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City unveils downtown parking-permit program

Original post made on Sep 25, 2013

For downtown workers, the days of free all-day parking in residential neighborhoods like Professorville and Downtown North may be coming to an end. The city unveiled on Tuesday a long-awaited parking program aimed at freeing up parking spaces at downtown's residential sections.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Tuesday, September 24, 2013, 11:23 PM

Comments (58)

Posted by Wondering?, a resident of Fairmeadow
on Sep 25, 2013 at 8:35 am

Has the City yet to determine the daily demand for parking (by the hour)? It seems that they are just bumbling around in the dark, with having done the requisite research to determine if the parking capacity will ever satisfy the demand.


Posted by Resident, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Sep 25, 2013 at 8:35 am

This program does not solve the problem for occasional all day parking.

Where are the cars causing the problems going to park?

Are they magically going to disappear?

Are these cars going to move just a bit further out of town and cause a parking problem in another neighborhood?

This is just short sightedness.

Make all the city lots and garages pay per hour, put up parking meters, get rid of the color coded nonsense that nobody understands (let alone visitors to the city).

You can't just stop people parking without giving them alternatives. It is obvious that the annual or monthly permits don't work for these drivers. Give them an alternative parking solution that doesn't involve all day every day monthly/yearly parking that can't be shared between different cars.

This narrow minded thinking shows that there is no real understanding of the needs of people who need occasional all day parking, share parking, or visitors' needs.


Posted by Resident, a resident of Downtown North
on Sep 25, 2013 at 8:39 am

Target is "85% parking saturation?"

Right now it's 100%. The city's long-awaited, sweeping plan is a 15% improvement -- can that really be right?


Posted by Bruce, a resident of Barron Park
on Sep 25, 2013 at 8:45 am

This seems a good next step to meet Palo Alto's parking challenges.

Parking zones consistently work for me. I frequently drive downtown to shop or eat. I usually find on-street parking. When I don't, I head to a nearby garage. Five minutes tops to park and get to where I want to go.

What amazes me is that Palo Alto, at the heart of Silicon Valley, has not installed a parking space availability counter, floor by floor and total, in each of its costly garages, common in San Francisco for at least a decade. A Palo Alto parking app could then be made available free to all smart phone users, which is nearly everyone today.

The City could make it a lot easier to find parking in Palo Alto, especially since it costs North of $50,000 to build each space in a garage, and nearby neighborhoods are being flooded with parked cars.


Posted by Anonymous, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Sep 25, 2013 at 9:02 am

Why not give 4 permits to each resident and make the permits transferable? That gives the neighborhoods some control and it compensates the victims of an underparked downtown.

If the neighborhood organizations are smart, they'll set up an exchange, find a revenue-maximizing price and restrict the number of permits they provide to nonresidents.

Giving 40% of the permits to commuters is not right.


Posted by Neilson Buchanan, a resident of Downtown North
on Sep 25, 2013 at 9:03 am

I can say one good thing about the September 24 meeting. Acting Planning Director Aknin is an excellent meeting moderator, a good listener. But this first proposal plan is too complex. College Terrace permit parking works well and it is applicable to downtown neighborhood.

KISS Keep It Simple, Scharff (and Shepherd)

It is time for both the City Manager Jim Keene and Mayor Scharff to step up and manage this hot potato. The key issues and root causes of 1500+ commuter cars parking in two downtown neighborhoods are far beyond the Deputy Planning Director's scope of responsibilities. Permit parking has the potential to be the next "Maybell" for Mayor Scharff and warrants immediate stewardship to define quality standards for University South and Downtown North neighborhoods before plunging into the tedious details presented last night.


Posted by Resident, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Sep 25, 2013 at 9:12 am

Here's some real world scenarios that the parking permit doesn't solve.

A. Employee in downtown company has car trouble and needs to borrow/rent/loan alternative car for a few days.

B. Employee in downtown company decides to carpool with friend who also works downtown and wants to alternate who drives.

c. Employee in downtown uses Caltrain 3 days each week except for when working late/driving school carpool/wants to stay in town for dinner and a movie.

d. Prospective employee having interview and told that there is plenty of 2 hour free parking in town, but wants to spend some time before/after interview looking around the town in which he has never visited and may be working.

e. Employee of another branch of downtown company/client of said company attends 3 hour meeting plus business lunch.

f. South Palo Alto resident has to go to City Hall or Planning Office for business which is likely to take a lot longer than a couple of hours.

g. Downtown employee/ worker who normally rides a bike has surgery which means that biking is not an option for a few weeks.

h. Weekend/evening worker doing some midweek shifts.

