News

Downtown's parking-permit zone set to expand

Palo Alto council approves annexation of new blocks, cap on worker permits

With Palo Alto's parking congestion now spreading from the heart of downtown to surrounding neighborhoods, city officials agreed on Monday night to expand the city's fledgling parking-permit zone and to set a cap on the number of permits being sold to area employees.

With four council members recusing themselves from the vote because of property interests in the downtown area, the five remaining members voted to annex 12 blocks just outside the existing permit zone into the new district. These blocks requested annexation after the city's Residential Preferential Parking (RPP) Program launched in September, creating a two-hour limit on parking in downtown's residential streets and sending commuters to areas just outside the zone, where all-day parking remains free.

After a long debate, the five council members — Vice Mayor Greg Schmid and council members Pat Burt, Tom DuBois, Liz Kniss and Cory Wolbach — also agreed to limit the number of permits being sold to downtown employees to 2,000, despite some protests from the business community.

The changes are intended to address the real but uneven success of the new parking program, which provided instant relief to blocks right around the heart of Palo Alto but added congestion to neighboring blocks.

According to Sue-Ellen Atkinson, the city's parking operations lead, the program removed between 300 and 400 cars from the permit area, though those blocks that are closest to the heart of Palo Alto remain pretty full. Atkinson pointed to the city's parking-occupancy map, which was once predominantly red, connoting complete congestion.

"What we're seeing post-RPP is higher prevalence of yellow blocks as opposed to red, which means some parking places are available," she said. "But we're still seeing a high concentration of parking close to downtown."

But for residents like Elizabeth Austin, who lives just outside the district's eastern border (currently Guinda Street), conditions deteriorated as soon as the program took effect.

"We can't find a place to park on our block," Austin said. "It's totally full because the boundary begins right on Guinda."

The new onrush of cars has also made conditions more dangerous on the windy street at the city's northern edge, she said.

"My car has been side-swiped twice," Austin said. "My neighbor's car has been sideswiped."

Perry Irvine, who lives on Waverley Street just outside the zone, also saw his block fill up as soon as the Residential Preferential Program made its debut. His block is among a dozen that sought and received annexation.

"From the day this program was instituted, the parking in front of our house and entire block going well into the next block has been completely impacted," Irvine said. "Anybody coming to visit us simply has no place to park unless they park in our driveway."

The decision to annex these areas, and to expand the district boundary to make other blocks eligible for inclusion in the near future (when the problem inevitable spreads to them), proved non-controversial, which all five members agreeing that it's a necessary step.

Council members were more ambivalent, however, when it came to employee permits. Planning staff had recommended limiting permit sales for employees to 2,000 next spring, when the next phase of the program kicks off, and then reducing the amount by 10 percent every year thereafter, ultimately reaching zero in 2016. After some debate, the council agreed that while a cap of 2,000 makes sense (that's roughly the amount of permits that was sold to workers during the first phase), it's too early to talk about future reductions.

Developer Chop Keenan, a member of the stakeholder group that helped staff design the program, proclaimed the first phase of the program a success, though agreed that the "toothpaste effect" needs to be addressed through annexation. However, he also argued that setting a cap on employee permits would be premature unless the city also expands supply.

"It's the least able to pay who are going to be affected by the RPP," Keenan said.

Judy Kleinberg, CEO of the Palo Alto Chamber of Commerce, also urged the council to solve the parking problem by building more affordable housing, constructing a garage for employees and expanding the shuttle service. Making it harder for employees to park on the streets would hit small businesses hard, she said.

"Slowly eliminating employee permits on top of high rents, lack of affordable housing, the waiting lists for garage permits, the minimum-wage and the likely BLT (business license tax) will gradually strangle our local small businesses and eventually amount to death by a thousand cuts," Kleinberg said.

Nevertheless, the council generally agreed that the number of employee permits needs to be reduced. Kniss suggested that while setting a cap of 2,000 starting next spring makes sense, she also argued that it's too early beyond that.

