News

Changes proposed for downtown's parking program

Palo Alto looks to further limit employee permits in downtown Residential Preferential Parking program

By most accounts, Palo Alto's yearlong experiment with permit parking on downtown's residential streets has been a mixed success, with some blocks finally experiencing relief after years of chronic curbside congestion and others suddenly transformed into commuter-parking hot spots.

The most obvious flaw with the city's new Residential Preferential Parking (RPP) program is that it doesn't just alleviate the problem, it also shifts it to other areas.

That's one of the challenges that the City Council tried to address Tuesday night, when it endorsed a set of changes to the program, which sells parking permits only to people who live or work downtown.

According to a new report from city planning staff, the first phase of the program, which stretched from Sept. 15 to March 31, reduced parking in the downtown district by about 300 to 400 vehicles.

The second phase, which took effect on April 1, capped the number of employee permits at 2,000 and made each permit specific to one of 10 geographic zones, with the intent of spreading employee vehicles throughout downtown.

The program has reduced the number of parked cars in areas immediately adjacent to the downtown core and the South of Forest Avenue area, also known as SOFA. Surveys conducted in June indicated that cars aren't clustering in these areas with as much frequency as they used to, the new report states. And most blocks were at or below 85 percent occupancy, with at least one or two open parking spaces available.

Yet some blocks remain badly congested. Downtown resident Michael Hodos, who served on a stakeholders group that helped design the parking program, was one of several speakers to highlight the program's deficiencies Tuesday night.

"While there is no question that phase two significantly improved the quality of life for many of the residents in Downtown North and Downtown South, it did not do so in an equitable and fair manner," Hodos said.

"As a result, and somewhat ironically I might add, the very groups of residents who initiated the RPP program several years ago ... are now the ones suffering the most thanks to the continuing poor distribution of non-resident parking closest to the downtown business core," he said.

Hodos joined several other members of the stakeholders group in proposing a set of program changes. These include prioritizing permits for lower-income workers; setting as a standard an 80 percent parking-saturation level in Downtown North and 60 percent in other downtown areas; and halting sales of worker permits in the two Crescent Park zones (east of the downtown core), where demand for permits from employees has been particularly low.

Some council members raised concerns about the lattermost proposal, which -- while preventing the spread of commuter parking -- would also establish a different type of parking program in Crescent Park than in the rest of downtown.

Councilwoman Liz Kniss argued that designating this area as "resident-only" parking will prompt other neighborhoods to come forward with the same request. But Kniss and Councilman Eric Filseth were the only dissenters in a 6-2 vote that created this distinction for the two Crescent Park zones.

For Crescent Park residents, the overall permit-parking program has been a mixed blessing at best. It both caused parking congestion on their streets and represents the most promising solution to that problem. So while residents have not been thrilled about seeing the sudden onrush of commuters parking near their homes, they have been increasingly open to joining the program (most recently, the 500 block of Chaucer Street and the 1000 and 1100 blocks of Hamilton Avenue have petitioned to join the parking district).

Norm Beamer, president of the Crescent Park Residents Association, told the council that being in the zone is "better than nothing."

Beamer supports the idea of not issuing more non-resident permits to downtown's outer areas, including Zones 9 and 10 and whatever new Crescent Park blocks end up joining the program in the months to come.

After much discussion and debate, the council took two votes spelling out the framework for the third phase of the program, which is set to begin early next year. With exact details yet to be fleshed out, the council agreed with the idea of setting "quantitative objectives" for determining an acceptable level of parking saturation, and a formal set of goals.

The third phase will also include policies aimed at encouraging downtown businesses to get their employees to take other modes of transportation, thus lessening the demand for parking. Permits would be less costly for businesses that participate in the downtown Transportation Management Association, a nonprofit charged with reducing downtown's rate of solo commuters.Also, priority for parking permits will be given to lower-wage employees and, unlike today, only businesses eligible in the Business Registry Certificate program would be allowed to buy the permits.

Also, the five-day employee parking pass, which is offered in the current program, will no longer be sold (this is partly because there have been no takers), the council decreed.

