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Council members take aim at solo drivers

Original post made on Sep 13, 2013

Faced with a glut of cars and parking that's spilling into downtown neighborhoods, four Palo Alto City Council members have issued a sizable challenge to the city's planning staff: Come up with a program that would get almost a third of solo car commuters to switch to other means of transportation.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Friday, September 13, 2013, 9:34 AM

Comments (81)

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Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Sep 13, 2013 at 9:52 am

If the city wants car sharing, then there must be a system which means that a permit can be transferrable from one car to another. If 2 people rideshare, then it is possible that they may want to take it in turns as to which car they share. At present, the system means that only one car has the permit. Sharing a ride often means sharing the driving so sharing a permit should also be available.

Also, it needs to be simpler to park all day on an occasional basis in all lots without problems. Sometimes people who use bikes or public transit need to occasionally use a car too, for after work activities, lunch time needs or due to the weather. It is not possible to park all day on an occasional basis unless you are "in the know" as to how to do this so people look for street parking.

Stanford does have pay per hour parking available which is one reason why their system works better than Palo Alto downtown.

All day pay per hour parking is a must to help everyone park when they need to and for as long as they need to.


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Posted by Brunel Mach
a resident of Midtown
on Sep 13, 2013 at 9:56 am

Council members need to come up with realistic goals instead of this "feel good" attempt. They refuse to deal with the real issues and instead instruct staff to come up with a plan that may not have a readily acceptable answer.
I am surprised that Kniss did not claim that this was a "public health" matter and that she was a guardian of public health!!!!


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Posted by resident
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Sep 13, 2013 at 10:11 am

I agree with the council that the city can't keep paving downtown to add more car parking. The city and employers and merchants need to work together to provide alternative transportation into the city.

I also agree with the other resident that yearly parking permits that are tied to license plates have to go. The permit system just encourages solo driving every day, which is exactly what the city does not want.

And how about expanding the bike share system so that it reaches more of the city. The 3 downtown bike share stations are so close together that they are not useful to many people. Should be a no brainer to have stations near City Hall and near the Homer Street bicycle tunnel (among dozens of other useful locations in the city).


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Posted by TDM 4ever
a resident of Adobe-Meadows
on Sep 13, 2013 at 10:13 am

Here is the actual link to the study:

Web Link


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Posted by East of Palo Alto
a resident of East Palo Alto
on Sep 13, 2013 at 10:15 am

And the cars going thru twice daily from/to Dumbarton into and out of Palo Alto?


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Posted by Joe
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Sep 13, 2013 at 10:17 am

Companies need to think long and hard before locating in Palo Alto. It's clear that the City Council has been given too much power to make decisions about the town that they can not understand, and have subsequently joined the line following the Pied Piper's delusional song: "If you build it they will come!"

Well..they built it and people did come.

This is the Council's fault for having failed time and again to do the job that they were elected to do. Blaming the solo drivers is typical of people in denial of their own actions.

For years, all we've heard during Council elections is meaning genuflects to "reducing traffic in the neighborhoods", followed by no Council action after the elections are over.

Recalling the current Council probably won't fly, but voting any incumbents out at the next election would seem to be about our only recourse .. and even then, that wouldn't send much of a message to the Planning Department.


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Posted by Kim S.
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Sep 13, 2013 at 10:27 am

I wonder if the city council will take their own medicine, give up their reserved parking at city hall and take mass transit to their council meetings... Fat chance!


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Posted by Jules
a resident of Greenmeadow
on Sep 13, 2013 at 11:09 am

I LIVE in Palo Alto and sometimes have to work at Stanford Hospital.Because of the restrictions my neighborhood has placed on Stanford I pay $800 a year to park and walk 10 - 15 minutes. This is the closest parking space at the least busy time of 6:15 am. If I have to quickly get to the main campus midday, the parking hassle adds 20 minutes. I already work long hours, the extra parking hassle makes working at Stanford Hospital much less desirable. Carpooling not an option due to my irregular days and hours, biking adds even more time to my day and is dangerous(have already seen colleagues in casts) efficient public transportation still does not exist: what exists currently would add an hour onto my morning and evening work day ( already 10 hour day). Hospital employees provide a valuable service to the community. Please make it easier, and more efficient to get to work! Miss the subways of the east coast. Buses here just ramble along on routes that take forever and don't go where needed. If you won't allow Stanford to build an adequate parking structure close to its hospitals, how a about some sort of subsidized car service the big executives have!


