City might bring back developer-friendly parking program

A downtown Palo Alto parking structure.

Daily Post Staff Writer

The city of Palo Alto might start allowing developers of commercial buildings to write a check to the city if they don’t provide the required number of parking spaces.

The program is called “parking in-lieu” and it allows a developer to pay $106,171 for every parking space they were required to put into a building but didn’t.

The program was put on hiatus last year. But now there’s talk of bringing it back to life because nobody is trying to build new offices downtown.

Money from the fees finances parking structures. Last April the city put a temporary ban on allowing commercial projects to pay the fees and get out of building parking.

City Manager Ed Shikada said in a memo to council that the point of the ban was to encourage housing to be built instead of office space. Unfortunately for the city, there were no new applications to build housing or office space.

Shikada said many factors including construction costs and the time it takes to design an application might have influenced the lack of applications.

Now that COVID-19 has redirected the city’s attention, Shikada advised the council not to renew the ban. He said people are unlikely to try to build a lot of office space given the economic downturn caused by the virus.


  1. It’s as if the city is saying to developers, we’ll make it easier for you to put up oversized buildings. Please build downtown because the traffic and housing shortage weren’t bad enough before this covid thing hit. And we’ll slip it by people during a crisis.

  2. Everything for the developers; cuts for the taxpayers. Nothing ever changes here when “charity starts at home” for everyone but the taxpayers

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