day. There was no hourly breakdown on that I could find so we do not know at what time of day those cars were driving.

If someone can add something to this, or correct anything I have gotten wrong or omitted, please do. The rest of this is my opinion.

My best guess is that if the cars that would be using the bridge had to use other roads, Embarcadero and University, the number of added cars proportionately would probably be pretty small, but I am not sure of the number of cars that use University and Embarcadero daily is. I suspect that the absence of the bridge would not be significant except for a small group of people who use the bridge to access Palo Alto parks or the Library.

I've suggested and I am sure that someone has probably thought of this, that both cities could close off access to the bridge with cyclone fencing to both car and pedestrian traffic and we could see what kind of problems develop over some period of time. That would tell whether the bridge really NEEDED to be rebuilt or not.

With all of this problem, and the likelihood that the bridge is really just a nice amenity for a small few, I think not.

Despite the fact that Palo Alto or East Palo Alto would possibly not really have to pay for the bridge because the county or state would pay all or most of the tab, is this a good, needed and responsible way to spend money? Again, I think not, provided the bridge does not really need to be there. It is like the bridge to nowhere in Sarah Palin's Alaska, a bit expense to the country for a small constituency that does not really need it. It may be politically possible to force this bridge to be rebuilt, but there seems to be no physical or economic justification for it.

The priority to me seems to be getting that bridge out of there, and the Chaucer St. bridge fixed so that it can let sufficient water flow in case of flooding. Since the flooding in 98 there have been two close calls with minor flooding already ... and nothing is being done. This makes me and should make everyone in both cities really unhappy.

If and when the Newell St. bridge is removed the parking problem will disappear and half the flooding problem disappears as well.


Posted by Phil, a resident of Downtown North
on Sep 7, 2013 at 7:41 pm

I could definitely live with that as a solution Anon. Abrica and the EPA city officials have known about the parking problems for quite some time. It is not a surprise and has been well publicized. They have failed to take action on the parking problems occurring in their town, and were quite content in having their residents use our city streets for overflow parking. Well now the problem is entirely in their hands. Problem solved on our side of the bridge that I would be very happy if it were demolished.


Posted by CrescentParkAnon., a resident of Crescent Park
on Sep 7, 2013 at 8:06 pm

Phil, I've always kind of liked that area and that bridge. When I was in college and for a few years after until I got established in my career I lived over on Newell in what were the Tan Apartments. I was there for the big earthquake, and the pool in the middle of the two building was roiling like the ocean sloshing all over the place.

There was recently a woman murdered over there, and I feel so bad for people in that area now. I have gone over that bridge many times in many ways, driving, biking and walking but at this point because of the prime problem of flooding, I think it all falls out from that prime problem ... and the bridge should go.

I realize this is bad news for some, and I would be sad to see it go, but it's also always been a major pain to get across, and an enabler of problems. It's just the right thing to do and the proper time.


Posted by Jan Riker, a resident of Community Center
on Sep 7, 2013 at 9:34 pm

I fail to see the problem... Public streets means it is is legal for anyone to drive or park on them. Residents don't own the streets in front of their homes. They don't directly pay for repaving or maintenance in front of their houses simply because these are PUBLIC STREETS... not privately-owned streets.


Posted by CrescentParkAnon., a resident of Crescent Park
on Sep 7, 2013 at 9:51 pm

[Portion removed.] I have a neighbor that owns more cars than he can park on his own property, so he parks out on the street ... effectively taking the streets that we all pay for and making them his own private parking spaces. If you think that is right, where would draw the line? 10 cars, 15 cars, 20 cars ... a block, three blocks. Surely you can see this is not just someone's imagined problem. [Portion removed.]


Posted by Yes, I do donate to charity and help the less fortunate, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Sep 7, 2013 at 9:58 pm

[Portion removed.] It's easier to be sympathetic when it doesn't affect you. We need to help our residents, not residents of EPA who are in fact, in a different county altogether. [Portion removed.]


Posted by CrescentParkAnon., a resident of Crescent Park
on Sep 7, 2013 at 10:06 pm

[Post removed.]


Posted by Yes, I do donate to charity and help the less fortunate, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Sep 7, 2013 at 10:38 pm

I'm not a conservative, but a liberal Democrat and I'm tired of non-residents taking advantage of our city. Thank goodness the City Council have finally made some backbone decisions to help our Palo Alto residents.

[Portion removed.]


Posted by Brian, a resident of Menlo Park
on Sep 7, 2013 at 11:22 pm

When you buy a house, you do not also buy the curbs in front of it.