I. Hourly worker who never knows how many shifts he will get in Palo Alto from week to week.

j. Carpooler whose carpool ride is away on vacation.

These are all real life reasons why people need to be able to pay per hour and can't.

The list goes on.


Posted by this is a joke, right?, a resident of Crescent Park
on Sep 25, 2013 at 9:43 am

This is a joke. It just pushes all the cars outside of that zone and swamps the neighboring streets. [Portion removed.] They need to sort it out and provide the parking spaces.
If they really want to go this route, create a blanket RPPP across the whole of the city. Don't just push parking problems onto other areas.


Posted by Jared Bernstein, a resident of Professorville
on Sep 25, 2013 at 10:36 am

Both plans seem like overkill. Can we just STOP this program South of Kingsley?? If the folks over in Emerson, Addison, Ramona like this, that's fine, but why impose it on residents in "associate professorville" (Melville, Kellogg, Tasso, Byron, over near Lucie Stern)?


Posted by ken AGAIN, a resident of Professorville
on Sep 25, 2013 at 10:40 am

And the staff and City Council refuse to stop pending development by adopting a moratorium on all construction until these problems are sorted out. Instead they just keep digging the deficit hole deeper, pouring gas on the fire, letting the pot boil over but not turning off the heat (a whole list of comparisons that indicate a either, out and out institutional corruption or just a lack of concern/interest about the root causes of the parking issues and their own lopsided community values that support developers, not the citizens of Palo Alto). Think it is bad now? Wait until the next 1,000 employees start looking for spaces to park.


Posted by solution, a resident of Downtown North
on Sep 25, 2013 at 10:41 am

just charge every downtown land/building owner $2/sf owned and generate $6M and build a new garage exclusively for employees. That's a few hundred cars off the streets. Let the landlords pay over ten years. They will charge their tenants the fee over the same period. The city can further sell permits for cheap to the tenants who use them. Problem solved. The numbers provided by the the anti-developer group, that we need 1500 more spaces, is just plain BS.


Posted by concerned, a resident of Professorville
on Sep 25, 2013 at 10:51 am

the article implies that residents will need to pay for permits to park in front of their own house. as someone who lives in the area i would strongly object to this provision. No one else in palo alto has to pay to park on the street so why should I.

also, the zones as drawn are too broad. They extend all the way down to webster and embarcadero. No one can honestly say that the downtown parking problem reaches out that far or will reach that far in the foreseeable future.

The parking permit system would receive more support if it were reasonably drawn. I live on Kingsley and will fight against this program as it is currently proposed.


Posted by sallyannrudd, a resident of Downtown North
on Sep 25, 2013 at 11:13 am

If 40% of permits are sold to non-residents and the saturation level is held at 85%, it will make little or no difference to me since I'm in a 100% saturation area. The 40% number is too high and the 85% number is too high. This question of neighborhood quality of life is a question for someone above Aaron Aknin's pay grade. City Council should step in now and steer this. I think the basic shape of the program is fine although why they need all these color zones is beyond me. It will just encourage workers to move their cars down the street every 2 hours causing even more slow-moving cars in residential areas crawling for parking spots. They should just implement the College Terrace plan, where its 2 hours or permit and be done with it. Plus, pay to park in downtown lots so all the hundreds of workers who work a few hours a week have somewhere to park.


Posted by this is a joke, right?, a resident of Crescent Park
on Sep 25, 2013 at 11:13 am

Everyone with an RPPP needs to pay. You either park for free with no RPPP, or you pay for the RPPP. The cost of the permit should cover the cost of enforcing the program offset by violation receipts.
The rest of the city shouldn't need to pay to enforce YOUR RPPP. I also have strong objections to removing the "revenue neutral" provision from RPPPs. Is CT's RPPP still revenue neutral? I haven't seen a recent update on that.


Posted by Mr.Recycle, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Sep 25, 2013 at 11:40 am

@concerned The problem may not extend to webster and embarcadero today, but if it isn't included in the program, people will just drive over there to park. Take the permit program now or else you'll be fighting for it in a few years when you can't park in front of your house.


