In the spirit of holiday goodwill, the City of Palo Alto will temporarily relax restrictions in city parking garages to give visitors more time in Palo Alto's downtown shopping district. (See the downtown Palo Alto parking map)
From Nov. 15 through Jan. 1, shoppers will be allowed to park for up to four hours for free in certain garages.
"The holiday season is critical to our merchants in downtown Palo Alto," said Paul Wright, interim executive director of the Palo Alto Downtown Business and Professional Association.
"Your support not only helps your local businesses, it keeps your sales tax dollars in Palo Alto."
Starting Monday (Nov. 15), the garages at Alma/High Street (Garage R), Bryant/Lytton (Garage S/L), the Civic Center (Garage CC), Cowper/Webster (Garage WC) and Ramona/University (Garage B) will all offer four hours of free parking, excepting designated permit spaces. Anyone looking to stay for the full day can still purchase an all-day parking permit at any of the "Pay and Stay" permit machines located at each of the garages.
"Extending the hours in the downtown parking garages to four hours during the holiday season affords customers the opportunity to linger in downtown Palo Alto, to enjoy the unique retail and hospitality experience," said Paula Sandas, CEO/president of the Palo Alto Chamber of Commerce.
"All of our garages are within a block of University Avenue, conveniently located throughout the entire downtown shopping district."
Although the parking garages will briefly change their policies, the new regulations will not extend to street parking restrictions. Visitors will still be able to park within marked zones for two free hours, and all downtown color zone regulations will continue to be strictly enforced. No parking signs or permit-only parking zones will still apply.
Between extended time limits in parking garages and available street parking, the downtown area is open for all holiday guests.
"We want to encourage visitors to come to Palo Alto to shop, dine, do their errands and enjoy the festive atmosphere in downtown during the holiday season," said Thomas Fehrenbach, the City's new economic development manager.
"It's also a great way to remind folks that tend to circle the surface lots and streets looking for parking that there's often availability in our many downtown garages."