"I really don't want to sit here tonight and make a decision about what can happen in 10 years," Kniss said. "We're so far ahead of ourselves."

But DuBois argued that without significantly limiting the number of employee permits, the city will not solve the parking problem. It will merely spread it out to other areas, he said.

"It we continue this, it will just expand with no limits," he said.

The council ultimately agreed to direct staff to come up with a different proposal for winnowing down the number of employee permits beyond the 2,000. The reduction, the council agreed, should hinge on the success of the city's fledgling Transportation Management Association, a new group that is charged with reducing single-occupant vehicles and encouraging alternative modes of transportation.

Councilman Pat Burt agreed with DuBois that a gradual reduction in employee permits is necessary to achieve real long-term change, though a goal of zero permits might be premature at this point. Burt called the gradual reduction of employee permits a "very important component of the next phase."

"I don't see how we get anywhere unless we get that limit," he said. "That's what really controls whether we just go back to where we were."

The council also discussed ways to distribute the permits throughout downtown, so that the blocks closest to the core wouldn't be disproportionally affected. While staff and some members of the stakeholder group favored a system of three cocentric zones (one in the downtown core, one just around it and another one on the periphery), the five council members favored a "microzone" concept that would divide downtown into many more smaller zones.

While this setup would be more complex, it would also allow for more precise measurements and allocations of permits. Staff will also explore variable pricing, with permits closer to downtown's core costing more than those further away.

Another issue that has yet to be finalized is the ultimate boundary of the expanded district. Staff suggested spreading the eligibility boundaries out by about half a mile, saying that this is roughly how far commuters are generally willing to walk between their spots and their jobs.

The council agreed that this is inadequate, given the tendency of many commuters to ride bikes, scooters and skateboarders from their cars to their offices. Wolbach argued that the boundary should be spread beyond Embarcadero, the southern edge of the staff proposal.

"I don't see Embarcadero as a wall that anybody with a scooter or a skateboard or of rolled-up bike in their trunk would refuse to cross," Wolbach said.

Staff will return to the council with a revised proposal in January, with the goal of launching the program's second phase in April.

Comments

18 people like this
Posted by Norman Beamer
a resident of Crescent Park
on Dec 15, 2015 at 9:56 am

The City should not deliberately spread the problem of non-resident parking out into areas that historically have not had that problem before.


8 people like this
Posted by Crescent Park Dad
a resident of Crescent Park
on Dec 15, 2015 at 10:19 am

Unfortunately it's just a matter of time before the DTPA employees will park on the other side of Embarcadero or further into CP.

I can't help but wonder... the Edgewood Shopping Center parking lot is full all-day (and the grocery store is still closed). Is it possible that some people are parking there and then either biking or shuttle bussing into DTPA?


4 people like this
Posted by palo alto resident
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Dec 15, 2015 at 10:53 am

@crescent park dad - people are already parking on the other side of Embarcadero (Newell, Seale, Guinda, etc.) and taking the shuttle Downtown. They are also parking at the Art Center and I suspect the Edgewood Plaza too. Anywhere the shuttle stops is fair game!


1 person likes this
Posted by Midtown
a resident of Midtown
on Dec 15, 2015 at 11:18 am

Whack a mole! Tolls are needed at the borders for nonresident, single drivers during commute hours!


9 people like this
Posted by chris
a resident of University South
on Dec 15, 2015 at 11:53 am

Norman,

Any boundaries are artificial constructs. You are not going to restrict employee parking in your neighborhood by wishing it away. If you are close enough to be concerned, you are close enough for employees to walk, skateboard, or ride their bike from in front of your house.

Time to take your head out of the sand.


27 people like this
Posted by Carol Gilbert
a resident of University South
on Dec 15, 2015 at 11:56 am

You just don't get it! There are people who work downtown and have to park somewhere. The residential neighborhoods should NOT be where, whether with a paid permit or not. All it has meant in my neighborhood is the entire street is parked all day with cars with permits. At least in the past, there was some turnover. Why can't you just turnover the top floor of the downtown parking structures to free or low cost permit parking for employees?!!!

