News

Palo Alto's downtown parking program set for more changes

City plans to phase out employee permits, add new zones to parking district

Downtown Palo Alto's nascent parking-permit program is about to undergo another transformation, with the latest changes aimed at reducing congestion near the commercial core and ultimately getting commuters' vehicles completely out of residential neighborhoods.

The changes, which were proposed by Councilman Tom DuBois at the Feb. 1 meeting and unanimously approved 5-0 by the council (with Councilman Marc Berman, Mayor Pat Burt, Councilwoman Karen Holman and Vice Mayor Greg Scharff recusing because of property interests in and near downtown) would gradually phase out the number of permits that the city would sell to downtown employees. The Residential Preferential Parking (RPP) program, which launched last fall, currently doesn't have a cap for permits, which are only sold to downtown residents and workers.

Starting in April, there would be a 2,000 cap on employee permits -- a number that would go down by about 10 percent every year thereafter. At that rate, there will be no employee permits sold after 2026.

The council is scheduled to consider the revisions on Feb. 23.

The proposal to reduce the number of permits for employees was part of the initial proposal for Phase 2 of the parking program, though it was subsequently scrapped after by the City Council last December. The idea was to see whether the city's new Transportation Management Association (TMA), a nonprofit charged with reducing the number of solo commuters by providing incentives for them to use other modes of transportation, will succeed in reducing car traffic, thus obviating the need for the hard cap.

But with residents of Crescent Park increasingly complaining about the parking congestion spilling over into their neighborhood, as commuters simply shift to areas beyond the parking district's border (which, unlike the blocks within the border, does not have a two-hour limit on cars without permits), the short-handed council decided to make another pivot and revive the employee limit.

The move still falls short of the type of parking program that Crescent Park residents were demanding: a program more akin to the one at College Terrace, where permit as limited to residents.

Norm Beamer, president of the Crescent Park Neighborhood Association, beseeched the council earlier this month to create a similar program in his neighborhood.

"We traditionally have never had this problem," Beamer said, referring to the influx of commuter vehicles. "So, you're pushing the problem into our neighborhood."

Many residents expect the parking problems to spread further away from downtown next spring, when the city expands the parking district by adding 12 blocks to the permit area (blocks where residents petitioned to join the district) and creates new "eligibility" areas where parking spillover is expected to occur once the annexation takes place.

Residents who live in the two newly eligible areas (one runs east of Guinda Street to Hale Street and Forest Avenue; another includes the area between Lincoln Avenue and Embarcadero Road) will be able to easily join the district in the future, without the need for further council reviews.

The council agreed that one of the goals of the program is to protect residential neighborhoods just outside the downtown core from commuter intrusion. As part of the revised plan, staff is proposing to divvy up the downtown area into 10 zones and make employee permits zone-specific. And as the number of employee permits drops in the years ahead, it will be the outermost zones (in Crescent Park and just north of Embarcadero) that will see reductions first, according to a new report from the Department of Planning and Community Environment.

"Reducing the sale of permits in the outer zones alleviates commercial parking intrusion from areas more removed from the Downtown first, encouraging a more natural distribution of parking," the report states.

Other changes in the parking program include new policies regulating the daily "scratcher" permits, which are currently not capped. The limitation, according to staff, "supports the use of other transportation options while providing opportunity to employees to drive occasionally."

Employees will also be able to buy one five-day scratcher permit, which will allow them to park in the downtown permit district up to five times a month. These permits will be zone-specific to ensure the distribution of cars throughout downtown. However, they will not be sold for the newly annexed areas.

Comments

34 people like this
Posted by Outraged
a resident of Downtown North
on Feb 16, 2016 at 11:15 am

[Portion removed.]

We must have parking for workers - out town will lose it's vibrancy if we drive business away. What we need is to control how residents are using the PUBLIC parking on the streets. They have no more right to the street parking than any other user. The problem I see all the time is the flagrant on-street parking of residents when they could more efficiently be storing their cars in their driveways or in their garages. Why do we issue 4 passes to every resident? This is so far beyond any reasonable logic... We are encouraging the very congestion we are seeking to reduce.

How about this:
- Residents park on their property.
- Resident guests park on the street.
- Workers take transit if possible
park in garages or, if neither of those are possible
park near their workplace.
- Train commuters park in the CalTrain designated lots.

Everybody will be happier.