The council endorsed all these changes by an 8-0 vote, with Vice Mayor Greg Scharff recusing himself because he owns property downtown. But even though council members were unanimous when it came to most of the changes, there was a general recognition that the parking program remains an imperfect tool and that every round of changes will bring forth new wrinkles and fresh ripples.

Councilman Marc Berman made a plea to the community to be "as understanding as possible as we try to get this as right as we can."

"I think it's promising," he said. "It's not perfect, but I think it's another step in the right direction."

---

Follow the Palo Alto Weekly/Palo Alto Online on Twitter @PaloAltoWeekly and Facebook for breaking news, local events, photos, videos and more.

Comments

32 people like this
Posted by Another Tom
a resident of Downtown North
on Sep 7, 2016 at 4:44 pm

Another Tom is a registered user.

The RPP has made an amazing difference in Downtown North. The current level of parking (80%?)is great compared to the 110% level as it was back when there was no chance of parking all day long.

The program is succeeding in doing what it was trying to do. How often do city projects manage that?


15 people like this
Posted by Resident
a resident of Downtown North
on Sep 7, 2016 at 5:30 pm

Another Tom - I have to disagree. Everett is still packed with employee cars. Not to mention the constant parade of cut through traffic between Alma and Middlefield. Regularly I walk out of my home to ask employees to please turn off their cars because as they idle for extended periods of time while on their phones, exhaust is coming into my windows.


21 people like this
Posted by Another Tom
a resident of Downtown North
on Sep 7, 2016 at 6:40 pm

Another Tom is a registered user.

Resident

How long have you been a resident? You don't see the difference between the former bumper to bumper all day parking crush to what is happening now????

Amazing difference. You can actually park during the day.


23 people like this
Posted by Mike
a resident of University South
on Sep 7, 2016 at 9:00 pm

The RPP has alsoi made an amazing difference on my University South street. I love it.


16 people like this
Posted by NeilsonBuchanan
a resident of Downtown North
on Sep 7, 2016 at 9:13 pm

NeilsonBuchanan is a registered user.

I doubt if any one resident has spent more time analyzing residential neighborhood parking patterns than I....had lots of help from fellow residents, too.


If you want details call me and I will go over details past, present and future. cnsbuchanan@yahoo.com

City government cant manage parking without set objectives...simple quality standards such as only a few Downtown North street faces should exceed 80% saturation during peak loads during the workweek. This is not invitation of all DTN streets to be jammed at 80%....only a limited few located adjacent to Lytton/Waverly/Palo Alto/Alma quadrant.

City Council and Staff avoid quality standard like the plague or Zika.

No other residential neighborhood should ever accept 80% saturation levels.


10 people like this
Posted by Another Tom
a resident of Downtown North
on Sep 7, 2016 at 9:21 pm

Another Tom is a registered user.

Neilson--

Not sure what the point was in your comment. Except that you seem to think that it is OK for some streets to be more over-parked than others for some reason.


Btw, 80% is not that bad. It means you can park if you have to during the day.


14 people like this
Posted by Reader
a resident of another community
on Sep 7, 2016 at 9:57 pm

Look, people. No government is going to get any program perfect the first time around. That's why they leave opportunities for changes to be made.

Heck, how many of you have made the same mistake more than once?

I'm sure you "Resident" will say that you have never EVER made the same mistake twice, heck, you probably will deny making mistakes at ALL.

Some of you folks really need to look at yourselves in the mirror and figure out if what you see is level-headed, mature, rationally-minded adult.

For the rest of you, have a great evening!


15 people like this
Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Sep 7, 2016 at 10:02 pm

From my perspective nothing has been done to improve parking for those who need to park all day on an occasional basis. Nothing has been done to improve signage with numbers of available in any garage. Nothing has been done to improve the all day parking experience for visitors to downtown or Cal Ave areas.

Where are the promised signs? Where is the ability to find out where there is an available space? Where is there the ability to pay for all day parking? Where is technology to help parking?

If someone could pay $5 to park for more than 3 hours it would encourage people to park in garages rather than residential streets. Nobody seems to realise these cars have to park somewhere and helping them find parking is the best solution to prevent parking in neighborhoods.

We need common sense, not more rules.


20 people like this
Posted by CalTrain PArking
a resident of Midtown
on Sep 7, 2016 at 10:21 pm

All day parking at Caltrain stations only costs $5. Would this be an option for Downtown workers who must drive to work?


