News

New budget signals city's shift on transportation

City Council supports sharp hikes to parking rates, more investment in car-less alternatives

Palo Alto fired a salvo Tuesday night in its war against traffic congestion when it approved a budget that dramatically increases the cost of parking in downtown and around California Avenue and invests nearly $500,000 in a new nonprofit charged with shifting drivers to other modes of transportation.

By an 8-1 vote, with Greg Tanaka dissenting, the council passed a budget that largely reflects both the city's financial health and its ongoing frustrations about traffic and parking. With revenues projected to go up by about 6 percent, the budget maintains all existing city services while making hefty investments in infrastructure projects such as the new public-safety building, two rebuilt fire stations and two new garages.

But even though the fiscal year 2018 budget reflects a healthy economy with a growing tax base, it also brings unwelcome news to employees in the city's two main commercial districts, downtown and California Avenue. The new fee schedule raises the annual permit fees at downtown garages from $466 to $730. On California Avenue, the price for a garage spot is going from $149 to $365.

At the same time, the budget makes an investment of $480,000 in the Palo Alto Transportation Management Association (TMA), a nascent nonprofit charged with reducing downtown drive-alone rate by 30 percent. The group estimated in its business plan that the city's contribution will allow it to achieve a 14 percent reduction in the coming year. The TMA is doing this through subsidies for transit and for ride-sharing services such as Lyft and the carpooling company Scoop.

The council broadly agreed that the TMA is the city's most promising strategy for dealing with its most pressing priority. While Councilman Tom DuBois called for the council to schedule broader discussion about parking costs and expected revenues, most his colleagues felt comfortable with moving ahead with the approval without any further conditions.

The only person who had an objection was Tanaka, who cited his meeting last week with a group of California Avenue merchants whom he characterized as "cranky" about the proposed change.

Tanaka said some complained to him that the higher permit fees will make it even more difficult for them to recruit and retain workers (dozens have also sent emails to the council expressing opposition). He also worried that the city's system of selling annual permits doesn't work well for part-time or seasonal workers in local retail operations.

"What's happening is that the parking fees are stacked against these community-serving retailers and restaurants," Tanaka said. "That's the anxiety I have over current parking increases.

"I think there is a segment of our constituents that's being hit and it's not being well addressed."

Others had no such reservations. Councilman Eric Filseth, who chairs the council's Finance Committee, argued that because traffic and parking problems are caused by employees who commute to Palo Alto, they should be the ones paying for the TMA. Even with the new permit prices, the cost of parking downtown would amount to about $2.81 a day, hardly unreasonable, he said.

Filseth called the change a "reasonable and appropriate way to fund the TMA."

While the council generally praised the new budget, members raised concerns about the one issue that continues to cast a cloud over every discussion of long-term finances: the growing costs of pensions and benefits.

Tanaka pointed to the city's gaping unfunded liabilities (which also include retiree health care) and argued that the issue should be called out more explicitly in the budget. While his colleagues rejected this idea, they agreed that pension costs remain a giant problem and one that the Finance Committee will be wrestling with after the council's summer recess.

Filseth noted that pension and health liabilities have grown by 14.6 percent this year, while revenues went up by 6 percent -- trends that portend an unsustainable future. He called fiscal year 2018, which begins on July 1, a "transition year" between a period of recovery from the 2008 recession and a new period of "gradually increasing fiscal constraints." In the new era, he said, an ever-greater share of the budget is taken up by "structural expenses that we don't have control over and that don't add any new value to the city."

"We've known for some time that eventually those liabilities would start to impact our regular operations -- competing for dollars with aquatics, safety, tree trimming and all the other things we spend time on," Filseth said. "That time has arrived."

But while Filseth called the document "the right budget for where we are today," local firefighters had some reservations about one of the budget's most conspicuous wildcards: a proposal to trim $1.3 million in expenses. The reduction was prompted by the city's ongoing negotiations with Stanford University over a fire-service contract -- a prolonged process that officials expect will lead to staffing changes.