24 people like this
Posted by Bob
a resident of Downtown North
on Feb 16, 2016 at 11:41 am

I agree. Where will employees park? Oh yeah, that's right, there won't be any businesses downtown, because they won't be able to employee anyone because there won't be any permits for them.

I have never heard of anything so ridiculous. And for the council to vote for it unanmously? Unbelievable.

How many cars does each household have? Never been a study to find that out.


24 people like this
Posted by Great point
a resident of Mayfield
on Feb 16, 2016 at 11:43 am

Outraged: great point!
I didn't even think about this: yes, residents should park in their garages and driveways.
Why they feel so entitled to parking on the streets?
Do they own portions of the streets too? (I am just asking - i am not a homeowner.)


39 people like this
Posted by Curmudgeon
a resident of Downtown North
on Feb 16, 2016 at 12:11 pm

I think homeowners and/or their tenants have every right to park in the streets they pay taxes on and fees for street cleaning. And they have the same right to parking for their guests, plumbers, etc.

The problem was created by the naive pro development city council members of the past two decades. Their developer friends have been profiting at the expense of local residents for much too long. Move the RPPP forward, and let the outcome evolve as it may.


44 people like this
Posted by Anon
a resident of Evergreen Park
on Feb 16, 2016 at 12:15 pm

Vibrancy in a commercial center does not come from turning a commercial center into an office Park, but rather from a good balance of uses and types of businesses.

The downtown are has been inundated with a excess of office workers with no place to park. This happen through a series of legal, but not wisely planned practices such as TDRs in Lieu parking fees that were collected but did not result in any actual parking spots.

There have also been projects that were approved by staff despite the clear knowledge that these projects were legally under parked! There has also been a fair number of conversion of ground floor retail to office uses often very densely packed.

The present Comprehensive Plan protects residential streets from negative impacts of streets being used for business parking in numerous places in more than one element. The failure of city government to do so, and follow it's own policies have resulted in a gross imbalance that only threaten to get worse unless rigor and honesty is applied to the
process!

Downtown North and south should have a genuine RPP like College Terrace, should not have to wait for ten years.
Business should not be able to buy unlimited quantities of day and week passes, as this totally undermines the very slow annual reduction ( 2% ) or commercial permits sold.

If there are tone non-residential permits sold, the newly formed TMA should be crying out for a much greater number to aid in the process removing single occupancy vehicle trips and the reaction of greenhouse gas emissions!

Thank you Mr Du Bois and City Council


17 people like this
Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Feb 16, 2016 at 1:44 pm

This is a parking restriction process, not a parking process.

To be able to park easily for as long as possible is something that any daytime visitor to Palo Alto needs to do, as well as part time workers, shift workers, workers who occasionally need to bring a car to work, etc. etc. etc. Restricting people from parking without providing any alternatives is not a sensible idea and will not help people who need to park.

Parking in garages and lots is difficult unless you know the system. Parking costs are extremely high unless you have a permit. Permits are expensive for hourly paid workers. Permits are not ideal for many people.

Palo Alto desperately needs to throw out all the parking restrictions and start again with a comprehensive and easy parking process.


39 people like this
Posted by Johns
a resident of Downtown North
on Feb 16, 2016 at 2:45 pm

Thank you Mr. Dubois!

I look forward to the day when I don't have employees parking in front of my kitchen, living room, and bedroom windows idling their cars for 20 minutes expelling exhaust, smoking, and blasting their music at 5am in the morning before they head downtown to work. My street is still heavily packed with employees so I hope that phase 2 will disperse some of these employee cars throughout the neighborhood into micro zones.


5 people like this
Posted by Downtown Resident
a resident of Downtown North
on Feb 16, 2016 at 4:20 pm


There is room for both residents to park and some level of employee parking in the neighborhoods. Reducing employee parking to zero is not a good idea. Some limits for employee parking is a good idea.

I hope this is a simple enough statement for those making the decisions and the commenters here to understand.


Like this comment
Posted by Tim Buck II
a resident of Downtown North
on Feb 16, 2016 at 4:28 pm

"I hope this is a simple enough statement for those making the decisions and the commenters here to understand."

It's simple, all right. But we're an unruly bunch who disdain rulers, real or wannabe.