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Posted by CresentParkAnon.
a resident of Crescent Park
on Sep 13, 2013 at 11:19 am

> Come up with a program that would get almost a third of solo car commuters to switch to other means of transportation.

There is no plan that will take people out of their cars. People will naturally stop using their cars when there is something kind of decent alternative, and there is not.

Forcing people to bicycle in the crowded Palo Alto streets with no traffic control and streets designed more to frustrate and encourage speeding is even more ridiculous.

Build the parking, don't screw around with people's minds and personal choices under the guise of being green when all you intend to do is to save developers some money and increase their profits.

What a lousy scam!


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Posted by AR
a resident of College Terrace
on Sep 13, 2013 at 11:29 am

Kim S. makes a good point; anyone with a reserved space downtown is protected from the impact that the parking shortage imposes on those trying to frequent downtown Palo Alto. CC: forfeit the use of your reserved space for a quarter and experience the problem; see how much extra time you have to allow to get to a mid-day meeting b/c of the parking problem. While it makes sense to encourage ridesharing, CC needs to acknowledge that they helped create this mess and stop repeating the mistakes. Also, why can't the solution impose ride-sharing requirements on the tenants going into bldgs that have been developed with insufficient parking? This could mean that the developers will have to provide shuttles or Clipper Passes, but it seems sensible to me that those who contribute to the problem also contribute to the solution.


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Posted by CrescentParkAnon.
a resident of Crescent Park
on Sep 13, 2013 at 11:43 am

REAL SUGGESTION:

The first step that would help people is to start increasing the parking limit from 2 hours in city parking garages to 3 hours ... for 6 months ... then re-evaluate. If there is improvement, up it to 4 hours. See how many people we can get to use the parking garages that are virtually never fully occupied.

So something experimentally. Then when we find the "sweet spot" we have some criterion on how much parking garage space we need ... then start the wheels in motion to build a new one and stay ahead of the parking crunch by building new parking spaces in a convenient location.

Cars are not going to disappear in Palo Alto in this century - so trying to force people into the City Council's idea of compliance is heavy handed and ineffective.


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Posted by CrescentParkAnon.
a resident of Crescent Park
on Sep 13, 2013 at 11:51 am

Pay for parking is a wrongheaded solution that will simply suck more money from people and give it to a city that have shown they do not know how to manage it or have any respect for their resident's money.

Making people pay for parking is not going to reduce parking in any way - the same number of people who work here still need to get here and park. Forcing lower income people to take the risk of biking and getting hit by cars, or taking lousy public transit and getting sick or running the risk of confrontations on the bus is merely a classist alternative that has not been thought out.

The people who run this city do not have to worry whatever they do, so like the state and federal government they are not representing the needs and desires of their constituency with plans like this that are non-reality based.

I saw plans for another parking structure a while back here in Palo Alto Online, a parking structure and a requirement that development stop ripping off the city for parking (which is no better than EPA east of the creek parking their cars in Palo Alto across the bridge) is necessary and the way to fix the problem.


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Posted by Judy
a resident of Midtown
on Sep 13, 2013 at 11:53 am

Parking spaces on level 1 of City Hall set aside for Members of the City Council should be removed. Council should set an example and ride their bikes or carpool to City Hall or come to Council Meetings by bus.


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Posted by Excess cars?
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Sep 13, 2013 at 11:56 am

Too any solo drivers? So punish the people who live in Palo Alto? When the solo drivers are people who work here, but do not live here?

