Council poised to expand parking permit territory

BY JEN NOWELL
Daily Post Correspondent

Another Palo Alto neighborhood may soon join the city’s residential parking permit program in an effort to curtail the number of workers now parking on its streets.

Palo Alto City Council meets tonight (Oct. 21) to vote on whether to add the Old Palo Alto neighborhood near the intersection of Alma Street and Oregon Expressway to the city’s parking program.

This neighborhood is a far cry from the busy downtown and California Avenue areas, but in August 2018, the city received a request from residents to join the parking permit program due to parking struggles from employees of neighboring businesses on the west side of the train tracks and Caltrain commuters, according to a city report.

In August of this year, city officials sent out 93 surveys to homeowners in the neighborhood, and out of the 55 surveys the city received back, 49 were in favor of permit parking, the city’s report stated.

If the proposed area is added to the city’s permit parking program, two-hour, on-street parking would be allowed Monday through Friday between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. Only cars with a valid permit could park for longer than two hours.

Residents would be able to purchase up to five annual hang tag permits for $50 each, and they could also purchase up to 50 daily guest permits a year for $5 each.
Enforcement would begin next month, if council approves the new area.

The proposed program for the Old Palo Alto neighborhood resembles the parking permit programs already set up around downtown and in the Evergreen Park, Mayfield and Southgate neighborhoods.

City Council approved the development of a city-wide residential parking permit program in December 2014, which included the establishment of a new residential parking permit district in the neighborhoods surrounding downtown and California Ave.

Program has expanded since its start in 2015

The downtown residential parking permit program was one of the first areas granted approval, and after months of delays, enforcement began in October 2015.

Since that time, the area has expanded several times as downtown employees have simply parked farther from work to avoid having to buy permits.

The current enforcement area stretches from Palo Alto Avenue to Embarcadero Road and from Alma Street to out past Guinda Street.

In January 2017, council agreed to expand its residential parking permit program to the Evergreen Park and Mayfield neighborhoods, between El Camino Real and the Caltrain tracks and from Page Mill Road to Park Boulevard.

And in June 2017, council voted to start a parking permit program in the Southgate neighborhood near Palo Alto High School. At the time, residents in this area said they struggled with parking due to an overflow of parking by students and faculty from the high school and Stanford.

The cost

It is estimated the new program in the Old Palo Alto neighborhood would bring in about $14,000 a year in revenue from permit sales and parking citations, which would partially offset the cost of the new program, according to city officials.

About $75,500 is needed to establish the new parking permit program, the city’s report states. This includes $41,000 for permitting services and enforcement.

The recommended permit area includes:

• Washington Avenue between Alma and Emerson streets;

• N. California Avenue between High and Ramona streets;

• Nevada Avenue between High and Ramona streets;

• Ramona Street between Washington and Oregon avenues;

• Emerson Street between Washington and Oregon avenues; and

• High Street between Washington and Oregon avenues.

Council meets at 6 p.m. in council chambers at 250 Hamilton Ave. At its Aug. 28 meeting, the city’s Planning and Transportation Commission voted to recommend council approve the new parking permit area.

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