11 people like this
Posted by Oldster
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Sep 7, 2016 at 10:34 pm

Free parking all day on the streets in Old Palo Alto. (Yes, I live here. Spread the parking joy. Let no neighborhood escape it. We're a "city" afterall.) One train stop to University Ave. Maybe cheaper than $5/day at Caltrain University lot?

If we ever get frequent enough buses or shuttles on Middlefied I'd use them. However, odds are the private sector (Google and Apple driverless vehicles, Uber and Lyft) will solve our parking and transit problems long beore anyone at City Hall will. City Hall just shuffles around the deck chairs of the Titanic for this parking mess,


26 people like this
Posted by Oldster
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Sep 7, 2016 at 10:37 pm

The day all our City Council members give up their super special parking slots in City Hall is the day maybe parking issues dwntown will improve for all.


4 people like this
Posted by short sighted
a resident of Crescent Park
on Sep 8, 2016 at 9:02 am

"The program is succeeding in doing what it was trying to do. How often do city projects manage that?"

If the program was trying to push the parking problems into Crescent Park, then, yep, it's succeeding in doing what it was trying to do!

Residents can no longer park on their street during the day and, if someone goes on vacation, cars are being towed at great expense. Something's that's never happened before.

Well done!


10 people like this
Posted by Another Tom
a resident of Downtown North
on Sep 8, 2016 at 9:09 am

Another Tom is a registered user.

Hey, we had that problem for DECADES. Now you do until they get it sorted out. Should have signed up with the RPP when it started.


4 people like this
Posted by short sighted
a resident of Crescent Park
on Sep 8, 2016 at 9:31 am

So, people on University/Middlefield have been stuck with traffic for decades. They should close of access to University and push it through DTN. Then you can sort out the traffic chaos in your neighborhood after the fact!

What a joke.


11 people like this
Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Sep 8, 2016 at 10:04 am

Caltrain Parking.

I was at one of the Caltrain lots this morning and it was almost full at 8.00 am. I expect $5 Caltrain parking makes this the most popular place for all day parking even for those who buy the cheapest ticket which they don't use.

Our all day parking charges must be the same as or lower than the cost of parking at Caltrain or that will become the default cheapest place to park.

Those who want to park at Caltrain after 9.00 am will not find a space to park in a Caltrain lot otherwise and will have to find street parking as a result.

There is no common sense in City Hall when it comes to parking problems.


7 people like this
Posted by Plane Speaker
a resident of Crescent Park
on Sep 8, 2016 at 10:55 am

-- The third phase will also include policies aimed at encouraging downtown businesses to shift employees to other modes of transportation

This kind of thinking is destined to fail. The very idea creates a kind of class difference, those rich who can afford the luxury of driving their own cars to stay out of the elements and have the peace and security of independent movement, and everyone else who must walk or travel with the riff raff. I mean this semi-sarcastically, but the underlying kernel is true.

It's great that some healthy people want to bike or take public transit, walk, etc, but forcing this one everyone - this kind of thinking will never take root in the US, and if it does we have a classist society, separate but unequal, maybe not separated by race ... what an improvement. Design or redesign our cities to work.

Force people building new houses or new office space to account for the parking of the owners.


3 people like this
Posted by Plane Speaker
a resident of Crescent Park
on Sep 8, 2016 at 11:02 am

Downtown parking is part of downtown infrastructure.

If residential has sufficient parking, then the deficit associates with business and office use.

If we want to slow development to a reasonable pace in Palo Alto, AND deal with parking, put these costs onto developers and businesses.

And build parking structures. Our city parking garages are a real convenience and never to far from where you might want to go downtown. Just bite the bullet and do it - plus the idea that was floated somewhere about having some technology to report and locate parking spaces would be great to minimize people's search and drive time.

Here's an idea ... in order to get people to use the parking structures, make all public parking in the parking structures ... and then free up our city parking lots to be used for parks and plazas and nice spaces where people can enjoy themselves. Kill two birds with one stone and facilitate the demand and use for more parking structures. Evolve the parking structure into something useful, safe and pleasant.


