Here’s a Solution that no one will like

The City of Palo Alto, CA has a problem. The downtown area doesn’t have enough parking and the employees of downtown are parking in the nearby neighborhoods, which upsets the homeowners. The local parking folks are recommending a residential permit program, which of course ticks off the merchants. You can read all about it here.

I have two potential solutions.

First, why not charge for the parking permits on street in the residential areas. Give each homeowner one free one and charge for the second and so forth. (That will motivate them to clean out their garages which seems to be a problem.) Then sell permits to the employees in the local areas but only for certain hours, say 7:30 AM to 6:30 PM or whatever. Use the money to clean up the neighborhoods (new curbs, lighting, cops, etc). What’s not to like?

Second, you know that big vacant lot on the edge of town? Have the merchants chip in and pave it for their employees and have a shuttle run back and forth to take employees where they need to go. If you don’t fill it, sell parking to others, etc .

Of course the residents don’t want anyone parking in their neighborhood, but if they finally got those new street lights, or the graffiti removed, or whatever, maybe having someone parking in front during the day wouldn’t be so bad.

The merchants are looking to the city to solve their parking problem…why not solve it themselves.  If everyone kicked in a few bucks, who knows, maybe you would have a going concern…Of course everyone would have to kick in and who wants that?

Parking, it isn’t free, its a cost of doing business. And residents — there was a reason that the city required you have a garage next to your house, and it wasn’t for storage.

JVH

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