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City considers how to reserve more street parking for residents

Original post made on Dec 13, 2013

Trying to ease the angst of Palo Alto residents who've found their streets inundated with parked cars, while also trying to meet the needs of businesses whose employees want spots to park in all day, the City Council Monday night will consider a residential permit-parking program.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Friday, December 13, 2013, 12:00 AM

Comments (84)

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Posted by m
a resident of Community Center
on Dec 13, 2013 at 10:47 am

I think paying to park in front of one's home is over the top.
Other cities in the US do this, but don't charge.
I don't need such a thing in the community center.


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Posted by nopainting
a resident of Downtown North
on Dec 13, 2013 at 11:07 am

I am not a fan of any of the parking solutions. I pay a lot of money to live in downtown and I do not want to have to pay for yearly permit on top of my rent. Nor do I want painted lines up and down the streets stating who can park where. Rediculous! I say let the business pay for half of their employees permits to park in the structures. Why should the residents pay for permits? Oh but wait I hear that the permit program is full and they aren't allowing people to get new permits as it is full. I think the city needs to stop allowing the huge buildings to come in and create more parking needs. Our downtown is not set up for the Infrastructure.


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Posted by Old Man
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Dec 13, 2013 at 11:43 am

"Great Idea" to charge for permit to park in front of your own residence,
It will "coat-neutral" since new Manager will be hired by Mr Keene to burn the collected money
Wake-up Palo Alto


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Posted by Downtowner
a resident of Menlo Park
on Dec 13, 2013 at 11:47 am

Residents should be able to park for free in front of or very near their homes. 2 free permits per household, renewable annually. One side of each street is reserved for residential permit parking only. The other side of the street is 3 hours maximum time, then a ticket. This will help eliminate the CalTrain riders who park free on neighborhood streets instead of in CalTrain's lots.

The cost of a permit for all-day parking in City lots & garages is less than $10 a week. Employees & business owners who complain about that probably spend at least $10 a week for coffee & donuts. Buy a permit. Short-term employees? The business owner can buy permits to allocate as needed. Visitors for lunch & a bit of shopping, or a salon appointment? 3 hours is adequate, and free.

Give no more exemptions or reductions in parking requirements for new office/commercial buildings. If the employees & anticipated clientele can't be accommodated within the on-site parking, the building is too big. Say "No." It will be a new experience to say "No" to Jim, John, Chop, Tim, Steve et al., but it's overdue & necessary.


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Posted by 35 year resident
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Dec 13, 2013 at 11:47 am

Old Man has it right. They'll need to hire another "manager" and 4 or 5 staff to handle the logistics of this. No doubt they will be recruited from Berkeley, just like the recent "Sustainability Czar." Cost....probably250K per year in total salaries....then add in the benefits costs on top.


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Posted by Robert
a resident of another community
on Dec 13, 2013 at 11:49 am

Perhaps residents could park in, I don't know, their own driveways and garages? This seems like a non-issue created entirely by people who somehow think they have ownership of the curb in front of their houses.


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Posted by long time resident
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Dec 13, 2013 at 11:59 am

Please help me understand why people can't park in their driveways? or in their garage. Isn't it necessary for each property to have one covered parking space. Stop using it as storage or converted extra living space and put your car there. imo, that should create quite a number of spaces.

Residents don't have to be able to park in front of their homes. while it is nice and convenient, it was never guaranteed when you purchased your property.

For @nopainting to say "I pay a lot of money to live in downtown"...I say, we all pay a lot to live in Palo Alto.


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Posted by Barbara
a resident of Downtown North
on Dec 13, 2013 at 12:16 pm

NO on residents paying for parking permits. Business owners and their employees, if they choose to work in Palo Alto, should foot the bill to park; no doubt they earn enough money, because if not, they'd find work in other cities. And the City should stop any new construction. Palo Alto is way overbuilt!


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Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Dec 13, 2013 at 12:32 pm

None of this deals with occasional (or even frequent) all day parking. Where does someone park all day who only needs to park once or twice a week, or even less? Or for half a day (no three hours is not always enough for a meeting and a business lunch)? Or when you are using a spouse's car and the permit is attached to your car which is being repaired?

Pay per hour machines at all city lots and garages and let those who want to pay for a day's parking can do so easily.


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Posted by Annette
a resident of College Terrace
on Dec 13, 2013 at 12:32 pm

Note that this issue is #17 on the agenda; if you are thinking about speaking I suggest you go prepared with both a 3 minute version of your comments and a 1 minute version. I'd also go with the expectation that this will be continued b/c the agenda is packed.


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Posted by No problems
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Dec 13, 2013 at 2:22 pm

I have no problem with parking down the street from my house, I do it all the time. But, like many PA residents, I only have a one-car garage. It is filled with tolls, toll boxes, bicycles, a motorcycle, gardening equipment, etc--things one cannot keep in the house. We have seven people in our family, five of which are adults with cars. Two of these cars are in the driveway, so the other three must park in the street, but almost never anywhere near the house.

Get real and stop complaining about things you know nothing of!

Let business owners and their employees pay to park here--the residents already pay a premium to live and park here! it should simply be forbidden for business employees to park on residential streets, period.

This city need to stop thinking that if they build too little parking, people will use public transportation or bikeride year-round. What alternate reality are they from, anyway? That is such a fallacy in a place where the public transportation options are few and lacking. Build adequate parking to serve the status quo, only after that is accomplished they should expand the transportation options. Then any excess parking spaces can be turned into little parks or green areas.


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Posted by Robert
a resident of another community
on Dec 13, 2013 at 2:32 pm

@No problems, that's a mighty accusatory tone for someone who is self admittedly to blame for the parking problem...


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Posted by No problems
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Dec 13, 2013 at 3:19 pm

So what, we are a multi-generational extended family. There are bigger families living in smaller houses in this town who have no garage.