While the budget doesn't specify where the cuts would come from, Capt. Ryan Stoddard, president of International Fire Fighters Association, Local 1319, said the proposal would effectively eliminate 11 full-time positions -- more than 10 percent for the department's workforce.

This, he said, would decrease service, deplete resources, result in a "brown out" of units and "assumes a higher risk tolerance on behalf of the community."

"Common sense will tell you that services cannot remain the same without 10 percent of the workforce," Stoddard said. "Something has to give."

Several residents expressed their own reservations about potential cuts to fire services. Neva Yarkin asked the council not to reduce fire services.

"When we get hit by a major disaster -- fire, flooding or whatever -- we should have enough equipment and personnel for all the residents in Palo Alto," Yarkin said.

In response to letters of concern from residents, Fire Chief Eric Nickel's issued a letter on Monday affirming that the budget -- while anticipating staffing changes later in the year -- "does not make any changes to current staffing models." Every model that the city is considering, Nickel wrote, "does not reduce effective service levels."

The budget does, however, assume that things will be done "differently."

"Given significantly rising costs, especially in public safety, we have to be open to doing some things differently, more efficiently and effectively," Nickel wrote.

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Comments

12 people like this
Posted by businesses
a resident of Evergreen Park
on Jun 27, 2017 at 11:44 pm

Perhaps employees of resident-serving businesses (i.e. dentists, therapists, etc) could qualify for lower-cost parking permits. OTOH IMO tech workers should be encouraged to use CalTrain or other public transportation rather than driving solo to work.


43 people like this
Posted by Online Name
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Jun 28, 2017 at 2:39 am

Why are WE funding this new Transportation non-profit that ONLY benefits commuters for pro-profit businesses and not small local businesses like medical professionals that actually serve the residents??

Let businesses pay for their employees' transit costs. Let them preach to themselves and their employees that they should get out of their cars and leave US alone.

At least Google pays for its own buses; why can't Palantir and the Chamber of Commerce and Visa and American Express and all the BIG businesses pay their own labor costs?


6 people like this
Posted by Neva Yarkin
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Jun 28, 2017 at 5:35 am

"We should never consider closing a fire station because when we are hit by a major disaster like
(earthquake, fire, flooding or whatever)". The one major disaster is Earthquake that could
wipe a lot of us out.


11 people like this
Posted by Driver
a resident of University South
on Jun 28, 2017 at 7:40 am

While I think raising prices by 50% in one year is too aggressive, the actual programs make sense. Workers who make less than twice the minimum wage will still be able to get annual passes for the neighborhoods for $100 - that covers most of the retail workers. The TMA programs primarily provide assistance with transit costs for low-income workers, so that also cushions the blow.

So it's primarily the tech companies who will pay higher fees for their employees to park, without getting any benefits from the TMA. Sounds like a raw deal for them, but if they didn't show up to complain, they probably don't care. (And even if they do, no one's going to cry for them - they can afford it.)

Meanwhile, I can look forward to less congested roads in town if the TMA programs can actually scale up.


28 people like this
Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 28, 2017 at 7:50 am

I suspect this will be the beginning of the demise of downtown as a vibrant restaurant and retail place.

Workers will not afford the price to park so will find jobs elsewhere. This will particularly be true for shift workers or part time workers.

Locals will not go downtown to eat or to shop or to see a movie.

The only people who can afford to park will be office workers and they will not notice the demise.

Our quality of life is definitely changing as Palo Alto becomes a dormitory town.


25 people like this
Posted by Maurice
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Jun 28, 2017 at 8:20 am

Why not force all businesses to buy designated parking spots for their employees, customers and clients? Palo Alto residents should be exempt from any parking fees.


11 people like this
Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 28, 2017 at 8:32 am

Missing from this article is information about how to find parking, how to pay for one day parking, whether evening and weekend parking is still free, whether 2 hour parking is free, where we can find 30 minute parking.

