Palo Alto takes fresh look at paid parking downtown

New study to explore strategies for relieving parking congestion, charging drivers

As Palo Alto prepares to expand and refine the new parking-permit program for downtown's residential streets, the city is also taking a fresh look at another initiative aimed at alleviating the chronic car congestion: requiring drivers to pay for parking in areas that are currently free.

The City Council this week approved a $100,000 contract with the firm Dixon Resources to perform a "comprehensive study" of parking strategies, including paid parking for the downtown commercial district, according to a report from the Department of Planning and Community Environment. As part of the study, the consultant will reassess the existing color-zone system, by which drivers can park for two hours on the street but cannot re-park within the same color zone once the time limit expires.

Instituted 20 years ago, the color zone is generally recognized as a mixed success. It prohibits cars from using downtown streets for free all-day parking, thus encouraging shoppers and diners to come downtown. At the same time, it allows downtown workers to park on the streets -- obviating their need to buy garage permits -- while also disrupting their work schedules by forcing them to move their cars from one zone to another every two hours.

The new planning report notes that charging people for garages rather than on-street spaces "incentivizes employees to park on the street rather than the garages."

"The paid parking study was envisioned as a way to ensure that the overall parking environment functions as a system to support short-term parking for customers, long-term parking for employees and resident parking in neighborhoods," the report states.

As part of the new contract, Dixon will analyze the existing demand for on- and off-street parking, review all existing policies and regulations, survey users and downtown stakeholders and "recommend comprehensive paid parking strategies in Downtown Palo Alto." The group's findings will be reviewed by the Planning and Transportation Commission and the City Council before the final report is issued. The work is expected to take between four and five months to complete.

Discussion of paid parking is far from new. City officials installed parking meters in downtown Palo Alto in 1947, though they were removed in the mid-1970s as part of an effort to make the area more competitive with Stanford Shopping Center, according to Ward Winslow's "Palo Alto: A Centennial History."

"For more than 25 years the meters range up pennies, nickels, dimes and quarters but finally, in 1974, after downtown business setbacks, the council ordered all 880 meters removed," Winslow wrote.

Since then, as parking congestion grew worse, calls to bring back paid parking have occasionally resurfaced. In the mid-1990s, when the city was performing its last update of the Comprehensive Plan, the citizens group working on the guiding document agreed that downtown parking should come with a price tag. The group proposed installing parking meters, beefing up parking enforcement on residential blocks and requiring payments at all parking facilities. Its recommendations ultimately faltered after the planning commission rejected calls for paid parking.

And as the city was unveiling last year the new permit program for downtown's residential streets, planning officials referred to the Residential Preferential Parking program as just the first step in a comprehensive push toward paid parking. Jessica Sullivan, the city's transportation demand manager, told the Weekly at that time that because free parking isn't regulated, it tends to have "serious negative effects" on the downtown area.

So far, however, the City Council has not taken a stance on paid parking throughout downtown. In October 2014, when the council considered potential public-private partnerships for a new garage, council members rejected a proposal from the firm Ark Studio West, which called for a new garage with retail on the ground floor. The proposal fizzled largely because of a stipulation from Ark Studio West that the city adopt paid parking at all of its downtown garages -- an idea the council members said was worth exploring but not as part of a developer's proposal.

The council's 8-1 vote to approve the new study signaled the latest launching point for the exploration. Councilman Greg Schmid, the only member who voted against the contract, said he generally supports the effort but took issue with how the item got to the council. The city had interviewed four firms and, according to the staff report, the interviewing panel included three members of city staff and two "downtown stakeholders" with business interests in downtown.

Schmid said said he believes the effort warrants a "wider group of stakeholder," which should include local residents as well as city officials.

Aside from that, no one took issue with moving ahead on the study. The contract was approved on the council's consent calendar, with no discussion or dissent.

Nor has there been any vocal opposition to paid parking from downtown businesses. Ross Cohen, executive director of the Downtown Business and Professional Association, said the association's parking subcommittee discussed the new study and agreed that paid parking is worth exploring.