The real problem is that too many businesses than Palo Alto had room for were allowed to come here and build here and attract thousands of employees who live elsewhere to work here! Far, far more people work in Palo Alto than live here.

Absolutely no additional roads or road widenings were planned or built when all of these businesses were allowed to move to Palo Alto, and not enough parking (if any) was built for employees.

So why punish the good citizens of Palo Alto who had toning to do with this, were given no say or choice in how their city was (over)developed?

Punish the very people who allowed this to happen! Make THEM pay to fix the miserable situation they have caused!


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Posted by CrescentParkAnon.
a resident of Crescent Park
on Sep 13, 2013 at 12:12 pm

The simplistic and wrongheaded notion was allowed to take root that if over time it was made that if worsening traffic made it difficult for drivers to drive and fewer parking spaces made it almost impossible to park, that somehow people would find or demand an alternative to cars.

I think the real reason for this was create more profits for developers who cynically and cleverly leaned to manipulat this policy while they built and built without adequate parking and the city was able to take money without doing their jobs ... that is to maintain and expand infrastructure as needed.

Developers merely have to keep things out of whack to ensure they will always be needed and can always charge top dollar because of crises. First build privately to the max with inadequate parking, then the parking structures to house them on the public dime.

It is way past time to repudiate this idea of planning to fail in Palo Alto and force the City Council and developers to start putting their noses to the grindstone and do their jobs without trying to manipulate all Palo Altans.


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Posted by Silly
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Sep 13, 2013 at 12:30 pm

This sure will do a lot to encourage shoppers running our errands to shop Palo Alto! How about restricting the office buildings??

I hope all the restaurant owners and merchants get their act together and oppose this nonsense.


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Posted by Robert
a resident of another community
on Sep 13, 2013 at 12:32 pm

I'm quite glad the people posting responses here aren't the ones making decisions in these matters. If they had their way (a parking space everywhere I am and everywhere I want to be) the built environment of Palo Alto would look the same as Fresno.


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Posted by TimH
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Sep 13, 2013 at 12:40 pm

I'd like to say that this issue was "a long time coming" but it's actually more of a perpetual issue around parking, traffic and general space to live. Since around 1985, Palo Alto leadership made specific moves to shake off our small-town Stanford town image and turn up the corporate volume. Now that the world has come to Palo Alto, the streets have grown quite small from monster homes to trendy companies to endless car traffic and parking. I'd say that the 1985 plan worked out rather successfully, as the Paly bubble survived "down" economic times and continues to be a cash target for new buyers. What is the actual price of this success?

With regards to ideas like mass transit, biking, and car-sharing services...these are all very focused on portions of the driver audience who actually wish to CONSIDER these as professional options. Just because I have a bike doesn't mean I wish to become a cyclist and start my work day after 9am. Just because I have a car doesn't mean that I want to share it, and since I have a car and bike why would I need to deal with the bus and its own complications? For those who don't share my views, then welcome to those options and please leave your car at home, I guess. The tone of this post is quite intentional, as how many times with Palo Alto City Council attempt to legislate personal tastes? This one reminds me of the "block party" idea.

If businesses continue to flow into Palo Alto, which isn't a bad thing, then more attention should be paid to building up infrastructure in our original "business parks" off Page Mill Road and return downtown neighborhoods to all people to use and enjoy.


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Posted by Max
a resident of College Terrace
on Sep 13, 2013 at 12:47 pm

Be careful about TDMs. When Facebook was on Cal Ave, they started a TDM to keep the neighbors off their back. It didn't work. Employees didn't like being forced to take buses to work. It led to FB moving to Menlo Park. I wonder how many downtown businesses move away when the city imposes a TDM.


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Posted by Fine 'em
a resident of Monroe Park
on Sep 13, 2013 at 1:24 pm

So fine the solo drivers who work here and drive from another city! Fine the developers who build these thoughtless developments without providing improved roads to handle the traffic! And lastly, fine the city council for permitting such developments in the first place!


