PALO ALTO, Calif. - A controversial proposal to drastically raise the cost of parking in one Peninsula city was approved Tuesday night. It's something that will affect hundreds of people who work in downtown Palo Alto.
City leaders hope, by raising prices, it will discourage people from driving their own cars to work.
Parking in downtown Palo Alto is a problem. The economy is booming. It's getting congested and city leaders want more people to take mass transit. As part of the city budget, the price of an annual parking permit for the California Avenue District would increase from $149 to $365 -- a 145 percent increase.
Annual parking permits for downtown would go up from $466 to $730 -- a 57 percent increase.
"What we're hoping to do is incentivize people and provide ways other than driving their own car," said Palo Alto spokesperson Claudia Keith.
The city's finance committee told the city council that Palo Alto has been undercharging people, and says other Bay Area cities charge double. The money raised would go to a nonprofit that offers businesses discounted transit tickets to give new employees.
"It's different ways to help employees get to work and maybe not drive solo," Keith continued.
You can park for free for two hours in most spots on California Ave., to park longer a daily or annual permit is needed. Some say those are already hard to get.
"There's a one-year waiting list and there's like 200 people on the waiting list so we're going to be waiting a while," said Palo Alto business owner Chris Tobias.
So it's yet to be seen if higher prices will result in fewer people requesting parking permits and more people using transit or carpooling.