News


Palo Alto: Developers offer to build downtown garage

City to consider private-sector proposals to boost parking supply

With Palo Alto in the market for a new downtown garage, developers are stepping forward with offers to build the city a parking structure, provided they get permission to build something else in return.

Eight different developers have responded to the city's recent request for public-private-partnership proposals.

One bid is from the Palo Alto Housing Corporation, which proposed to build a housing project on the lot at Emerson and High streets. The project would replace a 78-space lot with a 148-spot structure. It would also, however, add a housing project that requires 173 parking spaces under the zoning code, resulting in a net loss of 103 spaces.

The two finalists chosen by the city's planning staff for further exploration are offering dramatically different proposals. David Kleiman has offered to build a 237-space, three-level underground garage on Lytton Avenue and Emerson Street, a corner that currently includes a 68-space lot. The new structure would feature an automated lift system that allows vehicles to park in an "elevator-like docking station," according to a staff report. The vehicle would then be "moved through the use of a mechanical system and stored underground."

The catch? Kleiman would also be allowed to build a mixed-use development with retail and 18 apartments at the site. The new development would require 94 spaces, bringing the total parking-supply increase to 75 spaces.

Kleiman, who recently developed mixed-use projects at 636 Waverley Ave. and 240 Hamilton Ave., is proposing a parking component that he argues will "not only increase the City of Palo Alto's supply of off-street parking, it will maximize the use of this presently underutilized site."

Kleiman's two recent developments were both designed by architect Ken Hayes, who is also a member of Kleiman's team for the parking structure. Each withstood an appeal from residents who argued that the proposed building's modernist design conflicts with the traditional architecture around it.

Kleiman, however, maintains that the new buildings will be a good fit with the surrounding area.

"The project will be realized in a manner that complements the surrounding neighborhood while simultaneously promoting the City's goal of promoting walking, bicycling and the use of public transit, due to the project's design and its proximity to the Downtown Caltrain Station," Kleiman's proposal states.

The ground floor retail, he wrote, "will serve to liven the streetscape at this location, and the housing will introduce new residents to the downtown zone while also minimizing the number of parking spaces required for the development when compared with a similarly sized office building alternative."

The other proposal that staff is recommending for further consideration comes from Ark Studio West and includes a 283-space parking structure on the corner of Hamilton Avenue and Waverley Street, which currently includes an 86-space lot. The proposal also includes retail on the ground floor, which would require 29 spaces. It also comes with a major stipulation: The entire downtown would have to switch to paid parking, with daily rates assumed to be around $17.50 per day.

According to the firm's proposal, retail is included to "increase pedestrian liveliness and invite additional users to the location." The proposal also includes design alternatives that feature office space and a rooftop terrace. The uses in the proposed development could include "food vendors and office space, or other uses to be determined in the future," the proposal notes. The structure would also include a bike storage and changing room, an electric-vehicle charger and solar panels.

The firm lists as its goals for the project to improve downtown's urban streetscape, promote environmental sustainability and provide high-quality architecture. Strikingly for a parking development, it also includes as one of its goals getting people out of cars. One goal includes to "encourage new development around transit stations, locations with bicycle and pedestrian connectivity, and city services to allow residents and employes to meet daily needs without the use of cars."

Another goal is unlikely to please critics of new development: "Encourage such development to maximize allowed densities and intensities to take advantage of these locations."

The city's solicitation of private proposals is part of a package of actions that the council approved on Feb. 10 to address downtown's severe parking shortages. The package included the exploration of a satellite parking lot on Embarcadero Road, technology upgrades to existing garages and an increase in permit sales to downtown employers. The direction to solicit proposals from private parties was taken by a 7-2 vote, with Karen Holman and Greg Schmid dissenting.

The council will hear presentations about the Kleiman and Ark Studio West proposals on Monday and consider the city's next steps in the quest for a new garage.

Council members and residents have long preached the need to increase downtown parking supply. In June, the council included a downtown garage as a priority item on its $126-million infrastructure plan. With an estimated cost of $13 million, a downtown garage is one of the projects that the council plans to fund by leveraging proceeds from the hotel-tax increase, which will appear on the November ballot.

