A small measure of relief is on the way for a Palo Alto neighborhood that has in essence become a parking lot for another city.
Chief Transportation Official Jaime Rodriguez told The Daily News he spent Friday morning marking out new red curbs where Edgewood Drive and Newell Road meet. Crosswalks are also planned for the intersection and reflectors will be added to its stop signs.
The upgrades are intended to address some of the safety concerns Edgewood residents have raised in response to a recent influx of cars parking in their quiet, tree-lined neighborhood.
The red curbs will keep cars from parking at the corners of the intersection and blocking views of oncoming traffic as they currently do, Rodriguez said. The crosswalks and reflectors, meanwhile, are intended to make the four-way stop more obvious to motorists who are by some accounts routinely blowing through the intersection. Work could begin in as little as two weeks.
"It's our entertainment around here," Edgewood Drive resident Renee Goumas said about the stop sign runners.
According to Goumas and other residents, the vast majority of the cars belong to their neighbors on the other side of San Francisquito Creek in East Palo Alto. They are parking along Edgewood and Newell and then using the Newell bridge that links the two cities to get back and forth.
The practice has been going on for years but became especially problematic when East Palo Alto banned parking
Some East Palo Alto residents are also leaving their cars on Edgewood and Newell because they cannot afford the monthly fee their landlords have started charging to park an additional car, Goumas said.
"It's $100 for one parking space," said East Palo Alto resident Alex Alejandro Alonso, who left his Toyota Corolla at the corner of Edgewood and Newell on Friday afternoon. "That's too much."
The inundation of cars isn't just making it difficult to find on-street parking, according to Edgewood Drive residents who appealed to the city's Planning and Transportation Commission for help Wednesday. It's also brought reckless driving, noise, litter and crime, they said.
Rodriguez said the city only recently learned of the parking problem and would likely develop a long-term solution as part of an upcoming study of the Newell bridge. The city is looking to address the 112-year-old span's role in choking the flow of San Francisquito Creek.
"We have to spend some time collecting data and figuring out what would be some good solutions," Rodriguez said.
That didn't sit well with Goumas, who wants the city to either immediately implement a residential parking permit program or ban overnight parking.
"We've done all the studies they need," said Goumas, referring to a survey residents did in November that found the number of East Palo Alto cars parking in the neighborhood had zoomed from 12 to 50.
A ban on overnight parking could be considered sooner rather than later, but a residential parking permit program is unlikely, Rodriguez said. The city council made it clear it wasn't a fan of the latter strategy when it shot down a request from the similarly beleaguered Professorville neighborhood last year.
Goumas said she is looking forward to the safety improvements, though she doubted they would do much to alleviate the parking crunch. If anything, she expects them to push the problem deeper into Palo Alto. In the meantime, she and her neighbors plan to keep pressuring the city for a solution.
"I think you'll see us at every single meeting," Goumas said. "We're not going to give up."