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About Us

There is always something happening in Downtown Palo Alto

The Palo Alto Downtown Business and Professional Association is sometimes known as a BID ( Business Improvement District.)


A BID is a common way downtowns across the nation raise funds to help keep their downtown clean, safe and attractive. The budget helps raise awareness of the area through promotions and events as well as help defray the costs of cleaning the sidewalks, ensuring the lights are in good working order, working with the local police department to provide dedicated officers in downtown and much, much more.


There is a board of directors made up of a wide variety of business owners within the district.


We are a member-funded organization which administers the Palo Alto Downtown Business Improvement District, (BID ) and promotes the business community through events, marketing, beautification and advocacy programs.


Through annual assessments, business owners in the BID help fund enhanced downtown maintenance, promotional events to attract customers to the downtown disctrict, directional signage and a website which includes a business directory. We also advocate for BID businesses interests as they relate to the Palo Alto Chamber of Commerce, city government, neighborhood organizations, etc. There are over 800 business in the BID, whose boundaries extend from El Camino Real to Webster and from Lytton Avenue to Forest Avenue. The BID also includes the area circumscribed by Forest Avenue, Ramona Street, Addison Avenue and Alma Street.

Our Mission Statement


We are a membership organization which brings together public and private forces to meet identified needs of Palo Alto downtown business owners. Our mission is to enable all segments of the community to thrive and prosper by fostering economic opportunity, promoting a favorable business climate, and helping make downtown Palo Alto a recognized destination.


The Palo Alto Downtown Business and Professional Association was established on March 24, 2004.


Our fiscal year is from July 1- June 30.


We are a 501 c (6) California Non Profit Corporation with over 850 members.

The Downtown Crown
Ever been to a ribbon cutting for a new business? The presenting of the "downtown crown" is the ceremony performed by the Downtown Associaition to celebrate the grand opening of businesses in downtown Palo Alto.

Let there be light
Downtown Palo Alto has a romantic feel during the evening hours due in large part to the "twinkle lights" that decorate the trees along University Avenue.

Downtown Bike Share
This year saw the debut of the downtown BIke Share program along with several "bike corral" areas. The intent is to encourage alternative mades of transit and reduce the demand on the limited supply of vehicle parking.

Our History


To answer the need for a formalized means of revitalizing and improving downtown Palo Alto's business district, representatives of the Palo Alto Chamber of Commerce's Downtown Marketing Committee (DMC) formally presented a petition to the Palo Alto City Council on December 2, 2002. The petition, signed by fifty downtown businesses, requested that the City Council agendize the discussion of the downtown BID and consider passing a Resolution of Intent to Establish a Downtown BID at a subsequent meeting.


On March 17, 2003, the City Council appointed an Ad Hoc Committee for the BID, which was tasked with preparing the required Report and Recommendation to the City Council an a downtown BID. This report included:

  • Projected expenditur of revenues derived form the levy of assessments

  • Clarification of businesses

  • Method and basis of levying assessments


On  September 22, 2003, the City Council appointed the BID Ad Hoc Advisory Committee as the BID Advisory Board. On October 7, 2003, the City Council approved the appointment of three additional board members to increase representation from the professional business community.


On December 15, 2003, the City Council approved the the Resolution of Intention, and on January 12, 2004, the City Council held a hearing an adopted the ordinace to establish the BID.


On March 24, 2004, The Palo Alto Business and Professional Association was officially formed under the California Non Profit Mutual Benefit Corporation Law. The organization applied for exemption under section 501 c (6) of the Internal Revenue Code and corresponding section of California Law.

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