During the Feb. 10 meeting, the council majority supported soliciting proposals from the private sector, a decision that Larry Klein called "innocuous." Holman was more cautious about soliciting proposals from developers and urged her colleagues to slow down in pursuing a new garage. It remains to be seen, she said, what the parking demand will be once the city introduces a new residential parking permit program and unveils a transportation-demand management program aimed at getting people to switch from cars to other modes of transportation.

"I think it's premature to go forward with garages at this time," Holman said.

Comments

3 people like this
Posted by CherylM
a resident of Downtown North
on Oct 16, 2014 at 9:42 am

Here we go again....developers trying to add more growth to our over crowded maxed out city! Neither of these proposed plans will help fix the mess we are in. We need a new city council quickly!


3 people like this
Posted by Midtown
a resident of Midtown
on Oct 16, 2014 at 9:43 am

Just say no!


2 people like this
Posted by curmudgeon
a resident of Downtown North
on Oct 16, 2014 at 9:58 am

Silly non-solutions.


3 people like this
Posted by Again?
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Oct 16, 2014 at 9:59 am

Just say no! They say the existing garages are under-utilized and now they want to take away a parking lot where women feel safe to park downtown??

When will they ever learn!?


4 people like this
Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Oct 16, 2014 at 10:34 am

I'm not against this idea, but have a lot of questions about the garage.

Primarily, who will use this pack and stack garage? Is it for employees of local businesses, or is it for residents who live in apartments? Will this be for permit holders only? Will it be for pay per hour occasional parking?

Parking in downtown is difficult and it is obvious that occasional half day or whole day parkers are the ones who find parking difficult and when the residential parking permit scheme comes into effect it will be impossible to go to a meeting or shop and have lunch because of needing to park for more than 2 hours.

The last time I was downtown for an evening, the parking was tricky. No I will not ride a bike or use a shuttle for a late dinner, or a movie. Many stores are open in the evenings, restaurants are buzzing, but parking is going to limit evening activities as well as daytime business.


4 people like this
Posted by Mr.Recycle
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Oct 16, 2014 at 10:43 am

If they want to build to say sorry, and fix the problem they already created, great! If they are proposing it is a bribe for more development, sorry, too late, and please go away.


Like this comment
Posted by Sea REDDY
a resident of College Terrace
on Oct 16, 2014 at 10:46 am

Here we go again!

Snake oil salesmen!

Beware citizens of Palo Alto

My stand is hell no.

Citizens have the power and collectively you have more power than builders, city hall, and let your council members know.


Respectfully


3 people like this
Posted by Who else makes money?
a resident of Evergreen Park
on Oct 16, 2014 at 10:56 am

Yay! More million$ for developers!

Who else gets to make money on this deal?


1 person likes this
Posted by Steph
a resident of Community Center
on Oct 16, 2014 at 10:58 am

[Post removed.]


6 people like this
Posted by Emily Renzel
a resident of Crescent Park
on Oct 16, 2014 at 11:13 am

Oh NO!!! Don't mess up the Waverley/Hamilton lot !!! It's the mainstay of ALL my commercial interface with downtown -- banks, P.O. Drugstore, Prolific Oven. The retail bastions in this area will be driven out of business when all of their parking is interrupted. The City should FORGET the so-called "public/private" partnerships and pay attention to the retail relationship to the parking assessment district. The parking lots should only be used for parking -- not further densification of downtown -- barely recognizable any more


5 people like this
Posted by Sally Ann Rudd
a resident of Downtown North
on Oct 16, 2014 at 11:25 am

More parking means more traffic, more congestion, period. Have the people proposing these developments not registered that you can't get around or out of this town between 4pm and 6pm every night! This is madness. [Portion removed.]


4 people like this
Posted by Neilson Buchanan
a resident of Downtown North
on Oct 16, 2014 at 11:37 am

First of all, we must be open to full exploration of ideas, even bad ideas.

Second, recently the Council reviewed its failure to manage and enforcement public benefits and planning community projects. This study session opened up a rich discussion of root causes for planning failures. Remedial action is solely up to the next City Council.