24 people like this
Posted by palo alto resident
a resident of Crescent Park
on Feb 16, 2016 at 4:54 pm

Residential neighborhoods should not serve as parking lots for our downtown and Cal Ave "office parks" and their supporting "cafeterias". Residential neighborhoods should also not be Caltrain lots, Stanford overflow parking or employee parking for businesses on El Camino. And "parking easily for as long as possible" is not available in any of our surrounding towns.

A couple of satellite lots with shuttles would help. One at 101 and Embarcadero or University and one at Page Mill and 280.


3 people like this
Posted by Outraged
a resident of Downtown North
on Feb 16, 2016 at 5:57 pm

[Portion removed.]

Curmudgeon writes:
"I think homeowners and/or their tenants have every right to park in the streets they pay taxes on and fees for street cleaning. And they have the same right to parking for their guests, plumbers, etc."

This statement is true but how inconsiderate is it for them to take space others in the city need when they have space available on their property. [Portion removed.] A choice to live in the denser downtown area comes with the reasonable expectation that there will be traffic, parking during the day and the ability to walk to the core without needing to get in a car - great balance and those who live downtown are lucky to be there. If you don't like the density and parking, move to somewhere that does not occur and make the housing available for someone who wants and appreciates the density, activity and convenience.

"The problem was created by the naive pro development city council members of the past two decades. Their developer friends have been profiting at the expense of local residents for much too long. Move the RPPP forward, and let the outcome evolve as it may."

[Portion removed.] The developments provide the parking required of them prescribed by the zoning in place at the time they are approved. [Portion removed.] Frankly your argument goes both ways - the people working in the downtown have just as much right to park as the residents. I'm not familiar with any interpretation saying the taxes the residents pay give them more rights than Palo Alto businesses. One thing I am certain of - if business is driven out, taxes for residents will need to increase to cover the cost of infrastructure, pensions, etc. If the downtown residents want to commit to covering that cost, perhaps we have something to talk about...


14 people like this
Posted by Online Name
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Feb 16, 2016 at 6:12 pm

Dear Outraged,

Fortunately I don't live in the RPP district yet but I will say that there are times of the day when I will park on the street rather than in my driveway when I'm going out again soon during "prime" traffic time.

Why? Because many drivers are so rude that they'll block intersections and driveways rather than show common courtesy to let people out of their driveways and/or through intersections.

Being that rude and oblivious is outrageous.


3 people like this
Posted by Curmudgeon
a resident of Downtown North
on Feb 16, 2016 at 6:30 pm

"I'm not familiar with any interpretation saying the taxes the residents pay give them more rights than Palo Alto businesses."

Sure, I concede that Palo Alto businesses have a tax-given right to park in the streets in front of their properties, just like residents.

"The developments provide the parking required of them prescribed by the zoning in place at the time they are approved."

All of them? How certainly do you know this? You are correct that parking required by zoning was relaxed--by the city council members cited above--for the purpose of promoting increased development downtown. More money was duly made, and we now have to pay.

"how inconsiderate is it for them to take space others in the city need when they have space available on their property."

Totally with you on that. But cut some slack: I occasionally have to park in the street so my plumber can use my driveway. Else he's usually up the creek.


4 people like this
Posted by Curmudgeon
a resident of Downtown North
on Feb 16, 2016 at 6:33 pm

"many drivers are so rude that they'll block intersections and driveways"

Blocking driveways is illegal, maybe intersections too. Call the police and they'll tow them.


15 people like this
Posted by CCW
a resident of Greendell/Walnut Grove
on Feb 16, 2016 at 8:00 pm

Workers and shoppers need to park somewhere. Not everybody lives near public transportation. Are there any plans to build more parking garages downtown? That would ease the problem considering neighborhood parking is on its way out.


42 people like this
Posted by cm
a resident of Downtown North
on Feb 16, 2016 at 9:09 pm

To clarify - many residents of the neighborhoods that surround the downtown and California Ave. business areas did not move to our neighborhoods because they were close to these business areas or because of the restaurants or because they were "vibrant". When we moved here Palo Alto had a nice quiet downtown with neighborhood businesses and was a pleasant place to shop. But the short sited, pro-growth mentality of previous city councils relaxed zoning regulations to allow massive development while not considering where all the new workers would park. They have turned the downtown into an office park with an attached food court and foisted the parking problem onto the surrounding neighborhoods.

