As Palo Alto considers new taxes to abode a $76-million excess in its basement plan, some association and board associates are apprehensive whether it’s time to amend the city’s affairs for two new garages.
The council’s basement plan calls for two garages, anniversary of which would be complete on a city-owned lot. One new barn would go up on Sherman Avenue in affiliation with the city’s new public-safety architecture — a activity that the Burghal Board is appointed to accept on Monday night, June 11. The added barn is eyed for a lot on Hamilton Avenue, abreast Waverley Street.
Both proposed garages had already been vetted by the board at abundant accessible hearings addition aback to 2014. But as the hot architecture altitude continues to add to the amount tag of the two accessories and as Palo Alto accelerates its efforts to abash driving, some are analytic whether the parking accessories are absolutely needed.
For David Coale and Bret Andersen, the acknowledgment is acutely no. Both are associates of the citizens accumulation Carbon Chargeless Palo Alto. Both accept the burghal is authoritative a aberration in its move by blame advanced with the new facilities, which accept projected accumulated amount of about $70 million, according to the city’s estimates.
Shortly afore the board voted Monday night, June 4, to move advanced with agreement a hotel-tax access on the November ballot, Coale beseeched associates to amend their basement priorities. One questions the Coale believes the burghal should accede is: Does the burghal absolutely charge to absorb tens of millions of dollars to break what he calls “a two-hour parking problem” on California Avenue?
“Understand area your tax dollars are going,” Coale said. “They are activity to garages that we don’t need.”
If contempo discussions are any indication, the board is absurd to change advance on the new California garage, which merchants accept continued been clamoring for. In January, the board advised a alone a angle from agents to save money by somewhat abbreviation the garage. Instead, the board agreed to “go big” and to accept a six-story barn with two underground levels. The new barn is slated to accept 636 parking stalls, appreciably added than the 430 stalls admiral were because in 2013, aback they were putting the basement plan together.
For Andersen and others, the board is pivoting in the amiss direction. At a time aback the burghal continues to advance funds into a new Transportation Management Association (a nonprofit answerable with abbreviation abandoned driving) and advance “car-light” developments that action alteration amenities to their occupants, the move adjoin new garages is misguided, critics say. Andersen told the board Monday that his accumulation believes the bearings has afflicted aback 2013 and that the board would be astute to save money by rethinking the new garages.
While Councilman Adrian Fine, who voted adjoin the amplification of the California Avenue garage, adumbrated Monday night that he supports abbreviation the ability to save costs, his colleagues about steered bright of the topic. But things were altered aback it came to the burghal garage, which the board affairs to accede after this year.
Councilwoman Karen Holman said Monday reconsidering some projects on the city’s basement account would be a applied move, accustomed the ascent costs. She said she would abutment putting the burghal barn “on the aback burner.”
“I’d be altogether accomplished putting the burghal parking barn on authority and revisiting it,” Holman said. “We accept burghal parking garages that are still not absolutely occupied.”
Councilwoman Cory Wolbach, who about disagrees with Holman on acreage use policies, this time concurred with his colleague’s angle on the new garages. The burghal garage, he said, is article that the board should reconsider, he said. He additionally said he has some anxiety about California Avenue garage.
“The catechism I’m allurement myself is, ‘If we’re not 100 percent abiding that we absolutely charge both of these garages at the calibration that we’re because them, is it absolutely all-important to crave that taxpayers armamentarium them?'” Wolbach said.
So far, at least, this is a boyhood position. In voting on Monday night to move advanced with a hotel-tax increase, board associates about accepted the abstraction of affective advanced with the account of projects in the 2014 plan, which additionally accommodate a new bike arch over U.S. Highway 101, two rebuilt blaze stations, the achievement of the Charleston-Arastradero streetscape activity and assorted bike projects. Councilman Greg Scharff said he believes it would be adamantine for the board to aback abroad from these projects.
Some, however, accept that’s absolutely what the board should do. Neilson Buchanan, a Burghal North citizen who has been at the beginning of the city’s contempo accomplishment to abode downtown’s parking woes, is amid them. Buchanan had served on the stakeholder accumulation that helped authorize the burghal Residential Preferential Parking affairs and has consistently lobbied the burghal to advance the area’s parking situation. He too believes the burghal barn is a bad idea.
The council, he argued in a March 20 memo, is not absolutely abreast about improvements in the appliance of the Bryant and Cowper/Webster garage, including the added accommodation that will appear from aide programs. The new burghal garage, Buchanan said, “can be deferred for three to seven years to bottle options for the city-owned apparent lot.”
“The abstraction of the barn is obsolete,” Buchanan wrote.
Gladwyn d’Souza, armchair of the Transportation Committee at the Loma Prieta Chapter of Sierra Club, argued in a letter to the board that rather than spending the $65 actor on two garages, the burghal should accomplish $4.8 actor to the TMA, which currently serves alone burghal commuters but which the burghal ultimately hopes to aggrandize to California Avenue.
The aboriginal success of the TMA, accumulated with accretion use of ride-sharing programs and Caltrain’s electrification and new bike-share programs, will abate the cardinal of bodies who will appetite to own cars.
This success accumulated with the accretion use of ride-sharing programs, the electrification of CalTrain, the bike allotment affairs (free to the city), and the closing addition of free cartage forth with alteration demographics area bodies will not appetite to alike own cars, agency that the reductions of solo-car use/trips would be abiding and encouraged alike with the accretion advance in the California Avenue and burghal areas.
By auctioning the garages and committing added funds to traffic-reduction efforts, the burghal could save $60.2 actor with a band-aid that would abate congestion, d’Souza wrote.
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