Third, these competing developers and their garages must be subject to strenuous outside, independent economic, traffic and parking studies. This is not a simple, "innocuous" process and the new council must set highest possible standards to counteract ever-present developer bias. Thorough independent analyis will be expensive and time consuming on city staff who are already stretched beyond their limits.

I am not convinced any of these garage proposals will address 1500+ commuter vehicles which park in residential neighborhoods adjacent to Univ Ave commercial core each and every workday. We citizens must wait and see what independent studies tell us. I expect the next City Council will fully exercise its due diligence on these private public benefits. The current City Council must not rush to action.


1 person likes this
Posted by Who else makes money?
a resident of Evergreen Park
on Oct 16, 2014 at 11:41 am


From Ark Studio website:
Reza Kabul
One of the foremost talents in the realm of Indian architecture, Mr. Reza Kabul's foray into the industry was quite by accident. A random experience of viewing books on architecture proved catalyst enough for a switch from engineering to architecture. After proving his abilities at legendary architect Mr.Hafeez Contractor's establishment, he set up ARK in 1988.
Mr. Reza Kabul has envisioned and successfully executed a string of pathbreaking projects centred on the design philosophy of 'liberating spaces'. Mr. Kabul has handled projects for virtually all the leading names in Indian real estate and continues to enjoy the trust and appreciation of the industry with projects that continue to set pioneering benchmarks in architectural design.


4 people like this
Posted by Tired of these Claims
a resident of Evergreen Park
on Oct 16, 2014 at 11:42 am

"Liveliness" and "invite" and "high quality" – this is all Slop Bunk - sales speak pretending to be a vision – it's all about money for a few and long-term and adverse consequences for those of us who see Palo Alto more as a home and community than a profit opportunity - Just say no.

[Portion removed.]


2 people like this
Posted by Resident
a resident of College Terrace
on Oct 16, 2014 at 11:52 am

And will the City get developers to build 6 lane roads to get the cars in and out of our fair city. No more deals please.


3 people like this
Posted by Joe
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Oct 16, 2014 at 12:01 pm

Some of the responses to the idea of a public/private partnership are somewhere between crazy, and ridiculous. Emily Renzel’s is priceless: “it’s all about me!”

What’s needed is a full-blown proposal, with a complete design of the finished project. This proposal package would necessarily include a 3-D rendering of the project, that would be on-line. There would also need to be a traffic flow analysis for vehicles getting into/out of this new garage. Additionally, we would need some sort of parking impact analysis, which would make an effort to assess how this garage would reduce on-street parking in the DTN and possibly the SOFO areas.

And then, there would need to be a financial analysis of the City’s obligations, direct and indirect, as well as any benefits beyond the possible reduction of on-street parking.

This is a lot of work, and will take a lot of time for both the City, and the residents, to absorb.

Please look at these proposals with more intellectual prowess than a mob in Moscow in 1917—calling for the head of the Czar!

Maybe this idea is good, and maybe it's not. It will take a lot of effort on the part of the Developers, and the City, to come to a decision on these sorts of projects. So, give it these folks a chance to make their case.


1 person likes this
Posted by 6Djockey
a resident of Green Acres
on Oct 16, 2014 at 12:18 pm

None of these deals solve our parking problems especially the ones that create more net demand. What kind of a request for proposals went out that would even generate such a response? [Portion removed.]


Like this comment
Posted by Citizen
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Oct 16, 2014 at 12:22 pm

"Maybe this idea is good, and maybe it's not. It will take a lot of effort on the part of the Developers, and the City, to come to a decision on these sorts of projects"

And that's just the thing. Our City is overdeveloped and being led around by the nose by developers. Why should the City spend money, time, and focus every time a developer yells "Squirrel!" (see the movie Up or Doug Moran's blog post)

And please, people making valid complaints at a tipping point near an election is not exactly a mob, it's called democracy. And Let's hope we get one, i.e. something serving the citizens rather than being led around by the nose by developers, in the next election.
[Portion removed.]