Have you noticed how many of the new houses being built locally have six bedrooms, yet only a one car garage? Unfortunately, garages do not affect property value. There are two such houses just on our block-- yet both homeowners park multiple cars on the street. It is what it is, but it is a fact that this city builds large developments with inadequate parking.


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Posted by Dennis
a resident of Crescent Park
on Dec 13, 2013 at 3:29 pm

The city of Mountain View has had a residential permit parking program since 1963. Check out the web site Web Link for details.

One notable quote from the above site is "The ordinance was enacted in 1963 and has been upheld by the courts, several different majority votes of city residents and has been actively enforced ever since. The benefits of the ordinance to city residents and businesses are many..."

Do we really want to be 50 years behind Menlo Park?


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Posted by Robert
a resident of another community
on Dec 13, 2013 at 3:44 pm

@No problems, yes but before asking the city to solve the issue for you, maybe an admission that you're contributing to the problem?


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Posted by Downtowner
a resident of Menlo Park
on Dec 13, 2013 at 4:06 pm

@ Resident-

The residential permits I refer to are the visible hangtags, suspended from the rear view mirrors, so there's no problem moving one to an alternate vehicle. These are in use in neighboring Peninsula communities.

All day parking is readily available on a pay-per-use basis in a garage. Go for it. A few of the downtown office buildings have secured underground parking, free for their customers. You get a token from the receptionist to exit or, if you are a regular visitor, a magnetic card to enter. (400 Hamilton Ave, for example.)

My suggestions in no way preclude any all-day arrangements at municipal lots & garages, only for streets more than 1 or 2 blocks from University, where it is often impossible for residents to park near their homes. Some of the older homes in Downtown North don't even have garages (& therefore lack driveways) as they are on very small lots, built nearly 100 years ago. Think of the streets parallel to Alma in the 100-300 blocks and 700-1000 blocks, as well as streets north of Lytton & south of Forest.

The City and the PUD/townhome developers have done Palo Alto a disservice by allowing construction of 3BR, 2.5 bath homes with only single car garages. Almost every adult who lives in one of those has a partner & needs 2 car parking. Developers pushed that overflow onto the streets & PA allowed it.

The residential parking woes can be eased greatly by eliminating all-day or all-night parking by non-residents too cheap to pay to park elsewhere. As I said, up to 2 permits per household, so anyone with 5 cars needs to catch as catch can.


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Posted by Jan Ducati
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Dec 13, 2013 at 4:25 pm

[Post removed.]


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Posted by Steve Raney
a resident of Crescent Park
on Dec 13, 2013 at 4:34 pm

Rather than being separate issues, downtown RPPP and downtown trip reduction (TDM) are linked together. Because this fundamental linkage was not made, this article is not up to Weekly's standards. It should be removed and replaced with an article that comprehends Weekly's recent coverage on this linked topic. Weekly has taken the issue in an unhelpful, unrealistic direction.

Council has made a clear statement in favor of downtown traffic reduction. The use of residential permits and parking charges for workers reduces demand for downtown car travel. One objective of residential permits is to induce two-car families to convert to one-car plus other mobility services (Caltrain, bike, zipcar, etc). It appears that Simon Cintz and paloaltoparkingsolutions.org have provided a solution that works for their own stakeholders and ignores those of other stakeholders represented by Council. The challenge for Simon is to go back to the design drawing board and come up with a solution that is empathetic to more stakeholders.

For an empathetic-to-multiple-stakeholders design, paloaltoparkingsolutions.org can contribute a list of objectives for consideration within the process. There are some worthy paloaltoparkingsolutions.org "use cases" that jump out:
1. For Watercourse Way, Pen Creamery at Channing, and the hardware store, pricing should be set so that there are always open two-hour on-street parking spaces in that area for customers so that these worthy entities thrive economically.
2. Worker parking pricing should strive to meet the needs of retail workers, yet should also encourage the use of green commuting such as carpooling. Where an employer pays for a worker's parking, this does not provide motivation to reduce downtown travel – that is not in keeping with Council's objectives. Pen Creamery virtuously runs a van service to drive workers to work – a bit lower end than the Google Bus.

The public process for downtown RPPP should bring in workers and employers to verify that the proposed solution works well for them, especially for the hours they key.

The addition of daily pay-by-phone worker parking to RPPP will better meet Council's trip reduction objectives than the current RPPP proposal:
Web Link


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Posted by common sense
a resident of Midtown
on Dec 13, 2013 at 5:43 pm

Business & commercial property owners decided to have the vast majority of parking around their properties zoned for 2 or 3 hour time limits; they decide to under park their high density developments (instead of spending construction costs on a parking space, instead they use the square footage to build more rentable space - a double bonus), and they don't enforce occupancy restrictions (ie. 250 sq ft per office worker).

Since the business & commercial property owners created this mess, aided by a city council who favors special interests, they should pay for the parking permit system. The city council needs to give up their reserved parking under city hall, and all city workers should give up their permits for parking spaces for the businesses.

The election is next year. Let's see if the council tries to push this issue past the election.


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Posted by Dennis
a resident of Crescent Park
on Dec 13, 2013 at 5:45 pm

Sorry, I meant MENLO PARK...


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Posted by Had Enough
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Dec 13, 2013 at 6:10 pm

Two comments:
1. I worked in SF for years. I tried commuting by train (before the bullet train) and light rail for one of those years and found it was adding about 2 hours total to my daily commute. It wasn't long before I was back in my car, paying $320 A MONTH to park near my office. That's the reality in a big city with big traffic problems. I chose to live in a small city because it didn't have those problems, and I'm sure many who own small business or who work at these small business feel the same way. Unfortunately our city has been allowed to grow unchecked and now we all have to deal with parking and traffic headaches.

