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We (Palo Alto) should be watching Mountain View's innovative transit study.

Original post made by Resident, Another Palo Alto neighborhood, on Jan 10, 2017

Mountain View has similar problems to Palo Alto and we share a common border along a very busy road corridor. Their inward commute is into Google. Our inward commute is into Stanford and environs. This type of innovative system should not be one city only, but shared initially and ultimately regionally.

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Comments (20)

5 people like this
Posted by resident
a resident of Professorville
on Jan 10, 2017 at 8:05 pm

Does anyone know why companies like Facebook and Google run shuttle busses from residential neighborhoods in San Francisco to their campuses in Menlo Park and Mountain View, but there are no similar shuttle programs to closer neighborhoods? I have to imagine that a most of their employees live a lot closer than San Francisco.


2 people like this
Posted by YIMBY
a resident of Mountain View
on Jan 10, 2017 at 8:39 pm

Google runs shuttles all over the Bay Area, not just from SF and back.


Like this comment
Posted by resident
a resident of Professorville
on Jan 10, 2017 at 8:48 pm

@YIMBY - are there Google shuttle stops in Palo Alto? Where? I never ever see their busses on city streets.


4 people like this
Posted by Robert
a resident of another community
on Jan 10, 2017 at 10:17 pm

@resident

Maybe the fact that most tech workers, even at a company like Google, can't afford to live in Palo Alto should tell you something?


2 people like this
Posted by YIMBY
a resident of Mountain View
on Jan 10, 2017 at 11:30 pm

There are supposed to be a few stops near Stanford. Robert is right, though.


6 people like this
Posted by Curmudgeon
a resident of Downtown North
on Jan 11, 2017 at 12:00 pm

"Maybe the fact that most tech workers, even at a company like Google, can't afford to live in Palo Alto should tell you something?"

It certainly does. Companies like Google are grossly underpaying their tech workers. They need to form a union and bargain for proper salaries.


5 people like this
Posted by Mvresident2003
a resident of Mountain View
on Jan 11, 2017 at 12:46 pm

Mvresident2003 is a registered user.

Actually I'm not sure that most of their employees live closer than SF. My spouse does a lot of hiring in the tech industry and he said many of them, particularly younger ones, want to live in the "more happening City". Also, many/most don't own cars. It would be interesting to know the % who live in SF vs those who live in closer "suburbs"


15 people like this
Posted by Baloney
a resident of Midtown
on Jan 11, 2017 at 1:16 pm

Baloney is a registered user.

A lot of techies own condos in SF. They are being paid enough to afford them, and SF property values are higher than PA's. They simply want the night life that SF offers.

Techies often sleep on the buses, with ear buds in place. Some spend the whole drive from SF staring at their phones, of course, but they have the opportunity to catch up on the sleep they missed from night-clubbing.


7 people like this
Posted by Curmudgeon
a resident of Downtown North
on Jan 11, 2017 at 3:24 pm

"automated-guideway transit (AGT), a broad term that covers various driverless systems that usually move along guideways above the roadways."

Not gonna happen. Too many bucks, too few bangs.


2 people like this
Posted by resident
a resident of Professorville
on Jan 11, 2017 at 5:49 pm

Question - do techies really buy condos in San Francisco for the nightlife? Or are there just more condos for sale in San Francisco than in Palo Alto and Mountain View? I can't imagine that prices are cheaper in San Francisco for similar sized homes.


4 people like this
Posted by Robert
a resident of another community
on Jan 11, 2017 at 6:30 pm

[Post removed.]


7 people like this
Posted by Ahem
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jan 11, 2017 at 8:21 pm

Silly... just think about how few people this thing would actually move. Just another desperate attempt to justify continuing the orgy of real-estate beyond the capacity of the transportation infrastructure.

The problem is that as expensive as real-estate development is, it is cheap compared to transportation infrastructure development. Underground rail, the only kind of rail that doesn't blight its surroundings costs $1-2 billion per mile! Silicon Valley simply does not produce enough wealth to build out a useful system.

Roadways carry over 99% of the passenger miles traveled everyday on the Peninsula. There is no viable alternative. If the Bay Area continues to grow it will become LA, NOT Manhattan.


2 people like this
Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jan 11, 2017 at 8:39 pm

I can't believe that these are intelligent Silicon Valley residents looking at this and saying no way.

10 years ago Steve Jobs, a Palo Alto resident, was told that people wouldn't want an Iphone that cost $499 and would do the same thing as their PC. Steve was right and his critics were wrong.

I wonder what Steve would think of this idea?

BTW there was a report on KTVU with this concept. Others are indeed listening. Do we want to get left out of the loop. Oh yes, this is Palo Alto and we are always late on the scene and then copy others at a later date.


Posted by Yes
a resident of College Terrace

on Jan 11, 2017 at 9:52 pm


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8 people like this
Posted by YouBet
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jan 11, 2017 at 9:55 pm

Google runs busses in Palo Alto, Danville , Oakland , SAN Jose, all over. Google employees can afford homes everywhere. They do not need below market housing.