5 people like this
Posted by Emily Renzel
a resident of Crescent Park
on Oct 16, 2014 at 12:23 pm

I'm sorry if Joe took my comment to be "all about me". I am truly concerned about the relationship of parking to the remaining retail businesses in downtown. There are no doubt many others like me who like to park once and take care of a number of errands. The central location of the Waverley/Hamilton lot allows that. It's clear that to dig a large hole, construct parking, and build a building will take 12 months at a minimum. The 86 spaces currently there will be unavailable and street parking is already driving commuters to park in neighborhoods north and south of downtown (and to some degree east as well). The merchants served by those 86 spaces will be severely impacted. You can study some of these issues to death and the fact remains that we cannot sustain the speed and level of growth that has occurred in the past few years.


3 people like this
Posted by Kerry55
a resident of Palo Verde
on Oct 16, 2014 at 12:31 pm

Parking lots should stay devoted to parking only. We do not need any more overdevelopment here, I'm sure the downtown CAP has been reached! Why is the City agreeing to solicit private proposals for a basic obligation of retail stores/businesses downtown? There is a parking assessment system, if it is not working, look at the reasons and data regarding why it isn't working? Why are there so many exceptions to developers for using the "real parking numbers" per square foot for buildings downtown? It seems like we are in a vicious cycle, the only way out is to "Just Say No!" When Developers and the City work together, the residents always come out on the short end. I do think Greg Scharff got it right......No more PC's. I also support the residentialist slate hoping to see some REAL change from the CC, who keep saying this is just business as usual.......






1 person likes this
Posted by Joe
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Oct 16, 2014 at 12:37 pm

> And please, people making valid complaints at a tipping point near
> an election is not exactly a mob, it's called democracy.

Democracy is not exactly a perfect system. Just ask Marie Antoinette, and thousands of other Frenchmen who found out just how wonderful democracy can be.

Democracy doesn’t always get the right answers—Adolph Hitler was elected democractically, if you will remember.

Democracy is just a process—that sometimes works, and sometimes doesn’t.

BTW—in this case, didn’t the City issue the RFP? Are you saying that some Developers forced them to do that?


1 person likes this
Posted by Joe
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Oct 16, 2014 at 12:44 pm

> The merchants served by those 86 spaces will be severely impacted.

Hmm .. 86 parking spaces today .. and a couple hundred tomorrow. Explain to us again how this is bad?

As to the other complaints about overdevelopment--that is the current "residentialist" battle cry. Unfortunately, we don't have a well-developed model that supports this claim.

Not trying to oppose the sentiment, just trying to point out that our planning department, and our City Council, has never understood modeling, and so they have simply "done what feels good".

As to the current residentialist "slate"--none of these people has only indicated how they would actually change anything. Some cities have passed anti-growth ordinanes. Some have established caps that are closely monitored. Which of the current "residentialists" have openly discussed the legal mechanisms available to the currently? And how many of these four have identified failures in the oversight mechanisms that they would change, via new ordinances, if elected.

Unless these people actually have a plan, they are just blowing smoke!


1 person likes this
Posted by Mr.Recycle
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Oct 16, 2014 at 12:56 pm

@ Joe - try using your eyes instead of waiting for a "well developed model" to see that there is overdevelopment.


1 person likes this
Posted by Anonymous
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Oct 16, 2014 at 1:06 pm

Instead of increasing the parking and giving another boondongle to a developer, why not just decrease the number of cars that needs to be parked? Just charge for parking and enforce it as well as enforce handicap placard use.

Are parking spaces now PC benefits too?


1 person likes this
Posted by curmudgeon
a resident of Downtown North
on Oct 16, 2014 at 1:10 pm

"a mob in Moscow in 1917—calling for the head of the Czar!"

That would be in Petrograd, which was then the capital of Russia and the home of the Czar. Those who do not know history are condemned to re-write it. [portion removed]

"Unless these people actually have a plan, they are just blowing smoke!"

Before any plan must come commitment. Filseth, Kou, Dubois and Holman have that; now they need the opportunity.


2 people like this
Posted by Bad idea
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Oct 16, 2014 at 1:18 pm

Exchanging favors to developers for a parking garage (or anything else for that matter) sounds like a very bad idea. If we need a public garage it should be a public project from start to finish. We should be done turning this town over to developers.


