Regarding the Park Plaza project, is the City Council of Palo Alto really willing to have residential units above laboratories? We don't know what kind of research will take place below the residential units, but any labs that contain hazardous materials should not be permitted. We should have learned from the CPI problem. Also, non-hazardous materials can pose a danger when combined. The city needs to have a chemist check out whatever research is done which involves lab work.
Also, the air should be tested in the residential units and in the R&D space at least once a year and if there are any complaints. That toxic plume below the project should always be a concern, despite what mitigations are put in place.
Improve local public transit
Not sure why Steve Eittreim thinks building high-speed rail to Los Angeles will reduce the traffic on 101 or for that matter, traffic on the LA freeways. The problem we have is not getting to LA but moving around the area we live, something that most people do far more than traveling to LA. Europe has much better local public transport and have more compact cities, which makes high-speed rails between cities more attractive and financially more viable. When I do go to LA I have little problem given we have frequent flights from the various Bay Area airports that end in various parts of the LA basin, something that high-speed rail will not do. Still I can always get off the train in LA, rent a car, and add my car to the LA freeways. If we want to get out of our cars the only option is to improve local public transportation.
Last Friday's editorial recommended that the city experiment with pricing of garage parking permits to encourage downtown workers to park their cars in a city garage rather than Professorville.
This plan could be costly, time consuming and possibly inaccurate. I'd like to suggest a simple solution that will quickly provide a workable parking permit program. The key is to use an online Dutch auction, which is a special kind of auction that allows multiple identical items to be auctioned with all winners paying the lowest of the successful bids. I have found two websites that support online Dutch auctions.
The city could (after much publicity) conduct a week-long, online Dutch auction to sell parking permits for several hundred parking spaces, each permit lasting perhaps 90 days. If this process works, subsequent auctions could be conducted, perhaps varying the number of available parking permits to adjust the likely winning price.
If this solution is implemented, Professorville streets will have fewer parked cars, and downtown garages will have fewer empty spaces. Also, the city will know the market value of its garage parking spaces. This solution will cost the city far less than a residential permit parking program and it could be in place within a few months.
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