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Church gets city's blessing for 'safe parking' program

Original post made on Aug 22, 2022

First Congregational Church of Palo Alto got the green light Monday to launch a "safe parking" program for unhoused individuals after the City Council rejected an appeal from the church's neighbors.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Monday, August 22, 2022, 7:40 PM

Comments (25)

Posted by felix
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Aug 22, 2022 at 8:45 pm

felix is a registered user.

Thank goodness this modest effort was green lighted, and no more attention will fuel the baseless fears and marginalization of low income people expressed tonight by some.

This outcome may now allow neighbors to have the experience others have had at other host sites in town that there is nothing to fear from these new neighbors.
This is a good outcome.


Posted by Anonymous
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Aug 22, 2022 at 9:24 pm

Anonymous is a registered user.

Wait ‘til one is proposed by a VC or VIP’s home; oh, wait, that will never happen.


Posted by Bette Young
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Aug 23, 2022 at 6:28 am

Bette Young is a registered user.

Will this pilot program (if trouble free), give rise to other such parking options throughout the city?

There are a lot of available after hours parking spaces, both public and private.

If the concept is expanded, resident complaints are likely to increase.


Posted by Biff Langely
a resident of Barron Park
on Aug 23, 2022 at 8:43 am

Biff Langely is a registered user.

Transient parking accomodations and subsequent approvals are decided by the PACC.

Resident concerns are apparently immaterial if the overnight parking is on privately owned property such as churches.


Posted by William Streeter
a resident of Woodside
on Aug 23, 2022 at 9:52 am

William Streeter is a registered user.

"This outcome may now allow neighbors to have the experience others have had at other host sites in town that there is nothing to fear from these new neighbors."

^ That remains to be seen as the 'experience' will be highly subjective.


Posted by marc665
a resident of Midtown
on Aug 23, 2022 at 9:58 am

marc665 is a registered user.

[Post removed.]


Posted by Claudette
a resident of Woodside
on Aug 23, 2022 at 10:41 am

Claudette is a registered user.

I hope this works out for all concerned. Are there rules and regulations, other than the hours? Just curious.


Posted by Common sense
a resident of Mountain View
on Aug 23, 2022 at 12:23 pm

Common sense is a registered user.

From last week's pre-decision article, Web Link similar objections re security and background checks ("at times in identical terms") arose last year when another PA church signed up for such a safe-parking program. Yet subsequently there, "neighbors have not expressed any issues about the program since it was implemented last October."

Practical experience never seems to prevent the same rhetoric surfacing again, even verbatim. That's been the recent history with supportive housing proposals locally. I wasn't surprised to read last week about "an anonymous flyer with a list of talking points opposing the program" -- we've seen that in MV too. Another familiar notion, from last week's article comments: "those who do not reside in the immediate proximity of this issue have nothing to say." But when people who *do* live near comparable programs have answered that objection with their reassuring experiences, it's usually ignored or brushed aside. What value have mere facts, against fearful rhetoric?

PA City Council deserves credit for looking beyond the opposition of a small anxious group with "talking points."


Posted by David Fahey
a resident of Menlo Park
on Aug 23, 2022 at 2:01 pm

David Fahey is a registered user.

Perhaps all midpeninsula Christian churches should offer an overnight parking program for transients regardless of any adjacent neighbor concerns.

Jesus would approve.


Posted by Forever Name
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Aug 23, 2022 at 2:34 pm

Forever Name is a registered user.

@ Anna Toledano: "Housing is a human right and, and while this effort doesn't provide true housing, because we still can do better on that, it's a start and the bare minimum of what we can do to protect and secure the right to dignity for everyone in our community," said Anna Toledano, a city resident who is pursuing a doctorate at Stanford University.

Why quote someone who is a "city resident" but isn't a church neighbor and doesn't even live in said neighborhood? Irrelevant. And who gives a hooey if someone is pursuing a Stanford PhD? Also irrelevant. The only people who should be quoted in this article are those who live in the neighborhood. Weak reporting.

If this homeless encampment were proposed in North Palo Alto, which clearly it hasn't for obvious reasons, it would never fly. The homeless will be camping with City Council stamp of approval, along with the high density housing, in South Palo Alto. South Palo Alto is the dumping ground for the City Council for all do-gooder virtue signaling pet projects and Newsom's state mandates for high density housing. (And after voting for Newsom then people complained about his state mandate as though it was a big surprise.) You get what you vote for!


Posted by Melba Jenkins
a resident of Barron Park
on Aug 23, 2022 at 2:48 pm

Melba Jenkins is a registered user.

"Why quote someone who is a "city resident" but isn't a church neighbor and doesn't even live in said neighborhood? Irrelevant. And who gives a hooey if someone is pursuing a Stanford PhD? Also irrelevant. The only people who should be quoted in this article are those who live in the neighborhood."

^ Absolutely as quoting outside commentary and opinions from erudite, 'progressive' do-gooders is is totally pointless especially when the issues don't impact them directly.

It's similar to single childless people telling parents how to raise their own children.

What do they know...nada.