2 people like this
Posted by boscoli
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Oct 16, 2014 at 1:28 pm

The answer to the developers suggestions should be a curt NO. Palo Alto is maxed out, the infrastructure cannot and should not serve even more traffic and density. The city council must think of itself as a captain of a commercial airliner. At some point, the captain will not allow any additional passengers on his plane regardless of how much they beg or demand to get on the plane. We don't even know how to manage and repair the mess that over development and excessive density have created. We need to DECREASE the population density, although I don't claim to know how, not allow developers to suggest clever little schemes of increasing it.


3 people like this
Posted by NO trading with developers
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Oct 16, 2014 at 1:42 pm

NO


Like this comment
Posted by Joe
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Oct 16, 2014 at 1:52 pm

> Before any plan must come commitment.

That's your opinion, but it's not universally held.

Lots of people write white papers, or at least outline ideas. How hard would it be for these four to actually spend a few hours and come up with some idea of what a development cap for downtown would look like?

[Portion removed.]


Like this comment
Posted by JimmyJoe
a resident of Downtown North
on Oct 16, 2014 at 1:54 pm

Not too sneaky way to continue over, way over, building of downtown. I hope the new City Council can see this proposal for what it is.


Like this comment
Posted by Joe
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Oct 16, 2014 at 1:56 pm

> The city council must think of itself as a captain of a commercial airliner.

We have a Charter that outlines the nature of government. We have a State and Federal Constitution that provides rights and contraints to government and citizens alike.

And we have a zoning code. No where does any of this elaborate, and "democratically" established government claim that the City Council should be like an "the captain of an airplane".

If people are unhappy with the level of development, then look at the zoning codes, and ask: "just how much development is permitted"? The zoning codes are the beginning of stopping "overdevelopment".

How many of any of the current herd of Council candidates claims to have read, and understand, the municipal zoning codes of Palo Alto?


Like this comment
Posted by Online Name
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Oct 16, 2014 at 1:56 pm

Online Name is a registered user.

[Post removed.]


2 people like this
Posted by Palo Alto Resident
a resident of Downtown North
on Oct 16, 2014 at 2:01 pm

No, No, No. Palo Alto doesn't need any more office space built by a developer whose website contains photo after photo of highrises. However, it also contains this: Web Link Take a look. I'd be a lot happier with the proposal if the parking were underground and what was built on top looked like this cheerful, pedestrian-friendly, 2-story city block. In fact, it looks a lot like what Ramona street looks like now. And probably contains businesses that inhabitants want to patronize, not just office space.


1 person likes this
Posted by curmudgeon
a resident of Downtown North
on Oct 16, 2014 at 2:21 pm

"How hard would it be for these four to actually spend a few hours and come up with some idea of what a development cap for downtown would look like?"

Not hard at all, if you're satisfied with the result of spending a few hours and coming up with some idea. This town has had a steady diet of that kind of hasty ad hoc "planning" in the past decade, and we all see the results. Personally, I prefer something that's been carefully thought through.

Back to the topic. Our parking deficit is in the hundreds of units. None of these concepts would begin to dent that, although they all propose to build huge structures. PAHC, characteristically, would increase the deficit.


Like this comment
Posted by Joe
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Oct 16, 2014 at 2:27 pm

> Personally, I prefer something that's been carefully thought through

Agreed. But we are talking about the selection of people who are going to be making these decisions for the next four years. Not one of them has shown any sense of how to use the existing regulatory mechanisms to deal with the current, and possibly future problems.

> Our parking deficit is in the hundreds of units.

By now, shouldn't the City have come up with a definite number? Another example of how poorly the Council has operated. The current crowd of candidates doesn't seem to be acting as if they have any idea how to get these answers from the planning department, or the city manager.


1 person likes this
Posted by Seamus
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Oct 16, 2014 at 3:07 pm

Joe,
It's fascinating that you only ask those four candidates to discuss development caps. What about the other eight? I don't recall any of them addressing this issue directly.

Can this mean that you're worried Filseth, DuBois, Kou and Holman are going to win? I hope so.


Like this comment
Posted by Joe
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Oct 16, 2014 at 4:20 pm

> What about the other eight?

At the risk of being censored--it's clear that the other eight have no idea what is going on, and their input is of little value at this time.

> I don't recall any of them addressing this issue directly.

