In a 6–1 vote on Jan. 19, the Palo Alto City Council moved to implement a $6 vehicle entry fee at Foothills Park and lower the attendance cap to 400 visitors.
The council will review the changes to the city’s municipal code at a second reading on Feb. 1, and the fee will likely go into effect in the next few months.
Following the park’s opening to non-residents in December of last year, the nature preserve saw visitation balloon over the holidays to six times higher than the previous year, sparking concerns over environmental impacts and road safety.
On Jan. 9, the city temporarily closed the park on weekends and holidays in hopes of mitigating the damage — that came on top of an already lowered attendance cap of 750 visitors, down from the park’s typical cap of 1,000.
The city’s vote stipulates an interim $6 vehicle entry fee, leaving the minutiae of discounts, rules and enforcement to the Parks and Recreation Committee. The city manager also has the power to adjust the attendance cap up to 500 people.