Absolutely nothing has been solved.


13 people like this
Posted by Remember the retail workers
a resident of University South
on Dec 15, 2015 at 12:13 pm

We have to figure out how to manage the parking problem, and we shouldn't have retail workers filling up residential streets. But we also have to remember that the retail workers who are the majority of the neighborhood parkers are really very poor - certainly compared to anyone who can afford to live in Palo Alto! They don't have a lot of good options. If we want to keep retail alive in downtown, we're going to have to make sure that we provide other options when we take the ones they have now away.

If the workers are distributed a few per block across the whole RPP area, it's not really going to affect any residents in a noticeable way. There's definitely a lot of vehicles in Crescent Park during the day just from gardeners, nannies, and the like.

I think Council's compromise isn't perfect, but it's a good first step.


18 people like this
Posted by Public
a resident of Community Center
on Dec 15, 2015 at 12:16 pm

Carol forgets these are public streets and not the residents private parking area


8 people like this
Posted by Curmudgeon
a resident of Downtown North
on Dec 15, 2015 at 12:21 pm

"The City should not deliberately spread the problem of non-resident parking out into areas that historically have not had that problem before."

"You just don't get it! There are people who work downtown and have to park somewhere. The residential neighborhoods should NOT be where, whether with a paid permit or not."


The right ideas, but a few years too late, during which pro-development city councils led by mayors Kniss, Mossar, Beecham, Kleinberg, Burch, and Ojakian literally gave away the store by enthusiastically promoting office developments equipped with only a fraction of their parking needs. It was a bonanza for developers, with the costs to be borne by residents in ever-expanding concentric circles.

Those commuters and their cars aren't going away anytime soon. In a few years we will have two classes of neighborhoods citywide: those with RPPPs, and those without RPPPs and very crowded curbs.

Think of it as the price of carelessness at the ballot box, and be sure you know who you are voting for in the future.


5 people like this
Posted by Crescent Park Dad
a resident of Crescent Park
on Dec 15, 2015 at 12:50 pm

@ Curmudgeon: Perfecto.


12 people like this
Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Dec 15, 2015 at 1:26 pm

Banning the parking hasn't solved the problem. These cars need to park, what part of that don't people and the CC understand?

Where will they go? Find them some parking at the Baylands/near 280 with a dedicated shuttle to downtown. Solve the parking problem by providing an alternative first.


7 people like this
Posted by Ask those who caused it
a resident of Downtown North
on Dec 15, 2015 at 2:21 pm

Curmudgeon said: "The right ideas, but a few years too late, during which pro-development city councils led by mayors Kniss, Mossar, Beecham, Kleinberg, Burch, and Ojakian literally gave away the store by enthusiastically promoting office developments equipped with only a fraction of their parking needs. It was a bonanza for developers, with the costs to be borne by residents in ever-expanding concentric circles."

Most of these former mayors are still around, still profiting from their pro-development votes. Lets invite them to a meeting and ask them what should be done. Kleinberg, now CEO of the Chamber of Commerce testified last night not to reduce employee parking too stringently. Kniss echoed her view.
Some things don't change.


16 people like this
Posted by Downtown worker
a resident of Downtown North
on Dec 15, 2015 at 2:43 pm

Here's the part I don't get. The downtown residents all (should) have parking on their property. At home I park in my garage/driveway and don't use the street parking at all. Across from my office is a house where the garage has clearly been converted to living space, the driveway with space for 3 cars sits vacant and the tenants park three cars on the street full time.

How is it right, if these are public streets, that residents have more 'right' to the street parking than business users?

The Council's decision to allow residents to have 4 passes just encourages resident street parking when available garage/driveway space is being wasted. What we need is just to be more efficient.

I think if everyone was just more considerate in their thinking about where they were parking all of this would be much less complicated. There is enough space - it's just not being used well...