You're correct. I have suggested, here and there, that all of the candidates are devoid of any meaningful suggestions about what the future should look like, and how to get there. However, with all of the worship of the "residentialist" .. it's time to ask them a few hard questions. None of them seem to have any answers, sadly.

> Can this mean that you're worried Filseth, DuBois, Kou and
> Holman are going to win?

It's pretty clear that the "other eight" don't have much of a chance to collect more than a few votes. Even Victor Frost managed 1,500, or so, when he ran.

The public is going to have any idea what these four will do, if elected, tho.


Like this comment
Posted by Joe
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Oct 16, 2014 at 4:35 pm

Woops .. last line should have been ..

The public is NOT going to have any idea what these four will do, if elected, tho.


1 person likes this
Posted by Boscoli
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Oct 16, 2014 at 4:52 pm

We have a Charter that outlines the nature of government. We have a State and Federal Constitution that provides rights and contraints to government and citizens alike.

And we have a zoning code."

and we also have a city council that makes deals with developers to violate the zoning codes in order to increase density and enrich the developers in the name of phantom "affordable housing". Can't have it both ways. It is the right of the citizens to decide when additional density is unacceptable and elect representatives who will obey and respect their wish.


2 people like this
Posted by Anciana
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Oct 16, 2014 at 4:57 pm

Awarding favors to developers for a parking garage is a really rotten idea. If we need a public garage it should be a public project. Period. Don't allow adding housing to the project. Those "benefits" we have received in the past in exchange for PC relaxation of the height limits and other zoning rules have seldom turned out to be marvelous additions to our community. Get rid of PC zoning and JUST SAY NO !!!


4 people like this
Posted by mj
a resident of Evergreen Park
on Oct 16, 2014 at 5:13 pm

For more than a decade the city planning department's formula for calculating the number of parking spaces required for offices based on 250 square feet per occupant has been woefully and deliberately inadequate. Multiple people now cram into offices that were once for one or two people. These buildings are under parked by a huge number of parking spaces, yet the planning department and the city council pretends times haven't changed.

The numbers quoted by developers and the planning department are "fake" calculations. Yet the city planning department has refused to recommend changing the formula. Which probably shows the influence of the developers, architects, etc. etc. who support, or are, members of our Chamber of Commerce's Government Action lobbying group. A group that routinely meets with senior city staff.

It is a cop-out to say that a robust Transport Demand Program to coordinate ride sharing will be of much help. Occupants of these office buildings don't work the standard 8-5 shift. And unless someone else is bringing back your groceries, toilet paper, sacks of dog food, daycare drop off or school runs on rainy days, and all the multiple errands associated with having a family, not practical for a large proportion of the 64,000 commuters driving in and out of Palo Alto roads Mondays-Fridays.

Walking and biking to work, if you can even afford to live in or near Palo Alto? Statistically approximately 10% of the population live in the city where they work, and the average person switches jobs every 3 or 4 years. Even if you do live close enough to work to bike or walk, on rainy days or excessively hot days, standing at a bus stop or riding a bike in office clothes over a long distance is a challenge.

Taking the train. Another small percentage of workers.

The hard fact is, to provide convenient and practical public transport outside of the main corridors is prohibitively expensive in this region of huge tracts of post-war boom spread out single family homes.

We need council members who won't "look the other way" when developers and their ilk and the planning department present their imaginary version of what the demand for parking is going to be.


Like this comment
Posted by southbayresident
a resident of another community
on Oct 16, 2014 at 6:03 pm

Sounds like a lot of hypocrisy here. I thought everyone was complaining that Palo Alto needs more parking and there is no use incentivizing use of mass transit and taking the Transit Oriented Development approach.

One person even dared to call this parking garage a "Boondoggle" which is a refreshing change. I thought in these parts "Boondoggle" was a term reserved exclusively for non-car based transportation and pedestrian oriented design!

If all of you truly believe the future belongs to self driving cars and there is no longer a need for transit be prepared to see a lot more parking garages. If Elon Musk was proposing to build huge self parking garages for self driving cars I am sure all his fanboys in Palo Alto would be fawning over what a great idea that is.