The truth is that the desire to ban parking in Cresent Park is closely associated with a lack of empathy for EPA & EQR residents that is simply unethical.

And that lack of empathy is a much larger detractor from one's "quality of life" than litter and unsightly cars.


Posted by Yes, I do donate to charity and help the less fortunate, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Sep 7, 2013 at 11:37 pm

@Brian: Menlo Park has a ban on vehicle dwelling and cars parked in the street overnight so you are living in the wrong city if you would prefer an "ethical life." It's easy to call others "unethical" when you don't have to deal with it.


Posted by fracktheeditor, a resident of Crescent Park
on Sep 7, 2013 at 11:46 pm

wayyyyh too much fracking editor interference in this.


Posted by Phil, a resident of Downtown North
on Sep 7, 2013 at 11:49 pm

Brian, this has nothing to do with empathy or lack of compassion as you suggest. It's a simple matter of courtesy and common sense. Residents should have a reasonable expectation of being able to park their car, or have visitors park near their own home. No neighborhood should have to be subjected to overflow parking for a neighboring city in an entirely different county, especially when that town is seemingly incapable of solving their own problem.

Additionally, it's an expected and typical accusation for people to toss in the guilt card and accuse Palo Alto of not caring or doing enough for those less fortunate. It's tiresome and unfair. I see that you're in Menlo Park. Your city does a tenth of what Palo Alto provides in terms of outreach work with those less fortunate. A tenth. [Portion removed.]

Tell you what, encourage people to park in front of your house night and day and see what that does for your perspective on this issue. While you're at it, encourage the Menlo Park city council to repeal their overnight parking ban so those less fortunate can freely sleep on your streets. Lobby your city leaders to build another Opportunity Center near your downtown area [portion removed.] Convince your citizens to raise your local taxes, and allocate a six-figure annual allowance to help fund the many homeless programs like we do here in Palo Alto. [Portion removed.]


Posted by Yes, I do donate to charity and help the less fortunate, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Sep 7, 2013 at 11:52 pm

Exactly, Phil!


Posted by Aquamarine, a resident of Stanford
on Sep 8, 2013 at 12:11 am

[Portion removed.] No one, including Mother Theresa, has done as much for the hungry and the homeless as Palo Alto (in case you didn't already know). Since they already do so much for the "little people"- eg, non-residents who're clearly overrunning the city, Palo Alto residents own the streets, curbs and sidewalks. Never mind that they're now throwing their homeless services and Menlo's decades long ban on overnight parking into the mix, you're expected to remember this the next time you park in their sacred city. After all, it's hallowed ground.


Posted by CrescentParkAnon., a resident of Crescent Park
on Sep 8, 2013 at 12:12 am

MY PREVIOUS COMMENT BUTCHERED:

> Posted by CrescentParkAnon., a resident of the Crescent Park neighborhood, 2 hours ago

> [Portion removed.] I have a neighbor that owns more cars than he can park on his own property, so he parks out on the street ... effectively taking the streets that we all pay for and making them his own private parking spaces. If you think that is right, where would draw the line? 10 cars, 15 cars, 20 cars ... a block, three blocks. Surely you can see this is not just someone's imagined problem. [Portion removed.]


When I post a polite retort to someone I really do not see why the editor has to delete my posts - it completely removes the context and intent of the post.

When someone posts a deliberately provocative or impolite post, the price they should pay is having people call them on it and the post being deleted. I really do not see why that needs to apply to my comment that is now wiped completely out of context because the editor thinks he can decide what my meaning is.

I do not deserve to be deleted since I am not defaming, insulting or even making personal comments about someone?

In my opinion, the editor here should do two things ...

1. Be responsive and and quick to recognize slanted comments and delete them. These comments stay up for days until someone reports them. Be on the job, and be thorough.

2. Tread lightly on things that are not first degree issues. That is, leave everything else alone.

Example, since I am political Liberal why do I have to constantly read posts here that have the word "bleeding heart liberal" in them that stay up here for hours or days and nothing is done? I see these posts constantly in Palo Alto Online, yet the editors do not delete them until I or someone else report them - why? [Portion removed.] Nip this in the bud and the flame wars that follow will be controllable and all the rest of us will benefit.

I find it unnecessary, insulting and pointless, and when I see these kinds of comments, and I flag them and respond. In responding the editor them deletes my post and ruins the content of it. If he was a surgeon removing my appendix I'd be getting a kidney removed for free. This is unnecessary, perhaps it just personal since I have commented for a long time on this editorial lack of competence here.

