Mountain View pilots free valet parking downtown

MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif. (KGO) -- The city of Mountain View has come up with a creative way to help ease some of the traffic in its downtown core. Officials there have been quietly piloting a free valet parking program. They say so far, it has been a success.

"This has been great. You just pull in, they take the car (and) it doesn't cost anything," said Joel Bakas, a Los Altos resident.

Bakas was among the dozens of drivers Friday afternoon who made use of the city-provided service at Villa and Franklin, which is funded by the downtown parking district.

"On average in the downtown, 30-percent of traffic is attributed to people circling for parking," said Mountain View business development specialist Tiffany Chew, who says the city has been able to provide more parking by using existing space without having to create additional infrastructure.

"For example, a re-striping of a parking lot or building a new parking structure, because that takes time, and a lot of coordination, whereas this program we've been able to ramp up in a short amount of time," Chew added.

The local chamber of commerce says the program has been beneficial for downtown visitors and businesses.

"The more people that have the opportunity to come downtown and do their shopping, or have a drink, get some food, bring your family, is better for us as a community," said Bruce Humphrey, president and CEO of the Mountain View Chamber of Commerce.

The pilot operates on Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays from 11am to 2pm and 5pm to 10pm. Starting in June, the program will expand to a continuous operation between 11am and 10pm on the same days.

"I went by two separate lots, both of which were completely full. So this has been my savior so far," said San Jose resident Steve Wooledge. "We just got to get smarter about our resources and how we maintain that. So any pilot program like this is a great experiment to try and find better ways to grow with the community."
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