These are real issues for many of us who live here. What will happen next week if I need to park for 3 hours for a meeting followed by lunch, or need to drop off some documents at my tax advisor?


45 people like this
Posted by given up
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 28, 2017 at 9:27 am

With its reckless pro-developer,pro-development policies and giveaways of the past 20 years the City Council and staff have set in motion the complete transformation of the City, it's Downtown,Cal Ave, neighborhoods, streets, character,ambiance,livability with intractable problems and impacts. The process is feeding
on itself and last night was simply a continuation of the process. Kniss's comment that the lack of public presence and protest at the Council meeting was a good sign was actually symbolic of the
opposite - people have given up.



19 people like this
Posted by Kniss legacy
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 28, 2017 at 9:49 am

Kniss the "public presence" counter

We deserve what we get for allowing this type of logic in office f-o-r-e-v-e-r....

And for giving up on better candidates.

But Kniss and friends know how to win elections, and help friends get elected.

We are who we elect. Kniss counts public presence and then only acknowledges whoever is on her side of whatever will be voted.




12 people like this
Posted by Kniss legacy
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 28, 2017 at 10:05 am

Like does the public need to show up for everything?


12 people like this
Posted by commonsense
a resident of Charleston Meadows
on Jun 28, 2017 at 10:18 am

All this anger over charging for parking at a still below market rate? To help fund an organization being created with the sole purpose of working to lessen traffic and parking problems? You all, at least most of you, are so negative it's sad. [Portion removed.] It's still a great place but much different.


36 people like this
Posted by Subsidize Business
a resident of Downtown North
on Jun 28, 2017 at 10:25 am

Why all the anger? Because this is a continuation of the CC's policy to shift the costs of the commuters from the businesses employing the commuters to the residents.


10 people like this
Posted by SallyAnnRudd
a resident of Downtown North
on Jun 28, 2017 at 11:57 am

Steps in the right direction, but there should still be hourly pay parking for people who want to park for more than 2 hours but less than a day (i.e. working a shift at coffee shop but only 2 -3 days a week). Same issue for years. Pay parking will make it easier to actually find a space for people who need to go downtown. Not the parking that's killing downtown, its the high downtown rents which make it impossible for neighborhood-serving retail to survive, pressure on brick and mortar businesses by online, move to "showroom" retail, businesses such as Palantir that have their own cafeterias providing subsidized food.


9 people like this
Posted by Gale Johnson
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Jun 28, 2017 at 12:00 pm

Another grand experiment.

"At the same time, the budget makes an investment of $480,000 in the Palo Alto Transportation Management Association (TMA), a nascent nonprofit charged with reducing downtown drive-alone rate by 30 percent. The group estimated in its business plan that the city's contribution will allow it to achieve a 14 percent reduction in the coming year. The TMA is doing this through subsidies for transit and for ride-sharing services such as Lyft and the carpooling company Scoop." Remember that number...14% reduction in the coming year...and remember who's paying for it. I'll be anxious to see the report. Who will publish it? Will it be vetted by bona fide oversight city officials? And what are the results to date? Just asking?


22 people like this
Posted by dtnnorth
a resident of Downtown North
on Jun 28, 2017 at 12:15 pm

My biggest objection is that they don't charge the employees of Palo Alto. They need to start paying for parking. Stanford employees have to pay for parking and it encourages them to commute. I am sorry but why should the people of Palo Alto pay more in parking fees to subsidize the city employees. I hear quite often from local merchants that they have trouble retaining employees because of the parking fees. First time I agree with Tanaka. No cuts to fire, we need them!!! cut some other resource just not our safety.


