Old Palo Alto gets residential permit parking and city takes next step toward ending free parking downtown

On October 21, City Council unanimously approved a new residential preferential parking, or RPP, program for an approximately seven-block area of Old Palo Alto, on the east side of the California Avenue bicycle and pedestrian underpass, that has been overrun with commuter parking. Under the new RPP, residents within the RPP zone will be allowed to purchase up to five parking permits for $50 each. No permits will be available to non-residents and those parking in the zone without permits will be limited to a maximum of 2 hours. Under the program, several surrounding residential blocks are eligible to join the RPP zone in the event parking congestion spills over onto their blocks.

On October 28, City Council took a step forward to advance extensive reforms to the city’s parking system, including a parking guidance system to display real-time downtown parking occupancy information and development of a Parking Action Plan to implement 35 recommendations presented in the city’s May 2019 Residential Preferential Parking Program Review, including the recommendation to pursue paid parking downtown. Under contract amendments approved on the council’s consent calendar, parking consultants Dixon Resources will plan, manage installation, and evaluate occupancy indicators and data to support the parking guidance system, develop the Parking Action Plan, and support the process to secure council approval. 

In addition to paid parking downtown, the Action Plan will address parking permit management, wayfinding, and Transportation Demand Management measures. The Parking Action Plan will include recommendations about policy and ordinance changes that would be necessary to implement the plan, an outreach strategy, infrastructure and technology recommendations, recommended rate structures and enforcement, maintenance and operations requirements, parking district boundaries, and staffing resources. 

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