Sat10252014

News

Overflow student parking could mean street restrictions

Valencia Drive neighbors asked the Los Altos City Council Feb. 11 for relief from overflow parking problems from nearby Los Altos High School that they say is ruining the quality of life on their streets.

Students unable to find on-campus parking are allegedly using nearby streets as parking lots, neighbors complained.

On the south side, Alicia Way has a red curb for several feet on both sides and then a "No Parking from here to corner" restriction for another several yards to inhibit parking. Just past this sign, cars park bumper to bumper up the street. Gordon Way, opposite the back driveway into the school, has "No Parking at Any Time notices;" Almond itself has no parking on both sides of the street; but Valencia Drive and the satellites off it on the north side have no parking controls, and according to the residents, student parking has taken over.

"We will talk with the neighbors and with the high school to try to work with them and investigate ways to solve the problem," said Jim Porter, director of Public Works. He agreed that parking restrictions are one option but warned they restrict the homeowners as much as the high school students.

Neighborhood spokeswoman Renee Koury hand-delivered a letter signed by 55 residents describing the problem to the offices of Superintendent of the Mountain View-Los Altos School District Rich Fischer and LAHS Principal George Perez last Wednesday.

Koury said many of the homeowners had phoned the school over the course of the last few months without response.

Koury emphasized that the neighborhood has always supported the high school. Her two children graduated from Los Altos and she and her husband were active parent volunteers.

Assistant principal Wynne Satterwhite said on-campus parking cannot meet the need. Staff parks on campus and students may purchase parking stickers by priority, seniors first, then juniors until all spaces have been filled.

Along the tennis courts on Jardin at the rear of the school, there are an additional 75 parking spaces. These are not on school property and may be removed by the city which would exacerbate the problem. There is not sufficient parking for all juniors and as the sophomores join the commuters, they are forced onto public parking areas -- the neighborhood streets.

Satterwhite said that they are advised to respect the neighbors and drive carefully.

The issue is not merely that the cars are "unsightly," emphasized Koury, who has lived on Dior Terrace over 26 years. There is a danger walking because cars parked on both sides of the street force pedestrians to the center; visibility is blocked coming out of driveways and onto streets; cars are too close to the fire hydrants; their mailman has no access to the mailboxes; the street cleaner cannot get to the curbs; gardeners can't get in, there is no space to rake along the curbs are just some of the concerns.

Perez plans to schedule a Town Hall Meeting with the neighbors.

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