Palo Alto City Council to Consider Parking Issues
The Palo Alto City Council, by unanimous vote, has directed staff to draft an ordinance that establishes a framework for a citywide residential parking permit program that would allow some neighborhoods to restrict parking on their residential blocks. The program would allow residents to purchase permits and establish time limits for all parked cars that don’t have permits.
The parking program is the council’s solution to years of complaints by residents about employees of businesses parking their vehicles on their block. With a parking permit program in place, cars without permits would be subject to two- and three-hour parking restrictions similar to that imposed at downtown parking garages.
Details of the parking program will need to be worked out by city staff, but in order to qualify for a permit program, a neighborhood would have to submit a petition supported by a supermajority of residents. The city would then have to conduct a study and confirm that the neighborhood streets have a high level of congestion. If the neighborhood meets all the criterion, a series of public hearings with area employees will be held before the council approves the neighborhood’s parking permit program.
The parking permit program rules may differ depending on the neighborhood, congestion and surrounding businesses. In some areas employees may receive a share of parking permits. Palo Alto already has two existing but different parking permit programs already in place, at College Terrace and a section of Crescent Park.
The new parking permit proposal is already receiving loud opposition from local businesses, who say before establishing a parking permit program, the city should first work on increasing the city’s parking supply. They say their employees should not be regarded as outsiders because they are important in providing services to the community. The employees can’t afford to live in the city and not all can ride a bike to work or rely on public transportation.
Council members say the residential permit parking program is just one of many parking-related efforts city planners are working on. The council will consider proposals for new parking garages and transportation management programs to provide incentives for carpooling or not using cars downtown.