News

Palo Alto expands downtown's parking program

Wider boundaries and caps on worker permits mark second phase of Residential Preferential Parking program

A heated standoff between downtown residents and business leaders over parking spots reached its climax Tuesday afternoon, when the City Council approved a controversial policy that would gradually reduce the number of permits that would be sold to employees.

Close to 200 people -- including residents, business executives and downtown workers -- packed into the Council Chambers for a rare Tuesday meeting to weigh in on the second phase of the Residential Preferential Parking (RPP) program, which aims to relieve parking congestion in downtown's residential neighborhoods. Dozens more submitted letters to praise or slam the program, which would expand the existing boundary of the nascent parking district and establish a limit on the number of permits sold to non-residents.

Under a proposal that the business community vehemently opposed but that the council approved by a 5-0 vote (with Councilman Marc Berman, Mayor Pat Burt, Councilwoman Karen Holman and Vice Mayor Greg Scharff all recusing themselves), the city would cap the number of non-resident permits at 2,000 this year and reduce the number by about 10 percent, or 200 permits, every year thereafter. At that pace, there would be no permits sold to non-residents starting in 2026.

By approving the restriction on employee permits, the council handed a measured victory to residents who have long protested the transformation of their blocks into commuter parking lots. Some neighborhoods, including Downtown North and Professorville, saw significant relief in September, when the city launched the first phase of the program and created a two-hour time limit for cars that don't have permits. But for those neighborhoods just beyond the parking district, the situation got decidedly worse and commuters simply opted to park beyond the district's boundary, where all-day parking remains a free option.

Mary Anne Baker, who lives on Hamilton Avenue in Crescent Park, told the council Tuesday that she was both sad and angry about the damage being done to her neighborhood by the recent changes, which shifted downtown's parking woes toward her area.

"Until recently, we never had a parking problem from downtown," Baker said. "Now we do and it's a fabricated problem, caused by rampant development without adequate parking and followed by a mishandling of what was supposed to be a solution."

She and many of her neighbors called for the council to go further and create a parking program in their neighborhood similar to the one in College Terrace, where permits are only sold to residents.

Business leaders countered that limiting parking permits to employees without offering them any alternatives is short-sided and unfair. The move, they said, would penalize service workers and make it even harder for downtown businesses to attract employees.

With neither side entirely happy, the short-handed council signed off on what members agreed to be a reasonable compromise: one that would offer new protections for impacted areas of Crescent Park and add some "teeth" to the city's effort to get downtown workers to switch from cars to other modes of transportation. The five participating council members also agreed that the cap of 2,000 permits in the first year wouldn't be too burdensome to businesses, given that the city has only sold about 1,600 permits so far in the program's first phase.

Much like in the first phase, the RPP program would create a two-hour parking limit on residential streets for cars that don't have permits, and allow only downtown residents and employees to purchase permits. Residents would still be able to acquire up to four permits per household (the first for free, and up to three more for $50 each). Workers can purchase permits based on a two-tired price structure, with low-income earners paying a lower rate.

The parking district would be expanded in the second phase, with the boundary spreading further south (to Embarcadero Road) and east (to Hale Street, Forest and Lincoln avenues), to areas that have seen their situation deteriorate since last fall. Blocks that have petitioned for entry into the district would be added to the parking program. Other blocks within the newly annexed area will become eligible to easily join the parking district whenever their residents petition.

The program was created with heavy input from a stakeholders group that included downtown residents and businesses. On Tuesday, as the council considered the next phase, the group was decidedly frayed.

"The residents of Palo Alto -- your constituents -- don't want residential areas to be turned into parking lots," said Steve Hardy, a Fulton Street resident.

But Russ Cohen, president of the Palo Alto Downtown Business and Professional Association, pointed to recent surveys that indicated that many of downtown's office workers already take transit and carpool (service workers, meanwhile, are far more likely to drive alone). The business community, he added, wants to work with the city to solve the traffic problems, as evidenced by its recent participation in downtown's new Transportation Management Association, a nonprofit that aims to reduce the number of workers driving solo by 30 percent. Many business leaders, Cohen said, "are disenchanted by the local government. They feel they are not taken seriously."