It is unfair to expect some residential neighborhoods to have a lower quality of life when it comes to inability to find parking near your home. Other adjacent, but further away, neighborhoods are now getting a taste of what we have lived with and complained about for many years. The current council is attempting to address the problem with what I think is a reasonable plan that gives some relief to residents while gradually decreasing the numbers of worker cars in the neighborhoods.

Ultimately it is the responsibility of the owners of the downtown buildings or the employers of the workers to make sure that they have a place to park or are paid enough that they can make arrangements to get to work. Palo Alto real estate is the most expensive in the area. The owners are making millions of dollars while enjoying a benefit of parking thousands of workers in the neighborhoods. At $60,000 per parking spot (a number I have seen to build one parking space in a garage to park workers) this amounts to a 60 million dollar windfall for every 1000 workers. It is past time that the people getting ten dollars a square foot for rent in their buildings buy their own garage or put in their own parking lot with a shuttle bus and stop insisting that the city take care of their problems. As a tax payer I don't want the city to spend one cent to fix their parking problem. They have had hundreds of millions of dollars in free parking for decades and now it is time for them to fix their own problem. A problem that has netted most of them multimillion dollar profits over the years.

I also hope that all areas of Palo Alto will join together to help the beleaguered inundated neighborhoods. I would hate to start to see different areas of the city with different issues start to ignore one another because if we don't support each other as residents trying to protect the livability of our neighborhoods then the developers will win as they divide and conquer us. Just like we all stuck together and voted to stop over-development in Maybell Area we should all stick together to get a reasonable parking permit plan that gradually removes business workers and office employees from our neighborhoods. So that are streets will be safe and our neighborhoods livable.


29 people like this
Posted by Anneke
a resident of Professorville
on Feb 17, 2016 at 8:13 am

Let's make it simple and positive:

1. Root cause: A City planning staff and Council that wanted to make the centers (University/California) of Palo Alto a flourishing business environment. We need to give them credit for this effort.

2. However, the above-mentioned organizations went overboard by allowing commercial developers to build office space without adequate parking.

3. As a result, commercial development exploded, as office development was not hindered by any parking quotas or limitations.

4. A neighborhood should not be an overcrowded ten-hour parking lot. It is not just the complete overload of cars. It is the car alarms going off all the time. it is the accidents that have occurred because of a limited view of the crossover streets. It is the safety of our young children. It is the damage ($12,000) we and others incurred when our parked car (we do not have a driveway) was hit by a downtown worker who either fell asleep or was texting, it is the garbage left by drivers eating in their cars.

5. I am not blaming the parkers. It is a parking problem, not a parkers' problem.

What can we do that can help relieve this city problem in an easy doable and timely manner:

1. Homeowners, park in your garages and driveways whenever possible. Simplify your life and get rid of all the junk in your garages. Garages are for cars!

2. City Staff and Council, make the existing garages safe. As a woman, I would not want to park in most of these garages and have to get my car late at night. Good lighting, cameras, and frequent police rounds will improve the feeling of safety.

3. City Staff and Council, incorporate Menlo Park's tipping layout for parking, which has quieted their car parking pattern tremendously.

4. City Staff and Council, build some parking lots outside the core of Palo Alto, and incorporate a convenient bus schedule to transport downtown workers to and from work.

Finally, I would like to ask everyone involved not to be negative and continue to criticize former City Councils, present City Councils, City Staff, developers, and parkers.

We live in a wonderful city with beautiful weather, educated people, a thriving business climate, and real estate prices that have increased "extremely nicely" over the past ten years.

The above suggestions, I believe, are simple and not expensive, and will go a very long way to help relieve the parking problem.

I love living in Palo Alto.






28 people like this
Posted by Data-driven
a resident of University South
on Feb 17, 2016 at 9:33 am

Let's raise the level of discourse here. First off, the vast majority of office buildings were built in the 1970s and 1980s, when zoning was more relaxed. Name a nice building in Palo Alto, from the Hotel President to Laning Chateau to 100 Hamilton to the Garden Court Hotel, and they will all be illegal to build today - too much height, too much floor area ratio, too little parking. The rules today allow much less building than they did historically, even when there are minor variances allowed.

Look at the data - according to the Downtown Cap Study, there was 3.3m square feet of commercial space in 1986, and since then the downtown has added only about 8% more. (See Web Link). 8% additional office space development over 30 years with more stringent parking requirements than before 1986 did not represent an "explosion of development". The idea that this modest level of development added thousands of cars to the neighborhoods just doesn't hold water - especially when we know that many of the new tenants in the last ten years are tech companies, where only a third of workers drive on average.