Business owners: if you don't want you or your employees footing the bill for SF-sized parking costs, you need to work with the rest of us to limit additional growth in Palo Alto.

2. On the track-home street where I live, the city allowed a homeowner to convert an existing detached garage in their backyard into a lovely french-doored in-law cottage, complete with side entry path, gated entrance with porch light, and defining landscape. What now passes as a "driveway" is actually a path on the other side of the house leading directly to the front door of the house proper. Boulders and benches line this path on the fence side; low fencing runs along the sidewalk. There is no way for even one car to park in this space or access the back of the house without taking down fencing and plantings and/or obstructing access to the front door. End result: these folks, their kids and their parents park their 5 cars on the street. When we remodeled years ago, we had to include adequate plans for our garage and driveway, and we park our cars off the street as a result. What's going on at City Hall? Is there no one minding the store?


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Posted by Anonymous
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Dec 13, 2013 at 6:34 pm

Robert,

You're on the wrong track. Cities have the right to regulate who parks where. They can designate areas for no parking, commercial parking, valet parking and even residential parking. They can restrict times and durations. There's an established City right to tell you where you can and can't park, at what cost and for how long.

In addition the Comprehensive Plan and the Muni Code require the commercial districts to provide parking for their own uses. Residential neighborhoods are supposed to be protected from commercial spillover. At least today's code does not exempt neighborhoods near Downtown and California Street from the Comp Plan protections.

The only unreasonable part of the proposed plan is that it creates ANY space for commercial district spillover. That is a precedent the rest of the City's neighborhoods are watching. If DTN can progress from a de facto commercial parking lot to a de jure parking lot, than so can every other neighborhood. Not a good step for the CC to take.


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Posted by Downtowner
a resident of Menlo Park
on Dec 13, 2013 at 6:46 pm

@ Had Enough -

Did your neighbors actually obtain a final permit for the change from garage to cottage? Most tract housing came in after WW2 and had CC&Rs requiring off-street parking. I don't think your neighbors could have gotten Bldg. Dept. permission to change that, unless the garage had already been converted to a detached office or some other use for an ex-garage.
Another possibility is that they were supposed to provide a carport in lieu of a garage & they just ignored that & also landscaped the driveway out of existence. Call the City & ask. The situation you describe couldn't have been done legally in an R-1 zone anytime in recent memory. Most tracts became R-1 zones when they were created by subdivision. If you're right on Embarcadero, maybe it's different.


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Posted by Rational Resident
a resident of Professorville
on Dec 13, 2013 at 6:55 pm

I've attended the meetings about parking.
A few things stood out:

1) Residents don't mind others parking in the area, but they mind not being able at all to park in the area.

2) Businesses have enjoyed the ability to build structures that have far less parking than they'd use.

3) The vast majority of parking has been from an increase in business that do not provide services to the community. Residents attending the parking meetings seemed sympathetic to businesses that provide services to the community. Businesses stuffing 100s of people where the business used to hold 10s of people (fairly common now) are causing the vast majority of the parking problem

4) Sometimes some of us are (probably illegally) disallowed access to our homes during Stanford games. Parking on the street near the house is the best we can possibly do during these times.

5) The parking situation is so bad that people park right at the corners of intersections. This creates safety issues at the 2-way stop signs that are common in our communities, as you can't see far enough down the road to be absolutely sure that proceeding is safe.


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Posted by Rational Resident
a resident of Professorville
on Dec 13, 2013 at 7:03 pm

I also think it is ridiculous that residents have to pay for parking on the street that their substantial property tax dollars fund.

I'd much rather have the same option to pay 60k to avoid the issue as businesses used to be able to do (and still might?). 60k for a parking space is very cheap.

That being said, I'd rather pay some nominal fee for parking permit than have no parking permit program.


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Posted by resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Dec 13, 2013 at 7:25 pm

What is truly amazing is that after the parking overflow has
become a crisis situation, ruining neighborhoods and adding to traffic
congestion,the same developers just keep adding to the problem with
more projects like the recently approved 611 Cowper under parked by an incredible 53 spaces. And it's a long walk to Caltrain from there. This office pipeline is like a ruptured oil pipeline ruining the environment
but the City staff says that in their opinion this is not a CEQA issue.






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Posted by many issues
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Dec 14, 2013 at 10:28 am

There are more "environmental" and quality of life issues with these office projects than just the parking overflow and increased traffic congestion.
Last week legislators including Diane Feinstein asked Jerry Brown and
Obama to declare California in a drought emergency and Federal disaster
area because State water allocations are projected to be drastically reduced.

The 34700 sf mixed use four-story 50 ft tall project recently approved at 611 Cowper, even underparked by 53 spaces includes a two level underground garage with several parking lifts with access off of the 10 foot wide
Lane 39 which also borders the new office building at 524 Hamilton. If underground water is present at this site then dewatering will be required with the potential loss of millions of gallons of water which would happen
in the Spring of 2014. This project is going forward while lawmakers are
asking Obama to declare a drought emergency and prior to us knowing the
outcome of this rainy season. If you want to read the staff report associated with 611 Cowper and all the details it went to the ARB on
August 1,2013. The staff said that there were no "significant" traffic,
water quality, etc impacts associated with this project under CEQA and
recommended approval.














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Posted by boscoli
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Dec 14, 2013 at 11:14 am

Most Palo Alto residents use their garages for storage. If they used them, and their driveways for parking their cars, the parking problems will ease up considerably, although not in the downtown area. Residents with garages who prefer to use them for storage should be charged for parking their cars on the street.


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Posted by resident3
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Dec 14, 2013 at 1:36 pm


Is TSPS supported by the Downtown residents or neighborhood?