28 people like this
Posted by Parking should be a lot less for retail and restaurant workers!
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Jun 28, 2017 at 12:31 pm

I also find myself agreeing with Tanaka. Retail and restaurant workers making minimum wage or so should not have to pay ridiculous parking fees, particularly since they are often commuting from places you can't get to using public transportation or at hours when their isn't a lot of service. Interviewing our actual service workers, finding out where they live and how they commute and the hours they need public transportation would be valuable information. These establishments should have A) less expensive permits B) permits that are all hanging tags so they can be used in a flexible manner by staff.

And Palo Alto non-safety employees should have to pay for parking just like everyone else.


23 people like this
Posted by Grouchy
a resident of Los Altos Hills
on Jun 28, 2017 at 1:20 pm

When will people realize that so called ride sharing (Uber and Lyft) does not reduce congestion. These pseudo-taxis are driving around continuously (or parking) empty waiting for their next fare to pop up on the screen.


22 people like this
Posted by Sanctimonious City
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 28, 2017 at 3:08 pm

We don't need to worry about the minimum wage workers because there wo t be any left once we raise it to $15 an hour.

Our sibling of progressive rivalry to the north (Seattle), is already seeing an exodus of employment opportunity with it only at $13 per hour.

Web Link

I know Liberal Progressive government despises the deplorable basket of working classes but there is no need to accelerate its demise.

The same logic that believes it prudent to increase unfunded pension liabilities apparently also believes it benevolent to raise parking fees while incentivising automation, hour splitting and workforce reductions.


6 people like this
Posted by chris
a resident of University South
on Jun 28, 2017 at 3:22 pm

Sanctimonious,

I'm sorry you can't deal with change. Putting your head in the sand will not make problems go away. This council has awakened to the new reality about 10 years too late. Stanford is sending PA $2 million less for fire. No way should fire fighters be insulated from these market forces. If Stanford took its contract elsewhere, the fire fighters would find out what life is like outside the Palo Alto cocoon.

The TMA is a small step to bring reality to the employment situation in Palo Alto.
The study of other cities shows that PA is way below market in parking fees.

Wake up, employers and employees, you are not in Kansas. If you want low taxes and a weak economy, move to Kansas.


17 people like this
Posted by midtowngrl
a resident of Midtown
on Jun 28, 2017 at 5:36 pm

yeah. these changes will certainly drop traffic downtown by 30%...'cos we'll stop going there at all. as it is i avoid downtown palo alto like the plague and have for at least a decade.

and until the train runs more frequently, there are buses that are actually in service and going where people need to go, there is mass transit crossing the bay at more locations AND that are actually faster and cheaper than driving (why would i take mass transit when it takes 2 hours to go to oakland or san francisco on bus and bart when it takes 45 minutes for me to drive, even in traffic; and doing so costs more than parking)...little will change in terms of traffic in and around palo alto.


16 people like this
Posted by margaret heath
a resident of Evergreen Park
on Jun 28, 2017 at 6:41 pm

Perhaps Liz Kniss has been on council for so long she has forgotten the council meetings are broadcast live. Just because there may be few residents in the chamber doesn't mean residents aren't interested enough to attend. We don't need to. We can sit in our comfy chairs in our own homes and watch the live broadcast.


8 people like this
Posted by Eric Filseth
a resident of Downtown North
on Jun 28, 2017 at 6:46 pm

Let me see if I can comment on a few of these.

“This is a continuation of the CC's policy to shift the costs of the commuters from the businesses employing the commuters to the residents.”

The intent is actually the exact opposite of this. If we funded TMA from the General Fund, then it would indeed be a tax on residents, which we felt to be inappropriate. On the other hand, virtually all full-time garage and employee RPPP permits go to commuters (shoppers and diners don’t buy six-month all-day parking passes), which ultimately ends up as an indirect or even a direct cost to the businesses that employ those commuters. So this way the costs of TMA should tend to stay with commuters and their employers. The traffic itself, of course, remains a nonmonetary cost to residents.


“Remember that [TMA] number...14% reduction in the coming year...and remember who's paying for it. I'll be anxious to see the report.”