Posted by tired of the drama, a resident of Professorville
on Sep 25, 2013 at 11:48 am

I really don't see how either of these plans makes things better for residents or employees. In fact, they would both drastically reduce the places I could park in my neighborhood. I presume if your residence is in zone 12, you could only park in zone 12 with your permit. So with either plan I would have to pay for the privilege of being able to park in my neighborhood and wouldn't be able to park half a block from my house (where the parking is usually plentiful and is easily accessible with the one way streets) because it's in a different zone.

Come on guys -- parking around here, even during the business day just isn't that bad. You might not be able to park right in front of your house -- but except for on sundays when church is in session I *never* have to park more than a block away. That's just the usual price of living near a retail area...


Posted by chris, a resident of University South
on Sep 25, 2013 at 12:03 pm

Tired of the Drama,

Tell us where you live so we can let everybody know where to park.


Posted by John Murphy, a resident of another community
on Sep 25, 2013 at 12:05 pm

Don't forget...


If you build a bunch of additional garages downtown, you also need to build the roads those cars come in on.... They don't fly in on magic carpets...


Posted by Resident, a resident of Crescent Park
on Sep 25, 2013 at 12:05 pm

So our council has just turned Crescent Park or at lease all of it between Guinda and the crescent streets into a parking lot.


Posted by concerned, a resident of Professorville
on Sep 25, 2013 at 12:15 pm

re. Mr Recycle. I notice that you reside in the Duveneck area with is NOT covered by this permitting process. First, I have to ask: why isn't that area (along with Crescent Park and adjacent areas to the east of downtown) covered?

The permit zones assume that someone working downtown will park 10 blocks south of university (the distance between university and webster and the outer edge of the zone near webster and embarcadero), but they won't venture east past guinda, which is a scant 3 blocks from the same corner at webster and university. That seems to be a false assumption.

if the city is going to create these zones they should at least extend out in a concentric circle from the epicenter of the parking problem, wherever that is. As drawn they go way south, but hardly at all east. why is that?


Posted by Downtowner, a resident of Menlo Park
on Sep 25, 2013 at 1:40 pm

If the parking permits for residents hang from rear view mirrors, as they do in Redwood City, most of the A - J hypotheticals by "Resident, . . .another PA neighborhood" become non-issues. Carry it with you, just as handicapped placards get moved around.

One of my relatives lives west of El Camino near Sequoia H.S. & has resident parking tags - each resident gets 2, so a visitor can use the 2nd one. 2 residents at 1 address would get 4 placards. Simple & it's worked well for years.


Posted by Downtowner, a resident of Menlo Park
on Sep 25, 2013 at 1:51 pm

My above comment posted too soon -

With residents protected by placards, time limits for remaining parking can be extended to 3-4 hours. Employers can be given a certain limited number of permits for use by employees, based on business license fees or determined by # of employees, renewable annually & allocated on a temporary basis by the employer according to individual need.

Even metered downtowns have limits on maximum times allowed. Full-time all day workers need to pay to park, other than in front of homes.


Posted by CrescentParkAnon., a resident of Crescent Park
on Sep 25, 2013 at 1:53 pm

If I had to guess I'd say this is going to push cars elsewhere, including putting more parking pressure on downtown ... thus the real agenda is going to come out ... they will install parking meters and have lots more money to throw around to their buddies.

Most of the objections here are pretty lame. Yes there are some inconveniences about parking permits so people will have to solve them. I do think other neighborhoods will get the overflow ... but from what I have seen there are no places in the downtown vicinity that have extra parking places.

The city should already have commissioned and built another parking structure ... I cannot say how happy I am for these parking structure that always have open spaces available. In my opinion these are the answer.

And the infrastructure to count and display the open spaces is going to be must pretty soon with more cars coming in, but even without that as the middle or Silicon Valley we ought to have this capability and maybe led signs around town directing people to open parking spaces.


Posted by Resident, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Sep 25, 2013 at 1:55 pm

Downtowner,

I agree for residential permits, but I was actually referring to the annual/monthly permits in city garages. These ones are non transferrable and are the ones the city usually cites as solving our parking woes.

I can't see how this suggested system will make a big difference when the real problems are not being addressed. It will not help me with my occasional all day parking needs in downtown and it will not help someone who has short notice parking needs.

We need hourly parking, and this will not provide that.


