Pay-by-space parking arrives in Menlo Park


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By Sandy Brundage

Almanac Staff Writer

The city's trial run of pay-by-space meters starts this week in Menlo Park, as part of a new range of options offering people the choice of dashing into a 15-minute spot for a quick errand, or parking up to nine hours at a time for a more leisurely day.

Offering the longest-term options are Plaza 1 (off Oak Grove Avenue near El Camino Real) and Plaza 5 (off Crane and Evelyn streets between Santa Cruz and Menlo avenues). The first two hours of parking would still be free. The third hour would cost $1; the fourth, $1.50, with additional time costing $2 per hour. Drivers can add time by credit card or cell phone.

The city also converted two-hour parking along Santa Cruz Avenue and several intersecting streets to one-hour parking, then added 15-minute spots at strategic corners such as the intersection of Chestnut Street and Santa Cruz Avenue.

Enforcement remains in effect Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., according to the city.

The City Council voted unanimously in July to pay Parkeon $53,364 for six solar-powered pay-by-space meters -- four for Plaza 1 and two for Plaza 5. The meters provide a way for the city to test whether the capability to pay to park longer than two hours will resolve the unhappiness expressed by downtown merchants and their customers, who complain that the current two-hour limit doesn't leave enough time to run errands and enjoy a meal.

At the time of the council vote, Mayor Rich Cline noted that the biggest feedback came from businesses losing customers because they were unable to park for long enough without getting ticketed.

An email sent to the City Council as recently as Oct. 27 bolstered that argument, as a woman notified officials that her next weekly lunch with a friend would be held in Palo Alto after she got a $45 ticket for parking in Plaza 5 twice in one day, even without exceeding the two-hour limit on either stay.

Click here for more information from the city.

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Like this comment
Posted by Gunther Steinberg
a resident of Portola Valley: Ladera
on Oct 31, 2011 at 4:37 pm

Menlo Park had better take care not to become like San Francisco. There, the traffic and parking problems and costs had the result that we almost never go to San Francisco for anything any more.

Like this comment
Posted by Roland Kelly
a resident of Menlo Park: Linfield Oaks
on Nov 1, 2011 at 11:04 am

When will the City Council finally realize that they are driving this city OUT OF business ? A stroll along Santa Cruz Ave and El Camino reveals many vacant premises, defunct businesses starved of customers and for what .. a few extra bucks legally extracted by overzealous Parking Enforcement (I am a Menlo Park resident 17+ years and have not received a ticket (yet) .. I follow the silly rules and keep an eye out for the meter maids..). The City Founders, fellow Irishmen Dennis Oliver and DC McGlynn would turn in their graves if they knew what is being done to their City. Menlo Park/Atherton is one of the wealthiest communities on the planet and yet we are subject to this pettiness ! Unbelievable ..

Roland Kelly , East Creek Dr
Originally, Dublin Ireland

PS. When the City failed to deal with my complaints re the unsightly weeds & dirt at Willow/Bay Shore I contacted Caltrans to improve it and the whole mess at the Hwy 101/Jct.404 Willow Rd W Exit .. Within 4 weeks the issue was resolved … Why cannot the Council do this ? (My e-mails to the Council were met with standard reply..)

PPS. Can we please have suitable signs 'Welcome to Menlo Park' placed at the City Limits and stop this wanton waste of our taxpayer dollars on parking meters.

Like this comment
Posted by Reader
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Nov 1, 2011 at 1:14 pm

The lady who wrote the email won't do any better in downtown Palo Alto -- she'll find it's exactly the arrangement she's complaining about, of 2 hours maximum in any one area, with no return on the same day. It shouldn't be a surprise if you read the signs.

Perhaps, balancing things out, there's someone else complaining to PA about this and threatening to eat henceforth in Menlo Park?

Like this comment
Posted by Laverne
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Nov 1, 2011 at 3:15 pm

I think this is a great idea. Now I can actually park my car for more than 2 hours without having to run out and move it and worry about getting a ticket! Thank you to the City.. finally.

Like this comment
Posted by Peter Oswald
a resident of Atherton: West Atherton
on Nov 1, 2011 at 5:17 pm

The parking situation isn't nearly as much of a debacle as the mess the whole downtown redevelopment plan has been and continues to be...

The cost of the redevelopment plan feasibility study alone alone would have paid for 10 years of parking ticket revenue, had it been axed from the start.

3 hour or more as an option is a step in the right direction.

Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

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