Opinion: 'Streamlining' the city's residential parking program, really? | April 29, 2022 | Palo Alto Weekly | Palo Alto Online |

Palo Alto Weekly

Spectrum - April 29, 2022

Opinion: 'Streamlining' the city's residential parking program, really?

by Mickie Winkler

In 2019, Palo Alto decided to streamline its Residential Preferential Parking program as part of a citywide overhaul of its parking system.

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Mickie Winkler is a former Menlo Park mayor and author of "Politics, Police and Other Earthing Antics." You can email her at [email protected]


Posted by SRB
a resident of Mountain View
on Apr 29, 2022 at 7:35 am

SRB is a registered user.

"a simple 15-page guide" that will solve it :)

Posted by Resident 1-Adobe Meadows
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Apr 29, 2022 at 7:52 am

Resident 1-Adobe Meadows is a registered user.

The state of CA is now invested in the DMV's Real Id program which requires specific identification of where you live for the purposes of voter Identity and provision of ballots for voting. Where people live helps in the process of how CA funds are allocated to cities. the writer of this article has moved but not updated that information in the DMV data base.

I will not pretend to know how the company Duncan Solutions does it's job but it has to start with veritable data as a baseline for permitting. That is the DMV system which is also used to track where people live, where ballots are sent, and census data used to allocate state funds.

The city needs to educate people when a new program is started as to how it works and what to expect. Also what the resident has to do to effectively use it.

Posted by NeilsonBuchanan
a resident of Downtown North
on Apr 29, 2022 at 8:58 am

NeilsonBuchanan is a registered user.

Ten years ago I was among dozens of leaders who successfully lobbied city council to implement a permit parking "system". Resistance from city council and business community was significant but city council stewardship eventually found a balance for commercial parking vs neighborhood quality. The council committed to continuous improvement of the parking programs, but the commitment has been less than robust.

I am not surprised that Ms. Winkler may have gotten a permit without proof of residency. I am not surprised that the new permit system is not user friendly and that it failed continuity of service.

There are three root causes dragging down quality parking programs for residential neighborhoods AND for University and California Avenue commercial cores.

First, city council and staff have a pattern of trying to do too much without adequate resources and staffing. When systems are not tested and improved over time, they will fail. Now Palo Alto is implementing a new system for neighborhoods and seems to be experiencing basic problems of implementation and functionality.

Second, Covid forced city staff into work-from-home conditions which hampered hands-on implementation and interface with residents who have years of experience. Covid is a legit limiting factor but there may be issues greater than the hurdle of a totally new system. Is the user interface proven and friendly for 2022? Will the system provide the management data sought by City Council to manage parking within the residential neighborhoods AND within the commercial cores.

Third, will City Council address the elephant in the room? Public and private parking capacities in the University Avenue commercial core have never been managed properly. As a result, one square mile of residential neighborhoods is used to provide hundreds of commercial parking spaces. I won't try to address this issue now but I will address high cost of free parking in mid-May when city budget are examined,

Posted by Online Name
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Apr 29, 2022 at 9:01 am

Online Name is a registered user.

Sure, "educate" the residents rather than the incompetent contractor and all city staffers responsible for "managing" the contractor. We need to increase our unfunded pension liabilities to outpace inflation.

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