Posted by Liberty, a resident of University South
on Sep 25, 2013 at 1:55 pm

This could be the stupidest thing I've ever seen.

The downtown parking system is broken and causing all kinds of parking issues. So let's expand it!?

Start by improving the downtown parking permit system so that it is possible for carpoolers, part timers, and people who switch between mass transit and driving to park. If we don't fix that, they have no choice but to park in the neighborhood.


Posted by Cornwallis, a resident of Professorville
on Sep 25, 2013 at 3:10 pm

This is two decades overdue! What in the world took the powers that be so darn long???

How about parking permits for every household in town, AND the folks who work downtown. Let the out-of-towners pay!


Posted by Downtowner, a resident of Menlo Park
on Sep 25, 2013 at 3:47 pm

Cornwallis - lots of folks who work downtown ARE out-of-towners. Make up your mind.

Resident - thanks for clarifying.

I still think downtown residents need parking permits/id's to avoid having their proximate curb spaces co-opted by downtown workers, whether the workers are there for 4 or 8+ hours. Those permits should be free but have to be renewed every 12 months.

It's also bad at night, when downtown revelers and late-night workers noisily retrieve their cars parked at curbs outside residents' bedroom windows.


Posted by this is a joke, right?, a resident of Downtown North
on Sep 25, 2013 at 4:16 pm

@Mr.Recycle,
"The problem may not extend to webster and embarcadero today, but if it isn't included in the program, people will just drive over there to park."
Exactly! Both proposals are fundamentally flawed.
Moving parking problems to other areas is not a solution. Solving the problem through RPPP will only work if the RPPP is extended to make it difficult to walk downtown.
Guinda is is within walking distance to downtown. Any RPPP proposal needs to extend to at least Chaucer.


Posted by Not an issue, a resident of Community Center
on Sep 25, 2013 at 4:28 pm

"It's also bad at night, when downtown revelers and late-night workers noisily retrieve their cars parked at curbs outside residents' bedroom windows."
How would you know, downtowner, since you live in menlo park.
And they all make noise??? Sounds like another palo alto exaggeration


Posted by park down the street, a resident of Downtown North
on Sep 25, 2013 at 4:34 pm

Make all the city lots and garages pay per hour, put up parking meters, get rid of the color coded nonsense that nobody understands (let alone visitors to the city).

i agree

also, instead of building more offices, the city should build more parking and stop wasting more time and money with these hokey permit plans

this is getting so convoluted that it is becoming difficult to understand the ifs and whens and wheres you can and cannot park. if you live near a downtown area anywhere in the country, you are not guaranteed to be able to park in front of your dwelling. it's just a fact. use your driveway and stop whining. use your time and energy to push the city to build more parking, not a band aid approach. it will never solve the basic problem. the city needs more parking spaces where they appropriately belong.


Posted by Juno, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Sep 25, 2013 at 5:04 pm

I support the idea of installing parking meters. Downtown Redwood City seems to have found a good formula. I visited a few times recently, and found that parking garages that are pay garages (after 2 hours of parking) are full to capacity. But you can still find plenty of metered parking on the street, and a quarter buys you a full hour, if I remember correctly. Unlike Downtown San Jose (kind of like a ghost town), where 25 cents gets you less than 5 minutes of parking (how do they expect drivers to carry so many quarters in their pockets?) Bottom line: I avoid downtown San Jose as much as I can. Redwood City is much more inviting.

Setting the right price seems to be key. Meters would help with the enforcement.


Posted by Parking Stripe , a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Sep 25, 2013 at 6:29 pm

Interesting....and Mr. Alsman, who is quoted in the article, happens to have a background in real estate development. Has he always shared the opinion he opined? Or did he benefit from the subsidies he now decries?


Posted by no solution, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Sep 25, 2013 at 6:41 pm

Overflow parking has pushed down Hamilton past Guinda. This plan will just extend it further down Hamilton into Crescent Park.
The building at 524 Hamilton underparked with just 8 spaces was completed last year and the one under construction at 537 Hamilton
is also underparked. Anybody wanting to get further insight into
how we got into this situation should read the staff report to the
ARB for 524 Hamilton explaining the parking requirements for
that project with a recommendation for approval.


Posted by jim, a resident of Crescent Park
on Sep 25, 2013 at 6:57 pm

A Little History

Back in the 50's the Stanford Shopping Center opened with the fancy shops and acres of free parking. The fancy shops and free parking killed downtown Palo Alto which had parking meters and retail shops only.