"Please listen to us today," Cohen said. "Do not reduce the number of parking permits in the RPP."

Other downtown employees, including several restaurateurs, a hotel executive, and a few employees of Watercourse Way, also implored the council not to make life even more onerous for small businesses and their employees, many of whom commute from afar and have multiple jobs.

Barbara Gross, former general manager of the Garden Court hotel, addressed the council on Tuesday and also submitted a letter in which she characterized the decision to limit employee permits as a reversal that "reflects a disregard to the business community" after a period of collaboration.

"As a resident of Palo Alto I want my Council to represent issues fairly and in open public discussion," Gross wrote. "The business community is central to funding the general fund. I ask you to have that connection publicly discussed when residents are primarily thinking issues through from a personal perspective."

After hearing from more than 40 residents, the council decided to stay its course and approve an ordinance largely consistent with the one they crafted on Feb. 1.

Councilman Cory Wolbach characterized the split as a contest between "neighborhood protection" (the goal of the residents) and "shared streets" (the vision of the employers). The proposed solution, he argued, offers a compromise.

"When you have two groups so upset, it's either a sign that you're doing something wrong or that you're looking for a compromise and no one is getting everything they really want," Wolbach said.

His colleagues agreed. Councilman Eric Filseth observed that downtown's parking problems have worsened in recent years, exacerbated by new developments that offer inadequate parking. Echoing Wolbach's comment from a prior meeting, Filseth declared that "residents have waited long enough." He also rejected the argument from some in the business community that reducing the number of non-resident permits will hurt downtown's commercial core.

"It's hard for me to believe that the commercial sky is going to fall on a couple-of-percent-per-year reduction in parking capacity for a few years," Filseth said.

Councilman Greg Schmid and Councilman Tom DuBois both supported Filseth's motion, with DuBois calling the council's approach a "prudent way to move forward." By adopting the annual reductions, DuBois said, the city is putting some teeth in the Transportation Management Association and giving employers "a 10-year notice to get started" in shifting workers away from cars and to other modes of transportation.

Councilwoman Liz Kniss predicted that in the next few months, Crescent Park residents who are suffering through parking-spillover problems will see the same kind of improvements that residents in Downtown North and Professorville experienced last September.

"I think as soon as this goes into place, as uncomfortable as it may seem right now, the same relief will come," Kniss said.

Comments

24 people like this
Posted by Observer
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Feb 24, 2016 at 7:38 am

So what's going to happen when there's no low-income parking spots left? It's the service workers that park in the neighborhoods, not office workers. (Note that the business opposition was all retailers. No office employers uttered a peep because they give their workers parking spots in the garages.)

It would be nice if the TMA can provide buses for every single one of these service workers, where they live across the Bay Area (for almost none of them can afford to live in Palo Alto.) But what if it doesn't work? How many buses will that take and how will the retailers pay for it? Does it really make sense to take away their parking before helping them find alternatives?

Once again, Palo Alto takes aim at the least fortunate among us.


11 people like this
Posted by Data-driven
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Feb 24, 2016 at 8:05 am

I've seen residentialists such as Councilmember Filseth repeating the idea that parking has gotten worse due to "developments that offer inadequate parking". But I've looked at the data every which way, and they seem to show the opposite.

If you look at the Downtown Cap Study ()Web Link), it says that between 1986 and 2013, the "parking deficit" was reduced by 800 spaces over that time. And since there wasn't a lot of spillover parking in 1986, it's hard to explain why adding more parking than required for the workers in the new developments would be "inadequate parking". Plus, the city's analysis of the parking deficit assumes one parking spot per worker - but we know that a majority of office workers don't drive!

So if we are just looking at the effects of new buildings, we should be swimming in parking! But we aren't, which means there's something else going on.

