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Music On The Plaza 2018 is closer than you think.

Once again, the Summer concert series will take place each Thursday evening from 6-8pm at Lytton Plaza from July 12 through August 16. Sponsorship opprtunities are available. Email: form more info.

Music On The Plaza 2018

at Lytton Plaza, every Thurs. 6-8pm:

July 12: The Mission Street Beets Funk

July 19: Groove Doctors Dance

July 26: JC Smith Band R & B

August 2: Chris Cain Blues

August 9: Stealin' Chicago Steely Dan and Chicago Tribute

August 16: Mitch Woods and his Rocket 88's Boogie Woogie

The Palo Alto City Council will be discussing making permanent, with amendments, the downtown Residential Preferential Parking Permit program (RPP) at its meeting next Monday evening, which would include the total elimination over the next ten years, "zeroing out," of street parking permits for employees. The matter is Agenda Item #10 and is scheduled to be heard at 6:40 PM.

The Chamber of Commerce supports data-driven strategies that will help solve the traffic and parking challenges in the downtown commercial area without jeopardizing the commercial viability of our downtown businesses. The current RPP program provides a fair "share the streets" approach to parking so that residents are not overwhelmed with non-resident parking in their neighborhoods and employees may park near their place of employment if a garage permit is unavailable or inappropriate for their work and personal situation. Current city data shows that the original RPP program is working to remove the parking congestion with carefully distributed employee day parking in residential areas near the downtown core.

The staff report (  recommends what it calls "minor modifications."  In fact, the staff is recommending that the street permits for employees be reduced by 10% annually until no permits are sold to downtown employees at all.
This is the so-called "minor" modification in the Staff Report:

Reduction of the number of employee permits by 10% per year until they are zeroed out."  (p.2)
And this would be regardless of whether there's enough alternative capacity for employees to park in other places (e.g. garages) or to come to work via public or shared transit options. This contradicts the original Council direction to staff that made any reduction conditioned on data-driven evidence that alternatives were available.

Since it was originally implemented, the RPP zone has been extended to new residential areas near the downtown core which has caused serious disruptions to the businesses located in those areas, such as small medical and dental practices where no parking problems existed previously and residents and area workers shared the street parking without issue. These small businesses are facing the specter of losing their employees who must drive due to their work hour demands and their long commutes to our city.  It's already difficult to attract and retain workers for our small businesses, whether retail, medical/dental or hospitality. This will make the situation much worse and endanger the viability of the very businesses that serve our residents and visitors.

The original Council direction to staff acknowledged the conditional nature of creating an RPP program that would anticipate the reduction of employee street permits. The Council recognized that the reduction of employee permits in favor of alternatives to street parking would need to be conditioned on objective data showing viable, accessible and reasonable alternatives to street parking. Now the staff proposes to remove these conditions entirely.

The downtown RPP Stakeholder group, which collaboratively developed the program that the Chamber supported, recognized the need to maintain employee street parking permits until new alternatives, "additional capacity," such as a new garage or a fully functional TMA, are operational and reasonably utilized. This is a direct quote from the group's Minutes with a unanimous vote of those polled, both residents and business people, with one abstention:

"1d: Will the amount of spaces allocated to employees be reduced over time?
Yes, but only if additional capacity that becomes available via new garages/lots, garage valet parking, various TDM options being considered, etc. is not reasonably utilized. Any reduction in downtown employee permits should be based on objective data. Yea: 8, Nay: 0, Abstain: 1."    (Emphasis added)

All businesses, whose employees do not have a workable alternative to driving, and who do not have access to a garage within a safe and reasonable distance from their workplace so need to park on downtown streets, need to be aware of this matter.

Please consider coming to the Council meeting on Monday or sending someone, perhaps an employee, to speak directly to the Council next Monday (see details above) to explain your concerns with this proposal and its impact on your business and the services you provide to our community.

If you can't be there, please send your comments to the Council at  And please let the Chamber know if you plan to attend or send us a copy of your email.

Thank you. The Palo Alto Chamber of Commerce

Friday, December 2.

Join the fun at the 5th Annual City of Palo Alto Tree Lighting Ceremony at Lytton Plaza (University at Emerson St) in downtown Palo Alto.  

Bring the family and hear the bands and choirs perform. Meet the secret faeries and enjoy the art activities.

Hot drinks and treats available. The 60 foot tree lighting will take place at 6pm.  

Further information call: 650-463-4900

Music on the Plaza was a great success!

Killer concerts were held every

Thursday 6pm-8pm from July 9-August 13.

Go to the Music on the Plaza tab for photos and videos of all the fun. See you next Summer!

The City of Palo Alto has instituted a Business Registry.

All Palo Alto businesses operating in an office or retail site are now required to register with the City and pay an annual fee of $50.  The City has developed a website for online registration:  Registrations are required by March 31.  To find out more about the City of Palo Alto’s Business Registry, go to or call 650-329-2360. 

Below is the official boundaries of the Downtown Palo Alto business district as established by the

Palo Alto City Council in 2004.

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