It's easy to scapegoat office workers, but seeing "an explosion" of commercial development as the cause of parking or traffic just doesn't square with the data we have. It just can't be the new buildings - the numbers don't work.

On the other hand, what's the most dramatic change in downtown since 1995? In 1995, downtown was a place to go to shop at small retail shops and it pretty much closed down at eight o'clock. Now, downtown is a place for restaurants and much more intensive retail.

We know from the business registry that restaurants have over twice as many employees as retail in the same space, and a conversion from retail to restaurant doesn't require new worker parking. According to the downtown Cap Study, there was 125k more restaurant in 2012 as in 1986, and according to the business registry restaurants downtown have 125 square feet per employee. That's 1000 employees right there, with no new parking! (And unlike tech workers, almost all restaurant workers drive.)

So let's follow the data. It's not about "unbridled commercial development" - it's about a downtown filled with restaurants and nightlife and all the people who want to visit them. (I love restaurants, by the way.) It would be nice to blame developers or office workers - we know they have the means to pay for parking or transit - but this is a story about small businesses and service workers. If we want to fix the problem, we have to find a solution that works for the downtown that we all love.


38 people like this
Posted by Solutions
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Feb 17, 2016 at 9:52 am

We need solutions to the problem of FREE parking, ALL DAY, for employees, WITHOUT them having to park in RESIDENTIAL areas!

Employees should not have to move their cars every two hours! It is disruptive and time-consuming for them to have to walk to their cars, and then search and search and search for another spot that they will have to move from in another two hours!

Residents of Palo Alto, unless billionaires, usually live in houses too small for them and their families, without enough storage space. Many homes have only a one-car garage--even the newer homes that may have six bedrooms! So most people do not have room for their car(s) in their garage, and must park on the street. Still other families are three-generational under one roof, without enough garage space for three or four cars. Many people rent out a room, as we did when our mortgage was new, and the renters park on the street. And then, in some of the older areas of town, there are a few houses that do not have, and never did have, garages.

Employees need employment, and if the employers cannot afford, or simply will not provide parking, then it should fall to the city to provide free all day parking for residents and employees alike. In the case of large, wealthy companies like Palantir, the ball should be in their court to provide parking for their employees--or find office space somewhere else where there is room for such.


7 people like this
Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Feb 17, 2016 at 10:19 am

How about those houses with more cars than offstreet space to park them pave over some of their front yard to make more space?

This is a solution that is used all over Europe. I am not sure why people think that parking on the street is a suitable option after all, isn't their car insurance more expensive as a result?

True a street is available to all, but it makes sense that there is available space for a plumber or similar to park when necessary.

We must make the options to park better than residential streets by creating a sensible parking program, not more and more restrictions.

I still don't see any officials making any noise on the subject of parking meters (with possible residential exemptions) and 30 minute street parking outside retail. I don't see any mention of pay per hour machines in parking lots and garages.

I don't even see any electronic signs outside garages which show how many spaces are available at any one time. This was promised to us several years ago.

It is ridiculous to me that here in the heart of silicon valley we have nothing at all to use technology to help people park.

It is ridiculous to me that a visitor to our town needs to read through complicated rules on a website to find out how and where to park all day.

It is ridiculous to me that Palo Alto parking becomes more complicated rather than simpler and that a restaurant shift worker who often works late into the night and has a long drive home, suddenly becomes the enemy in a war that shouldn't exist.


12 people like this
Posted by Johnny
a resident of Midtown
on Feb 17, 2016 at 11:11 am

This may please downtown residents who want peace and quiet in their neighborhood. This is a valid concern.

What disturbs me is that the city is profiting from this... With the benefit of "creating jobs"... For meter maids! Nonetheless it will hurt businesses on University Ave. Of course the council doesn't have the sense of urgency of a restaurant owner trying to break even. Bloated tax revenue really seems to spoil them.


8 people like this
Posted by Online Name
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Feb 17, 2016 at 11:25 am

Curmudgeon writes "Blocking driveways is illegal, maybe intersections too. Call the police and they'll tow them."

I was referring to gridlocked traffic where many people rush to get closer to red lights even though it's obvious they won't be moving before the light(s) change.

You can't legislate courtesy. So I've learned to park on the street.


