News

Palo Alto mulls new parking restrictions in Professorville

City forms new community group to evaluate impacts of a Residential Parking Permit Program

Spurred by a flurry of complaints from the Professorville neighborhood, Palo Alto has formed a new community group to explore creating a parking-permit program in the downtown neighborhood.

If implemented, a permit program would set a time limit for how long non-residents can park in Professorville. Employees at downtown businesses frequently park in Professorville to avoid the time limits that are in place throughout the rest of downtown, residents said. The city already has one such program in place in College Terrace.

Despite heavy outcry from Professorville about inadequate downtown parking and numerous requests for a parking program, the City Council has been hesitant to implement a program out of fear that the parking problem would simply spread to other sections of downtown. The business community has expressed concern about the city making parking too difficult for employees.

But according to a new report from Jaime Rodriguez, the city's chief transportation officer, a parking program in Professorville is still on the table and could be put in place as early as next summer. Staff has created the Downtown Parking Community Group, which includes business representatives and Professorville residents, to "assess the impacts of parking on downtown residential areas and to develop recommendations for the Residential Permit Parking Program."

Rodriguez wrote that "staff will also seek input from other neighborhoods, particularly Downtown North, but the focus of this effort will be Professorville, since there is a strong core interest among residents there."

Residents of the historic Professorville neighborhood, which lies south of downtown, have long urged the city to adopt a parking program. Many of the houses in the century-old district don't have garages, and residents have been complaining that finding parking near their homes has become nearly impossible in recent years.

Ken Alsman, a leading proponent of the parking program, argued in an August letter to the council that a residential-parking permit program is the only way to ameliorate the neighborhood's problem.

"We are now inundated with strangers everyday; we question our safety; we remove their litter; we don't recognize what was once, just a short time ago, an absolutely wonderful area that we have all worked to restore," he wrote.

The group will hold its first meeting tonight (Thursday).

Staff's plan is to work with the community group in the coming months and to come back to the council for a decision about the parking program in July. The program, according to Rodriguez, would be revenue neutral.

Comments

Like this comment
Posted by member
a resident of Downtown North
on Dec 22, 2011 at 10:37 am

Professorville's problem cannot be worse than what we are experiencing in Downtown North. Implementing a parking restriction plan only in Prof'ville will simply push more non-residents to Downtown North and increase our problem here. All areas surrounding downtown should be given equal consideration.
Where and when is tonight's meeting?


Like this comment
Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Dec 22, 2011 at 10:56 am

Bad idea.

Unless all the parking lots in downtown have pay per hour machines, then all this will do is move the problem somewhere else.

People need to be able to park in Palo Alto all day occasionally without needing a permit or going to City Hall.

At present, if I need to park all day or even a few hours, it is almost impossible to find out where to park and I am a resident. How on earth are visitors going to find out? No, if we need to find somewhere to park for more than 2 or 3 hours, we have no real alternative but to look for street parking. If there is no street parking available, then many will drive away and not bother with Palo Alto at all. Is this what we really want?

It is not a question of the cost of parking in downtown, it is the availability of parking machines to pay for parking. Solve that problem and I feel sure that the residents will see a huge difference.


Like this comment
Posted by We-Don't-Need-No-Stinkin'-Permits
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Dec 22, 2011 at 11:05 am

Why not get rid of all parking restrictions for a trial period of say, six months. Let's see what happens. Why people need a permit from City Hall to park in a parking structure, or in a downtown parking lot, does not make a lot of sense.

If there are certain locations that need moderation by the City, then those areas can be attended to during/after the trial period.

Other than collecting a lot of money for providing no real service, the City's parking management has been less than stellar, and really needs to be rethought. Given how feckless the City Council is, there is nothing they have been able to add to the equation, over the years, but more confusion.

So .. why not try an unregulated scheme for a while and see what happens.


Like this comment
Posted by Joseph Baldwin
a resident of Downtown North
on Dec 22, 2011 at 11:10 am

Respectfully suggest that Jaime Rodriguez add Downtown North residents
to his "Downtown Parking Community Group". Our neighborhood streets are solidly parked up all day, every day with commuters who work on or
near University Avenue.
A parking permit system for Professorville should logically extend an equal distance toward Downtown North.