"On-street parking is certainly a component of the larger parking plan and to not study would be, I think, misguided," Cohen said.

The paradigm has shifted since the 1970s, Cohen said, when downtown merchants were concerned about competition from Stanford Shopping Center. Unlike then, today's merchants are mainly competing with other downtowns in the region, most of which have on-street paid parking. People want the "downtown experience," he said, which is clearly different from the shopping-mall experience, he said.

"If you surveyed the downtowns in the area, you'd see many of them do have paid on-street parking," Cohen said. "It's certainly not a deterrent for people to come downtown to shop and park."

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25 people like this
Posted by resident
a resident of another community
on Jan 14, 2016 at 7:50 am

What happened to the electronic signs showing space in garages that we were promised?

Comprehensive Study? How much will this cost?

Why can't you just put in some pay per hour machines in all lots and garages? Put in 30 minute parking spots outside retail? Put in parking meters with exemption permits for residents?

Lots of noise, very little action to help people park.

11 people like this
Posted by Kazu
a resident of Downtown North
on Jan 14, 2016 at 8:13 am

To the people who originally pushed for the parking permit program: Gee, thanks for throwing a monkey wrench into the machinery. And don't try to tell us this isn't what you envisioned. It was the poorly thought out proposal that started this disaster. It has not improved parking one bit, and has pitted Downtown against other Palo Alto neighborhoods.

6 people like this
Posted by Merry
a resident of Palo Alto Hills
on Jan 14, 2016 at 8:15 am

Paying for parking is an irritant.

46 people like this
Posted by resident
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Jan 14, 2016 at 8:19 am

Paying for parking may be an irritant, but heavily subsidized free parking is the root of too many traffic and pollution problems, as well as costing taxpayers a fortune.

10 people like this
Posted by enough!
a resident of Charleston Gardens
on Jan 14, 2016 at 10:32 am


More $$$$$$$$$$ for the City. More financial pain for the have-nots.

23 people like this
Posted by Neilson Buchanan
a resident of Downtown North
on Jan 14, 2016 at 10:56 am

Thanks to permit parking Phase 1 our neighborhood DTN now has about 400 fewer non-resident vehicles parking on purely residential streets. There are slightly less than 40 blocks in DTN. All DTN blocks but 15 have greatly reduced parking congestion. Unfortunately there has been no relief for residents who live between Lytton, Alma, Hawthorne and Cowper. Street faces on these blocks are congested with parked vehicles (both resident and non-resident vehicles) most of every workday. Congestion levels range from 90% to 110%.

RPP Phase 1 was not designed to solve mal-distribution of all-day or 2-hr non-resident vehicles in DTN or the other 3 neighborhoods. Phase 2 Permit Parking Program will be presented to City Council on Feb 1. Staff report should be available to the public not later than Jan 21. Stay tuned.

23 people like this
Posted by Elizabeth
a resident of Midtown
on Jan 14, 2016 at 11:34 am

Why am I not surprised? City doesn't manage the money they have to work with well, as it is...but they're great at spending our taxpayer money on 'studies.'

Landlords drive all the interesting shops out with their greed, city wants to make shopping at the few remaining ones less and less appealing by 'looking at' the possibility of charging for those who come down to the commercial area.

It won't be the employees paying because all day parking will pretty much eat up their pathetic paychecks, so it will be for those who come down for a nice meal or a few items. Those aren't scenarios that lend themselves to carpooling (at least the latter isn't, and even the former if folks are coming from different directions).

Way to ensure that all the sweet, unique, interesting shops are purged in favor of chain stores.

How many more nails do we need to pound into the coffin of revenue generating downtown?

16 people like this
Posted by Win win
a resident of Downtown North
on Jan 14, 2016 at 11:40 am

Staff response to every problem: do ANOTHER study, and hire still more staff. The newly hired traffic managers are just for show.

Two Good outcomes: 1. Delay, delay, delay.
2.City manager gets to hire more subordinates.

Win, Win for staff, Lose, Lose for residents.