Like this comment
Posted by MJ
a resident of Evergreen Park
on Oct 16, 2014 at 8:06 pm

@Southbayresident

I come from Europe and I do believe the future is public transport, and I look forward to the day when Bart comes down the peninsula, and there are buses reasonably close to walk to that go where I want to go,.

In the meantime I think the various developer offers to chip in and pay for a parking structure in return for even more cars, and may even be a wash since we know every office building has many more people working in it than are counted, is a good, if outrageous, try.


1 person likes this
Posted by CrescentParkAnon.
a resident of Crescent Park
on Oct 17, 2014 at 7:45 am

We have a huge space over adjacent to the Aquarius theater, one of the hottest areas for people to go that is ALWAYS full of cars ... why not build a very large parking structure there and get ahead of the problem instead of all these stupid ideas that seem to really want to push Palo Alto toward paid parking. That would be the perfect place for parking structure, and in a place that does not already have one.


1 person likes this
Posted by Crescent Park Dad
a resident of Crescent Park
on Oct 17, 2014 at 10:43 am

Good idea.


1 person likes this
Posted by Joe
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Oct 17, 2014 at 10:48 am

> It is the right of the citizens to decide when additional density is
> unacceptable and elect representatives who will obey and respect their wish.

It's also the right of the citizens (well, the voters, actually) to recall the Council if, and when, the Council has been proven to have violated its oath of office, or its trust with the public. So, has there been any recall planned? Why not--if this (and presumably previous) Councils have made these "deals"--then where is the hard proof?

And by the way--very few of the Council's decisons about densification, or other realignments of Palo Alto, have ever been challenged by the electorate. The Comp Plan is not subject to a vote, at least at the moment. Zoning codes can be overturned at the ballot box--but most time it's very diffiicult to predict what a change in zoning will do to the quality of life of the residents.

Bottom line--people need to take more interest in the planning process, demand better tools--like 3D rendering of all projects--and better traffic analysis. Yes--the buck for these changes stops with the City Council. But it's very hard to find any of the current lot (including the current Council) having the slightest idea about any of these long-term planning issues.


1 person likes this
Posted by Crescent Park Dad
a resident of Crescent Park
on Oct 17, 2014 at 11:49 am

To be honest, I'm too lazy to go through every posting in this thread. That being said - something like this should be delayed until the newly elected CC is in-place...for all of the obvious reasons.


1 person likes this
Posted by SteveU
a resident of Barron Park
on Oct 17, 2014 at 12:52 pm

SteveU is a registered user.

The roads to Downtown have a fixed capacity that is also fixed in place (no more room to grow).

We don't need more building capacity because we can't move more people TO that capacity with the current Transportation infrastructure. We could stand a little 'Catch-up' on available parking to make up for those 'sweet deal' years.

Here is a plan: Require the infrastructure capacity BE IN PLACE before any new plan is approved (and no smoke and mirrors allowed with the numbers)


1 person likes this
Posted by Neilson Buchanan
a resident of Downtown North
on Oct 17, 2014 at 1:16 pm

The concept of a downtown cap is fundamentally flawed. The current cap is being re-evaluated in two Phases. However, IMO the cap study has more or less been tabled due to other demands on city staff and Council. Meanwhile development gets closer and closer to the limits set so long ago.

Why is it flawed? #1 Many modern city planners think this 1970s concept is outmoded and should be replaced by specific plans or area plans. #2 The blocks covered by the current development cap is only a subset of the University Ave commercial core. It would be pure Council malpractice to continue the 1980s gerrymandered area for the development cap. #3 A few knowledgeable citizens think the downtown cap cant be enforced by the Council! This is certainly a major question for the next City Council and Planning Commission.


3 people like this
Posted by Online Name
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Oct 18, 2014 at 10:16 am

Online Name is a registered user.

$17.50 a day to park in the garage??? You've got to be kidding.

But that's what's being reported as being proposed.


3 people like this
Posted by Neilson Buchanan
a resident of Downtown North
on Oct 18, 2014 at 10:31 am

The current cost for an all day visitor permit in the University Ave commercial core is already $17.50. That is why 1500+ commuters, visitors, etal prefer to park at no cost of shady, residential neighborhood streets. Yearly parking permits, if you can get one, is less than $500/yr!!!!

