Rising costs won’t shrink California Avenue garage

Despite escalating budget, City Council votes to stick with the plan for a six-level garage

Palo Alto Weekly – by Gennady Sheyner, January 23, 2018

California Avenue merchants scored a political victory Monday night when Palo Alto officials reaffirmed their plan to construct a garage with two basement levels and more than 600 parking stalls on a Sherman Avenue lot.

By an 8-1 vote, with Adrian Fine dissenting, the City Council voted to reject a staff recommendation to eliminate one of the basement levels as part of a strategy to contain the project’s rapidly rising costs.

California Avenue merchants called the proposed reduction “nothing less than a breach of faith with the business community that has worked collaboratively with the City for so many years on this project.”

Planned Cambridge Avenue development meets opposition

Residents and business owners raise concerns about proposed three-story building

Palo Alto Weekly – by Gennady Sheyner / December 27, 2017

Karen Price, a massage therapist with a practice on Cambridge Avenue, believes the three-story building on her block won’t just change the character of the surrounding area.

It will also, she said Thursday, threaten the character of the city by accelerating the displacement of small, community-serving businesses like her own by tech companies with a global clientele.

Price was part of a group, which included area businesses and residents, who attended the Dec. 21 meeting of the Architectural Review Board to speak out against the project in the California Avenue Business District.

Commission pans parking meter plan

Palo Alto Weekly – by Gennady Sheyner / October 12, 2017

Proposal to overhaul downtown’s parking scheme criticized as premature

Downtown Palo Alto’s move toward parking meters hit an unexpected turn Wednesday night when the city’s Planning and Transportation Commission voted against implementation.

By a unanimous vote, the commission rejected all four options that were presented by transportation staff for overhauling downtown’s parking system. Citing uncertainty about the impacts of parking meters on downtown retail, the commission recommended that the council hold off on approving any plans, pending more outreach to area businesses.

Big changes coming to El Camino Real

Palo Alto Daily Post – Opinion by Editor, Dave Price / September 12, 2017

In Palo Alto, 2018 will be the year of El Camino Real.

City Councilwoman Lydia Kou recently rattled off a list of 11 projects that are in the works for the King’s Highway.

Most of these projects would result in more housing stacked up against the street, 50 feet tall (the city’s height limit). If Palo Alto isn’t careful, El Camino will become a canyon with a street on the bottom and 50-foot walls on either side.

Palo Alto’s brick-and-mortar retailers face steep challenges

Palo Alto Weekly – by Sue Dremann /  July 27, 2017

Downtown Palo Alto stores are struggling with high costs, difficulties in finding employees who will work for minimum or low wage and a parking shortage, among other problems, a panel of business owners said Wednesday morning during a discussion on the future of retail….

Local business rents

I own a fitness club that has been in business for 14 years that was doing fine until our rent was raised 30 percent last year. The landlord wanted to raise it 50 percent and we spent four months negotiating it down.  He told us he was “doing us a favor.”

I have seen many small businesses disappear over the last few years because they simply cannot survive in this environment. The entire character of our downtown is changing and it will continue to do so unless something like rent control can happen.

– resident and Downtown business owner