The retailers demanded free parking and parking lots. Many buildings had to be torn down and some retailers lost their businesses or had to move further away from University avenue. Almost all of the parking lots in use today date from those days.

Downtown parking problems are the result of non-retail businesses invading downtown Palo Alto with lots of employees and insufficient parking included in the new buildings. These businesses were not part of downtown in the old days. Now downtown needs these workers to survive - the classic catch 22.


Posted by Downtowner, a resident of Menlo Park
on Sep 25, 2013 at 7:35 pm

@ Not an issue -

I know for 2 reasons:
1) I used to live in downtown PA, on Bryant;
2) I am currently a participatory grandmother of an infant & a toddler who live in downtown PA, on Cowper. I volunteer my help sometimes to my son & daughter-in-law as a babysitter when they want to go away for a weekend or have a late evening in SF or Berkeley.

I do believe I am at least as qualified to comment on the problem as you are, from your Community Center neighborhood. When have you ever spent a night in Downtown PA?


Posted by Midtown, a resident of Midtown
on Sep 25, 2013 at 10:46 pm

I think we need 27 zones. Come on, only in Palo Alto. This is simple, hand out free permits to residents, and make all of PA two hour parking once a day for everyone else and put meters in for all day parking in the garages and lots or permits by the month. Any car with a permit not registered in PA gets a ticket or towed. Residents get guest permits that can only be used a limited number of times per car.


Posted by CrescentParkAnon., a resident of Crescent Park
on Sep 26, 2013 at 12:58 am

> Bottom line: I avoid downtown San Jose as much as I can. Redwood City is much more inviting.

And Palo Alto is much more inviting still, without all that parking meter nonsense ... parking meters just put money into the hands ... most likely of the people posting here in favor of them.

Just build another parking garage and quit trying to put more friction in people's lives.


Posted by Former Downtown Worker, a resident of Crescent Park
on Sep 26, 2013 at 1:48 am

For the last 10 years, I came downtown 2-3days/week to work a shift in a store as an outside vendor. It was fine until the last couple years when I'd come in during the week but I found parking sometimes a good 15-20 minute walk from the store. No biggie as I could leg it. Not so fine was the hostile homeowners who threw trash cans at me that they left on the curb (which I moved to behind my car so they'd be picked up). Or the homeowners who'd put illegal cones in front of their homes with notes on my car saying "please allow space for disabled homeowner"--when the handicapped spot was just 20 ft. across the street.

It got really ugly earlier this year. Whole Foods, Starbucks, Peets, Cheesecake Factory, even Apple, and other service-oriented businesses are not about to provide parking for their hourly employees. These service oriented businesses actually produce revenue for the city in their sales taxes. Other high tech companies provide parking, as I found out when I interviewed with one recently.

The only way to ensure everybody pays their fair share is to turn the entire downtown from the Creek to Embarcadero and Alma to Middlefield (or Guinda) into permit parking. Or put meters that take credit cards in downtown and permits elsewhere. Specific areas would have extended parking. There was no way for me to afford to permit park and work in Downtown with the current system. I suspect hundreds of hourly workers will be in the same boat, which is why Whole Foods is fighting this. They can't staff their store if this happens. Or it costs more to have a store in downtown than they make in revenue.

I don't do this job any more as the store closed our booth. I don't miss the parking mess that downtown has become. Even to just go to my bank or have a bit to eat is a hassle.


Posted by Furious, a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Sep 26, 2013 at 9:26 am

The talentless commercial developers, and destroyers of the ambiance of Palo Alto, should be required to build underground parking sufficient to handle the cars of the workers in the new building. The city council has been awful stewards of this town. The ARB should be given their walking papers. The staff at city hall is inept. Palo Alto has been ruined in the past two years.
P.S. The city council should give up their cushy 24 hour private parking spots in the city hall garage.


Posted by Paly Parent, a resident of University South
on Sep 26, 2013 at 11:00 am

The extensive area this program proposes to cover is ridiculous. My street is in the coverage area--we do not get parking from downtown, and I think all these fears of "overflow" are overblown--nobody who works downtown is going to walk 20 minutes or so to get to their workplace. I see this as a burden on residents who will have to scramble for guest parking passes to host any kind of daytime gathering, keep track of our own parking passes, and, it appears, to be charged for parking on our own streets. Ridiculous and unfair. Unless Palo Alto plans to charge every resident in town for parking on their own streets, this is discriminatory and unreasonable. The solution to the parking problem is not in the residential neighborhoods--it's downtown. Build another garage; don't turn our streets into paid parking lots.