TSPS sounds good, and easy to support, but before I write to City Hall it would be good to know how much support it has from the residents in the thick of the problem


 +   Like this comment
Posted by List of Underparked buildings
a resident of Crescent Park
on Dec 14, 2013 at 1:45 pm

Please add to this list:
611 Cowper underparked by 53 spaces
Lytton Gateway underparked by 22 spaces
240 Hamilton underparked by __


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Posted by Craig Laughton
a resident of College Terrace
on Dec 14, 2013 at 2:01 pm

I favor a city-wide RPPP, paid by city taxes, and high fines for the scofflaws.

There will be no solution, until the pressure is on, and demanded by the neighborhood residents. College Terrace started the process, and now it needs to grow.

My view of the solution is CalTrain, satellite parking lots (with shuttle buses), direct shuttle buses (Google/Cisco model), paid permits for employees in parking garages, paid parking meters, etc.


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Posted by Betty
a resident of Midtown
on Dec 14, 2013 at 2:21 pm

Not going to happen, Craig. CT is a totally different situation. There are many reasons not to implement a city wide RPPP. And why should my taxes be used for welfare programs to help residents who use their garages for storage and/ or live in. Neighborhoods that do not have a parking problem. There are a couple of neighborhoods that may need such a program, but nit the entire city.


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Posted by Craig Laughton
a resident of College Terrace
on Dec 14, 2013 at 2:34 pm

>There are a couple of neighborhoods that may need such a program, but nit the entire city.

Betty, I have experience over in Davis CA. It started the same way. The highly impacted neighborhoods wanted RPPP, but the other neighborhoods did not. Then it (parking problem) moved to close by neighborhoods...which then demanded RPPP...and so forth, until the entire town had demanded it. It will be the same thing in Palo Alto. Better to just get ahead of the curve, because it is not going away, until the pressure is on city-wide.


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Posted by Betty
a resident of Midtown
on Dec 14, 2013 at 2:49 pm

Apples and oranges, Craig. Davis is a college town and no Palo Alto.
Plus the permit program in Davis is not as you describe [portion removed]:
Web Link
The link describes the Davis program and below is a quote from that link.
"Whatever the reason, the result is a major parking problem along the residential streets near campus. This problem exists to some degree in other areas of our Fair City as well. The solution has been to impose a residential parking permit program. "


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Posted by Craig Laughton
a resident of College Terrace
on Dec 14, 2013 at 3:14 pm

Betty,

Palo Alto is also a college town, as well as a tech town. I have spoken with the city traffic engineer in Davis, and the real situation is as I have described it. BTW, the fines for illegally parking in a RPPP in Davis are very high...high enough to deter such illegal parking...or to help pay for the enforcement.

[Portion removed.]


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Posted by Betty
a resident of Midtown
on Dec 14, 2013 at 3:38 pm

[Portion removed.] The link describes the situation and it is not like paloalto. DAvis DOES NOT have city wide RPPPs. The link clearly describes the situation. Please provide the name of this city traffic engineer so that we can talk with him


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Craig Laughton
a resident of College Terrace
on Dec 14, 2013 at 4:22 pm

>DAvis DOES NOT have city wide RPPPs.

Betty, You need to read your own wiki. Davis has parking restrictions all over town. BTW, the UC Davis uses paid parking meters as cash cows. The city of Davis charges very high scofflaw fees. The central point is that Palo Alto will (probably soon) follow a version of the Davis model. Why fight it?


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Posted by Betty
a resident of Midtown
on Dec 14, 2013 at 4:34 pm

[Portion removed.]
This link which is accessible from my initial link
Web Link
As one can there are areas of Davis that do not have parking restrictions. [Portion removed.]


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Posted by Craig Laughton
a resident of College Terrace
on Dec 14, 2013 at 5:18 pm

"Many of the residential areas in Davis that are "close" to campus will have restricted parking, regulated by the city. Residents must obtain Residential Parking Permits to avoid being issued a copious number of tickets for parking on the street. Recently, the area north of 5th Street, between C and F Streets, has become resident-restricted parking Monday-Friday, 8am-5pm; there are a few spots open to non-residents, but the ones marked N are off-limits. As city residents request more restricted parking districts, commuters park further from campus impacting residents in those areas — commuters can help limit the number of restricted parking districts by using parking lots provided on campus."

Betty, the above is also from the wiki that you provided.
My recollection, from talking with the Davis traffic engineer, was as I stated; however you are probably right...it has not yet been fully implemented across town...just a matter of time. What is your point, though...the same thing will happen in Palo Alto, so why not get ahead of the curve, instead of fighting it, one neighborhood at a time?


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Posted by Betty
a resident of Downtown North
on Dec 15, 2013 at 10:19 am

Either let the employees park all day in the parking garages for free or have the businesses pay for their permit to do so.


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Posted by Craig Laughton
a resident of College Terrace
on Dec 15, 2013 at 11:19 am

>Either let the employees park all day in the parking garages for free or have the businesses pay for their permit to do so.

That is one approach, better than what we currently have. However, Downtown is a perfect place to have the employees take CalTrain. Make the employers pay.


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Posted by Betty
a resident of Midtown
on Dec 15, 2013 at 2:58 pm

[Post removed.]


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Posted by one direction
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Dec 15, 2013 at 3:13 pm

"Downtown is a perfect place to have the employees take CalTrain."

And for the others, shuttles from parking satelites @101, 280, and several other outposts would be good, with some INCENTIVES.

The issue with PA is that it can be really close to get to, taking Caltrain from RWC is a nuisance and people like the convenience of their car. You can get here from Sunnyvale in less time than from the other side of Palo Alto.

Employers need to get data about their employees and provide that to the City.

Small businesses should get more breaks from the city too, as they have it harder to survive.