As will we. Agree 100% with writer Gale Johnson on this one – the TMA has goals, regular reviews, and its ongoing funding is to depend on its progress, just like any other normal agency.


“Retail and restaurant workers making minimum wage or so should not have to pay ridiculous parking fees”

There’s a legitimate issue here. We kept the low-income-worker discount price unchanged, which should cover some of the problem. In a perfect world we’d just generally be able to treat local-serving businesses a bit differently from other kinds of businesses; that idea is at the core of the ground-floor-retail ordinance, for example. But it’s in practice this kind of thing is really complicated to implement broadly. Hopefully we’ll get there one day.


“how to pay for one day parking, whether evening and weekend parking is still free, whether 2 hour parking is free, where we can find 30 minute parking.”

The schedule calls for a one-day parking permit to be $25 (like garages in SF or San Jose), evening and weekend parking still free, 2-hr parking still free, and I’m not aware of any change in the number of 30-minute parking spaces.

There is a Staff analysis underway of other kinds of paid parking downtown (meters etc), but as yet no decisions or explicit plans.


“The same logic that believes it prudent to increase unfunded pension liabilities apparently also believes it benevolent to raise parking fees”

Dealing with the city’s unfunded pension and retiree-medical liabilities (officially $500M; councilman Greg Tanaka found a source suggesting as much as $1B) will likely be one of the city’s largest challenges over the next couple of decades. It is now so large that the cost of just servicing it, never mind paying it down, has begun crowding out spending on city services. And this servicing cost is growing more quickly (~15%/yr) than both city revenues (6%/yr) and other city expenses (8.3%/yr).


“We should never consider closing a fire station”

There’s some confusion and conflicting information floating around about this. I recommend anybody interested read the letter that Fire Chief Nickel recently wrote on this topic. In the event, last night we approved a Fire budget increase of 9.8% ($2.8M) over FY2017. Different people have different views on whether this was too little, too much, or just right.

The City is currently in a Meet and Confer process with the Fire Local. One member of the public has brought up some concerns over transparency relative to these discussions, since they may involve matters of community interest. I think he has a legitimate point on this. Currently the City’s negotiations with unions are held in closed-door sessions; some people have asked whether residents are truly best served under this regimen. Worth discussion.



18 people like this
Posted by Nayeli
a resident of Midtown
on Jun 28, 2017 at 7:38 pm

I believe that parking should be FREE for all residents of Palo Alto.
I believe that parking should be RESTRICTED in all residential neighborhoods -- except for registered residents.
I believe that offices downtown and near California Avenue should be forced to pay for either public transportation costs or parking spaces that would accommodate their employees.
I believe that professional service offices (e.g., doctors, dentists, law, insurance, banks, etc.) should have the opportunity to pay for dedicated parking spaces in front of their respective offices that can be used solely by clients/patients and/or employees.
I believe that restaurants and service workers should have parking permits provided to them by the business who, in turn, receive them at a discounted rate for their employees.

Everyone else should be required to pay for parking.


13 people like this
Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 28, 2017 at 9:20 pm

Thank you for the reply about weekend and evening parking as well as 2 hours free parking.

But are you honestly telling me that if I need to park for say 3 1/2 hours I need to buy a permit at City Hall and pay $25 unless I park at one of the few lots that have pay machines?

And if I need to just drop off something at lunch time I need to drive around and around to find a space because there are so few (if any) 30 minute parking spots to enable me to do a 10 minute errand in my lunch hour?

Is that really the best you can do?

BTW, we are not San Francisco or San Jose. We are a small suburban town, one of many in the Bay Area. Comparing our small suburban town to major cities is not a good idea.


4 people like this
Posted by Eric Filseth
a resident of Downtown North
on Jun 29, 2017 at 9:15 am

Well, if you want an all-day permit, you already have to go down to city hall and get one; that isn’t new. Exploring better options to that is part of the Staff paid-parking investigation underway. It used to be you could go park all day in the neighborhoods, but as commercial downtown densified that got out of control and the neighbors revolted, with justification in my opinion.