The only story I can tell that's consistent with the data is that we've seen a dramatic change in use of existing buildings, from small retail with a few employees per building to restaurants and service-intensive retail like the Apple Store and Whole Foods. And that fits with the anecdotal evidence. Thinking back to 1999, I clearly recall a lot of office workers during the day, and it was the heyday of densely packed dotcoms downtown like Google and PayPal. But most of downtown was retail and it shut down at 8pm. Also, I don't recall a lot of neighborhood parking issues.

So, if there's strong evidence that the story told by Councilmember Filseth is true, I'd love to see it. If not, let's all be data-driven, and look for stories that fit the data we have.


19 people like this
Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Feb 24, 2016 at 8:18 am

This disturbs me immensely.

All Palo Alto does is make it harder to park without providing a solution that helps people park.

Many service workers start their shift half way through the day and end late at night, and sometimes work some weekdays and some weekends. They are not the ones who make a permit of any type worth having. Where will they park. The city needs to allocate parking lots near the highways and have dedicated shuttle buses to the downtown and Cal Ave areas to enable these workers a realistic parking option.

Secondly, I spend a great deal of time with seniors. Most are active, but don't like to drive at night (in the dark) and want to do their social activities during the day. To have lunch and a movie, they drive to Redwood City where they can do this easily. They would like to be able to stay in Palo Alto, but the system is too complicated for them to understand and expensive to park, so they go elsewhere. This causes more traffic on our highways and gives revenue to Redwood City businesses.

Palo Alto needs to wake up to this parking problem. We have no 30 minute parking outside retail, we have no parking meters, we have no signs with available spots outside garages, we have no parking app to help people park or to help them pay for parking. Wake up Palo Alto. This is the heart of Silicon Valley and yet we have no high tech solutions or even low tech aids, to help a very basic need - parking. All we have is roadblocks, red tape, confusion and hysteria.

Last time I needed to spend several hours in downtown, I got a ride there and a ride back from a family member who made two extra trips on our busy streets. Is this really the easiest way to occasionally park in downtown? Traffic circling looking for somewhere to park can't be good for anyone.


23 people like this
Posted by Resident
a resident of Crescent Park
on Feb 24, 2016 at 8:58 am

Voters rule, not business people/employees who live elsewhere.

It's as simple as that.


20 people like this
Posted by Cheryl Lilienstein
a resident of Barron Park
on Feb 24, 2016 at 9:40 am

Thank you city council for accepting the work of a great many people to begin to solve the problem of parking intrusion into neighborhoods, and restore the quality of life for residents.

Early on, the group established that low income workers need permits at reduced rates, and this is part of the program.

Establishing this program does two important things: brings relief to neighborhoods, and pressures large employers to establish and maintain traffic management programs for their employees: the burden of a traffic and parking solution should be borne by the sector that created the problem that did not exist prior to the expansion of office space workers into what had previously been a retail-dominant downtown. Hopefully they will step up.

Re: The quality of life factor mentioned above, the fact that many residents (like the seniors mentioned above) can no longer enjoy their own downtown is deplorable, and the fact that many Palo Altans never go downtown is because (from what people have told me) we don't feel welcome or comfortable. The downtown has become an office park serving primarily transient tech workers, who don't make eye contact, treat others on the sidewalk as an irritant, and spend every moment locked onto cell phones. With many valuable retail businesses being priced out, this is a terrible loss for residents. Our downtown needs to become a place where all residents feel welcome. Where geniality is the norm. It's not that now, because people are working in public spaces. Is this the only community where the socially corrosive and insolence of this is barely questioned? Do we not care to interact and give pleasure to one another any more? Do we not notice how many people are grumpy and unkind? Isn't the connection we need as human beings living together valued?

One more practical program option might be popular:
How about we allow residents of each block in the city to opt into a program where they specify that block allows ZERO to 10% all day parking for commuters. This would mean a residents-only parking program for those blocks that apply.