28 people like this
Posted by Observer
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jan 14, 2016 at 11:50 am

The most interesting note is that the downtown business association is generally in favor of this. I think it's a recognition that leaving parking free makes it too hard for people to find a space. Parking at Stanford or in downtown Redwood City costs money, but is very convenient. There's always a spot near where you want to go, and you can pay with credit card. Stanford even lets you top up your time with an app.

I would be very happy to pay a few dollars to park for an afternoon if it meant I could reliably find a spot. The city should make the garages cheaper than on-street so that the on-street parking is available for people with quick errands to run.

The color zone system is now heavily exploited by restaurant workers who move their cars repeatedly. It's striking how much less space there is in the customer parking in the garages after RPP. It's also striking how many people in chef's uniforms walk out of the garages at 11:30 every day.

24 people like this
Posted by chris
a resident of University South
on Jan 14, 2016 at 11:55 am

Paid parking is an area where Palo Alto is well behind other communities.

Downtown is in much better shape now than it was in the mid-70s, when the parking meters were torn out.

At that time, restaurants could not serve alcohol and the dining scene was very limited and bleak. Also, downtown was still suffering from the competition from the shopping center, which had gutted major downtown retail in the late 50s.

24 people like this
Posted by anon
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Jan 14, 2016 at 12:06 pm

Observer, I agree completely. I have always been surprised that Palo Alto doesn't charge for downtown parking like everywhere else. I would much prefer that than the crazy color scheme. A few years ago my son was very ill and just released from hospital. I stopped at walgreen's at 8am to pick up a prescription (5 mins at most). At noon, I needed to return for another prescription for him. I parked in the same spot (a miracle in itself) and was there again for 5 mins at the most. I walked out the door --- and behold.... I had a $19 ticket on my window. A 10 minute parking four hours apart constituted a ticket? (I can hear the naysayers saying "you should obey the rules"....well, agreed but when your child is very ill those sort of details do slip your mind. I would have happily put in $1 in the meter if I had seen it there.

What a crazy, stupid system where someone who needs to stop for a couple of minutes gets ticketed for reappearing a few hours later? I now use the Midtown Walgreen's so I don't have to worry. Sorry downtown, I only go for dinner and avoid the real shopping that I could do there.

As for the small businesses, what difference does it make if you park and pay? That's not going to stop anyone from going downtown! If you're rich enough to spend money in the downtown shops you can afford $1 for parking! It's cheaper than a $19 ticket.

21 people like this
Posted by Hmmm
a resident of East Palo Alto
on Jan 14, 2016 at 12:07 pm

It's been unsurprising to see where the displaced cars now park near downtown. On some of the narrower blocks it's potentially hazardous, especially with so many cyclists. It just seems like a rearrangement, not a real solution, objectively. Understandably however, those who used to struggle with parking problems on their block might be happy with the results. Maybe various streets taking turns "hosting" the different cars really is the answer?

26 people like this
Posted by ndn
a resident of Downtown North
on Jan 14, 2016 at 12:15 pm

Parking is never free, because land is never free. I welcome paid parking. Maybe that way I can go to the dry cleaners downtown and be able to park nearby. The current sign, near UPS, cleaners and other establishments allows only 15 minutes ( time enough for a quick errand) but I have seen cars parked there for an hour or so. If people have to pay maybe the display on the meter will be less equivocal about how long they have been there. If there are meters they can be checked electronically or by foot. And while we are at it, make fines significant.

15 people like this
Posted by Walt Hays
a resident of Greenmeadow
on Jan 14, 2016 at 12:25 pm

Walt Hays is a registered user.

Paid parking is a great idea. However, since the City has carbon-neutral electricity and wants to encourage adoption of electric vehicles, any new system shdould exempt EVs.

25 people like this
Posted by Jane
a resident of Evergreen Park
on Jan 14, 2016 at 12:38 pm

Some years ago downtown became a business park. So successful that for those fortunate enough to profit from leasing downtown office space, there's almost no limit to the amount of rent that can be charged. According to the article linked below, if accurate, rapidly expanding and highly successful companies such as Palantir are willing and able to rapidly bid up and gobble up downtown office space as soon as it becomes available. For security reasons, for a company like Pantir there is actually preferable to have individual groups of employees working on different projects scattered and isolated in separate buildings. As Palantir expands they have no intention of moving and consolidating into one campus. Because downtown is their campus.