Posted by Craig Laughton, a resident of College Terrace
on Sep 26, 2013 at 11:03 am

I am pleased to hear that RPPPs are being seriously considered for various Downtown neighborhoods. The RPPP that was initiated in College Terrace has been effective. CT is a leader on neighborhood issues in Palo Alto. I hope our example will be helpful to other neighborhoods.


Posted by Resident, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Sep 26, 2013 at 12:26 pm

Craig

Your suggestion that a cc of College Terrace would work downtown is wrong.

The College Terrace situation was caused by Stanford parking and presumably those that used to park in your neighborhood were able to find satisfactory parking elsewhere.

Downtown is very different. There is no hourly parking for anyone who wants to park for more than 2 hours without lots of hassle. Casual visitors to downtown are not able to find alternatives near their destination due to the city having no sensible parking practices. It is the city that has to get their act together to provide parking at an hourly rate for those who want it, not permits or monthly/annual permits which are non-transferrable and complicated zones all over town that nobody will understand unless they use them everyday.


Posted by Craig Laughton, a resident of College Terrace
on Sep 26, 2013 at 1:00 pm

Resident,

Each neighborhood has its own specific parking issues. However, a RPPP can be very effective in focusing some minds. Businesses Downtown MUST consider parking for their employees as part of the cost of doing business. If this means more Downtown parking structures (with paid parking permits), or public transit vouchers (e.g. Cal Train) or satellite parking lots with transfer buses, then let it be. However, residential neighborhoods should NOT be overwhelmed. We, in CT, have been there, and we eventually figured it out.

The bottom line is that nothing will happen until RPPPs come into force, with significant fines for violations.

To Paly Parent:

> nobody who works downtown is going to walk 20 minutes or so to get to their workplace.

They will bring their bicycles on the back of their cars and ride in...no need to walk.


Posted by Juno, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Sep 26, 2013 at 1:53 pm

Sure, I prefer free parking. Redwood City's shopping centers and Costco and Grocery Outlet provide free on-site parking, and I frequent these retail places. But paying 25 cents for an hour of parking is not a barrier to my venturing to downtown Redwood City. For me, knowing that I can easily find nearby street parking for 25 cents is a plus. On the other hand, I haven't purchased anything of note in Downtown Palo Alto for over 10 years. I and many other Palo Alto residents do no shopping or dining in downtown Palo Alto any more. I'd hardly describe downtown Palo Alto as inviting.


Posted by this is a joke, right?, a resident of Crescent Park
on Sep 26, 2013 at 2:29 pm

"We, in CT, have been there, and we eventually figured it out."
As stated, CT is a island. You can push all the parking out of CT without impacting the next neighborhood. ie: Back onto Stanfard or the business park.
Any pushback from Downtown and University South impacts Crescent Park, Community Center, Old Palo Alto, Preffessorville,... it's a knock-on effect with no good solution. Guinda is a couple of minutes from downtown. Extending it south to Embacadero but east to just below Middlefield makes absolutely no sense.
Any RPPP is just going to create a bigger mess unless it covers all of the neighborhoods.
The current proposal is just dumb unless you can push the parking out of area. Pushing it onto the next neighborhood solves nothing. Then you need to do it properly to stop the overnight parking from Menlo Park at Chaucer.


Posted by Jeff Roughgarden, a resident of Woodside
on Sep 26, 2013 at 3:13 pm

I just started this past Tuesday at a California Avenue company and have to commute from Redwood City. I am completely confused by the parking situation in Palo Alto.

If I arrive past 8:00AM, my only choice is to park at the CalTrain lot for $5 per day. The monthly parking is not available unless you buy a monthly train ticket, so it will amount to $110/month for 22 days.

If I try to save the $5, I have to arrive by 7:45AM, which I did for the first time today, and found what I hope is a legal spot. If I find I have a violation when I go home today, I may just have to give up driving to work to Palo Alto. Instead, I'd pay $126/mo for a monthly CalTrain ticket, plus $30/mo for monthly parking in RWC and take the 12 minute train ride. The problem is the trains are an hour apart.