18 people like this
Posted by Sally-Ann Rudd
a resident of Downtown North
on Feb 24, 2016 at 10:33 am

I fully support this decision, a graded decrease of worker parking in residential areas should have been part of the program from the start. I also understand that so far, the city hasn't sold 2,000 parking permits, so there seems to be less demand for these permits than anticipated.
However, the city is woefully and unforgiveably lagging in providing an overall parking plan and solution. We don't have 30 minute parking, we don't have pay-to-park for people who want to stay for more than 2 hours in the daytime, there are no good plans for moving people around without their cars. Even the permit parking system is flawed, because the permits belong to workers and their individual cars, whereas they should belong to businesses so that as employees leave, they can be transfered to new employees. I really don't understand why its been so difficult to fix this situation, since there are clear, widely-known shortcomings and relatively simple solutions that could make the whole system so much better.
The 2-hour zones in the neighborhoods have actually opened up short-term parking in adjacent neighborhoods that previously was monopolized by all-day parking. The 2-hour zones cut off at 5pm so workers can park from 3pm without permits. If you think Palo Alto downtown is confusing, try Menlo Park. Redwood City and even Mountain View have done a far better job than Palo Alto. Whoever is in charge of this in the Planning Dept needs to up their game.


3 people like this
Posted by Allen Akin
a resident of Professorville
on Feb 24, 2016 at 10:56 am

@Data-driven wrote: "we know that a majority of office workers don't drive!"

I'm all for better data collection and data-driven decision making. But that involves appreciating the limits of the data as well.

If you look at the TMA's mode split survey (Web Link , slide 14) and work the numbers, you find that for a particular week of May 2015, based on data from 12% of downtown workers, about 47% of office workers drove. So the data supports your conclusion -- maybe.

Sampling error means that the results are uncertain (though the report doesn't give us the information we need to estimate how much). There's also systematic bias. Because the survey was taken in May of a drought year, walking/biking should be at a peak; during hot weather or cold weather or wet weather, you would expect driving to go up. Recent expansion of tech companies downtown may also have weighted the sample toward younger employees without children, which, as the survey notes, is correlated with less driving (but changes as the employees grow older).

And note that even though office workers drive less often than workers in other categories, there are a lot more office workers. Again taking from the TMA survey, about half the single-occupancy vehicles coming into downtown belong to office workers. So they are a significant part of the problem despite their commuting habits.

I suspect you're on the right track regarding changes in use of existing buildings. A substantial amount of retail/service space has been converted to office space in recent years. It would be helpful to have numbers for that.

NB: To get my numbers, I lumped Government workers, Technology workers, and Light Office workers into a single "office workers" category. About 6% of workers are unaccounted for in the report, so I ignored them. For drivers, I included both single-occupancy and carpools; this isn't quite right, but neither is ignoring carpools, since some unknown fraction of them park in Palo Alto.


Posted by Data-driven
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood

on Feb 24, 2016 at 11:10 am


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2 people like this
Posted by Chip
a resident of Professorville
on Feb 24, 2016 at 11:16 am

@ Resident - Seniors go to Redwood City for lunch and a movie because Redwood City has a lot more movies from which to choose. 20 screens vs the Aquarius is an easy call.


5 people like this
Posted by Neilson Buchanan
a resident of Downtown North
on Feb 24, 2016 at 11:17 am

Here are some facts on non-resident parking permits from city sources. Almost 1600 non-resident permits were sold.. 1579 to be exact. Low wage workers bought 723 permits and higher wage workers bought 847 permits. This data suggests that a majority (54%) of non-resident vehicles parked on purely residential neighborhood streets belong to high wage workers. I have worked with residents and their leaders in 7 different neighborhoods for over 3 years. In general we all support highest priority and accommodation of lower wage workers.

Here is the statement presented to City Council last night.