11 people like this
Posted by Crescent Park Dad
a resident of Crescent Park
on Dec 15, 2015 at 4:19 pm

It's simple - the DTPA businesses and landowners should provide parking for their employees as a cost of business. If that means buying permits and/or paying to build additional parking garages, then that's the way it goes.

Will that increase the cost of meals at restaurants or costs of goods and the few retail stores in DTPA? Sure. But that's how it all gets done and the burden is shared by all who benefit.


18 people like this
Posted by Curmudgeon
a resident of Downtown North
on Dec 15, 2015 at 4:24 pm

@Downtown worker

You have the right basic idea: parking should be on premises. But realize that applies to downtown office buildings as well. It should have applied when our city council giddily approved the underparked buildings.

It's a mess all around, but I believe residents' rights to enjoy their properties outrank developers' presumed privileges to profit at the expense of residents.


13 people like this
Posted by About Time
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Dec 15, 2015 at 4:36 pm

I agree with Downtown Worker. Residents with too many cars parked on the street are part of the problem, as is a city that permits a driveway leading to a garage-turned-granny unit to qualify as a driveway even though no cars can be parked there because the hardscape has been remodeled into a narrow fenced path dotted with large boulders. This happened on my street and these folks, their parents and children now park a minimum of 5 cars on our narrow street daily. Last time I checked, every residence in Palo Alto was to have a driveway on which to park their cars, but I guess some folks are more special than others. Maybe it's time Palo Alto took a pointer from Menlo Park and ban overnight parking on city streets.


2 people like this
Posted by Slow Down
a resident of Community Center
on Dec 15, 2015 at 5:08 pm

Slow Down is a registered user.

@About Time - Menlo Park doesn't ban overnight parking, they control it via permit. I agree it would be a great policy for Palo Alto to implement city wide. It would also solve the car camping problem. One unified RPP program to rule them all.


5 people like this
Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Dec 15, 2015 at 5:10 pm

I have a question. Should all homes have offstreet parking for a minimum of 2 cars? I know that at least a car port if not a garage is a requirement. Should homes that have converted their offstreet parking into landscaping or access to granny unit or similar be fined annually?


2 people like this
Posted by Slow Down
a resident of Community Center
on Dec 15, 2015 at 5:32 pm

Slow Down is a registered user.

@Resident - Similarly, if you are renting out rooms in your house on Airbnb, where are those cars parking? People shouldn't be fined, but they should pay for their use of shared community resources.


5 people like this
Posted by Downtown worker
a resident of Downtown North
on Dec 15, 2015 at 5:38 pm

@Curmudgeon

"It should have applied when our city council giddily approved the underparked buildings."

Not how I see it - parking should only be at a minimum to encourage use of transit. Problem we have is the Council's lack of foresight and action toward functional transit infrastructure. Parking at 1:250 has been proven to be accurate and exceptions to that rule should have been accommodated by parking structures. Beyond that we should have shuttle/bus/bike/train as options to reduce the parking demand.

"It's a mess all around, but I believe residents' rights to enjoy their properties outrank developers' presumed privileges to profit at the expense of residents."

That's your belief but mine is that those residents made a choice to be near our more dense downtown rather than somewhere else. Without business our town would be a very different place and I like the way it is. Busy restaurants, great shopping, theater, public plazas - it's a great place. Those residential properties you speak of are just as much a development opportunity/investment as any other building type.

In my opinion, downtown residents have no more rights to the public streets than any other individual. We all pay taxes, work, shop, take kids to school, visit friends, etc. A homeowner's rights should not be prioritized over those of anyone else but they should be acknowledged and considered in a balanced way. We need a solution and I think we are heading in the right direction with the permit program but we are encouraging resident street parking rather than improving efficiency for downtown worker parking. The expansion of the boundaries is not the answer. I know of 3 spots on my block that would be available if residents parked where they should. Imagine how the problem would be improved if this changed all over the downtown.


5 people like this
Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Dec 15, 2015 at 5:48 pm

I completely agree that residents should be using their own parking and not expect street parking outside their house. When they moved there, they knew that they were living downtown and that access was either a bonus or a disadvantage, or a combination of both. If they bought a home or agree to rent a home without offstreet parking suitable to their needs, then that was something they would have to live by.