Why wouldn't it be a good idea to leave my post up - assuming it is polite and calm as a message to people that they will have their posts deleted if they weigh in with this kind of rhetoric? When you delete my post the original post gets just what they want - disruption of the discussion process - and they just keep doing it. The present norm of this board is proof of that.

Palo Alto Online, do you just have this forum up here to sell advertising or is this really supposed to be a town hall forum service to residents? If so, please start to think past your current knee-jerk editorial policies, because what you are doing does not motivate people against continued posting along these lines and keeping the discussion civil.


Posted by CrescentParkAnon., a resident of Crescent Park
on Sep 8, 2013 at 12:15 am

[Post removed.]


Posted by CrescentParkAnon., a resident of Crescent Park
on Sep 8, 2013 at 12:21 am

> The truth is that the desire to ban parking in Cresent Park is closely associated with a lack of empathy for EPA & EQR residents that is simply unethical.

Brian, what makes you say this?

I'd really love to see you try to logically lay out your reasoning on this, because perhaps I am just missing something. The saying is "everyone is entitled to their own opinion" ( and I can see you are against the parking ban in Crescent Park) but not their own facts ( and the fact you seem to be trying to tar me with is some kind of lack of humanity) That's really a bit much, man!


Posted by Sheldon, a resident of Fairmeadow
on Sep 8, 2013 at 6:01 am

I am a progressive, or a "bleeding heart liberal" as some of our right wing posters are fond of saying, yet I wholeheartedly support restricting non resident parking in Crescent Park. Palo Alto cannot be expected, nor should it, solve EPA's problems. Every city should be able solve it's own issues without expecting their neighbors to do it for them.
I can't imagine that Mountain View residents would be terribly happy if south Palo Alto residents started parking their cars in front of their houses.


Posted by CrescentParkAnon., a resident of Crescent Park
on Sep 8, 2013 at 10:07 am

I agree with Sheldon. This is not a partisan political issue, Not even a moral issue. Parking in someone else's neighborhood permanently is a practical issue of plain politeness. People can just be as impolite and selfish as they want when they see a legal loophole to arbitrage, exploit that they know they probably shouldn't - such as parking somewhere they know is not their local parking.

[Portion removed.] It's pretty clear that most Palo Altans seem to agree that something needed to be done. It's also clear this has nothing to do with car camping. Since the parkers themselves and EPA government would not do anything, Palo Alto has to act. I don't happen to think parking permits is the best way. It's fine people them to disagree ... with civility.


Posted by Phil, a resident of Downtown North
on Sep 8, 2013 at 11:27 am

Well said Anon. I only brought up the car dwelling and homeless background when a poster from Menlo Park suggested that Palo Alto lacked empathy and compassion for those less fortunate than they. Seemed more than a bit hypocritical all things considered.

I do agree with you that the tone on this board should be kept civil. We should all be able to express our opinions and offer counterpoints. Quite often people take opposing viewpoints far too personal, even to the point of encouraging the forum editors to delete their posts. It's surprising how intolerant people can be. Just yesterday, Hmmm resorted to name calling and called on the editors to delete my "stupid" posts. Again, we can engage on topics and issues and still stay on point. If you don't agree, state the reasons why. To simply dismiss an opinion and exclude a contributor is truly schoolyard demeanor. I would hope that we could all be more mature and civilized, yes, even if we disagree with each other.


Posted by Garrett, a resident of another community
on Sep 8, 2013 at 11:34 am

At one time managed a apartment building that had parking on site. Parking spot for each bedroom, 9 units were 2 bedrooms the rest were 1 bedrooms. Parking was included in the rent, but the building was built in the 60's, car ownership was lower then today. Extra cars parked on the street in a neighborhood of large family homes and rentals.

Maybe with EPA, the problem is high ownership of cars not enough parking spots in a small area.

When I left the managing at building which in the end the owner went with renting parking spaces to incoming new tenants. Not every tenant owned a car but we had some who rented the parking spot just in the case. Even with the parking rent we had a waiting list of tenants with or without cars. With 30 units, parking for 61 cars we still had a shortage of space,


Posted by Phil, a resident of Downtown North
on Sep 8, 2013 at 11:38 am

Comes as no surprise Garrett. The parking problem that you described has been well publicized and discussed at length. Sincerely, I wish the residents living on the Woodland corridor of EPA the best of luck in dealing with that.


Posted by Garrett, a resident of another community
on Sep 8, 2013 at 11:39 am

The other part of the message.