Statement to City Council
23-Feb-2016
"My name is Michael Hodos. My wife and I have lived in Professorville
for nearly 40 years. I am also one of the original six resident RPP
Stakeholders who worked diligently for 2 years with our business
Stakeholder counterparts and the City’s Planning Department staff to
develop the current RPP program.
It is encouraging to see the widespread interest in the RPP program as
we move toward the Phase 2 rollout in April.
I would just like to take this opportunity to remind the City Council and
those in the audience that of the various elements of the program the
one component most widely supported by both the residents and the
business community was to make certain that lower wage workers were
accommodated by making their permits available at a greatly reduced
cost comparable to the salaries they earn.
I can also state with great confidence that the vast majority of my
Professorville neighbors have universally supported these reduced rate
permits from the outset and will continue to support parking
accommodations for merchants and lower wage workers.
In fact, I think it’s safe to say that both the residents and the
businesses recognize and appreciate the central role that the lower
wage workers and the merchants for whom they work contribute to the
vitality of our community as a whole. We know that Palo Alto wouldn’t
be the same without them!
Thank you."


7 people like this
Posted by Neilson Buchanan
a resident of Downtown North
on Feb 24, 2016 at 11:24 am

I ask not to be called a residentialist. This does not describe intentions of citizens who opposed conversion of neighborhoods into commercial parking lots. I think "neighborhoodista" is more appropriate. We are most serious about meeting needs of lower income workers and giving as much protection as possible. Here is our statement presented in Spanish last night by fluent resident of Professorville.

Declaración para el Ayuntamiento
23 de febrero, 2016
Mi nombre es Michael Hodos. Mi esposa y yo hemos vivido en
Professorville por casi 40 años. También soy uno de los primeros 6
residentes interesados en RPP (Permiso de Parqueo Residencial) y
he trabajado diligentemente por 2 años con la parte interesada de
nuestros homólogos de negocios y con el personal del
departamento de planificación de la ciudad para desarrollar el
programa actual RPP.
Es alentador ver el interés general en el programa RPP mientras
este avanza en Abril hacia su desarrollo de la fase 2.
Me gustaría tomar esta oportunidad para recordar al
ayuntamiento y a nuestra audiencia que de los varios elementos
del programa el componente con mas apoyo general por parte de la
comunidad de residentes y negocios fue asegurarnos que los
trabajadores con los salarios más bajos fueran acomodados a
través de la disponibilidad de permisos a costo reducido en
acuerdo con los salarios que reciben.
También puedo declarar con absoluta confianza que la gran
mayoría de mis vecinos en Professorville desde el principio han
apoyado universalmente el costo reducido para permisos y
seguirán apoyando esta ayuda para los negocios y sus
trabajadores con salarios bajos.
En realidad, yo creo que es seguro decir que ambos, residentes y
negocios, reconocen y aprecian que el papel central de los
trabajadores de salarios bajos y de los negocios para los que ellos
trabajan contribuye a la vitalidad de la comunidad en conjunto.
Sabemos que Palo Alto no sería lo mismo sin ellos!
Gracias.


13 people like this
Posted by under the bus
a resident of Leland Manor/Garland Drive
on Feb 24, 2016 at 12:32 pm

Isn't a lot of this problem caused by sweet heart deals between pro-business/pro-growth council members and businesses? New buildings get built without enough parking for employees and clients in many places in Palo Alto, throwing the residents under the bus. Just another failure on the part of the city. I hope someone holds them accountable for this mess.


12 people like this
Posted by Curmudgeon
a resident of Downtown North
on Feb 24, 2016 at 12:32 pm

"we know that a majority of office workers don't drive!"

And we know that too many do drive. "Majority" is meaningless and obfuscatory. What matters is absolute numbers.

The council got this one right. We can only regret that the councils of the past two decades were so worshipful of developers' profits.


4 people like this
Posted by Marie
a resident of Midtown
on Feb 24, 2016 at 1:13 pm

Marie is a registered user.

I'm more interested in real numbers than percentages. Has there been any release of information collected with business licenses regarding the actual number of office workers and service workers downtown, and when they work? Then you can compare to the available parking and see what % don't drive and see if that matches. How many downtown workers work for the city and other governmental organizations? What proportion of city workers use alternative transportation?