I have stayed with friends in a downtown suburb location. It is a wonderful amenity to be so close to the downtown and also the local rail station. But they don't have access to street parking for guests. They do have 2 offstreet spots and when we are visiting, they put one of their cars on their street (permits are not transferable) and we park in their spot. Some of the neighbors rent out their offstreet parking to office workers during the day or overnight to neighbors who need more space.

If a home has more than 2 cars or isn't using their garage, they should have no more rights to the street than anybody else.

Another question, what happens on garbage day, or street sweeping day? Do downtown residents get an exemption from having to put their cans in the street? In my own street which isn't in a parking impacted area, we now have very little street parking for 2 days as most cans are left out for a couple of days in the street.


7 people like this
Posted by Downtown worker
a resident of Downtown North
on Dec 15, 2015 at 5:52 pm

@Resident

"I know that at least a car port if not a garage is a requirement. Should homes that have converted their offstreet parking into landscaping or access to granny unit or similar be fined annually?"

YES- lack of Code Compliance should be met with a fine or notice to conform...but -

Our parking rules are unreasonable - 1 covered and 1 uncovered stall both which must be behind the front building setback. Why not count driveways? Most houses have cars parked in the driveway - let's just alter our regulations to recognize this. Houses are limited by FAR so just reduce the allowable maximum by 200 SF or 400 SF when a homeowner decides not to provide a garage. Parking for granny units can be accommodated in a similar fashion in tandem or otherwise. We need more housing but need to generally retain the character of the neighborhoods. Allowing parking in the front setbacks just codifies current conditions.


7 people like this
Posted by Crescent Park Dad
a resident of Crescent Park
on Dec 15, 2015 at 6:31 pm

Menlo Park does ban overnight street parking in residential areas. You may apply for a temporary permit when you have extra cars due to overnight guests, etc. (up to 100 permits/year, 50/half-year). But you cannot purchase a permanent permit to park overnight on the street.

Web Link


5 people like this
Posted by Curmudgeon
a resident of Downtown North
on Dec 15, 2015 at 7:02 pm

"A homeowner's rights should not be prioritized over those of anyone else but they should be acknowledged and considered in a balanced way."

Please justify how enhancing the profits of investment consortiums shadows the rights of private property owners to enjoy their property. Take a deep breath and try to be coherent.


16 people like this
Posted by Economics
a resident of Downtown North
on Dec 16, 2015 at 6:58 am

Several posters mention that residents near downtown entered into a situation of crowded parking knowingly and willingly. This is simply incorrect. The current problems of downtown spillover parking have been created by two historical changes in policy. One was the implementation of two hour parking zones in downtown. The second was a deliberate decision not to require landlords/businesses to provide adequate parking for their employees. Everyone in Palo Alto benefits from a vibrant downtown. The burden of downtownnparking was unfairly shifted to residents near downtown and now that is finally being fixed. Residents should bear some parking impact and they do from the downtown permits being sold. But they should not bear the undue burden that had evolved in recent years.

Businesses do not have a right to free parking for their employees. Paying for employee parking, either directly by buying permits or indirectly by paying adequate wages so that employees can pay for parking while they work (or pay for the train to get them to work), is a cost of doing business. If this cost ultimately finds its way into pricing for shops and restaurants, then the real cost of business is being paid by the customers who value those shops and restaurants. Similarly, companies who operate in downtown should simply expect that parking is part of their cost structure, or their employees should expect it as part of their own cost for the benefit of working in a vibrant downtown area.


14 people like this
Posted by Near Downtown Resident
a resident of Professorville
on Dec 16, 2015 at 10:30 am

When I purchased my house, which is now in the RPP area, there was no issue with street parking. It became an issue in the last 4-5 years. This was not something that most of us entered into willingly, it wasn't there when we purchased, and we have every expectation (as do others elsewhere) that things shouldn't get substantially worse for us without some benefit.