Web Link

Maybe we should consider renaming downtown and call it the Palantir office park instead!

11 people like this
Posted by Cynical ploy
a resident of Evergreen Park
on Jan 14, 2016 at 1:00 pm

Plenty of retail downtown but let's not miss an opportunity to bash palantir. There have always been companies downtown

22 people like this
Posted by Jane
a resident of Evergreen Park
on Jan 14, 2016 at 1:10 pm

Regarding my above post, when I call downtown an office park I mean for residents there is very little reason to go downtown. When I go somewhere to meet friends for a meal, go shopping, etc., a 2 or 3 hour limit is insufficient, especially when 20 minutes of that time may be taken up walking to and back from my destination(s). After receiving a parking ticket for the privilege of spending my $$$ in downtown Palo Alto I now take my $$$ where it is convenient to park and carry heavy bags back to the car. Sadly for residents downtown retail establishments and restaurants now exist mainly to provide for office worker needs, or those who live close enough to walk to University Avenue and don't have much in the way of shopping to carry home.

14 people like this
Posted by bignose
a resident of University South
on Jan 14, 2016 at 1:20 pm

The basic problem is that there are more people with cars that want access to downtown than there is convenient parking. Juggling parking zones or charging money will not transform an area without adequate parking resources into one with. We keep trying to figure out how to put 10 lbs of manure into a 5 lb bag. People will game whatever system we set up as the comments so far show. Implement an RPP in one area and parkers move further out. Put up meters and people become meter feeders. Limit time in zone and people will play parking whack-a-mole. The only way out of the mess is to provide adequate garage parking and then prohibit on street parking. All the other solutions just push someone's mess into someone else's backyard. You can keep residents happy with some form of RPP but you can't let anyone else park on the streets for love nor money.

Or we can just put up with downtown streets being a parking lot and quit spending money on useless studies.

6 people like this
Posted by BK
a resident of University South
on Jan 14, 2016 at 1:27 pm

A previous poster was wrong in asserting that "Palo Alto doesn't charge for downtown parking like everywhere else." Here's a list. When I say "free" I mean you can park up to a limited amount of time, like two hours or three hours at a time.

Menlo Park -- free
Mountain View -- free
California Ave. -- free
San Carlos Laurel area -- free
Redwood City -- free
San Mateo -- free but switching to paid
Sunnyvale -- free (but why would anybody want to park there?)
Burlingame -- paid
San Francisco -- paid
San Jose -- I don't care

20 people like this
Posted by Jane
a resident of Evergreen Park
on Jan 14, 2016 at 1:38 pm

@Cynical ploy

My point is that downtown's character has irrevocably changed, for better or worse depending who you are, and there is little reason for residents to go there to spend their retail $$$. Because of sky high rents, my understanding is that many young companies, such as Facebook before they moved, compensate by consolidating many more employees per sq. ft. than traditionally, which happens to increases the competition for parking space. My understanding is that even houses close to downtown, which have limited parking of their own, are becoming converted into work spaces. Walking past old retail establishments such as those on Homer just down from Whole Foods, which have been converted into tech spaces, you see the spaces crammed with tables, computers, and people through the old shop windows. While this is just anecdotal and completely unscientific, could this be one of the reasons why parking congestion downtown and in nearby neighborhoods has become a big and increasing problem? I'm open to other explanations.

8 people like this
Posted by ndn
a resident of Downtown North
on Jan 14, 2016 at 1:45 pm

BK is wrong. For example, if you go to downtown Redwood City often like I do and you park in the parking garage it's not free and if you park on the street it's metered paid parking. Palo alto has some free garage parking. Menlo Park is not free in many of the back downtown parking lots if you exceed a certain amount of time, so please be accurate and don't use wrong data as an argument. Many (all?) cities, even large ones I know well have a certain number of streets that are sufficiently suburban to have free parking, albeit generally with restrictions, but I know of any the size and importance of Palo Alto that have free parking all day.