22 people like this
Posted by Faith Bell
a resident of University South
on Sep 8, 2016 at 11:04 am

If we keep allowing developers to build larger buildings without requiring on site parking that is adequate to handle the needs of the building, then the problem of over congestion will only increase. And why don't any of you use your own names when writing?


10 people like this
Posted by vmshadle
a resident of Meadow Park
on Sep 8, 2016 at 11:04 am

vmshadle is a registered user.

The Palo Alto Downtown Caltrain station is the second-busiest station on the line after San Francisco. It isn't in the least appropriate for people not riding Caltrain to monopolize parking meant for passengers.

By the same token, I also think it reprehensible for Caltrain commuters to leave their cars in adjacent neighborhoods for weeks at a time when they go to the airport.

Any solutions people devise must involve preventing both types of parking abuse.


3 people like this
Posted by vmshadle
a resident of Meadow Park
on Sep 8, 2016 at 11:12 am

vmshadle is a registered user.

Interesting question, Faith Bell. A few of us do, including a friend of mine who also offers opinions on Town Square. My name is my default online user name -- didn't realize at first that it would appear as my name, but it at least contains a sample of all three names . . . .


13 people like this
Posted by Jeff
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Sep 8, 2016 at 11:14 am

Annually tax commercial buildings with inadequate parking. When the tax reaches a point that it is cheaper for a commercial development to build their own parking lots than to pay the annual fees needed for parking, then our parking problems will start to be solved.

Unlimited commercial development and job growth guarantees that housing will be unaffordable, parking a disaster, and traffic a mess. No city council nor planning can handle unlimited commercial development when they have fixed space to work with.

Without limitations the city will reach a tipping point where almost no one wants to have have a business here. Palo Alto will become a town filled with outdated unwanted commercial buildings.


8 people like this
Posted by Barbara
a resident of Downtown North
on Sep 8, 2016 at 11:42 am

Hey, people. . .either the employer should pay for garage parking for its employees, or the employee who wants to work in Palo Alto should pay.


7 people like this
Posted by ALE
a resident of Downtown North
on Sep 8, 2016 at 11:46 am

I have plenty of parking in my neighborhood now,but I did notice over on Chaucer and Palo Alto ave has become very congested as their are no restrictions. The Palo Alto ave over by chaucer and Middlefield is very narrow and can't really hold both sides parking and be safe for bikes. I also noticed this in the evening after work hours and I think it is Menlo Park residents who can't park on their streets in the evening coming over to park in PA. That needs to stop


7 people like this
Posted by Caltrain Parking
a resident of Midtown
on Sep 8, 2016 at 12:01 pm

Perhaps it would make sense to build larger CalTrain parking structure that would accommodate both the CalTrain drivers and downtown/Cal Ave office workers.


8 people like this
Posted by Anneke
a resident of Professorville
on Sep 8, 2016 at 12:34 pm

Our block on Bryant Street is nearly fully parked all the time, and here are some reasons why:

1. Across the street we have a 14-year development project still going strong. In itself, it is unbelievable that the city allowed this, but the resident is a developer himself.

2. Many contractors for this development always park on our block, and many of them have green resident parking stickers on their windows...... I am not sure that is legal. Also, who provides them with these residence parking stickers?

3. In addition, this resident has three cars in his family, plus he has four renters who also need to park.

4. Our other neighbors are neighborly and try to park in their driveways or in front of their own homes.

5. In addition, I have noticed during a recent block check that a number of cars have temporary white parking sheets on their dashboard, but the sheets have no information filled out about the car. So, my belief is that these parkers just made a copy and displayed it in the hope that the parking checkers would not pay attention to detail.

5. As we have no driveway and only one car, we continue to face obstacles to park on our street, and especially in front of our small home.


11 people like this
Posted by Carol Gilbert
a resident of University South
on Sep 8, 2016 at 12:38 pm

Note 1: I always use my own name and encourage everyone else to. Otherwise it's like getting an anonymous note at your house, kind of cowardly. Stand up to be heard.

Note 2: The Caltrain lot is for train riders. If you get there and can't park to catch your train, it is awful.

Note 3: Make top floor parking structures FREE for employees and have employers pay a fee for placards.