10 people like this
Posted by Kazoo
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Feb 17, 2016 at 12:56 pm

Another dysfuntional plan put forth by city management, staff, and city council. So they all have great ideas how to limit parking but no alternatives. [Portion removed.] When will the nonsense end? What a pity....


4 people like this
Posted by Curmudgeon
a resident of Downtown North
on Feb 17, 2016 at 1:12 pm

"...if the employers cannot afford, or simply will not provide parking, then it should fall to the city to provide free all day parking for residents and employees alike."

So we should privatize the gains (of sparing businesses the expense of providing the parking their businesses use to make money, and socialize that expense on the taxes of Palo Alto residents?

Sorry, friend. This is America. Taxpayers should not be made to prop up businesses who won't pay their own overhead.


3 people like this
Posted by Curmudgeon
a resident of Downtown North
on Feb 17, 2016 at 1:21 pm

"Let's raise the level of discourse here. First off, the vast majority of office buildings were built in the 1970s and 1980s, when zoning was more relaxed."

While I concur with the data-driven approach, the data should be factual and quantitive, not loosely anecdotal. Most major office buildings like 495 University, 380 Lytton, and in fact the majority of office projects along Lytton were built after the 1980s. I watched them go up.

We did not have an overflow parking problem in the 1970s and 1980s. We have a big one now. Connect the data dots.


11 people like this
Posted by Mark Weiss
a resident of Downtown North
on Feb 17, 2016 at 1:45 pm

Mark Weiss is a registered user.

Listen, people, if you are not a billionaire or at least a downtown developer slash multi-millionaire or work directly for a billionaire, even if you have been here for six generations and own your own home, you should really get the message and move on. Quit yammering, even under a catchy pseudonym, on the internet boards and for God's sake do not run for Council or apply for commissions, and don't flatter yourself with the vote. It's inefficient.

That'll be ten dollars for your latte, would you like a lid for that?


7 people like this
Posted by Data-driven
a resident of University South
on Feb 17, 2016 at 1:53 pm

Curmudgeon - I don't think the Downtown Cap Study or the TMA survey or the business registry staff report are loosely anecdotal.

Obviously, there has been some office development since 1986. No one is disputing that. In order for new buildings to have driven the parking issues, there would have to be a significant number of them. But we've seen that the amount of new commercial space is less than 10% more than in 1986.

In order for "underparking" to have driven the parking issues, the buildings would need to be significantly underparked. But going back to the Downtown Cap Study, it says that the "parking deficit" (spaces in the downtown short of one space for every worker at 250 sq ft each) was 1600 spaces. By 2012, it was down to 700 spaces. That sounds like the new commercial development and garages added significantly more parking spaces than zoning called for.

I agree that we didn't have big spillover parking issues in 1986. But if that changed while more parking was added than new buildings needed, that means that we must have had a change in intensity of use for existing buildings. The most plausible story I can tell from the data is that it was a conversion of retail to restaurants (and stores like Z Gallerie, with two workers in the building, to the Apple Store, with 25.) The survey data we have on office employment density doesn't support that office workers are significantly more packed in than they were in 1986, and we know from surveys and Caltrain ridership that a much lower percentage drive than they did back then. _You_ connect the dots!

Alternatively, can you point to data out there that supports the position that it's new buildings that created the parking issues?


6 people like this
Posted by Wondering
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Feb 17, 2016 at 2:59 pm

To Online Name:
I don't understand your anger ... When the green light comes on, the drivers move and leave, and you are free to go, correct?


3 people like this
Posted by Peter
a resident of College Terrace
on Feb 17, 2016 at 4:08 pm

Instead of adding more parking, as some have suggested, I'd like to see the city focus on ways to get people out of their cars. I've taken it upon myself to avoid driving as much as I can and convinced my wife not drive at least one day a week.


3 people like this
Posted by Curmudgeon
a resident of Downtown North
on Feb 17, 2016 at 5:45 pm

"Curmudgeon - I don't think the Downtown Cap Study or the TMA survey or the business registry staff report are loosely anecdotal."

Then you haven't read very many staff reports.

"I agree that we didn't have big spillover parking issues in 1986. But if that changed while more parking was added than new buildings needed, that means that we must have had a change in intensity of use for existing buildings."

Key word: "if". Nice try, though.

"stores like Z Gallerie, with two workers in the building, to the Apple Store, with 25."