I find it pretty annoying to have to pay $1000 to $1200 per year to work in Palo Alto. Redwood City has plenty of parking at $30 to $60 for monthly permits, depending on location. Plus we have hourly parking that can be refreshed via wi-fi or smartphone. We also have frequent train service, but not to California Avenue.


Posted by Craig Laughton, a resident of College Terrace
on Sep 26, 2013 at 3:24 pm

>Any RPPP is just going to create a bigger mess unless it covers all of the neighborhoods.

It SHOULD cover all the neighborhoods in PA, eventually. That is what eventually came to be in Davis, Ca. UC Davis makes a ton of money by paid metered parking. The town of Davis controls its parking via RPPPs (with steep fines), throughout the town, along with parking garages. It seems to work well. We could have the same thing here. This is not rocket science...it is a matter of political will.

Parking issues have become such a big concern in PA that we should just consider parking solutions as an essential public government function, similar to police and fire and parks.

College Terrace initiated it, now it is time for it to spread, even if it is somewhat different in each neighborhood.


Posted by Craig Laughton, a resident of College Terrace
on Sep 26, 2013 at 3:39 pm

>I find it pretty annoying to have to pay $1000 to $1200 per year to work in Palo Alto.

So work somewhere else, or have your employer pay for your commute costs.


Posted by permanent damage, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Sep 26, 2013 at 5:43 pm

Just reviewing these posts shows how difficult it is to deal with
a parking overflow problem of this magnitude and scale and which is
growing. This is not just one area or neighborhood and any action
taken has a reaction. Our City Council and staff have been so wreckless and negligent over many years as this problem grew and was
ignored that the City has been permanently damaged whatever is done from this point on in dealing with this. It was a rigged game for the developers.


Posted by Sponge, a resident of Midtown
on Sep 26, 2013 at 5:52 pm

"so work somewhere else, or have your employer pay for your commute costs."
Easy for someone that has been on welfare for years to say.


Posted by Sunshine, a resident of Barron Park
on Sep 26, 2013 at 10:11 pm

Most of the lots in the areas mentioned are large enough for a driveway. Residents of the area can park in their driveways. Why not?
Instead they want to block shoppers from finding parking when they go downtown. Many shoppers choose to park in neighborhoods near downtown or California ave because they know they may be there more than 3 hours, the garage limit. Apparently residents near downtown want to keep out many who want to use downtown services and shop.
At 70+ I'm a but beyond riding a bike downtown and if I have many things to shop for I don't want to have to carry them for the whole time I'm downtown.
I guess I'll just have to forget about shopping downtown. I can still drive so I can always go somewhere else.


Posted by katie, a resident of College Terrace
on Sep 27, 2013 at 11:01 am

does anyone see what will happen to california avenue when the city reduces lanes. what then? we will be battling this also for california avenue area. PLEASE make them stop and instead just repave, restripe and replace some old fixtures!!! i'm just on the other side of the street and i have seen the changes and the changes to come. please community step up!


Posted by PA Resident Member, a resident of Leland Manor/Garland Drive
on Sep 28, 2013 at 1:30 am

Of course parking downtown is a problem for:visitors who bring $$ into OUR city; for residents who might want to shop in OUR city; for employees who may not be able to afford the parking spaces on the $7.50/hr minimum wage they earn; for the residents in the DT neighborhood & their friends /family. So if you can afford a $2+ million house you should be required to build your own underground parking & leave the rest of us some parking spaces.; how about asking Arrillaga to really do something for PA-build a build a MASSIVE parking garage and people can walk to DT-yes with their feet; how about more frequent shuttle buses, daytime, weekends and evenings & in more neighborhoods; how about no more buildings on Alma; how about better/safer bike lanes & mayabe fewer parking problems might exist.


Posted by stephen levy, a resident of University South
on Sep 29, 2013 at 10:57 am

stephen levy is a registered user.

With increased growth Bay Area communities including Palo Alto are dealing with incorporating more jobs, people, housing and associated parking and traffic increases. Parking, which was formerly easy to provide free of cost to users, is now a scarce and expensive resource in dense areas like downtowns.

As with housing and office space the major response to additional parking will be in structures, above or below ground—not wide open single story parking lots.

There are three payment or cost allocation challenges. Asking property owners to bear the cost of parking facilities for new structures addresses one of the challenges. But it does not address the challenge of existing parking shortages or those that will occur not connected to a large new property development. The other challenge that remains is how to manage and allocate existing parking spaces.

