Parking garage to be put on Cal. Ave

After nearly three years of planning, Palo Alto City Council authorized the sales of bonds in order to fund the upcoming construction of a parking garage and the new public works building located at California Avenue. City Council expects to sell up to $50 million worth of bonds.

According to Watry Design, Inc., the company tasked with designing and planning the project, the garage will approximately cost $38.5 million and will “include green screens, covered bike parking, photovoltaic panels, EV charging stations for 32 spaces.” The structure will add an additional 310 spaces and will also create space to house a new public works building across from the courthouse. This comes as a part of the 2014 Council Infrastructure Plan and will commence construction once the parking garage has opened. The garage is projected to start next year and finish in early 2020, with the public works building expected to finish in 2022.

Councilman Adrian Fine told Palo Alto Online that he is opposed to the construction of the garage as it is “incentivizing people who drive” instead of helping supporting more environmentally conscious projects. Fine also added that he believes that they could make better use of city land.

This commercial hub shares its already limited parking spaces with several local government institutions, such as the county courthouse. As a result, business owners have long asked for additional parking spaces to help relieve traffic on the busy streets near California Ave.

According to Councilman Greg Scharff, the reaction is very positive regarding the construction of the new structures. Scharff told Palo Alto Online that “the neighborhood is excited to get this done. I’m glad we’re moving forward.”

The new public works building will consist of emergency services such as the 911 dispatch center for the area and the police department. The Council unanimously approved the the public works project on Sept. 20 and approved an application for architectural plans on the building during a meeting on Nov 5.

Paly ASB Vice President, senior Benjamin Rapperport, sees many benefits from having new parking, as he believes that creating space around California Avenue will clear up traffic.

“I visit [California Avenue] often and it’s great, but the road is always blocked by people trying to park, and that can get really frustrating when you try to drive through,Having a garage like that will definitely make driving much easier than before.”

Senior Ben Rapperport

Rapperport also believes that the new public works building located near California Ave. helps make the city more central.

This would help first responders tend to emergencies quicker compared to the previous location.

 “[The public works building] helps guarantee response times will be quicker, even if it is minimal.”

Senior Ben Rapperport