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Guest Opinion: Housing over parking lots? Time to look into it

Original post made on Sep 25, 2020

Palo Alto's recent setbacks resulting from the pandemic only reinforce the need to seriously consider the feasibility of using city-owned public facilities parcels as sites to develop affordable housing.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Friday, September 25, 2020, 6:59 AM

Comments (7)

4 people like this
Posted by Jim Colton
a resident of Green Acres
on Sep 25, 2020 at 11:53 am

Jim Colton is a registered user.

David is suggesting something new (at least to me) and sensible. He says it would take a leader. Is he volunteering?

1 person likes this
Posted by mjh
a resident of College Terrace
on Sep 25, 2020 at 1:03 pm

mjh is a registered user.

Can anyone tell me if modern engineering overcome the tendency of buildings with garages on the first floor to "pancake" in an earthquake and would this add to the cost of any housing above? I would love a structural engineer familiar with this kind of construction to comment.

After the Loma Prieta earthquake in 1989 there was a certain amount of comment about the dangers of placing housing on top of garages. While that earthquake shook us up it is nothing to what the next earthquake, either along the San Andreas or the huge Hayward fault running through the east bay, will likely be.

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Posted by Dick D.
a resident of Crescent Park
on Sep 25, 2020 at 1:19 pm

Dick D. is a registered user.

I think the article is great.

Two problems I see:
• Need for leadership; I sorry but we don't seem to have that on our CC – maybe we could hire someone;
• Why stop at a couple of stories since the notion is to put these in places with little residential impact. President Hotel/Apartments (how tall is it – as tall as city hall?) or the building at Cowper and University.
• We've already mixed architectures in a number of places already – how does the Apple store"fit" with the President Hotel/Apartments or how does the Wells Fargo building "fit" with the surrounding area.

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Posted by marc665
a resident of Midtown
on Sep 25, 2020 at 2:03 pm

marc665 is a registered user.

How about just turning all the parking lots into tiny housing? The city clowncil seems intent on banning cars so why do we need parking lots. I'm sure the new garage being built by California Ave could be fitted up with tents and porta-potties and we could house a couple of hundred people.

Same with the garages downtown. With the SIP and no one coming to Palo Alto to work, let's convert all the garages to housing. With Palantir moving out we can use their kitchen on High street to feed everyone. Lots of low cost housing.


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Posted by Pat Burt supports housing on top of parking for years.
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Sep 25, 2020 at 2:30 pm

Pat Burt supports housing on top of parking for years. is a registered user.

Housing on top of parking lots is an idea Pat Burt has been talking about in his campaign.

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Posted by keithbromberg
a resident of Crescent Park
on Sep 26, 2020 at 12:19 pm

keithbromberg is a registered user.

Thank you David Hirsch for bringing together so many elements that require consideration for an idea like this one. I hope that the city council and the planning commission take up this line of inquiry.

1 person likes this
Posted by David L Hirsch
a resident of Crescent Park
on Sep 26, 2020 at 4:49 pm

David L Hirsch is a registered user.

Thanks Keith for your comment. Hoping some Council members, present or future, see the reasonableness of this, and push it forward.

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