I think you’re poking at something more fundamental. If you’re going to have Development, you’re going to have cars. You may slow the car-growth, but I believe eliminating it altogether is fantasy.

If you want both Development and lower traffic increases, your options are finite, and they have to be paid for somehow. I don’t think it’s fair to make residents pay, so that means it has to be businesses, and tying it to business parking is a practical way to do that; development impact fees would be another. But none of this is perfect. If you’re going to have Development, you’re going to have tradeoffs, and one of them is cars.

So really what I think you’re asking is, exactly how much Development do we want, and how fast? Should Palo Alto (and which parts) look like a small town, a suburb, or a vibrant urban city? All of these have tradeoffs, and not everybody agrees on where to make them. We don’t even have agreement on council; for example, when the current council voted to eliminate the Comp Plan limit on nonresidential development downtown, it was a narrow split. Yet someday that decision will impact the degree to which we need things like TMA. So elections are ultimately how the community decides the really fundamental issues, and then the rest is trying to make the best downstream choices around those things.


6 people like this
Posted by Pension Liabilities
a resident of Downtown North
on Jun 29, 2017 at 10:03 am

[Post removed due to same poster using multiple names]


8 people like this
Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 29, 2017 at 10:47 am

Eric Filseth

Thank you for replying. I respect your post, but I don't think you are listening to me at all.

The fact that we have to go to City Hall to get an all day permit is not a good thing even though we have been doing so for years. A better system would have been pay per hour machines at all garages and lots years ago, but for some reason Palo Alto higher ups never thought that was a good idea.

I don't ever want to pay for all day parking, but I have on occasions needed to park for about 3 hours and paying per hour is not the same as paying for all day which should be much higher than paying for a part of a day.

As the above poster said, I shall probably end up having to find a new tax adviser and other personal business services as I am not going to be able to use those I have in downtown, let alone do any volunteer work or meet friends for a movie and lunch.

I think you will find that I am not alone.


2 people like this
Posted by Eric Filseth
a resident of Downtown North
on Jun 29, 2017 at 1:46 pm

Exploring better options than going to City Hall is part of the Staff paid-parking investigation currently underway.


6 people like this
Posted by Pension Liabilites
a resident of Downtown North
on Jun 29, 2017 at 2:12 pm

[Post removed due to same poster using multiple names]


8 people like this
Posted by Abitarian
a resident of Downtown North
on Jun 29, 2017 at 5:12 pm

Mr. Filseth --

Thanks for your Town Square comments on this and other topics.

I feel very strongly that the office over-development is the root cause of our traffic and parking problems and that those businesses and employees should be responsible for covering the cost of any solutions.

From what you've written, it sounds like you agree, but the "solutions" City Council is supporting just do not ring true to this principle.

Specifically, adding parking meters would foist costs on shoppers, diners, and those who use medical and personal services, as well as the employees who staff our retail, eateries, gyms, salons, etc.

This would provide a disincentive for people to visit downtown and Cal Ave and spend money that generates sales tax, as well as an incentive for service workers to find employment in other areas where they don't have to pay for parking.


2 people like this
Posted by Curmudgeon
a resident of Downtown North
on Jun 29, 2017 at 5:39 pm

"We don't need to worry about the minimum wage workers because there wo t be any left once we raise it to $15 an hour."

So when you visit your favorite umpteen-star restaurant, before they bring your food they will put the requisite dishes on your table so you can scrape off the prior diner's food and get them as sparkling as you want because they fired their minimum-wage dishwashers? Hmm?


1 person likes this
Posted by Eric Filseth
a resident of Downtown North
on Jun 29, 2017 at 6:16 pm

Just in case this one hasn't been beaten enough on this thread, I checked with the Planning Director this afternoon. There are in fact three-hour spaces in some of the lots and garages downtown; but at this time we don't have a good solution between three hours and all day. This is one of the items we'll want to look at as the paid-parking investigation proceeds.