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Posted by Betty
a resident of Midtown
on Dec 15, 2013 at 3:47 pm

"Employers need to get data about their employees and provide that to the City. "
Should the city force employers to collect fat and provide it to the city? Not sure I want the citynto have too much of my data


Many cities do not know what they want-- Palo Alto is one of them. They want businesses, shoppers, visitors and workers spending in town. We want the tax revenue etc. yet we do not want traffic!!!!! One goes with the other. With the pathetic public transportation in our city, is it any wonder that people drive.
Then when you set up shuttle services-- people whine also. Remember the Facebook shuttles when they were in college terrace? Look at the comments about the google shuttles in SF?

Maybe the city should decide what they want and then plan from there-- if you want less traffic, discourage businesses in the city. Close the shopping area downtown etc.


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Posted by Craig Laughton
a resident of College Terrace
on Dec 15, 2013 at 4:02 pm

>How, Craig, do you " have employees take Caltrain"? Do you assume all the downtown workers live on the peninsula?

No, but a lot of them do. CalTrain is connected via buses and light rail and BART. When Palo Alto enacts city-wide RPPPs, the motivation will be there to figure it out. Until that point, the parking issue will just get kicked from one neighborhood to the next (like Davis, Betty).

>And for the others, shuttles from parking satelites @101, 280, and several other outposts would be good, with some INCENTIVES.

Makes sense, "one direction". Car pooling vans also make sense.


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Posted by stephen levy
a resident of University South
on Dec 15, 2013 at 4:16 pm

stephen levy is a registered user.

I think Craig is posting some good ideas.

In addition we all need to get used to the fact that parking in heavy use areas will come with a cost/fee to users.

I am also tired of hearing that the only people who ought to pay are employers. We all share in the increased demand for parking and having the city build additional lots and start charging is a good idea along with enforcing adequate parking on new developments.


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Posted by Betty
a resident of Midtown
on Dec 15, 2013 at 4:17 pm

[Post removed.]


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Posted by Betty
a resident of Midtown
on Dec 15, 2013 at 4:21 pm

Stephen-- which of Craig's ideas do you think are " good"? Citywide RPPPs? Having employees take Caltrain?
Where would you build additional lots? Bet you wherever you plan to build lots, the neighbors will object. Will the lots have to be in the Spanish colonial style?What is your formula for determining adequate parking for a development??


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Posted by Craig Laughton
a resident of College Terrace
on Dec 15, 2013 at 5:28 pm

>What is the name of the Davis traffic engineer you spoke with?

It was about 6-7 years ago. I forget his name, but he was also consulted by the Palo Alto police dept., when an earlier neighborhood RPPP was being considered. He was a very nice guy, open and frank and very helpful. I have truthfully recollected what he told me about the Davis parking situation. I called him, because the College Terrace RPPP was being considered, and I wanted to mine his own experience in Davis. Why Davis? Because I had a kid that went to school there, and I would visit fairly often (and I ended paying my kid's parking violations...ouch!).

You might want to call up the traffic engineering dept. in Davis to determine the extent (and projection) of the parking restrictions in Davis.

>Where do you get the idea that PA will enact city wide RPPPs???

It comes from my own mind...because it is so much more rational than doing it neighborhood by neighborhood.

>How many live on the peninsula? Where do you get your " facts" from?

I interact with a number of service workers in Palo Alto. Most of them live on the peninsula. I also know some that come from Tracey/Manteca, and some of them take car pooling vans.

The fundamental issue is that we need fewer car trips into PA, yet with enough workers to make it a dynamic environment. Various forms of public transportation will be the answer, but only if the cost of parking is increased for those who commute here to work. A city wide RPPP will force the issue, and it is the rational thing to do. [Portion removed.]


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Posted by Betty
a resident of Midtown
on Dec 15, 2013 at 5:38 pm

" A city wide RPPP will force the issue, and it is the rational thing to do. Sticking your head in the sand, and hoping it will not affect your own neighborhood will make you very disappointed in the long run, Betty."

It is not the rational thing to do, because there is no need for A city wide RPPP. Does palo,alto hills , greater Miranda and Barron park need an RPPP? Hardly.
The city needs to deal with traffic and parking issues in a serious manner. Have you ever considered that increasing the cost of,parking may also cost the city in the long run-- lost businesses and visitors. [Portion removed.]


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Posted by Craig Laughton
a resident of College Terrace
on Dec 15, 2013 at 5:54 pm

>It is not the rational thing to do, because there is no need for A city wide RPPP. Does palo,alto hills , greater Miranda and Barron park need an RPPP? Hardly.

So, the Downtown neighborhoods get their RPPP...then the parkers move to the next neighborhood...then the next, perhaps with bicycle racks so that they can wheel into work, but park in outer neighborhoods. This spreading out of the burden will continue from various points of employment. Yes, even PA Hills, once the smart ones figure out that private rental cars will pick them up from where they park in PA Hills (and then a quick entry onto 280, upon return from work). There is no 'safe' neighborhood.

I support economic growth and vitality in Palo Alto. However, I want less traffic. It can be done.


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Posted by Betty
a resident of Midtown
on Dec 15, 2013 at 6:02 pm

[Portion removed.] The smart thing to do would be to have RPPPs in certain neighborhoods close to downtown and the see what happens ( residents that do not use their garages for their car will not be allowed to buy a parking permit). No point n using the sledgehammer approach, especially when the residents , except for one, are calling for city wide RPPPs. Do you have any polls that show a demand for city wide RPPPs-- new data, not 7 year old stuff.


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Posted by Craig Laughton
a resident of College Terrace
on Dec 15, 2013 at 6:52 pm

>Bicycle racks????

Before College Terrace got its RPPP, for example, there were people who did exactly that. Same thing in Davis. You are just not aware of what is about to happen in PA, Betty. It is not a fantasy. When the parking starts to show up in your neighborhood, you will probably be among the first to complain...and demand your own RPPP. Why wait for that to happen, Betty? You could have prophylactic protection with a city wide RPPP.

