A team of parking attendants will help arrange vehicles at the downtown lot 11, located at the corner of Franklin and Villa streets. With this valet service, city officials believe they can fit in about 30 more vehicles during the peak hours downtown.
The valet program has been in the works for nearly a year, ever since the elected leaders approved a one-year pilot to test the idea. In the months since then, city staff put out a request for proposals, and they later signed a $75,000 contract with the parking management firm, Parking Company of America.
While that may seem like a high cost for parking, it's actually a bargain compared to the price of adding new spots, said Tiffany Chew, city business development specialist. Adding parking by building a new garage would cost approximately $53,000 per space, she said.
"This is really our first initiative in years to increase parking capacity in downtown," she said. "At this point we're looking at all options to provide support to our downtown."
The last time new public parking was added to downtown was in 2007 when the city finished the Bryant Street garage. In the near future, a new 385-space public garage will be constructed near Castro Street as part of a new Joie de Vivre hotel project. City officials had also hoped to strike a partnership with ride-sharing companies to help relieve downtown part, but that deal hit an impasse due to conflicts over data sharing.
The new valet service will operate from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. and from 5 p.m. to midnight, Thursday through Saturday. The program is funding to run until March 2019.
Electric music festival comes to CSMA
Mountain View's Community School of Music and Arts next month is hosting its first electronic music festival. The three-day event, April 13-15, is meant to highlight the intersection of music and technology, and it will feature various live performances as well as hands-on workshops.
The festival is made possible thanks to a $25,000 grant provided last year by Inspire Mountain View. The grant program was a new collaboration between several of the large local tech companies to promote community events and culture.
CSMA organizers say they have signed up several artists to perform, including Flashbulb, Bathing and The Hurd Ensemble. In addition to live music, the festival will feature various workshops and demos.
A full list of events can be found at arts4all.org/events/csma-electronic-music-festival.
Free tax help
The Volunteer Tax Assistance Program is offering free tax preparation assistance for elderly, disabled, and low-income residents of Santa Clara County as well as anyone with limited English language skills.
There are nearly 40 sites countywide, including two in Mountain View, where trained, IRS-certified volunteers can help prepare basic tax forms including the 1040EZ, 1040A and 1040 with certain schedules.
To qualify for the program, taxpayers need a valid Social Security or individual taxpayer identification number as well as a combined household annual income of less than $54,000.
Taxpayers must bring photo identification, such as a passport, drivers license or other government issued identification card.
Other required documents include a Social Security card or individual taxpayer identification number, proof of income and expenses, a copy of last year's state and federal tax returns, a bank account number and routing number for direct deposit, household health coverage information as well as a landlord's name and contact information for anyone taking advantage of the California Renter's Credit.
Assistance is available at the Mountain View Library on the second floor on Saturdays from 10:15 a.m. to 2:45 p.m., the Mitchell Park Library in Palo Alto on Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. and at the Santa Clara County Social Services Agency at 1879 Senter Road, No. 10 in San Jose on Thursdays and Fridays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
There are dozens of other locations where free tax assistance is being offered. A full list is available online at tinyurl.com/yat6a97g.
—Bay City News Service
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