Maybe the city could offer some sort of carrot to city employees not to drive. I assume they already provide free transit passes, right? How about paying them $60 a month or $15 a week to leave their cars at home. It would be a lot cheaper than a new parking garage. I do think we need that too, but most of the cost should be from the tech companies who generate both office workers and the service workers who support them.

I'm also bewildered by the poor utilization of the downtown parking garages, which always seem to have open spots in permit parking. If someone is earning hundreds of thousands of $, they can easily purchase a permit, even if they only come in to the office half the time, often leaving that spot vacant. I think we should have many more daily slots at a reasonable cost ($5-$10 a day) and easy to get (phone app??) and many fewer monthly spots restricted to one particular car.



7 people like this
Posted by Jeff
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Feb 24, 2016 at 1:27 pm

Tax commercial developments annually which have inadequate parking. When it becomes too expensive to not have adequate parking, the problem will get better.

Too many projects were given exemptions (aka tax payer money).


11 people like this
Posted by senor blogger
a resident of Palo Verde
on Feb 24, 2016 at 2:26 pm

It may surprise the business community to know that I didn't move to Palo Alto many years ago because of the "Business Community".
I moved here because of the good City Government and the Schools.

Now I'm not sure if any of my reasons are good anymore.

Thank You City Gov't for finally beginning to listen to the Citizens. Remember , Citizens vote, Businesses only provide free lunches.

I'm not sure what schools provide anymore.


9 people like this
Posted by Becky Sanders
a resident of Ventura
on Feb 24, 2016 at 3:17 pm

It's odd to see a couple park their car on my street in the morning, get out with their back packs, start walking north toward Stanford/Cal Ave and then return to their vehicles after 5 pm or later from the same direction. It's strange to see another fellow park on my street, watch him him get out of his car, take his bike off his bike rack, mount it and speed off north toward Stanford/Cal Ave. He returns after 5 pm or later as well. Why wouldn't they want to park where they work? I feel emboldened to ask them, so I'll report back when I find out. Thank you University North for sparking this action and making us aware of the problem. The parking problem is community wide and should not be on just a few neighborhoods to bear. I'm sorry Crescent Park is impacted, but because they have been dragged into this, it just reinforces for me a need for a city wide parking policy. I am watching eagerly for what happens to Evergreen Park, north of Cal Ave. Ventura is on the frontline as far as commercial parking impacts go. Like Evergreen Park, we have inadequately parked businesses on El Camino plus we have "Park Plaza" about to open. And with so many additional developments in the pipeline and not planning for parking impacts, it will be a shock I fear to Venturans to have our streets at 100% parking capacity when the go out to collect their papers in the morning.


6 people like this
Posted by chris
a resident of University South
on Feb 24, 2016 at 3:20 pm

New development is part of the problem. However, most downtown space has been around for more than 10 years. The big issue is the more intensive use of existing property, particularly given the high rents and cost of property.

Slowing new building may give a few people some satisfaction for their anti-development bent, but the parking problem is due more to the existing buildings than the buildings built in the last few years.


7 people like this
Posted by Apple store has NO parking
a resident of Midtown
on Feb 24, 2016 at 3:50 pm

The fairly new Apple store at 340 University is a good example of underparking.

It has NO parking for customers. NONE.
Not even a 10 minute spot in front for drop off or pick up. NONE. You may not stop in front because that would stop University Ave traffic.

When I brought my iMac in for repairs they directed me to the city's parking garage on Florence St.
In addition, the plans called for 150 employees. Where do they park?


10 people like this
Posted by Ex PA
a resident of Downtown North
on Feb 24, 2016 at 6:56 pm

My wife and I lived, until last week, in downtown north for over four years. A huge plus was that we could walk to great restaurants and also some retail shopping. Having a vibrant downtown differentiates Palo Alto and should be considered a plus. Over those years we got to know some of the retail and restaurant workers. They are the ones (other than the residents who cannot park on their own streets) who are hurt the most. They are not the highly compensated tech workers. They do not make enough money to afford parking permits but benefit everyone who eats or shops downtown They, as well as the residents, should be the focus of PA's parking solution.