Note 4: Make 3rd floor of parking structures comparable with Caltrain, i.e., $5.00 for the day.

Note 5: Hold developers to the appropriate number of spaces required. And, that includes for the micro apartment proposal. Great idea, but those tenants will have cars too and there is no street parking around there.

Note 6: I live in University South. As soon as there were passes to park on our street for workers, there hasn't almost never been a space for an employee here or a resident guest coming here to park. The street is solidly parked M-F. There should be some turnover in the parking on Byron.


3 people like this
Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Sep 8, 2016 at 12:59 pm

There are lots of options listed above that would make a lot of sense to try. However, CC doesn't want to do anything to help people park.

In the UK in most downtown areas there are no parking on one side of the street apart from residential permits - one per house, and no driveways. The houses generally pave over their front yards to make parking for 3 or 4 cars. I can't see why this isn't being done here in downtown if there are no driveways or no more space for one car. I feel sure that every home should be allowed to put in a driveway and permission for a dipped curb for access to the new driveway. Perhaps somebody could look into City code and find out if you are having a problem with parking in front of your home.


7 people like this
Posted by Cheryl
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Sep 8, 2016 at 1:01 pm

I live in the designated commercial section of downtown. Recently I had a day off of work, I have one parking spot in my condo garage, but on the same day my daughter came home sick from work in the middle of the day. She has a parking permit but in the middle of the day she could not find a spot to park within several blocks of the condo. She felt too sick to park and walk a far distance - she got 2 parking tickets that day and that is just not right. For those of us that are home during a work day and need to go do some errand that requires driving, like go to a doctors apptmt there is no parking anywhere when you return to the downtown area- the permit is useless. Why are we punished for living downtown? There is a public lot right under my condo, there is almost always open spaces but you cannot park in there with a resident parking permit WHY?


7 people like this
Posted by Chris
a resident of University South
on Sep 8, 2016 at 1:14 pm

The people who are promoting more garages are ignoring the cost of building.

A couple dollars per day for parking will not cover the cost.

Raise the cost of permits for the current garages and start charging for long-term parking.

The free parking downtown is a remnant of the days when Stanford Shopping Center decimated downtown for shopping and there were no restaurants to speak of.

The proceeds can be used to support alternative transportation models.


5 people like this
Posted by Chris
a resident of University South
on Sep 8, 2016 at 1:24 pm

PlaneSpeaker,

Why is Crescent Park getting special treatment?


7 people like this
Posted by Annette
a resident of College Terrace
on Sep 8, 2016 at 1:29 pm

Annette is a registered user.

I watched part of the CC discussion on this - gave up at 11:00. I was struck by two things: 1) there's a well-informed, reasonable group of citizen stakeholders who are willing to help shape policy on this so that the solution will at least be as good as possible and 2) much of the discussion was painfully circular b/c of the vexing reality that relief in one area so easily creates problems in another. Approving development with inadequate parking is an obvious contributor to this problem. No matter what the parameters of the next phase of this RPP turn out to be, putting an end to that practice has got to be a given. If it isn't, this problem will only continue to worsen. If the most expedient way to get the City to do this is to vote only for "Residentialists", so be it. This city is long past the time when talking about parking problems is helpful.


7 people like this
Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Sep 8, 2016 at 2:09 pm

Some simple, common sense solutions.

Parking meters at all downtown streets with exception for 30 minute free parking directly outside retail. Only free parking lots outside supermarkets. Two hours parking should cost loose change, anything more $1 per hour with upper limit the cost of Caltrain lot plus cheapest ticket. Residents can apply for up to two mirror hangers for exemption. Businesses can apply for x number of mirror hangers for exemption. The mirror hangers should be for any car, not attached to license plate number.

Residences in downtown should be encouraged to put in driveways on property with perhaps some grant type of system and curbs should be added to assist entrance and egress.

All lots and garages should be pay per hour with machine to buy tickets.

All garages should have signs with number of vacant spaces at entrance.

Build lots at freeway ramps with designated shuttles to downtown and/business parks.

Improve bikeshare system and put stations at freeway parking lots.

Work with neighboring cities to improve public transportation/shuttles across city and county boundaries.

Improve shuttle services to all schools (public and private).