10 people like this
Posted by Observer
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jan 14, 2016 at 1:57 pm

Jane - I don't think it's accurate that "downtown retail establishments and restaurants now exist mainly to provide for office worker needs". I frequently recognize other residents I know out and about downtown. The customer parking in the garages also fills up at lunchtime. There's too many restaurant workers occupying those spots, but they clearly aren't a majority or anything. Those people are clearly residents - or at least they aren't office workers from downtown.

Generally speaking, everyone I know (mostly parents of school-age children) thinks that the Palo Alto downtown is a much better place to shop than it was ten or fifteen years ago. So I'm not sure where the opposite complaint is coming from. Apparently, it's either an age thing or we all just know completely different people.

26 people like this
Posted by A neighbor
a resident of Mountain View
on Jan 14, 2016 at 3:56 pm

Palo Alto is suffering from the same disease that killed Los Angeles: being so focused on bringing in wallets that you don't consider the consequences of all those people come with them. They courted this influx because it made their campaign contributors wealthier - and fed the city coffers a bit, too. LA & PA.

Sadly, PA cannot stop: it is dependent on these companies with their legions of employees. Improving public transportation for the workers to come in and leave their cars at home (or in a park & ride) is too expensive. The only hope, now, is if Palo Alto can figure out a way to get people to send them their money but stay out of town.

Good luck with that!

13 people like this
Posted by Jane
a resident of Evergreen Park
on Jan 14, 2016 at 5:02 pm


Do you drive and then park to go downtown, and if so is the 2 or 3 hour max in the garage sufficient time? I am really delighted that children enjoy the downtown and have lots of cute places to shop besides Palo Alto Sports and Toys. We used to take the kids downtown almost every Saturday, even when they were little, for an inexpensive lunch, a cookie at Mrs. Fields, and with plenty of shops for the children. And like you we couldn't go down there without running into various friends out and about on a Saturday. So I think you are right, it must be an age thing.

13 people like this
Posted by George Browning
a resident of Charleston Gardens
on Jan 14, 2016 at 5:06 pm

George Browning is a registered user.

So, they want to charge us for parking Downtown. That certainly doesn't encourage us to go Downtown. As a south Palo Alto resident I've given up on shopping Downtown Palo Alto, I go to Mountain View or Los Altos where parking is still FREE.

Why does George Browning's name come up, he died almost 2 years ago, please remove it as I requested.

7 people like this
Posted by Observer
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jan 14, 2016 at 5:43 pm

Jane - that sounds like a wonderful afternoon with the kids!

For us, we'll sit down for a snack and a coffee at Peet's, then go to the toy store, Keen's shoes, or just shopping for my wife and I. If we are with the little one, we'll go to Heritage or Johnson park, and then come back downtown for lunch at Sancho's or the Creamery or Slider Bar or Plutos or Gyros Gyros - all reasonably priced and good for kids.

Of course, when I said downtown is _better_, that's really about restaurants for date night or meeting friends at a bar after the kids go to bed. :). So I see what you mean about shopping - that's really where the Mall shines, and downtown is really better for eating now.

9 people like this
Posted by Jane
a resident of Evergreen Park
on Jan 14, 2016 at 5:50 pm

@ observer
I don't think the garage spaces are taken up by restaurant workers because typically their shifts are longer than four hours and they don't have the work flexibility to walk out and drive around to find a parking spot in another zone and then get back to work. Breaks are the minimum allowed by law, 10 mins every four hours. Retail and service works I know/have known/ park in the neighborhoods and walk in because they can't afford to pay for parking.

Also I don't for one minute think that restaurants are filled up only downtown workers. Palantir has its own restaurant for employees. Palo Alto has an influx of well over sixty thousand workers every day and growing fast, to say nothing of neighboring cities. Even with recently enacted cap on offices which only includes a limited area downtown and California Avenue, before that goes into effect there are several hundred thousand square feet of offices already approved or under construction. Stanford Research Park, El Camino, and other areas zoned commercial have no cap. With the ever increasing growth of office space and jobs, demand for restaurants won't be slowing down any time soon.