Apparently you weren't around when that building was Liddicoat's, housing a bazaar of multiple small eateries, with dozens of workers and customers. Yet, no parking problem then.

But you provide an apt example: That city hall allowed Apple to demolish Z Gallerie, with two workers in the building, and replace it with the Apple Store, with 25, without providing adequate on-site parking for them. Thanks for the data.


14 people like this
Posted by Online Name
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Feb 17, 2016 at 6:20 pm

Wondering,

I am angry that the traffic lights at Middlefield and Embacadero are so poorly timed that the traffic is backed up solid for at least 3 blocks. Few cars make it through the light in one light cycle.

People in our neighborhood are angry that the city is ignoring the traffic problems and actually making things worse.

70 -- SEVENTY -- people recently showed up at a community meeting to complain about how dangerous the traffic is on our street, how cars speed down the street and how it's even more dangerous for a bike lane than when that was proposed and defeated 15 years ago.

What was the city's response? They caved on the bike lane in the face of overwhelming complaints from parents, the school reps and plain residents.

But they ignored our "big picture" complaints and elected to add a PASSING lane to Middlefield which makes the street even more dangerous.

How about a KEEP CLEAR sign at intersections? How about fixing the traffic light timing??


8 people like this
Posted by chris
a resident of University South
on Feb 17, 2016 at 8:10 pm

The best way to reduce cars downtown is to charge for parking. Not only will it reduce the number of cars looking for parking, it will provide funds to improve shuttles and possibly provide SOME additional parking.


22 people like this
Posted by Illegal
a resident of Crescent Park
on Feb 17, 2016 at 8:53 pm

The BIG illegality was companies moving downtown that did not adhere to the zoning in the 1990s. Downtown is zoned for locally serving businesses, lawyers, accountants, retail and prototyping (ie Startups). It is not an employment center in the comp plan or in the zoning. Large companies were not contemplated for downtown - the areas zoned as employment centers are Bayshore and the Research Park. It was not enforced and should have been. Now we have large companies who think they are entitled to be downtown while they are violating zoning.

In addition state law does not allow residential parking permit programs to be used for office workers. The retailers and residents should get together on this issue - they can work it out to everyone's satisfaction. If the large companies move out, we can get back to a downtown with an interesting mix of startups and retailers.


1 person likes this
Posted by Francis
a resident of Charleston Meadows
on Feb 19, 2016 at 2:59 am

Well, great. Where will employees park in that case? Oh right, there will not be any businesses downtown, as no one will be able to hire anyone because there will not be any permits for them. A good research was recently completed by this Web Link .


10 people like this
Posted by KenAgain
a resident of another community
on Feb 20, 2016 at 9:51 am

I still don't get why the only entities expected to pay for "solutions" are employees, residents (directly and thru city resources) and businesses, but not the real culprits - THE COMMERCIAL PROPERTY - who received a half billion dollar parking subsidy and who continue to reap immense profits. Common sense and common zoning codes require owners to provide sufficient parking capacity to meet the demands of their tenants. Downtown owners promised , but never provided adequate parking.


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Posted by easong
a resident of another community
on Feb 21, 2016 at 11:39 am

I work in Palo Alto, though not anywhere near downtown. Typically I will eat lunch downtown 3 times a week. It's a 10 minutes drive from my workplace, and if I time it right (before noon or after 1) I can quickly find a parking place most days. Now, I could ride the Maguerite from the business park where I work, and make it downtown in about 30 minutes -- so if I timed it perfectly probably could do lunch in 2 hours. But doing this I'd soon be unemployed and thereafter could take all the time I wanted. Please don't make me eat in Mtn View.


5 people like this
Posted by Curmudgeon
a resident of Downtown North
on Feb 21, 2016 at 5:31 pm

"Where will employees park in that case?"

Where they should be parking--in spaces provided by their employers, like I have done for decades.


2 people like this
Posted by downtown north
a resident of Downtown North
on Feb 22, 2016 at 7:02 am

You folks are being ridiculous - drive around the downtown north neighborhood on a weekend.......it is jam packed and most of us don't have garages let alone driveways and if we have garages we use them for storage because our homes are small. We pay property taxes and have a right to live in our houses as we see fit. It is very crowded because of the residents parking already. I am all for the low wage worker parking in our neighborhood but the large companies should provide parking for their employees.


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