Like this comment
Posted by Art Kraemer
a resident of Crescent Park
on Dec 22, 2011 at 11:12 am

The upper floors of the Bryant Street and Cowper Street garages are still very empty. Why not just issue all day permit passes that hang from the inside mirror, similar to handicap permits, to the downtown merchants. The merchants can then give the passes to the employees who are now parking in professorville. It would then be the merchants'responsibility to take back the passes when the employee leaves and give them to new employees.


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Posted by Professorville resident
a resident of Professorville
on Dec 22, 2011 at 12:01 pm

Once again, last night, my car (parked on the street in Professorville, at a house without a driveway) suffered a hit and run. Someone ripped off half of the back bumper and left.

This is one of numerous incidents. I have had a front bumper entirely ripped off, both back lights broken, a headlight ripped out, dents and scrapes and never a note.

We have become a downtown parking lot for people who not only do not have our historic neighborhood's interest at heart - but who use it as a public parking free-for-all-who cares about the people who live there.

"Historic" neighborhood, indeed. Obviously well loved and respected by the National Register of Historic places and in publicity literature, but the city does not put its money where its mouth is.


Like this comment
Posted by Rachel
a resident of University South
on Dec 22, 2011 at 12:13 pm

Since the historic Professorville neighborhood homes often do not have driveways or garages to park in, I think they have a unique problem that the city should address. I like the idea of removing time restrictions from a couple of floors of the downtown parking garages to see if that might help some of the employee parking issues. We are a crowded little town!


Like this comment
Posted by jared bernstein
a resident of Professorville
on Dec 22, 2011 at 12:23 pm

How about filling the empty upper floors of the downtown garages?
There could be low priced (like $10 per month) parking permits for people who can show proof of downtown employment. Just the upper floors and just for people currently employed downtown.

a thought.


Like this comment
Posted by Add 800 High spaces
a resident of Crescent Park
on Dec 22, 2011 at 1:08 pm

Good idea. And are they using the huge number of spaces under 800 High Street? As I recall there were close to a hundred parking spaces.


Like this comment
Posted by Peace in the Valley, OK?
a resident of another community
on Dec 22, 2011 at 2:07 pm

Please, citizens, no more controversy in Palo Alto!


Like this comment
Posted by one for all
a resident of Crescent Park
on Dec 22, 2011 at 2:42 pm

And into Crescent Park. Putting restrictions on Professorville & Downtown North will fill up the blocks just the other side of Middlefield.


Like this comment
Posted by CC
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Dec 22, 2011 at 3:28 pm

I live closer to the AAA and other shops located in Palo Alto but I prefer to drive to the shops and AAA in Mountain View simply because I can be parked and do my business much quicker than I can while trying to navigate through the city of Palo Alto.
I always seem to find big trucks double parked and blocking the streets or some other construction preventing me from driving where I want to go safely in Palo Alto.
So the parking is no problem for me because I am willing to go else where. Sorry Palo Alto


Like this comment
Posted by Anon.
a resident of Crescent Park
on Dec 22, 2011 at 4:14 pm

How do people know this is due to people who work or visit Palo Alto? I notice there are always a lot of cars parked in neighborhood with insufficient parking, whether it is in some poorer parts of East Palo Alto, Menlo Park, Redwood City, or places like Professorville where there are so many people with cars they have to keep them on the street?

One thing that might be considered would be to invent or use some kind of high-tech to sense and post the number of free parking places in the larger garages. Put some kind of cheap sensor in each spot and add then up and have a LED light on the outside that tells if there are places available, could even by by floor.

I really like these parking garages, they work great as far as I'm concerned - we need more of them, and less rules simpler usages. The complicated colors and rules to read do not fly, just do what is needed and we will minimize these problems.


Like this comment
Posted by Nancy
a resident of Downtown North
on Dec 23, 2011 at 7:37 am

With parking garage spaces costing the city $50,000-plus each to build, with lots of unused spaces in city garages during the day, and with the proliferation of smart devices now, it has amazed me that the City parking czar hasn't championed SmartPark or something similar.

A simple car counter at the entrance of each garage can tell you how many vacant spaces remain in the building. This info becomes instantly available to smart phones, so anyone with a parking app could be directed directly to an available space.


Like this comment
Posted by Toady
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Dec 23, 2011 at 1:33 pm

Hasn't this been a problem for a long time for both Professorville and Downtown North? It's like moving next to a club and then complaining about the noise.

What they should do is get rid of the stupid historical district designation for Professorville so people can actually build off-street parking. More unintended consequences from NIMBY and government meddling.

