Pay-by-space parking arrives in Menlo Park


Menlo Park's trial run of pay-by-space meters starts this week as part of a new range of options offering people the choice of dashing into a 15-minute spot for a quick errand, or parking up to nine hours at a time for a more leisurely day.

Offering the longest-term options are Plaza 1 (off Oak Grove Avenue near El Camino Real) and Plaza 5 (off Crane and Evelyn streets between Santa Cruz and Menlo avenues). The first two hours of parking would still be free. The third hour would cost $1; the fourth, $1.50, with additional time costing $2 per hour. Drivers can add time by credit card or cell phone.

The city also converted two-hour parking along Santa Cruz Avenue and several intersecting streets to one-hour parking, then added 15-minute spots at strategic corners such as the intersection of Chestnut Street and Santa Cruz Avenue.

Enforcement remains in effect Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., according to the city.

The City Council voted unanimously in July to pay Parkeon $53,364 for six solar-powered pay-by-space meters -- four for Plaza 1 and two for Plaza 5. The meters provide a way for the city to test whether the capability to pay to park longer than two hours will resolve the unhappiness expressed by downtown merchants and their customers, who complain that the current two-hour limit doesn't leave enough time to run errands and enjoy a meal.

At the time of the council vote, Mayor Rich Cline noted that the biggest feedback came from businesses losing customers because they were unable to park for long enough without getting ticketed.

An email sent to the City Council as recently as Oct. 27 bolstered that argument, as a woman notified officials that her next weekly lunch with a friend would be held in Palo Alto after she got a $45 ticket for parking in Plaza 5 twice in one day, even without exceeding the two-hour limit on either stay.

Click here for more information from the city.

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Like this comment
Posted by anciana
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Nov 1, 2011 at 2:23 pm

I am in downtown Menlo Park at least twice a week for something - doctor's visit, lunch with a friend, shopping, whatever . . . I have been ticketed twice when my errands and lunch ran over two hours, which was a major pain in the patootie.

I am wondering how this new system would function for those of us ancianas and geezers who don't have smart phones and who might prefer to put in a few quarters rather than to swipe a credit card for a dollar. As long as I would have to walk back to the meter to feed it, I'd rather use change.

Like this comment
Posted by jb
a resident of Leland Manor/Garland Drive
on Nov 1, 2011 at 5:32 pm

I go to Menlo Park frequently and have always had my pick of loads of parking spaces. Why does Menlo Park feel it must meter its parking? Is this meter plan just a plan to cash in on potential holiday parking? So many good stores and my banks have closed, there is not much to do in Menlo Park except eat. I can't afford that.

Like this comment
Posted by TEST IT OUT
a resident of Midtown
on Nov 3, 2011 at 2:18 am

Always good to test of course.
Still need to be sure that parking does NOT end up on residential streets. Encourage train and carpooling, etc.

Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

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