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ImagineMenlo suggestion for downtown parking

From: domainremoved <Bob>
Date: Tue, 24 Mar 2015 14:27:12 -0700

Dear Menlo Park City Council Members:

I am writing to share ImagineMenlo's perspective on the downtown parking
item that you are addressing tonight.

ImagineMenlo is an organization that gives voice to residents who favor
vibrancy. Our members want a more vibrant downtown area near Santa Cruz,
with more shops, restaurants, offices, and housing.

Currently, the greatest barrier to bringing these new uses to Santa Cruz is
the inability to provide parking for new buildings. The current approach
requires in-building parking, which is both infeasible for small parcels
and leads to fragmented lots that become underutilized.

The most economically efficient approach to parking is to provide for
shared parking in lots or garages. The most environmentally friendly
approach is to eliminate the need for parking entirely where possible, by
providing alternatives such that employees prefer to walk, bike, or take
the train instead of driving. Although it cannot completely displace the
need for parking, the environmentally friendly approach can sometimes be
the least expensive one as well: a garage parking space that accommodates
one driver costs the same amount ($60k) as Caltrain GoPasses for ten
employees for thirty years!

We suggest a proposal in two parts:

   1. Create a program that allows new developments to pay *in lieu* fees
   of the cost of construction of a garage spot instead of requiring
   in-building parking spaces.
   2. Allow this program, under guidance from the city, to spend these
   funds either on increasing the parking supply with new garages or to reduce
   the parking demand by providing alternatives to driving, depending on the
   costs of the alternatives and the city's environmental goals.

Similar proposals have been recommended by the transportation commission in
Menlo Park and have been enacted in many other cities. Parking *in lieu* fees
are a standard feature of most downtowns on the Peninsula, including Palo
Alto and San Mateo. Joint parking and transportation assessment districts
have been applied in San Mateo, Austin, Boulder, and Portland.

We believe that this approach to downtown parking would yield the quickest
path to a more vibrant downtown as well as the most environmentally
friendly one.

Bob McGrew
Steering Committee, ImagineMenlo
Resident of the Willows
Received on Tue Mar 24 2015 - 14:22:41 PDT

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