After a unanimous vote by the City Council on Monday, Palo Alto will introduce a controversial new permit parking program, which enables neighborhoods to restrict their parking spots to prioritize local residents.
In order to be part of the parking program, neighborhoods will have to petition to a governing body with the proof that their area has at least 75 percent occupancy and will also have to undergo a city staff analysis for high congestion in the area. Afterwards neighborhoods would go through public hearings with area employees.
The decision to implement the program raised numerous criticisms from small downtown business managers and other property owners, whose employees do not live in the area and cannot afford to pay the permit. Several of those who complained believe that the the permit program should be postponed until other transportation options such as shuttles and larger parking garages are put in place.
On the other hand, residents protested that businesses and grocery stores should take some share of responsibility for the amount of traffic and inconvenience they bring to neighborhoods. Residents also have requested that the requirement of 75 percent occupancy in order to qualify for the permit program be brought down to around 50.
The costs of the permits and other details have yet to be finalized.