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Posted by Bob
a resident of Mountain View
on Sep 13, 2013 at 1:41 pm

Just what we need, another government agency to help us manage our lives as they see fit. I would like to see Liz Kniss and the rest of the city council and staff riding their bikes to work, in the rain, and not just once for the media photo op. We could all take mass transit and spend untold hours in close proximity with other community members who shun soap. Ahh, the price we pay for a dynamic community. Developers are not my favorite people, but they can only do what the council and staff allow them to. The blame must be shared.
If traffic gets too bad, fewer people will visit, which means fewer cars. The situation is self regulating. Famous NY Yankee catcher Yogi Barra once commented "Nobody goes there anymore, it's too crowded."






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Posted by Downtowner
a resident of Menlo Park
on Sep 13, 2013 at 1:50 pm

CrescentParkAnon's suggestion to increase the garage time limit to 3 hrs is a good one. It's more realistic to successfully complete multiple errands necessitating a car trip to downtown. With a little extra time, it's possible to make another retail purchase or patronize a cafe.

Stop reserving spaces for councillors. All day permits must be available for purchase by businesses who have full-time employees. Employees will still park in residential blocks unless their employers provide the permits. What if business permit fees were raised but included the number of parking permits deemed necessary for full-time employees there?

Night parking is a different issue. Some people have been attacked or mugged in garages. Are there security cameras in place? Restaurant overflow into residential blocks is still a problem, for residents & their visiting friends, especially in bad weather & for an evening visit.


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Posted by dwtn north
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Sep 13, 2013 at 1:58 pm

I live in PA work at Stanford and the reason I don't drive to Stanford is they charge for parking. It forces me to ride my bike as I don't want to pay. I don't know if PA charges their empoloyees but they should and hefty as Stanford does. They should also have more options for commuting like the google bus and free train


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Posted by Douglas Moran
a resident of Barron Park
on Sep 13, 2013 at 2:20 pm

Douglas Moran is a registered user.

RE: Jules, a resident of the Greenmeadow
The reason that Stanford has a shortage of parking is a *choice* that Stanford made. Stanford wants to increase jobs in an area where the road network is already overburdened. Reportedly, the increase in jobs in Stanford Research Park should have triggered a requirement for Stanford to improve the I-280 interchanges and intervening roads. However, the SRP is divided into many trusts, allowing the City to treat them as isolated entities and claim that none individually increases traffic enough to be required to pay for improvements. TDMs help Stanford avoid the need to pay for road improvements.

Similarly for expansion on the academic campus.

The Stanford Hospital expansion was similar but different. The traffic studies show that multiple intersections in the University Ave area would be classified as "failing" from other growth even before the Hospital expansion was completed. Thus Stanford need to pay for road network improvements (that seemed impractical) or have a TDM to argue that there won't be that much of an increase in traffic to require such improvements. The on-site parking represents *Stanford*'s goal/projections for drivers come there.

Generally, City staff has allowed, even encouraged, developers to under-park their projects under the philosophy that under-parking forces people to use transit, ignoring that a development is not an isolated self-contained site.

TDMs come in two flavors:
(1) "Aspirational": A claim made by the developer as an excuse to avoid the costs of the traffic his project will create, with little or no attempt to actually implements.
(2) Active implementation by the developer/tenant with penalties for not achieving targets.


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Posted by Stew Plock
a resident of Triple El
on Sep 13, 2013 at 2:25 pm

Building more car parking garages accomplishes the same thing that widening roads does...it makes it more attractive to drive. The easier we make it for people to solo drive (vs bike, walk, use mass trans, carpool), the worse our congestion will get. If individual drivers experience difficulty in finding parking, that's incentive for them to find alternatives...no pain, no gain (for the environment).


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Posted by Jo Ann
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Sep 13, 2013 at 2:30 pm

I'm sure you and the City Council can spare the time from your busy days to accompany me on my various rounds to the doctors, dentists, hair salon, cleaners, grocery shopping, etc. so I don't drive alone.