We Palo Alto folks are so.... well, we sometimes are not as smart as we think we are.


Like this comment
Posted by don't need 6 mo to decide
a resident of Midtown
on Dec 23, 2011 at 3:45 pm

No need to do 6 months to analyze!! One month would show it (other than in the holiday mode).
Have parking folks that mark tires, and if they get a ticket, they get a ticket. Folks also have lots of underground parking built, but apparently DON'T USE IT, because they have to pay for parking.
Maybe lessen the parking amount?


Like this comment
Posted by resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Dec 23, 2011 at 4:29 pm

Many people posting here don't have a clue.

It is not the cost of parking because it is free for 3 hours then almost impossible to find any longer parking for infrequent visits. Pay per hour machines must be implemented.

It is not finding a parking spot in the garages, because they are relatively easy to find, but it is hard to find a spot that we can park for more than 3 hours and pay for it.

I wish someone with some sense could realise this and stop pushing for things we don't need.

We need to be able to pay for a full day in every lot or garage at the lot or garage.

It is simple.


Like this comment
Posted by +1 residents idea
a resident of Crescent Park
on Dec 23, 2011 at 5:46 pm

It would seem reasonable to allow anyone to buy parking for an entire day and be able to park anywhere with that card.
You don't need designated places.
Have them sold in downtown stores and you don't even need update the machines.


Like this comment
Posted by don't need 6 mo to decide
a resident of Midtown
on Dec 23, 2011 at 7:46 pm

No need to do take 6 months to analyze!! One month would show it (other than in the holiday mode).
Have parking folks that mark tires, and if they get a ticket, they get a ticket. Folks also have lots of underground parking built, but apparently DON'T USE IT, because they have to pay for parking.
Maybe lessen the parking amount?


Like this comment
Posted by Madam President
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Dec 25, 2011 at 8:10 pm

Really people, really? we want to make lives of people who come to PA to visit or work or both that hard? they are the ones that mainly pay taxes we use to pave our streets, pay police etc


Like this comment
Posted by Bambi
a resident of Downtown North
on Dec 26, 2011 at 2:53 pm

Do not do this. Menlo Park residents deal with this and its always been a mess. Try living downtown we have people parking all day. We deal with it just fine. I believe there is a committee you can join regarding parking issues. I heard some good ideas so time to step up and share those with that group.


Like this comment
Posted by Mike
a resident of University South
on Dec 26, 2011 at 4:55 pm

I assume this includes the University South neighborhood too.

For those of you who don't know, there is a small neighborhood between University Avenue and Professorville called University South.

I live in University South, but work in Menlo Park. I would love to be able to buy a quarterly parking permit for downtown garages, but I do not qualify. Why not?


Like this comment
Posted by the_punnisher
a resident of Mountain View
on Dec 27, 2011 at 1:56 pm

the_punnisher is a registered user.

Here is the Denver solution:

1) tons of PRIVATE lots ( that will not work in PA )

However, MULI-STORY parking lots offer Daily and Monthly special rates for people who work and live in Denver. The UPPER STORIES get these special rates and your permit/proof of payment gets put on the dashboard.

Private lots cannot tow, only get a peace officer ( that is an oxymoron in Denver these days ) can issue a ticket.

On street parking is a mix of permit/metered parking. The SMARTMETERS CANNOT BE " FED " like older meters! That means a 3 hour limit for shopping and visits downtown. Homeowners get permits for parking in their neighborhoods, this effectively eliminates the problem created by DU and other College students.

For parking scofflaws, the DENVER BOOT and the hassles to get it removed helps to " operant condition " these " ticket harvesters "...

The fact that upper floors remain empty means that many business employees are lazy and would rather tie up resident parking spots than walk several blocks...

( remember, residents who pay taxes DO own the streets by proxy )

This is yet a SOCIALISTIC country yet, people are not ENTITLED to on-street parking, especially if they are not residents of a community


Like this comment
Posted by palo alto mom
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Dec 28, 2011 at 10:56 am

the punisher - business employees are not lazy, they just do not want to pay for parking.

Suggestion - "residents only" parking on one side of the street, open parking on the other. Still preserves parking but lets residents park near their homes.


Like this comment
Posted by one for all
a resident of Crescent Park
on Dec 28, 2011 at 4:51 pm

"( remember, residents who pay taxes DO own the streets by proxy )"
Yes, all residents own the streets. So no scheme should be adopted that stops other residents parking in front of your house.


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

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