Palo Alto officials may increase parking fees

PALO ALTO, Calif. (KGO) -- Palo Alto will vote Tuesday night on a controversial proposal to drastically increase the cost of parking in the heart of Silicon Valley.

If approved, commuters, workers and shoppers will all have to dig much deeper into their wallets.

Parking is a problem in Palo Alto, especially for workers and their employers. "People have to basically move every two hours or we have to pay that $8 daily, and the free parking is basically impossible," Trip Actions owner Chris Tobias said.

Trip Actions is a corporate travel business in the California Avenue District. You can park for free in most spots for two hours in the area, but if you want to stay longer without getting a ticket, you must buy a daily permit or an annual permit.

The problem is if you want a parking permit, it's 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 for a while," Tobias said.

The Palo Alto City Council will decide if the price of parking permits will go up.
The finance committee is recommending some big increases and if they're approved by the city council, annual parking permits for the California Avenue District would go from $149 to $365, a 145-percent increase.

Annual parking permits for downtown would go from $466 to $730, a 57-percent increase.

Daily permits would also increase to $25 for California Avenue and downtown Palo Alto.

The city says the justification for the changes include bringing the cost closer to what other cities charge in the region and also reduce cars and increase public transportation use.

However, businesses like Benjamin Moore said the cost of a bad parking situation is high, and can keep customers away. "If they want to have lunch or they come in here and shop, the meter maid is constantly monitoring their parking space. Where I've seen people get tickets. It's not good," Benjamin Moore employee Sandra Hernandez said.

The council meeting starts at 5 p.m. on Tuesday.

Click here for more information on the parking fee increases.
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