[Portion removed.]


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Posted by Betty
a resident of Midtown
on Dec 15, 2013 at 7:03 pm

[Post removed.]


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Posted by Craig Laughton
a resident of College Terrace
on Dec 15, 2013 at 7:25 pm

>The city needs to decide what it wants, but with visitors and business and tourists come traffic.

[Portion removed.] There is a way to have dynamic business, with less daily traffic/parking into town...that is what I have been talking about. The city wide RPPP is an important aspect of achieving that.


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Posted by Betty
a resident of Midtown
on Dec 15, 2013 at 7:33 pm

[Portion removed.] I do not want to suppress/ eliminate business. I want the city to decide what it wants, with the knowledge that with things that bring people into the city brings traffic with it
Show me the poll nuMbers that say the people in the city want a citywide RPPP-- this sounds like it is becoming your latest shtick that you repeat over and over.
The smart idea would be to start with neighborhoods near downtown and then see what happens. Remember how people were predicting doom and gloom when sand hill road was widened-- evens ent to a city wide vote. Thee was also predictions of doom and gloom about traffic in Palo Alto when the Ikea was opened in EPA .


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Posted by Just Say No
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Dec 15, 2013 at 7:40 pm

After spending the afternoon in downtown San Jose, I know what I DON'T want Palo Alto to end up like! ugh.

Most of us are not Ritchie Rich's with giant mansions, most of us are paying through the nose to live here and send our kids to the schools while living in tiny homes with gargantuan mortgages. The garage is often the home office, or the place where all the things go that you would normally put in closets in homes with closets, which most Silicon Valley homes DON'T have space for: the suitcases, the camping gear, the tools, the bikes and helmets (which we must have, right?), the gardening equipment, the woodworking equipment, etc. In some cases, the garage ends up an illegal bedroom conversion, as I have seen more than once.

Oh brother, do you think I would leave my car out where it gets bird-bombed all the time if I had a way of putting it in the garage? No one in the history of Palo Alto has had to pay for parking in front of our homes, no one could have expected such a thing when they moved here, but it's the norm to have no place to put the car in the garage with these tiny homes. Having people pay amounts to a new tax that disproportionately affects those with smaller homes and properties, and those who live in apartments. If we need the parking now, we should ask those whose properties create the extra parking needs to pay.

We do not have to be Hong Kong, folks. They're a tiny island and can't go anywhere else. The US is a vast place, and there are other communities that would benefit from tech spillover from here. We are not condemning people to the fiery pits of hell if we don't make high rises on every inch of this place. Enough! The Jay Paul project in particular -- Just Say No! If we build more offices, we will have to find yet more space for housing, and our infrastructure is at it's limits and they're not even pretending to preserve the neighborhoods anymore. Go ask the Maybell neighbors what that's like.


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Posted by Craig Laughton
a resident of College Terrace
on Dec 15, 2013 at 7:50 pm

[Post removed.]


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Posted by Free storage
a resident of another community
on Dec 15, 2013 at 8:05 pm

Because of Palo Alto's high real estate prices, some people cannot afford houses large enough to store their stuff, are forced to use their garages to store belongings, and therefore must store cars in the street. So, what if the belongings were put into a storage cube, and that storage cube was left in front of the house permanently. Would that be reasonable? If not, why is it reasonable to use a garage to store property and to have the right to store cars on the street for free?

Why does the resident who buys a house too small for their stuff have the right to annex the space in front of the curb as well? Why does this resident have the right to require others who did buy a house large enough for their stuff to subsidize this storage space by paying their tax dollars to administer a program to grant the person with a too-small house free use of that curb space?


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Posted by Betty
a resident of Midtown
on Dec 15, 2013 at 8:09 pm

[Post removed.]


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Posted by resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Dec 15, 2013 at 9:09 pm

As the parking overflow and traffic congestion grow worse, new projects
like 611 Cowper, a 34,000 sf four-story 50 ft high mixed use project
under parked by 53 spaces and others are coming through the pipeline. So dealing with this is like a dog chasing its tail. Competing interests will now fight it out over possible mitigation measures. Our City government is now fully occupied with solving problems it created. Even providing a new
police building, a baseline governmental function, is wrapped up in controversy and uncertainty.



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Posted by Anonymous
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Dec 16, 2013 at 12:49 am

"So, what if the belongings were put into a storage cube, and that storage cube was left in front of the house permanently. Would that be reasonable? If not, why is it reasonable to use a garage to store property and to have the right to store cars on the street for free?

Why does the resident who buys a house too small for their stuff have the right to annex the space in front of the curb as well? Why does this resident have the right to require others who did buy a house large enough for their stuff to subsidize this storage space by paying their tax dollars to administer a program to grant the person with a too-small house free use of that curb space?"

Current City Code does not allow for longterm placement of a storage cube outside the house, but parking cars on the driveway is permissible and normal practice. Garages are considered part of people's homes, and the rules also say people can mostly use their homes as they see fit, none of your beeswax what they do.

Even the DMV says if a road is used a certain way by everyone, even if it isn't marked that way, then them's the rules. People have been using their homes and driveways in Palo Alto that way for as long as this has been Palo Alto. If it bothered you so much, why didn't you move to Atherton? Sorry to inform you, you don't have the right to expect such a thing here.


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Posted by Free storage
a resident of another community
on Dec 16, 2013 at 9:09 am

DMV? What DMV rules govern local jurisdictions control of curb space? Cities have all kinds of rules - unpriced, permits for residents, permits for residents in businesses, parking meters paid by quarters, parking meters paid by credit card and cellphone, fixed pricing, variable pricing, no parking, parking at certain hours. It's up to the city.