Abitarian - I do generally agree, but I can tell you I personally haven't yet seen any silver-bullet solutions that are both comprehensive and simple to implement in practice; they all have limitations and tradeoffs. Really I think the answer is: plan for the long-term, with a "system" perspective, and think carefully about the potential consequences.


10 people like this
Posted by Current City Leadhership,
a resident of Evergreen Park
on Jul 1, 2017 at 12:55 pm

It's all just a money grab, and price gouging - both the parking permit program for the parking structures, and the RPP programs. Let's hope that those businesses that for some reason want to be in Palo Alto, will wise up, and finally call it quits. It is just too expensive to operate a business in Palo Alto, between the high office rents, and the parking expenses. Is it really worth it financially, and spiritually for those folks to be here? I know several commercial buildings in the California Avenue area where there are lots of vacant offices because the owners simply want to get too much rent. The owners would prefer the spaces to be empty over lowering the rents, because the mortgages are paid in full as these are older buildings where no rehab or renovation is occurring. The owners, or trusts are simply cashing in on higher rents, because they feel they can. When will the businesses wise up, and give up on Palo Alto. Still don't know why they want to be here, what does it offer really?


9 people like this
Posted by Abitarian
a resident of Downtown North
on Jul 1, 2017 at 5:32 pm

If the city wants to raise funds to combat traffic and parking problems, the first course of action (besides collecting money from owners, tenants, and employees of the under-parked office over-developments) should be to enforce the traffic laws that are already on the books.

I live downtown where daily I see cars going through red lights, bicyclists on the sidewalks, pedestrians weaving between moving traffic, etc., etc., etc.

What I never see, ever, are city officials monitoring the area and issuing tickets.

Regular enforcement of basic traffic law would generate plenty of revenue *and* make our streets and sidewalks safer.


14 people like this
Posted by Online Name
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Jul 1, 2017 at 7:02 pm

@Eric, I thank you for your participation here. I wonder if you've read the Mayor's recent letter on the state of the city.

I thought his bragging was both transparent and unseemly about how all the increased fees from parking meters and parking permits would fund the city's contributions to the TMA so the TMA can compensate all the commuters and city employees for THEIR commuting and parking expenses WHILE also funding the Downtown "upgrade" to provide BUSINESSES -- again not residents -- with fiber optics.

Until the funds transfer from residents to business stops or is moderated, I respectfully disagree about whether this has been beaten to death.

PS: I just got my outrageous utility bill which also subsidizes the General Fund.


6 people like this
Posted by Dogfooding / Dog's Breakfast
a resident of Community Center
on Jul 2, 2017 at 1:36 am

The takeway from an article summarizing the tech leaders' meeting with the Trump Administration is the term "dogfooding" which has a lot of bearing on what's happening here in Palo Alto since our city employees, commissioners and council members should practice what they preach and not shift the burdens to us.

How else will they knew whether they've made good policy or a dog's breakfast. Either way, let our well-compensated "leaders" partake, too.

Quoting from Web Link

"To this point, I was happy that Tim Cook and others brought up one standard practice in tech that is very much not on display in government: dogfooding, or making sure that the leadership and staff responsible for a service or product actually use it themselves. This is a massive opportunity to change the culture of government, and I advocated for it during my time in federal government to little avail."




4 people like this
Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 4, 2017 at 12:26 pm

I wonder how much of our traffic congestion is being caused by the proliferation of Uber and Lyft drivers circling while waiting for their next ride?


6 people like this
Posted by Prediction
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jul 4, 2017 at 1:04 pm

I can't help wondering whether the TMA will be a way for the City Manager to reward his PA Forward supporters with jobs.
And reward more Palantir employees, in addition to so many (5 or 6) already on city boards.
We'll be watching.


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

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