I support permits for retail workers. I do not support permits for office workers.


Like this comment
Posted by Slow Down
a resident of Community Center
on Dec 16, 2015 at 11:09 am

Slow Down is a registered user.

@Crescent Park Dad - "But you cannot purchase a permanent permit to park overnight on the street." It may be limited, but not banned. We rented an apartment in MP while remodeling and had a permanent overnight parking permit.


14 people like this
Posted by Chris
a resident of University South
on Dec 16, 2015 at 11:51 am

With downtown workers overrunning parking in residential neighborhoods, where do you expect guests and visitors to park?
It not just a question of where residents are able to park?

Workers should be told that they are expected to pay for parking when they work dorwntown.


Like this comment
Posted by Johnny
a resident of Midtown
on Dec 16, 2015 at 9:30 pm

This isn't a "compromise" at all, its the city aiming to please downtown residents but they're incentivized by the parking ticket/permit industry. A 2 hour limit is designed to catch people who can't get back in time. They are creating jobs! Imagine that. Lots of new meter maid JOBS opening up in downtown Palo Alto. Think of the deluge of tickets being given out now, and the profit being made from this RPPP.


Like this comment
Posted by J
a resident of Mountain View
on Dec 16, 2015 at 11:22 pm

@Downtown worker -- more transit options would definitely be welcome, but the problem is broader than Palo Alto. The Palo Alto TMA survey found that 22% of downtown employees live in Palo Alto, meaning 78% live somewhere else. Many people do not live within walking distance of the train, and many of the Caltrain parking lots in other cities are already at capacity. Caltrain bike cars are near or at capacity during commute hours. Inter-city bus routes are completely impractical except for the desperate or the very well funded (Google).

Fixing the problem from a transit perspective is going to require an entire Bay Area effort.


Like this comment
Posted by musical
a resident of Palo Verde
on Dec 17, 2015 at 1:01 am

"... meaning 78% live somewhere else." Could mean 78% did not respond.


2 people like this
Posted by Neighbor
a resident of University South
on Dec 17, 2015 at 9:56 am

J - I definitely agree that it's going to require a regional effort to improve transit. That said, there's a lot we can do right now.

Every large tech company in downtown offers a free train pass to its workers; no retailers do. It's not a coincidence that tech workers take the train at triple the rate of retail workers (from the TMA survey.) Yes, the trains are crowded, but I know many people who take them to work - no one has stopped because it's too crowded. 250 additional people on the trains would be a drop in the bucket of the 11k riders to PA - but it would have a bigger effect on parking than building a new garage!

Also, Stanford has had a lot of success with getting their East Bay workers to take Dumbarton Express - but they made it free for them and paid VTA to run an additional bus at a time that worked for their employees. Since the bus can take the carpool lane across the Dumbarton bridge, it can sometimes be faster to take the bus than to drive. (Both are slow, of course...) Palo Alto could explore something similar.

As a region, we absolutely should be focusing on better public transit. The Bay Area has an inexcusable tended to pretend if we don't plan for growth, it won't happen - so of course it happens in the worst possible way. But that's no reason not to do a better job with the options we have.


Like this comment
Posted by J
a resident of Mountain View
on Dec 17, 2015 at 11:14 am

@musical I was lazy, but the full numbers from Web Link were

10% San Francisco
20% Penninsula
33% South Bay
22% Palo Alto
7% East Bay
8% Else


Like this comment
Posted by Curmudgeon
a resident of Downtown North
on Dec 17, 2015 at 12:15 pm

The Bay Area has an inexcusable tended to pretend if we don't plan for growth, it won't happen - so of course it happens in the worst possible way."

Planning is relatively easy. Financing the plans has been impossible. That's the perennial story in a nutshell.

What we cannot afford is any surface infrastructure buildout beyond what we got. Paradoxically, this underserved-by-transit area is such a popular place to be at the moment that the marketplace has made the land required for infrastructure improvements way too valuable to be used for such.