I am interested in hearing whether posters are interested or willing to share in the costs of new structures or other ways to eliminate the existing parking shortage and provide parking for growth that cannot realistically be tied to any specific new project.

Are posters willing to support a bond for new parking structures, a partial bond supplemented by parking fees, increased parking fees in general, bond or user pay funding for a satellite parking facility with shuttles?

As far as non office related parking, there are many places where parking comes with a charge, but businesses "validate" and pay the customer's charges. The same can be true for employee parking fees.

We have all gotten accustomed to the parking charges at airports and in downtown San Francisco. As we grow, parking is becoming a scarce resource and expensive to expand in more and more places.

It is a shared problem and we need to find solutions that go beyond "the other dude should pay for it" only approaches.


Posted by Underparked developments, a resident of Crescent Park
on Sep 29, 2013 at 6:29 pm

This is a false statement:
>provide parking for growth that cannot realistically be tied to any specific new project.<
Every underparked new building increases the problem. Underparked buildings already in existence have created the problem. They should bear the majority of the cost of a solution.
Only recently the council approved UNDERparking for the Lytton Gateway huge office building. I don't want to contribute to the problem created by billionaires. They make big money off of underparking. Need to calculate how much, and contribute it to a solution.
It sounds so fair "we all should share." Rubbish.They should clean up their own mess.


Posted by Steve Raney, a resident of Crescent Park
on Sep 30, 2013 at 3:17 pm

This thread is really helpful for identifying many of the different issues involved for different stakeholders.

I wonder if there may be a politically viable way to bring Parking Panda ("rent your San Francisco driveway parking space to folks using smartphones") "sharing economy" technology to SOFA and Downtown North to address spillover residential parking (where employees park in front of residences) in a win/win/win/win manner for residents, developers of new projects, workers, and The City. Such a program could dramatically increase the supply of parking, while generating income for residents and The City. Old-fashioned Residential Permit Parking Programs represent a lose/lose/lose/lose solution.

details in an older Weekly thread: Web Link


Posted by stephen levy, a resident of University South
on Sep 30, 2013 at 4:59 pm

stephen levy is a registered user.

In response to my post above someone wrote.


This is a false statement:


>provide parking for growth that cannot realistically be tied to any specific new project.<

I disagree and pose these as a few examples.

Take a previouswly built and occupied retail outlet downtown and soemone new moves in (say to follow a recent thread, a popular sex shop). The increase in parking cannot be tied to any specific new project.

Say someone rents office space downtown and recofigures it to include three times as many employees. The increase in parking cannot be tied to any specific new project.

Say the city introduces music and live performers downtown or on California Avenue and traffic doubles.The increase in parking cannot be tied to any specific new project.

Say residents add a seconbd story or a granny unit and have more kids who drive and they want to go downtown.The increase in parking cannot be tied to any specific new project.

That poster goes on to say.

It sounds so fair "we all should share." Rubbish.They should clean up their own mess.

I disagree again. All parking demand increases are not tied to new commercial development.

I have already said I support having new developments take responsibility for their parking demand.

But that does not make up for the current deficiency or address the situations I mention.

If we keep thinking of challenges as someone elses mess, nothing much will get done and we will avoid acknowledging our collective interest and responsibility. It is easy to say let someone else pay for it but not often helpful in getting solutions to tough problems.

I am not at all sure whether Steve Raney's idea would work, but it is a new approach that avoids blame and seeks a solution of mutual benefit.


Posted by no more subsidies, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Oct 3, 2013 at 12:44 pm

Mr. Levy just doesn't get it with phrases like "with increased growth", "as we grow", "shared problem". The increased growth
was over-development with giveaways to developers which created the existing parking shortage. This growth was not inevitable or
unstoppable- it was subsidized. On the margin he describes increased
parking demand, which could also work in reverse theoretically and is
not a public policy issue. The developers who benefitted from the parking exemptions should now pay for a new garage if not required then voluntarily along with an apology to the community which they have harmed so much. The pendulum swung so far in one direction with irreparable damage that it needs to swing back at least part of the way.The residents have been ripped off, their neighborhoods ruined,
the character and ambiance of the City destroyed. Now Mr. Levy suggests that the residents pitch in and subsidize the developers
some more, who give nothing back to the community.


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