41 people like this
Posted by Kiss
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jan 14, 2016 at 6:24 pm

Keep it simple:

-cars registered to residents of PA may be parked on all PA streets and PA-owned public garages at no cost;

-cars registered to non-residents of PA may park for free in all PA streets and PA-owned public garages for 3 (2?) hours at no cost, then subject to parking ticket/fine if no displayed fee-based permit.

When ticketing, an on-the-spot registration check with CA-DMV determines registration.

31 people like this
Posted by parking
a resident of Downtown North
on Jan 15, 2016 at 12:32 am

The parking issues aren't mainly caused by tech workers, they're primarily caused by service workers. A city study indicates that part time workers (75%) are much more likely to drive alone than full time workers (53%). It also found that 78% of retail workers drive, 73% in hospitality, 72% in restaurants. Meanwhile only 33% of tech workers drive alone.Web Link

3 people like this
Posted by Merry
a resident of Palo Alto Hills
on Jan 15, 2016 at 7:22 am

Parking garages should be free. Gives relief to neighborhoods and encourages down town spending. If free parking works for Sharon heights Stanford shopping center and Menlo, PA should make it work

9 people like this
Posted by Parent
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jan 15, 2016 at 8:28 am

@parkng - there's been a couple of stories about that, and I think most people know now that it's primarily the restaurant and retail workers who are/were doing most of the parking in the neighborhoods and who are moving their cars between garages.

But I ask if we are doing enough to give them good options otherwise. We need to come together to make sure that we are helping them find places to park, or maybe even alternatives to driving if they need help affording the bus. And once we do that, we need to make sure that parking garages are enforced to be for customers only.

11 people like this
Posted by Allen Akin
a resident of Professorville
on Jan 15, 2016 at 9:51 am

@parking: That survey...I do not think it means what you think it means. :-)

The best summary of it that I've seen is here:
Web Link
If anyone knows of a more complete one, please post it. I've asked Staff for more of the survey information, but so far they haven't provided it or given me a pointer to it.

The first thing to note is that we have little idea how accurate it is. It's based on responses from just 12% of downtown workers, but (to the best of my knowledge) no one has made public any estimate of the resulting sampling error. It's based on a few weeks in May during a drought year; one might expect that there are more drivers and fewer walkers or cyclists during the rainy season, so the peak demand for parking is probably higher and the distribution of parking demand between business types is likely to change with the seasons.

Second, the summaries (I've seen) are all expressed as percentages, not as absolute numbers. That means it's premature to conclude that parking issues are caused by service workers rather than tech workers. Sure, the percentage of tech workers driving alone might be less than the percentage of service workers, but how many workers of each type do we have?

Third, it's a snapshot of single point in time. As the survey itself explains, when workers age or have children they tend to drive more often, and thus parking demand goes up over time. As businesses move in or leave town, the mix of employees changes, and parking demands may change, too. (Traffic changes as well, since employees that once could walk to work now have to drive or take mass transit. SurveyMonkey accounted for a good part of the tech workers in the survey who walked or cycled to work; when it leaves town this year both parking demand and traffic are likely to change.)

The survey is all the information we have at this point, so we have to use it. However, we also have to keep its limitations in mind and not be too adamant about the conclusions we draw from it. Getting more of the actual data and analysis by the consultants who administered the survey would help.

21 people like this
Posted by Jeremy Hoffman
a resident of Mountain View
on Jan 15, 2016 at 2:12 pm

I enjoy the convenience of "free" parking as much as the next American, but we should remember that "free" parking isn't really "free". It's subsidized or socialized. Land is limited. Every row of parking spaces takes away asphalt that could be a bike lane or pedestrian walkway. Every car that drives through town to park in that space (as opposed to walking, biking, bussing, or carpooling) adds to the communal traffic burden. Businesses, residences, and developers have to pay big bucks to provide parking spaces.