Then there is our balkanized government. What we need is a regional subway system with frequent trains. But the planning, review, and approval minuet will stall it for decades at least. By then the tech boom will be over, the techies gone, and the demand much less.

And then we face the public's reluctance to invest in infrastructure like transit whose benefits taxpayers perceive are mainly for "those" people.

So get an electric car and bring your favorite music.


"But that's no reason not to do a better job with the options we have."

That's very easy to say, but I've yet to encounter workable ideas.


Like this comment
Posted by Paly Parent
a resident of Professorville
on Dec 17, 2015 at 3:00 pm

Why don't they poll us block by block and use that information to figure out where the boundaries are. Because this program is about to expand to my block and it is completely unwanted.


Like this comment
Posted by Allen Akin
a resident of Professorville
on Dec 17, 2015 at 3:24 pm

@Paly Parent: They did poll block-by-block, and that's why a number of blocks (e.g. 500 and 600 blocks of Lincoln, 1100-1300 blocks of Waverley, 300 block of Kingsley) were not included in Phase 1. The Council authorization expands the area eligible for the program, but only the blocks that petition to be included will actually be included. If your block is getting RPP, it's because a sufficiently-high number of people from your block signed a petition to that effect.


Like this comment
Posted by next please
a resident of Crescent Park
on Dec 17, 2015 at 4:36 pm

@Allen,

" The Council authorization expands the area eligible for the program, but only the blocks that petition to be included will actually be included."


Not quite. They are including the 12 blocks that petitioned and all the intervening blocks. Checkout the image: Web Link

Only the yellow blocks partitioned to be in it but all the blue is being included.

That's because they know that all those parking in the current yellow blocks will move to the next block along. Forcing the next block to then petition in a fruitless exercise in whack-a-mole.

Makes much more sense to extend it significantly each time to avoid the bureaucratic overhead.

@PP,

I think there is an option to "opt out" but not sure how that's going to work with this new "blue zone" addition. In any case, you might like to opt out now, but you will have parking issues as soon as the extend it to all the blocks around you.
That's the real problem, you no longer have a real choice. Once they started moving the parking issues towards you, you need to either accept that you will no longer be able to park outside your house or get "in".


Like this comment
Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Dec 17, 2015 at 4:52 pm

Yes, there are alternatives, but nobody wants to use them. They all assume it is somebody else's responsibility.

We need a traffic authority that covers the whole of the Bay Area covering all buses, Muni, Bart, ferries, Caltrain, etc. etc. They need to make a service that interacts with each other properly.

The Mountain View and Palo Alto city councils, along with other neighbors have to understand that people cross city boundaries all the time for work and other reasons. Shuttles must cross San Antonio, it is not the Berlin Wall, and we are not islands.

Luxury commuter buses, like the Google buses, must be used on highways 101 and 280. These buses must run between SFO and SJC in particular, but all the length of the Peninsula. They must have "stops" with parking and shuttles every 5 - 7 miles at convenient parking centers such as Baylands or the end of San Antonio and then a dedicated shuttle service to areas where people work without too many stops. Every time a bus or shuttle stops it slows down the speed of the service, so eliminating those who are not using the highway buses to prevent them being slowed by others would be necessary.

I personally took someone to the airport and met them a few days later a week or so ago. It meant I had 4 car trips which could have been eliminated with an airport shuttle along 101. These are the type of trips we must aim to reduce.

People use Google buses because they are comfortable and efficient. It isn't right to expect every company to have their own commuter services up and down the Peninsula, but getting a transit authority to start running them along the same lines as Google, with clean buses, wifi, and regular frequent service at commute times and not quite so frequent 24/7 will also be attractive.

When reasonable, reliable, clean, comfortable service is provided in which people can work and arrive without the hassle of searching for parking is provided, it will be an attractive alternative to solo driving to those who regularly commute the same trip on a daily basis. Caltrain can't do it alone. Provide a service people want to use and back it up with incentives (eg free passes for 3 months to new hires, etc.)


Like this comment
Posted by the_punnisher
a resident of Mountain View
on Dec 17, 2015 at 5:04 pm

the_punnisher is a registered user.