7 people like this
Posted by Fernando Pereira
a resident of Downtown North
on Feb 24, 2016 at 7:16 pm

The elephant in the room that no one is talking about is that residents are not a negligible part of the Downtown North parking problem, whether because they are using their private garages for storage, or they have more vehicles than private parking spots, or simply because it's somehow more convenient for them to park on the street. All permits should cost the same, whether resident or non-resident. The property taxes that residents pay directly (as property owners) or indirectly (as renters) are for the general upkeep of public services, not for private parking.


1 person likes this
Posted by common sense
a resident of Midtown
on Feb 24, 2016 at 7:30 pm

Commercial property owners decided to time limit thousands of parking spaces in the downtown "core", the area including Hamilton Ave, University Ave, Lytton Ave, and the streets from Alma to Webster.

One solution for the commercial property owners is reallocate a small percentage of those thousands of parking spaces to their low paid employees; customers can use the neighborhoods for their two hour parking.

Or another solution is provide a subsidy to the low paid employees so that they can buy a parking permit in the downtown core.

Or another solution is to pay the employee enough of a salary so that they can buy their own permit.


3 people like this
Posted by Curmudgeon
a resident of Downtown North
on Feb 24, 2016 at 9:51 pm

"The property taxes that residents pay directly (as property owners) or indirectly (as renters) are for the general upkeep of public services, not for private parking."

Very strange logic here. Public parking at the street curb is a custom as old as the use of animals for conveyance. If the citizens who pay for "the general upkeep of public services," which include streets, cannot use the streets in front of their domiciles as members of the parking public, then who can? Surely not anonymous business owners located blocks or miles away.


3 people like this
Posted by Gale Johnson
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Feb 25, 2016 at 10:13 am

I think parts of the new plan are fine, expanding the areas covered by RPP, e.g., but the annual reduction in permits for non-residents won't work unless solid alternatives are put into place and ones that are proven to work. There have been many good ideas proposed, including a much better shuttle service and the addition of more trains and cars by CalTrain. But there will always be the unpredictable human element that might derail the reduction plan, which actually sounds punitive in a way. Trying to change people's behavioral patterns might seem like the right path to take but I think there's a high probability that it won't work. And 200 from 2000 is more than a couple %. It's 10%, and then when the number of permits gets down to 1000, the following year's reduction will be 20%. You can check my math if you'd like.

I was surprised that the proposal passed unanimously, but maybe I shouldn't have been. A voting constituency is a powerful force and obviously our council members are looking out after our residents first.


13 people like this
Posted by Bob
a resident of Downtown North
on Feb 25, 2016 at 10:51 am

I think the residents are appearing as entitled whiners. First, a study has never been down to determine how m,any cars per household there are in these neighborhoods. My guess is single family households have at least 2 cars and in many cases even more. I'm also guessing, that especially in Downtown North, the apartment buildings and the condos that used to be apartments are woefully under parked.

So let's get real. The people who live in theses neighborhoods should be grateful that they can walk to a movie, a restaurant, a drugstore, a dry cleaner, etc...but all they do is complain. Sad really, all at the expense of people who are just trying to make a decent living in a place that's got a high cost of living.

All this over the "right" to park in front of your house. A right that no one has.


7 people like this
Posted by Curmudgeon
a resident of Downtown North
on Feb 25, 2016 at 4:43 pm

"I think the residents are appearing as entitled whiners."

Not the residents. The developers and business owners.

Nobody *ordered* them to not provide parking for their employees. The city *allowed* them to build underparked properties; it didn't *mandate* them to omit parking. Nobody *forces* a business owner to occupy an underparked property. These are all self-inflicted wounds.

They instead depend on the government to make up their shortfalls for them. They take their money while expecting the residents and government to provide their missing parking for free.