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Posted by one direction
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Dec 16, 2013 at 9:25 am

Anonymous,

Freeing up parking space in the residential neighborhoods by cleaning up residents' garages or limiting their cars is not really going to help the parking situation. All that garage space is still nothing to what is needed. Overnight you could have a second or third equivalent of Whole Foods parking needs, and then you'll probably want resident's front yards.

Of all the parties who are responsible for parking issues, the residents should be the LEAST responsible for paying for it.




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Posted by curmodgeon
a resident of Downtown North
on Dec 16, 2013 at 9:26 am

"Please help me understand why people can't park in their driveways? or in their garage."

I'll try. Many houses were built in and near downtown prior to the Automobile Age. They had no need for driveways, and do not have room for one on the property.


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Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Dec 16, 2013 at 9:47 am

My grandparents home which I visited frequently as a child was in a similar suburban area to Palo Alto. The house was built in the 20s and not designed for car ownership, but there was a narrow alley that lead to the back of the houses for deliveries and there was an outbuilding that could be used for storage. When my family visited, we were able to park on the street, but it was a very narrow street and even though there were buses that used that street plus very heavy pedestrian use, there were no problems.

I recently visited that area again and the narrow street had no parking on both sides of the streets, the buses were still using the street and there was still plenty of foot traffic. The big difference was that all the houses had used various means from gravel, concrete and other methods, to put parking in the front yards of the houses.

In other words, if a homeowner wanted to own a car or more, then it was up to them to find their own off street parking. Most of them did by getting rid of the front yards - some more attractively than others - but got their cars of the street 24/7 as no parking was allowed for safety reasons.

It is an interesting perspective. The narrow streets with buses are still very busy with cars, bikes and pedestrians, but the no parking on the street makes the roads safer. The homeowners still manage to park their cars outside their homes, but not by causing problems to the traffic.

Just thought I would share this, because residents could be considered lucky that they have street parking allowed in downtown when some may thing that it would make sense to put safety first and not allow parking 24/7.


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Posted by Free storage
a resident of another community
on Dec 16, 2013 at 10:02 am

During the earlier proposed residential permit parking pilot, staff reported how many houses in the pilot area didn't have onsite garage or driveway parking. It was only a handful of houses. The vast majority people had garages and/or driveways.


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Posted by CrescentParkAnon.
a resident of Crescent Park
on Dec 16, 2013 at 10:12 am

I actually do not think most houses were built prior to the "automobile" age. I don't know of any houses that were build for horses or carriages. I am not sure there are many houses built before 1920, and there were cars then, they were just very small and few in number. People just did not have all the stuff they have today. Today people fill their garages up with "stuff" as George Carlin would have said.

Now, everyone has a lot of "stuff" and they keep it forever, AND they have at least one car. Cars are bigger than ever, and people are bigger than ever.

I'm not really sure of the law, but when I was a kid here in Palo Alto, and other places, there was no overnight parking at all in the street that I can remember, and if you did you were sure to get a ticket. I guess I didn't pay much attention to when and how that changed.


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Posted by curmodgeon
a resident of Downtown North
on Dec 16, 2013 at 10:41 am

"I actually do not think most houses were built prior to the "automobile" age."

Correct regarding the word "most", but many nevertheless were. Their owners pay taxes, same as the owners of "most" houses. Why don't you think they should be allowed to have cars, and to park them in the street in front of their houses like commuters from elsewhere do?


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Posted by Paly Parent
a resident of Professorville
on Dec 16, 2013 at 11:13 am

The downtown parking problem needs to be addressed by building parking downtown, not by forcing me to buy permits, or scramble if I ever happen to have guests. We're doing just fine with street parking; most folks have one-car driveways and do park one car in them, but typically have 2-3 cars driven by family members, permits in the surrounding areas and in our own can only screw it up. Deal with the downtown parking issue without creating a bureaucracy in the neighborhoods!


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Posted by Jeff
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Dec 16, 2013 at 11:20 am

There is a parking problem because businesses haven't built adequate parking for either their employees or their customers. Why should nearby residents have to pay for their parking?

A developer can make more money by selling office space than by selling office space plus needed parking space. If the city residents want to subsidize businesses they should all pay the costs.


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Posted by gridlock
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Dec 16, 2013 at 11:21 am

[Post removed.]


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Posted by Aquamarine
a resident of Stanford
on Dec 16, 2013 at 11:25 am

Why do those who reside downtown believe that they have the right to park on public streets for free, yet visitors should pay? What's the rationale for that belief?

Donald - news flash - Palo Alto isn't just behind Menlo in certain areas...


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Posted by Thomas Payne
a resident of Adobe-Meadows
on Dec 16, 2013 at 11:25 am

[Post removed.]


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Posted by Craig Laughton
a resident of College Terrace
on Dec 16, 2013 at 1:14 pm

>Why do those who reside downtown believe that they have the right to park on public streets for free, yet visitors should pay? What's the rationale for that belief?

That was the same argument in College Terrace, until the burden became so great that even the naysayers were willing to sign on to a RPPP.

You claim to be from Stanford, Aquamarine. What do you know about Palo Alto parking issues, since you are protected by Stanford private interests?


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Posted by Sunshine
a resident of Barron Park
on Dec 16, 2013 at 1:24 pm

I have often walked along the streets of Palo Alto that are near University Ave and downtown, but are beyond the 2 hour limit on parking. In most cases (probably about 90%) I have observed large homes on large lots. Sometimes there is also a huge garage or "cottage" on the property. There are some apartments, but these also tend to have covered parking for residents.
I see no reason why most of these residents cannot park either in their garages or driveway. There are a very few homes that are on extremely small lots (below current code) that have neither driveway nor garage. Some of the older apartments that do provide some parking on site may be short of spaces for their residents because car ownership has changed since they were built.
Therefore, there should be no special parking zones or permits for residences that are close to downtown.
If special zones are put into place, I will be forced to park further from downtown when I go there. My visits to downtown usually include lunch at one of the better restaurants plus a movie and often some shopping. This amounts to far more than 2/3 hours (street/garage). I will also probably not visit downtown restaurants or movie houses or shop downtown as often.
By pushing residents of other parts of Palo Alto away from parking there you will force those of us who are seniors and are no longer able to ride a bicycle to shop elsewhere. Is this your aim?