Posted by JH
a resident of Triple El
on Aug 23, 2022 at 3:10 pm

JH is a registered user.

Democracy is dead in Palo Alto. Last night's meeting was just about moving the item from the consent calendar to a full action item hearing at a later date. This would allow a more robust debate.

Councilman Tanaka is spot on. If there is this much controversy about the program, why was the program simply consented to, without more thorough evaluation?

I wonder how many of the council members actually bothered to look at the appeal package.


Posted by Barbara Bolton
a resident of another community
on Aug 23, 2022 at 4:02 pm

Barbara Bolton is a registered user.

"Democracy is dead in Palo Alto."

"Out of touch" with the needs and pressing concerns of Palo Alto residents is perhaps a better phrase.

It is unfortunate the the majority of elected PA council members do not reflect nor address the issues of their constituency.

Perhaps democracy is dead in Palo Alto but all things considered, this is no different than in countless 'democratic' countries where an elected group of individuals travel to the beat of their own drum.


Posted by Chet Walker
a resident of Crescent Park
on Aug 23, 2022 at 4:41 pm

Chet Walker is a registered user.

For this concept to work out, the overnight parkers at the church will need to be model citizens...no drugs/alcohol, no garbage/human wastes strewn about, no noise, and no physical altercations.


Posted by scott
a resident of Fairmeadow
on Aug 23, 2022 at 4:50 pm

scott is a registered user.

The program was already approved by the council. If 3/7ths -not even a majority- had thought the appeal should be considered more, then it would have been. They didn't, and it wasn't.

Representative democracy is working fine. Sometimes you just lose. I have my issues with this council on how they approach the housing shortage, but at least they aren't inhumane about dealing with the homelessness that comes of it. That's something.


Posted by felix
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Aug 23, 2022 at 5:49 pm

felix is a registered user.

To Forever Name, above -
The Congregational Church IS in north Palo Alto. Waaaay in north Paly.
So there’s something you can feel good about.


Posted by Appellant
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Aug 23, 2022 at 6:16 pm

Appellant is a registered user.

Actually “inhumane” is exactly the word I would use. They prioritized the convenience of the priests over the health and welfare of the residents, including the child with asthma, despite several doctors pleading with them to change the location of the parking spots.


Posted by MyFeelz
a resident of JLS Middle School
on Aug 23, 2022 at 7:56 pm

MyFeelz is a registered user.

It's not like it's going to become a version of Burning Man, or an opium den, a repository for fenced goods ... it's going to be a staffed parking lot where people will be SLEEPING. It's not a 24/7/365 party zone. Where do I sign up to help to alleviate neighbors' fears by having more coverage to help the homeless access the services at the church and elsewhere? [Portion removed.)

I would like to help to ensure the car dwellers get a good peaceful night's sleep.


Posted by Hal Roberts
a resident of Leland Manor/Garland Drive
on Aug 24, 2022 at 8:41 am

Hal Roberts is a registered user.

The Cubberley site is the best location for overnight transient parking as there are gym/shower facilities + a multi purpose room and classrooms for pertinent social services.


Posted by Concerned Neightbor
a resident of Triple El
on Aug 24, 2022 at 11:53 am

Concerned Neightbor is a registered user.

Very disappointed in Pat Burt and Eric Filseth. They used to have a reputation for fairmindedness. That reputation is now gone with this unjust vote.


Posted by JH
a resident of Triple El
on Aug 24, 2022 at 3:06 pm

JH is a registered user.

No, it's not staffed. There's some vague promise that a private security guard will drive through once or twice a night. Also, it was said that the police would be "randomly patrolling" the lots. Pardon my skepticism about that happening often.

Move Mountain View is the organization administering this program. They have a website with contact information.


Posted by Gerri Ulrich
a resident of Community Center
on Aug 24, 2022 at 3:45 pm

Gerri Ulrich is a registered user.

Does this now mean that other churches in Palo Alto can offer overnight parking to a limited number of transient
vehicles pending PACC approval?

This will certainly address the growing problem of vagrant cars and RVs parked in various parts of Palo Alto.


Posted by Native to the BAY
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Aug 25, 2022 at 9:21 am

Native to the BAY is a registered user.

@MyFeelz Roberta at public comment invited anyone to Avendidas tomorrow 2-4pm for active plan all things, housing, unhoused, seniors — The struggle is real.


Posted by Bruce Willoughby
a resident of Leland Manor/Garland Drive
on Aug 25, 2022 at 10:03 am

Bruce Willoughby is a registered user.

Let's face it...the majority of Palo Alto residents are becoming exceedingly hostile and unwelcoming towards the homeless population in Palo Alto.

And while they have a right to their opinions and concerns, outside of banishing the homeless to another locale, no one has offered a practical solution to effectively dealing with this issue.


Posted by Concerned Neightbor
a resident of Triple El
on Aug 25, 2022 at 1:54 pm

Concerned Neightbor is a registered user.

California assembly bill 891
Web Link
says that safe parking may include a background check requirement. Many safe parking locations already do, as listed in the appeal.
Not sure why the Planning Department keeps saying it is not allowed.


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