The parking shortage was not caused by over crowding but the high number of cars owned by tenants. 9 bedrooms units owned less cars the 1 bedrooms.

Overall you can't provide every person who wants to own, rent or have access to a car.


Posted by CrescentParkAnon., a resident of Crescent Park
on Sep 8, 2013 at 11:43 am

[Portion removed.]

This is the same thing as activist editorializing. The style and competence of PAO's editor censoring is subjective and unbalanced, and I'd like to know who to write or talk to about at PAO?

Moderator's note: Feel free to call or email us with any questions or concerns about our moderation of Town Square. You can contact online editor Eric Van Susteren {evansusteren@paweekly.com) 223-6515, editor Jocelyn Dong (jdong@paweekly.com) 223-6514 or publisher Bill Johnson {bjohnson@paweekly.com) 223-6505 Any of them would be happy to talk with you.


Posted by Garrett, a resident of another community
on Sep 8, 2013 at 11:44 am

Oops. That should be nine 2 bedroom units. Also want to point out the building was not low or moderate rent.


Posted by boscoli, a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Sep 8, 2013 at 11:49 am

Those elected to any city council are elected to solve issues just like this one. It is the responsibility of the elected council members of EPA and their city manager to solve their parking space shortage problem. This problem needs to be remedied and solved within EPA, not in Palo Alto and not by Palo Altans. Palo Alto residents shouldn't shoulder that burden.


Posted by CresentParkAnon., a resident of Crescent Park
on Sep 8, 2013 at 3:46 pm

Moderator's note: Feel free to call or email us with any questions or concerns about our moderation of Town Square. You can contact online editor Eric Van Susteren {evansusteren@paweekly.com) 223-6515, editor Jocelyn Dong (jdong@paweekly.com) 223-6514 or publisher Bill Johnson {bjohnson@paweekly.com) 223-6505 Any of them would be happy to talk with you.


Let me make a suggestion:
Palo Alto Online editorial changes should be personally signed off on by name, or if names are too personal some kind of handle that tracks back to a given person so that we the public can see, comment and report problems better and there is something concrete to discuss and point to.


Posted by Not an issue, a resident of Community Center
on Sep 8, 2013 at 3:59 pm

CPA-- as most of us know, the weekly is a FOR PROFIT business. Therefore their main purpose is to make money-- either by begging for " donation" from readers or selling advertisement. Their purpose is not to serve the public or do anything in the best interest of the city. IMHO, their editing is driven by their desire to serve the people that will benefit their bottom line the most. Take note of whom the weekly endorses for council election after election. Take note of fluff pieces written about businesses that advertise in the weekly.
Expecting balanced writing and/or editing of this forum is something that I have long ago given up expecting.


Posted by CrescentParkAnon., a resident of Crescent Park
on Sep 8, 2013 at 4:23 pm

Not An Issue ... so you're saying you've given up. I guess I have not. I think maybe it's possible that profit is not at odds with providing a good Town Square Forum.


Posted by Phil, a resident of Downtown North
on Sep 8, 2013 at 5:40 pm

I agree with Anon. As long as people stay on topic, engage in a civilized discussion, and don't encourage exclusionary behavior, then I welcome all commentary even if it's in opposition of my own.

Hmmm and Aquamarine tend to be very critical of my posts. Despite that I often find their commentary to be very thought provoking and interesting. What I won't do is get into name calling, referring to people as "stupid", and encouraging the editors and other forum readers to ignore their posts. If we disagree on a subject then simply state your reasons why and make a case. No need to take it personal and speculate on their motives.


Posted by PalyDad, a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Sep 8, 2013 at 6:13 pm

Lately Bill Johnson seems to be editing for content of speech rather than manner or tone. He appears to have particular ideas about what kinds of arguments "help" the "community" and what do not. This is unfortunate since it appears to be a slippery slope with a lot of deletions occurring. To say he owns the means of expression is a bit unsatisfactory given the expectations set for online communications and free speech in the electronic age. In practical terms it is a big commitment of time and energy for the weekly staff that would be better spent in improving its reporting especially in the area of education. In that area we had a regular poster, village fool, who will no longer post due to the high level of editing for content. That person added a lot but they left entirely. So it seems like the best strategy would be to edit for profanity, direct insults to other posters, and libel, but not to try to shape the community debate by deletions which is too Orwellian. It is driving people away. Lets see how long it takes him to delete this. It's dinner time so I might have an hour.