1 person likes this
Posted by cost of housing
a resident of College Terrace
on Jan 11, 2017 at 10:26 pm

Condos in SF aren't inexpensive, but they're significantly less costly than those in Palo Alto, at least at the lower end. It still very possible to pay less than $1M for a condo in SF. not so in Palo Alto.


4 people like this
Posted by Steve Ly
a resident of Los Altos
on Jan 12, 2017 at 10:53 am

Who is going to pay for the "pod cars?"

I hope it is not the taxpayers. Over the last several elections, voters in Santa Clara County have passed multiple tax and fee increases including VTA's 2000 Measure A 1/2-cent and 2008 measure B 1/4-cent and the recent 2016 Measure B sales taxes, Santa Clara County's Measure A 1/8 cent sales tax, the state prop 30 income tax and the 2010 Measure B Vehicle Registration Fee of $10. Additionally, we are on the hook to pay back numerous state bond issues including high speed rail, a Proposition 1 water bond and the infrastructure bonds of 2006. Let the grossly-misnamed "Silicon Valley Leadership Group" get its fat cat members to pony up to pay for the PRT.

And of course "pod cars" only seem to get built in niche areas, such as airports or planned communities with car restrictions.

This topic has been discussed at length. I recommend a couple of articles on the Light Rail Now website.

First, there's "Let's Get Real About Personal Rapid Transit" by Ken Avidor Web Link. He points out that, "PRT has a solid 30-year record of failure. Its main purpose in recent years seems to have been to provide a cover enabling its proponents to spread disinformation about real, workable transit systems. Except for the occasional laboratory-scale prototype, PRT actually "exists" largely in computerized drawings, in promotional brochures, and in cute, ever-successful animated simulations on the internet."

"The unsubstantiated claims of PRT proponents are always presented in the present tense as if the system is a proven success ... which, of course, it certainly is not. Promoters never seem to fail to bash real transit, such as light rail (LRT), as "old fashioned technology". Sadly, the media rarely check the veracity of PRT publicity and propaganda."

A longer, more technical article is "Personal Rapid Transit – Cyberspace Dream Keeps Colliding With Reality." Web Link The authors write "Despite the persistent and fervent claims of its promoters, repeated attempts to implement a working PRT system, even in very small-scale scenarios, have invariably failed. Not a single PRT plan, during these promotional efforts over the past 40 years or more, has seen successful implementation even in a small test application, much less a major, heavy-duty, citywide rapid transit application. Early would-be PRT installations, such as the AirTrans system at Dallas-Ft. Worth Regional Airport, and the PRT at West Virginia University at Morgantown, eschewed any attempt to provide true PRT-style, small-vehicle, customized origin-destination service, and were implemented in effect as line-haul automated guideway transit (AGT) peoplemover systems with some innovative features (such as offline stations)."

And finally, the good folks at Light Rail Now have put up a helpful list of links to various Monorail, PRT, AGT, and "Gadget Transit" Analyses at Web Link

A good article by Setty and Demery points out that "In our view, it is a big waste of time advocating such "gee-whiz" options, given the severe limits of monorails and similar technologies such as PRT, when U.S. transportation problems are almost always sociopolitical and economic not technical“ in nature." See Web Link

Palo Alto should beware this solution looking for a problem.


8 people like this
Posted by Owner
a resident of Midtown
on Jan 12, 2017 at 11:42 am

Owner is a registered user.

Condos in SF, in recently gentrified neighborhoods, are a little less expensive than in Palo Alto. The big difference is that they are much, much smaller-- you can buy a studio condo for under $1 million, but a one bed, one bath walk up will cost upwards of $1.25 million. Most SF condos do not include parking, unless they are in the price range of over $2 million and have at least two bedrooms.

Even so, the thought that a twenty-something millennial can make enough money to afford even a studio condo on a single income, in SF, is absolutely astonishing. It probably helps not to have a car payment.

Just wait til the millennial decide to live together, or get married, or worse-- have a child-- and need more room! At this time, many millennial inbtech who do this seem to be moving to Marin County and working for tech companies who have workplaces in SF!


6 people like this
Posted by Owner
a resident of Midtown
on Jan 12, 2017 at 11:52 am

Owner is a registered user.

I seem to recall reading in the SF Chronicle that Google and Facebook pay their under-30 techies 25% over the industry average, and that Tesla, Apple and VM Ware pay 15% above tech industry average!


5 people like this
Posted by Curmudgeon
a resident of Downtown North
on Jan 12, 2017 at 1:16 pm

"PRT has a solid 30-year record of failure."

"10 years ago Steve Jobs, a Palo Alto resident, was told that people wouldn't want an Iphone that cost $499 and would do the same thing as their PC."

Ah, that chronic Silicon Valley arrogance: if it fails everywhere else it'll of course work fantastically here.

The iPhone was a success, due in no small part on Steve Jobs' advantage of observing competitors' experience selling versions that predated Apple's. But there's the Lisa in that dark corner, and the NEXT in that other one.

Critical difference: Jobs gambled with Apple's private capital after observing others' success. This proposition sinks the taxpayers money in a scheme with a solid record of failure.


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