Friends of Los Altos’ most recent article on the Downtown Vision plan apparently got lots of people talking. Interestingly, we also got the attention of the Town Crier, which published an editorial that generally praised FOLA but questioned our view that parking is an issue that needs to be addressed before implementing elements of the Downtown Vision plan. Bruce Barton, the Town Crier’s editor-in-chief, suggests that the reason no new parking is required is that he, personally, can always find parking, and in a future Los Altos, Lyft, Uber and residents using bicycles will solve any additional needs.
We have a lot of respect for Bruce and the staff at the Town Crier. We need to remember, however, that there are dynamics that may change his current experience with parking availability. Los Altos Community Investments’ massive two-story office building on State Street near the Town Crier offices has been vacant for many years but is currently being remodeled. How many parking stalls will those future businesses and employees require? The Downtown Parking Management Plan adopted by the city said that while the downtown does not currently have a shortage of parking, as more and more retail stores convert to restaurants, more parking is required, and the current parking supply will become insufficient.