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Posted by Agreed
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Dec 16, 2013 at 1:35 pm

Free S to rage has hit the nail upon the head. Houses have garages that are too small ( even big houses have inadequate garages. For the most part, anyway), many, many people have to live in houses too small for their families ( notice how many houses being built now that have two or more master suites?). Some families are forced to take in boarders or other family members. Others willingly bring in extended family members so that the children will not have to be in daycare ($1500+ per child per month!!!). This produces more residents' cars to be parked on the street.

We are not worried about the residents' cars, folks....it is the non-residents, people who do not live here and are not visiting residents, who cause the problem. That is, employees of local businesses who park in residential areas and then walk or bike to work. Many of us have SEEN people park on our streets, pop the hatch and take a bike out of the back, or off the roof, or off the rear bike rack, and ride in the direction of downtown. Residential parking is for residents, violators should be ticketed.

Either developers will have to provide adequate parking, or meter maids are going to have to patrol residential streets and run the license plates of cars to determine if they are residents or not.


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Posted by MiMi
a resident of Community Center
on Dec 16, 2013 at 2:47 pm

I live in a rented small 2 bedroom home in the Community Center neighborhood. It was built in 1912. The Tiny garage is not large enough for a car, and is mostly full of my landlord's things. It has space for my two bicycles,and about 3 x 10 feet for other storage (camping equipment, etc). I have compact car which I park on the street because the driveway space between house and fence is too narrow to park a car and still open the door to get out.
I already pay premium rent, bicycle to work every day, and don't feel I should have to pay additional rent to park my car, or to have occaisional visitors overnight.
(I have lived in Palo Alto since I was 8 years old. Prior home in Midtown had a single car garage; we widened the driveway to two fit cars to get them off the street. However with 4 adults in the house who commuted by bicycle, the garage had no space for cars.)


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Posted by curmodgeon
a resident of Downtown North
on Dec 16, 2013 at 2:54 pm

"Why do those who reside downtown believe that they have the right to park on public streets for free... ?"

What's this "free parking" noise? Homeowners purchase the right to park on the public street in front of their house when they pay their property tax bills.


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Posted by Betty
a resident of Midtown
on Dec 16, 2013 at 3:29 pm

[Post removed.]


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Posted by palo alto resident
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Dec 16, 2013 at 3:51 pm

There are two types of businesses downtown - those that are service and retail based (stores, restaurants, etc.) and those that are purely offices. It is important to preserve the parking needed for the service businesses close to their place of business. In addition to needing the parking for customers, these are the businesses that often have part time, lower paid employees who will be disproportionately affected by any increase in the cost of parking.

@Craig - While you have some good ideas, for the highly paid tech workers in Downtown PA, time is money. There are very few full time tech workers that will take the time to get to CalTrain "via buses and light rail and BART" instead of driving. The more modes of transportation people are forced to use to get somewhere, the more likely they are to drive.



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Posted by Craig Laughton
a resident of College Terrace
on Dec 16, 2013 at 4:31 pm

>There are very few full time tech workers that will take the time to get to CalTrain "via buses and light rail and BART" instead of driving. The more modes of transportation people are forced to use to get somewhere, the more likely they are to drive.

I know a number of them that use CalTrain, from SF and Berkeley and other East Bay places. It saves them time (traffic issues) and money, especially if they do not bother to own a car. If they choose to drive into PA for work, they should expect to a pay a high premium for doing so.


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Posted by Jim Hols
a resident of Community Center
on Dec 16, 2013 at 4:49 pm

Downtowner had a very practical solution. I'd add one more idea

- Charge a special business tax or alternative to find a way to extract more money out of any building landlord that has less parking than business tenant needs. Pay per parking space short. This would be one more incentive to build buildings with more parking.

So that you don't have to search for downtowner's idea I will copy it here. I think tt's the best on this thread.

"Residents should be able to park for free in front of or very near their homes. 2 free permits per household, renewable annually. One side of each street is reserved for residential permit parking only. The other side of the street is 3 hours maximum time, then a ticket. This will help eliminate the CalTrain riders who park free on neighborhood streets instead of in CalTrain's lots.

The cost of a permit for all-day parking in City lots & garages is less than $10 a week. Employees & business owners who complain about that probably spend at least $10 a week for coffee & donuts. Buy a permit. Short-term employees? The business owner can buy permits to allocate as needed. Visitors for lunch & a bit of shopping, or a salon appointment? 3 hours is adequate, and free.

Give no more exemptions or reductions in parking requirements for new office/commercial buildings. If the employees & anticipated clientele can't be accommodated within the on-site parking, the building is too big. Say "No." It will be a new experience to say "No" to Jim, John, Chop, Tim, Steve et al., but it's overdue & necessary."


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Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Dec 16, 2013 at 5:12 pm

Once again, Jim Hols (and others) don't get the fact that many people want to park all day just a couple of times a month. They don't get the fact that there are no pay per hour machines in city lots and garages. Saying that it costs less than $10 a month to park all day, every day, doesn't help if you are infrequently parking all day or if you don't always use the same card.

I live here and find it difficult to park all day on the few occasions I need to. There is no way that visitors to town are going to work out the very complicated parking system in Palo Alto. It is a case of when in doubt, park nearby on the street.

Getting people to pay for the necessary hours on a day by day basis, not needing to buy a permit, is never, ever discussed. Putting residential permits in the downtown neighborhoods is not going to help those who need to park all day - particularly visitors.

This system is just much too complicated.


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