There is a term for that practice: Nanny Socialism. As anyone can tell you, it promotes exactly the kind of entitled parasitic behavior the parking program is belatedly addressing. The RPPP is our first step to cure our local socialist-capitalists of their dependency on government.


3 people like this
Posted by calling it out
a resident of Palo Verde
on Feb 25, 2016 at 7:28 pm

@ Apple store has NO parking

That's an insipid comment. NONE of the stores on University have dedicated parking, it's 100% public spaces. You must be pursuing some agenda.


1 person likes this
Posted by Michael
a resident of University South
on Feb 25, 2016 at 7:49 pm

"@ Apple store has NO parking That's an insipid comment. NONE of the stores on University have dedicated parking..."

But they do have parking in front. Well, most do.

Try this: park 1 hour in front of CVS, then park 1 hour in front of Apple. Report your experiences on this thread.


7 people like this
Posted by ndn
a resident of Downtown North
on Feb 26, 2016 at 9:17 am

Well, my immediate next door neighbors have respectively 5 cars one of them an enormous SUV) and 2 cars, all of them parked on the street since their 2 car garages are full of their other stuff . So 7 neighbors' cars are occupying 7 spaces almost 24/7, that my (and others) property taxes pay . There is no proportionally in a case like this. They have no more right to street parking than employees who serve us and should pay parking permits in the same amount as everybody else. Hogging parking spaces by neighbors seem to be the norm in my neighborhood. Yes, you should be able to park on your street but you shouldn't be able to make me and other tax payers pay for your parking, which is what happens when you overly park on your own street.
There should be a requirement for every resident to pay parking permits at the same rate as other non residents if they have their cars parked on the street and they have garages. . That's what happen successfully in other communities. That's only fair.


5 people like this
Posted by Marrol
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Feb 28, 2016 at 9:03 am

True, one may not have the technical right to have reserved parking on a public street where they reside. That resident and local tax payer should however have a reasonable expectation of not having their street over-burdened and used essentially as a parking lot as well. And it's not just a taking up space issue. Residents also find themselves cleaning up behind people who dump their litter on the street or curb, as well as motorists who drive through the neighborhood looking for parking with their car stereos blaring. Traffic and parking calming measures are appropriate for residential neighborhoods. The negative impact on the residents should outweigh the needs of the business community.

For downtown employees, or student commuters, the use of public transportation should be encouraged. The VTA an SamTrans bus lines serve the greater downtown area. CalTrain is accessible at numerous stops from San Francisco to Gilroy. The station stop off University Avenue is just a stroll to downtown Palo Alto, and a relatively short walk to Stanford University. There are special bicycle train cars where one can utilize that mode to supplement and expedite their commute. CalTrain and the bus services also offer ticket pricing for low income riders.


5 people like this
Posted by resident
a resident of Greenmeadow
on Feb 28, 2016 at 4:06 pm

Every residence should have 2 off-street parking spaces (approximately) as per zoning. Many don't because these spaces have been converted to other uses. These residents have no right to blame businesses!
The parking permit program allows 4 permits per residence. Such a huge number! Not only do residents get to use their off-street parking for other purposes, but they also get rights to public property! (and I wonder if some enterprising residents are making a profit off their new land grant....)

Does the city council really have to power to bequeath public roads for exclusive private use?


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Posted by common sense
a resident of Midtown
on Feb 28, 2016 at 5:43 pm

resident @ greenmeadow - businesses/commercial property owners are to blame for not building enough parking for their business, and they did get the prior city councils to put these 2/3 hour time limits in parking on PUBLIC streets in the downtown core (the rectangle bounded by Alma/Lytton/Middlefield/Hamilton) - which are thousands of parking spaces.

If there were not those "color coded" 2/3 hour time limit zones, the workers would have places to park.


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Posted by Counterclockwise
a resident of University South
on Feb 28, 2016 at 5:53 pm

"Many don't because these spaces have been converted to other uses. These residents have no right to blame businesses!"

They have every right to blame businesses who likewise have inadequate onsite parking.


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

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