The city charges only $7 all day visitor parking in the California Ave commercial core. CalTrain parking is only $5 per day. Consequently, hundreds of non-residents park on the Evergreen Park residential neighborhood streets and dozens park adjacent to Bowden Park in the Old Palo Alto neighborhood. The California Ave Caltrain parking lot is barely 50% full each and every day.


3 people like this
Posted by pat
a resident of Midtown
on Oct 18, 2014 at 11:13 am

Any time a developer says his project will "increase pedestrian liveliness" or "complements the surrounding neighborhood while simultaneously promoting the City's goal of promoting walking, bicycling and the use of public transit" or "liven the streetscape at this location," it's time to bring out the bulldozers -- and I don't mean for construction!


1 person likes this
Posted by pat
a resident of Midtown
on Oct 18, 2014 at 11:27 am

> "For more than a decade the city planning department's formula for calculating the number of parking spaces required for offices based on 250 square feet per occupant has been woefully and deliberately inadequate."

Absolutely true! A friend who is a space planner says her company allots 64 sq ft per employee. I'm told Stanford uses 80 - 100 sq ft. But that's generous compared to other companies we know. Check out the photo of Facebook's open floor plan at:
Web Link


2 people like this
Posted by Online Name
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Oct 18, 2014 at 6:51 pm

Online Name is a registered user.

Nellson,

Thank you for the clarification on the $17.50 daily rate. I can't believe how seldom that's mentioned in all of the articles about the parking problem dating back years.

If that's the case, how about requiring the employers to get their workers parking permits as a condition of their occupancy permit? That's a lot cheaper for us the taxpayers than building new garages that will remain under-utilized!

Our planners and elected officials and candidates should be able to figure that out.


3 people like this
Posted by Neilson Buchanan
a resident of Downtown North
on Oct 18, 2014 at 7:27 pm

Before the Council authorizes study of any new garage for Calif or University Ave, a basic question must be answered. What is the purpose of new garage capacity? To relieve the profound 2000+ non-resident vehicles parking on residential neighborhood streets OR to serve new developments without adequate on-site parking? This is not complicated question and answer. Will the current Council exercise stewardship and ask this question or defer to the next Council?

Issuance of parking permits is more complicated than you would ever want to know. Parking Policy is an impossible jumble of closed door decision-making by the Parking Assessment District, an apparent private entity with significant independent decision making authority. City staff have a role, too. Other citizens and I will urge the next city council to schedule a study session with the parking assessment district so that everything will be on the table and transparent. This is fundamental to evolution of residential permit parking, new parking garages and pricing of parking throughout the Univ Ave commercial core. If you want to dig -into details, give me a call 650 537-9611


1 person likes this
Posted by another resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Oct 18, 2014 at 11:52 pm

The outdated 250 sq ft parking ratio is just one element of institutionalized favoritism for local developers. It's embedded in City Hall. It is just the way things are done here. It affects every aspect of development control. The problems and impacts are growing. The City of Palo Alto has been sold short like a stock and profits are piling up for those on the right side of this trade and everybody else loses. We need a new Council majority which is holding Palo Alto stock for the long-term. Three "residents" who are in for the long-term and understand what drives long-term value have stepped forward and need to be elected.







Like this comment
Posted by CrescentParkAnon.
a resident of Crescent Park
on Oct 19, 2014 at 9:42 pm

> Posted by SteveU
> The roads to Downtown have a fixed capacity that is also fixed in place (no more room to grow).
> We don't need more building capacity because we can't move more people TO that capacity
> with the current Transportation infrastructure.

While it is true that the road has a fixed capacity, it does not state anything about whether
the capacity into Palo Alto is full.

Cars come and go at different times and if parking is full, it's easy to see that our streets are not
full and there is plenty of in/out capacity for shoppers or workers to come and go at different times.


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

El Camino: Another scheme to increase congestion?
By Douglas Moran | 10 comments | 1,650 views

Post-election reflections -- and sponges
By Diana Diamond | 13 comments | 1,614 views

Couples: Philosophy of Love
By Chandrama Anderson | 0 comments | 1,269 views

Trials of My Grandmother
By Aldis Petriceks | 1 comment | 790 views