"Free" parking spaces are subject to the same "tragedy of the commons" as any other publicly shared resource. The solution to the "tragedy of the commons" is well-known: you have to provide incentives or disincentives for use. So as much as I hate to say it, charging for parking is the most fair, efficient method for allocating parking space among me and my fellow neighbors.

14 people like this
Posted by Jessica G
a resident of University South
on Jan 15, 2016 at 4:38 pm

I grew up across the street from Addison and my father still lives in my childhood home. I also spent three years working retail in downtown Palo Alto just a few years back, so I feel like I have a long-term and thorough understanding of the complexities of the downtown parking system.

As an employee, we did park downtown and have to take breaks to move our cars around to the different colored zones. It sucked, but it's not like we could afford a paid permit or paid parking given our wages. The same would go for restaurant workers. Any proposed parking solution should consider the inordinate financial burden on service-level workers, who are necessary to run the shops that (the generally well-off) patrons desire.

Since moving out of Palo Alto to slightly further south, I almost visit downtown PA anymore-- even with the plethora of delicious restaurants, it's not worth the hassle even with free parking.

Also frustrating is that the street my father lives on (5-6 blocks from downtown) has recently been rezoned as downtown and has a 2 hr parking limit (but no colored zone). Now how am I supposed to go visit my dad and spend time with him? This discourages me and my siblings (particularly my brother, who lives in the North bay) from visiting our father and childhood home. What do they expect long-term residents to do?

I agree on the whole that there are massive improvements that need to be made, but the only ones that seem to make sense would be a subsidized park and ride (there's the free Palo Alto shuttle, why not just build and expand off of that) and/or improving CalTrain so that tech and non-tech workers would be incentivized to take public transportation.

9 people like this
Posted by Mike
a resident of University South
on Jan 15, 2016 at 4:46 pm

Jessica says, "It sucked, but it's not like we could afford a paid permit or paid parking given our wages."

A person making minimum wage, $15/hour, can afford a $50 yearly permit.

Jessica says, "Now how am I supposed to go visit my dad and spend time with him?"

Park in his driveway.

7 people like this
Posted by Johnny
a resident of Midtown
on Jan 15, 2016 at 5:43 pm

Any "solution" will work as long as they profit from it.

Is this about relieving congestion, or is this about revenue.

The city is taking busines away from the restaurants and putting it in their own pockets. It is downright sinful.

Those who occupy all these frivolous positions in government seem to believe that money should be TAKEN thru endless new regulations, instead of EARNED in a free competitive market.

3 people like this
Posted by ndn
a resident of Downtown North
on Jan 16, 2016 at 5:33 am

Mike, that's silly. Maybe he doesn't have a driveway or has one that's access and therefore can't be parked at all. the solution is a parking permit, obtainable from city hall.

4 people like this
Posted by Mike
a resident of University South
on Jan 16, 2016 at 7:37 am

Jessica, The parking is restricted M-F 8-5. If you visit your father in the evening or weekends nothing has changed.

2 people like this
Posted by Mike
a resident of University South
on Jan 16, 2016 at 7:40 am

ndn, I just walked around the block. Every house, "across the street from Addison" has a drive way.

3 people like this
Posted by Jane
a resident of Evergreen Park
on Jan 16, 2016 at 10:18 am

Mike, could it possibly be that Jessica's dad has to park in his own driveway?

1 person likes this
Posted by easong
a resident of another community
on Jan 17, 2016 at 6:51 pm

I drive downtown to eat lunch 3 days a week on average. If the city wants to charge me $3 extra to do it, I'm driving 10 miles to Mountain View, where the parking is free.

OK, probably not.

5 people like this
Posted by Reader
a resident of another community
on Jan 17, 2016 at 7:48 pm


There are multiple ways of addressing this topic.

Menlo Park lets people park for the first 3 hours free of charge, requires a nominal fee for "all-day" parking. That's just one example.

Palo Alto residents need to understand that paid parking is not a one-answer scenario.

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

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