Improve bikeshare system to have stations in neighborhood parks and all secondary schools.

Eventually Midtown is going to need to work on its parking problem.


10 people like this
Posted by Cal Train caution
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Sep 8, 2016 at 2:11 pm

I've learned Cal Train parking lots are meant strictly for commuters. They are not a city parking lot, they are CalTrain lots. Even if you pay the daily parking fee.

I received a parking ticket and have seen others given out to non-commuters so do not assume it is fine to park there. I've found it safer (from tickets) to park somewhere else.


4 people like this
Posted by Be Positive
a resident of Leland Manor/Garland Drive
on Sep 8, 2016 at 2:21 pm

Be Positive is a registered user.

@chris - the comments about non-permit holders being able to pay to use City lots are garages are in part because they are majority underutilized. The lots off and Gliman (near the post office) almost always have spots available and because they are paid, permit spots. Free parking trumps paid parking.


7 people like this
Posted by Sunshine
a resident of Barron Park
on Sep 8, 2016 at 2:48 pm

The new parking paradigm downtown has effectively eliminated any desire I had to shop downtown. Most interest in downtown shopping or dining was gone anyway as most of the good stores moved to Menlo Park or Los Altos. This long time resident of Palo Alto is fed up with the stupid decisions made by CC regarding parking and development.


7 people like this
Posted by margaret heath
a resident of Evergreen Park
on Sep 8, 2016 at 3:40 pm

margaret heath is a registered user.

Some current council members strongly push for under-parked new buildings because they have two mantras. 1. Less parking is needed for new commercial developments because between the new "robust" Transport Demand Program (for carpoolers) that city staff is currently working on and public transport at least a 1/3rd of commuters will not drive to Palo Alto alone. 2. New multi-residence developments need minimal parking because at most residents will only have one car, and many residents will not own a car at all. This is a leap of faith because there is no data to support either claim.

Two good examples of this thinking can be heard during the recent council discussion approving the proposed development to replace the old Olive Garden restaurant made by by Cory Wolbach, Greg Scharf and Pat Burt. And last year the discussion approving the proposed development on Page Mill between AT&T and the Sherwin Williams paint store.


9 people like this
Posted by Plane Speaker
a resident of Crescent Park
on Sep 8, 2016 at 3:43 pm

--- Note 1: I always use my own name and encourage everyone else to. Otherwise it's like getting an anonymous note at your house, kind of cowardly. Stand up to be heard.

First, who cares ( see sixth )?

Second, who knows? You could be lying.

Third, You, I and anyone else can be heard just as well anonymously as signing with any other name.

Fourth, what does this have to do with getting a note on your house? This is a public forum, your house is your house?

Fifth, I think it is inappropriate and rude to insult people and them "cowardly" because they do not agree with you.

Sixth, if you want to post off-topic, why don't you use your own name and write your own article outside of this issue to do that instead of taking the time, bandwidth and attention it takes to follow a discussion within a discussion?


3 people like this
Posted by Plane Speaker
a resident of Crescent Park
on Sep 8, 2016 at 3:54 pm

-- All lots and garages should be pay per hour with machine to buy tickets.

Why should I have to pay a fee to park in my own city where I pay taxes, too many taxes, and contribute to the economy as well as subsidize the office workers who live outside and are here to make money for Palo Alto based businesses and take money outside of the area?

Once you start charging for parking it never ends. Go to downtown San Jose and just as often neither can you find a parking place, but you also have to pay $0.25 for 7 minutes which is sure to go up and up. Also, each place has a time limit sometimes as low as 12 minutes.

Why start pay for parking here and make life in Palo Alto more "big city" and "giant metropolis" than it needs to be. People desperately wasting time and gas and driving around to find a parking spot just add to overall aggravation. Our parking structures are really amazing. I can get anywhere in the city in minutes usually. I zip to the top of a parking structure where no one is, and take the elevator down and walk to my destination, and then come back. Easy-peasy.

Someone needs to have some vision for what Palo Alto can be like in the future. Why not keep up with parking demand in a parking structure, with "cable car-like" shuttles to move people around the central part of town, and then remove the local parking and put in parks and areas where people can street-vend or relax and eat at sidewalk cafes or pleasant public spots?