Double Sigh.

Downtown Denver garages ( private, not public ) have " early bird " all day parking for $3.75 a day and it is used by all workers down town. Why can't this answer work in Palo Alto? You pay and park from the roof down.

My other gripe: WE DID THINK OF THE PARKING AND COMMUTE PROBLEM 40 YEARS AGO, THAT IS WHY WE ALLOWED A BART TAX TO PASS! It is YOUR OWN D--N FAULT YOU LET MENLO PARK AND ATHERTON STOP THIS SIDE OF THE ORIGINAL LOOP!

If EMINENT DOMAIN was properly used, we would have BART instead of SP commute and later Caltrain!

But NIMBY should NOT have stopped BART from completing the loop and now Palo Alto pays the price.

If you want to lay blame for parking issues, just look NORTH. Why not run a shuttle from the Menlo Park and Atherton areas and give them a taste of the problems they created.

Just let them know that the public streets are for everyone, rich or poor when they start to complain.


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Posted by Allen Akin
a resident of Professorville
on Dec 17, 2015 at 5:13 pm

@next please: I may be wrong, but I believe I remember a Council member asking specifically about the blue area, and Sue-Ellen or Hillary replying that the blue area indicated only eligibility; blocks within it would still have to petition for the rules to be enforced. (The 12 yellow blocks marked in the map you linked are the only ones from which petitions have been received.) Someone should fire off a note to Sue-Ellen for clarification.

No argument about the whack-a-mole problem, though; I live right on the district boundary, and watched the saturation appear overnight on the 1100 block of Waverley.


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Posted by musical
a resident of Palo Verde
on Dec 17, 2015 at 5:15 pm

@ J, thanks for the clarification. I hadn't seen the survey.


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Posted by musical
a resident of Palo Verde
on Dec 17, 2015 at 6:02 pm

A tangential item -- anybody else notice these parking-spot sensors yet?
On Ramona and on Hamilton. Web Link
Little black plastic bumps about 5 inches diameter, glued to the roadway.


6 people like this
Posted by Curmudgeon
a resident of Downtown North
on Dec 17, 2015 at 7:14 pm

"The second was a deliberate decision not to require landlords/businesses to provide adequate parking for their employees."

A classic example of enhancing private profit at public expense, stealthily accomplished in plain view by a developer-government combine which exploited the residents' trust.


2 people like this
Posted by Jeff Keller
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Dec 18, 2015 at 10:22 am

Jeff Keller is a registered user.

Residents should not be forced to subsidize under-parked commercial developments. Tax under-parked commercial buildings.

What other giveaways would make profits for developers: free electricity for electric cars driven by commuters, free shuttle buses to take commuters from their free parking, ban cars driven by residents from using local streets, ...


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Posted by Allen Akin
a resident of Professorville
on Jan 4, 2016 at 3:15 pm

@next please: It's been a few weeks, but I thought I should close out the question I left open. Sue-Ellen has been on vacation, but I received a reply from her today.

On the map you referenced, the blue regions are "eligibility areas;" they have not been added to the RPP enforcement area, and will need to petition if they want to join it. The Planning Director can approve their requests without having to go to Council. Caveat: Council has approved this only "conceptually." Staff is preparing a new resolution to submit to Council, probably in February, to make the outcome official.

So none of the "blue blocks" have been added to the enforcement area, and none will be added without a majority of residents asking to do so. I think that addresses Paly Parent's concern.


2 people like this
Posted by T. Johnson
a resident of Crescent Park
on Feb 1, 2016 at 10:12 am

Plain and simple it all about the revenue! City does not care as long as they are funding their pay raises, benefits and retirement funds. They make a mess and poor decisions and let the residents battle it out and clean up the aftermath. The people who work down town pay city taxes and should be given free parking in the public garages down town that is paid already paid for. Palo Alto residents pay taxes and should not be "taxed again" to pay for parking permits in residential areas outside their homes. Parking enforcement is the problem not the solution.


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

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