Posted by PalyDad, a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Sep 8, 2013 at 6:23 pm

Also I think it is ok to edit for potentially harmful things such as personal attacks on the families of kids who are experiencing difficulty. But I am not sure why delete racism? Why not let everyone see the truth of what some palo altamx think. That's a hard call depending on the context. But most of what I see deleted comes nowhere near that. It just didn't meet the secret criteria.

Often what appears to animate him is a fetishization of process. These editorials all make that point. But some people care about substance far more he has an aversion to letting people who support maybell use the word NIMBY which is a bizarre deletion, and doesn't like anyone posting that el camino avenue in Barron park is derelict and that the golden slipper was evidently used for prostiition even though the weekly reported it. I think that is because he thinks the "right" set of issues is the process not the substance but who can tell? It's all inductive based on what's deleted and what's not.


Posted by CrescentParkAnon., a resident of Crescent Park
on Sep 8, 2013 at 6:34 pm

> But I am not sure why delete racism?

You're not sure whether to delete racism? Leaving overt racist posts could be hurtful and legally be construed as supporting those sentiments. Yes, delete racism. The problem with racism is that people express is in a kind of oblique way that is hard to prove, like using key inflammatory words or words that are close to them, and hard to talk about questions that border on racism that might be racist. Then there are the folks who take strategic offense! LOL, actually it is hard work to be an editor I'm sure.

It's not the problem posts I think are the problem, but the fact that every post that makes reference to a problem post, no matter how, is them edited, in a way that Orwellian does nominally describe. Like the old USSR used to delete people out of historic pictures ... it skews the content in a way that no one can really do objectively, so unless a given post is problematic, just leave it alone.

I have seen editing and deletions that seem to me to biased, for example if a certain point of view is preferred by the editor but the person expressing that point of view does it in a publicly unacceptable way that requires the post be deleted, then other posts that disagree are deleted or altered in ways that it seems are designed to undercut the side the editor opposes too.


Posted by PalyDad, a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Sep 8, 2013 at 6:41 pm

Let me be clear I am a strong anti racist. I just think that under certain conditions its better to leave it there for people to see that there are people in PA who think that way and have reactionary xenophobic views. It's better because it is self discrediting of their positions. The Maybell people have said a lot of things that were anti poor person anti Latino in my opinion. Rather than delete it it's better to leave it up so that the cmunity can see what truly lies behind that opposition at least for many of them. Deleting it distorts reality. And makes it harder to fight against

If u are going to reply do it fast this will be deleted shortly


Posted by Phil, a resident of Downtown North
on Sep 9, 2013 at 10:49 pm

As it relates to the original parking issue, the case is closed as far as Palo Alto is concerned. The parking restriction in the Crescent Park neighborhood has solved the problem for our residents. Whatever Ruben and the EPA city officials want to do in their town is their business. From this point on it has nothing to do with us.


Posted by Andrew, a resident of another community
on Sep 19, 2013 at 12:47 am

Great. So Palo Alto's wise answer to the parking dilemma is to put up signs effectively banning overnight parking and then declaring "not MY problem." Very mature. Instead of seeing what the cause is, and perhaps trying to work towards a solution that helps EVERYONE, Palo Alto decides to close one eye and say "MY problem is solved, go ---- yourselves." A community that cares only about itself and its self-image is not a community worth emulating. I am ashamed to have Palo Alto on the map.


Posted by Sheila, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Sep 19, 2013 at 10:47 am

@Andrew: I suppose you expect Palo Altans to build a parking structure for EPA? No, it's EPA's problem, not ours. Did you know that EPA is in San Mateo County? It's not even in our county of Santa Clara.


Posted by PaloAltoResident, a resident of Crescent Park
on Dec 11, 2013 at 10:52 pm

[Post removed.]


Posted by CrescentParkAnon., a resident of Crescent Park
on Dec 11, 2013 at 11:57 pm

Speak for yourself PaloAltoResident. If you could present your opinions in a calm objective way you would probably not fret about deletion or make a fuss about freedom of speech almost 3 months late of the discussion.

The facts are the bridge has to go for reasons of flooding and it costs money to build a new bridge where one would most likely not be built today if there was not one previously. There is no need for that bridge today. There is also the fact that if the bridge is gone the issue of people parking all over local streets and walking home across the bridge to their apartments is solved. That just happens to be. Are you implying that parking in front of other people's houses in another neighborhood is friendly, considerate or some kind of a right?

I think if the same problem on the border of Los Altos or anywhere else people would feel the same, it's not East Palo Alto per se, it's about being taking advantage of.


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