Over time there could be connections to Stanford Shopping Center, California Ave that could develop throughout the future serving everyone including the growing aging population who can really benefit from this, but should not be forced to if they want to use their cars as well.


3 people like this
Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Sep 8, 2016 at 4:52 pm

Plane Speaker

I appreciate your concerns but I am afraid I respectfully disagree with you.

Do you go to Mountain View and park in their free lots? Do you go to Los Altos and park in their free lots? Are you paying their taxes? The fact that you pay Palo Alto taxes is not a good enough argument for me, I'm afraid.

I often go to Redwood City and pay 25c per hour to park at meters.

Is there really a reason why a Palo Alto taxpayer (I presume you mean property taxes which renters also pay as part of their rent) should expect to be able to park in an impacted downtown area for free. As I suggested above, 30 minutes free parking outside retail makes sense to me.

There is no reason why a "validated" parking system for some restaurants couldn't be invoked with proof of Palo Alto residency, but I doubt if it would happen.

The problem is that we in Palo Alto have a parking problem which downtown Mountain View (Castro Street) and downtown Los Altos don't have. They have a lunchtime rush because of their restaurants and shopping, but they don't have an all day downtown parking problem. Palo Alto appears to do so. Their downtown workers are restaurant and retail employees. They do not have large office businesses.

The deed is done. Palo Alto is an office business downtown. Therefore we have to act differently that a city which does not have. I would also add that as an aid to locals, having free parking after 3.00 pm would be another simple idea that would enable a late shopping and early bird dinner possibility.


2 people like this
Posted by Plane Speaker
a resident of Crescent Park
on Sep 9, 2016 at 11:11 am

-- I appreciate your concerns but I am afraid I respectfully disagree with you.

That's OK, Resident, you're allowed! Even I do myself occasionally. ;-)

To go to the expense of installing meters, and managing them ... giving the city
another micro-task to mismanage is a bad idea in my opinion, and so is parking
meters. I don't see a need for it, and the number of street parking spaces is not
going to increase because of it, so the price will just keep going up and up.

This city has enough infrastructure to mismanage, at least put that focus on large
things like parking garages that we can tell work and are right in front of our noses.
No problem with parallel parking or getting hit in the street, or your car sideswiped.
You get in and out of your car without getting rained on ... though that seems less
of a problem in the coming years. Taking car parking off-street makes the streets
less congested, traffic move faster and safer, less exhaust, and walking downtown
much more pleasant.

Putting the cost of parking on those who cause it, i.e. the businesses and office
complexes might also serve to get them to spread out to move to other areas
so they would lessen the strain on the city.


17 people like this
Posted by Safety Issue
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Sep 9, 2016 at 12:21 pm

I never use my own name anymore. It can be a safety issue.

In my case, a somewhat unbalanced reader started sending me threatening letters. Those were turned over to PAPD: they told me that no one should use their real name, and preferably not even their real neighborhood. It makes it too easy for people with bad intent to track you down.

Incidentally, when the person in question began to vandalize my house, PAPD became more pro-active. Eventually, he showed up at my front door and verbally threatened my grandchild. I got a description, and later that day, he was taken into custody.


1 person likes this
Posted by Me
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Sep 11, 2016 at 8:52 am

"To go to the expense of installing meters, and managing them ... giving the city another micro-task to mismanage is a bad idea in my opinion, and so is parking meters. I don't see a need for it, and the number of street parking spaces is not going to increase because of it, so the price will just keep going up and up."

Versus the expense of what we have today? We essentially already have meter maids, except they use expensive technology (that needs to be maintained) to record license plates (hello privacy concerns!) that go into a system to check if you have been in a colored zone that, after two hours, you can never park in again until the next day.

Meter management? Sounds like child's play compared to the Rube Goldberg Big Brother setup we have today.


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

Salt & Straw Palo Alto to open Nov. 23
By Elena Kadvany | 0 comments | 3,594 views

Trials of My Grandmother
By Aldis Petriceks | 2 comments | 1,506 views

Lakes and Larders (part 2)
By Laura Stec | 0 comments | 1,245 views

Can we ever improve our schools?
By Diana Diamond | 6 comments | 767 views