And don't worry, most of those rounds don't take more than a few hours each. I'm sure you're all dying to be good neighbors that way, right?

The Council needs to live in the real world for a change!


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Posted by Downtowner
a resident of Menlo Park
on Sep 13, 2013 at 2:40 pm

Robert - Palo Alto hasn't enough space to ever be a Fresno. It's landlocked by water & surrounding towns. Isn't it nicer to have retailers, restaurants, and small businesses in a downtown area than large employers who need dozens of employees coming into & out of downtown every day?

Stanford Industrial Park, Page Mill Square, & the Mountain View-Whisman area are better locations for large office complexes. Many of the residences were in town long before the business boom happened. The construction of the 5 story building at Cowper & University was a shocker at the time.

I used to live in "old" downtown Palo Alto, happily. I didn't need to drive in town. We had Liddicoats, Niven's, active movie theaters, lots of restaurants & a vibrant & varied retail community. Los Altos, Burlingame, San Mateo, and Mountain View have done a much better job of protecting their downtown areas. Too bad PA planners & council haven't bothered to watch how it can be done.


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Posted by What?
a resident of Barron Park
on Sep 13, 2013 at 2:41 pm

ridiculous! This is not the answer. City council is skirting around the real issue. TOO much growth and no where to place more people.


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Posted by Arnie
a resident of Palo Verde
on Sep 13, 2013 at 2:43 pm

Jo Ann, they are aiming at people driving to work, not customers doing business downtown.


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Posted by Misha
a resident of Gunn High School
on Sep 13, 2013 at 3:00 pm

If the buses ran more frequently to/from the high schools the kids would have some more options. Right now it seems the bus only stops at Gunn once right after school. When my child has to stay after school for any reason, she misses the bus and then has to be picked up as too far to walk home with her heavy backpack.


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Posted by Jo Ann
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Sep 13, 2013 at 4:19 pm

Arnie, how would they know whether I'm going to work or to an early morning or late afternoon dentist appointment? Or to a business lunch for work?

Are they going to stop everyone driving alone and ask? Are they going to call the dentist and check? It sounds like grade school where you need a note from your mother.


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Posted by CrescentParkAnon.
a resident of Crescent Park
on Sep 13, 2013 at 4:53 pm

> Parking spaces on level 1 of City Hall set aside for Members of the City Council should be removed.

Truer words are rarely spoken on this issue.

This City, State and Country need to have the message
heard by government at all levels that public money is
not their personal expense account.

Some rules with teeth need to be imposed that prevents
these unreasonable perks. For example, all such perks
such as parking or expense accounted "somethings" need
a public and publicly expressed purpose that should be
able to be called for a vote of no-confidence and abolished
with a large enough petition. It gets more and more clear
the only way to get any democracy in our city is increase
the directness of our democratic process.

Give the voters some teeth to use in order to control our
"so-called representatives" - those who do not represent us.
Start and file a petition against said perk with enough signatures.
Then being able to question and remove these representatives'
perks over a reasonable amount of time if they are not doing
whatever they said there were doing to deserve those perks
would give the public more of a voice. Right now whatever people
say as they have been saying for a long time is just ignored and
the opposite is pushed down our throats by media manipulation
bought and paid for by a greedy and biased minority. Put
some strings in control of the citizens of Palo Alto.


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Posted by DC
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Sep 13, 2013 at 5:40 pm

Businesses that want to build new buildings MUST sign a contract with the city that at least 80% of it's workforce WILL use public or other means of transportation to work, whether local or not. However that business wants to make that work is up to their creativity. Maybe a contract w/ a car service that picks up staff like a carpool. Perhaps free bus/train passes. Advantages for those who carpool with a minimum of 3 other people. Whatever. Huge fines for cheaters, by the way.
City staff of every level are subject to the same rules. Talk the talk, walk the walk. Set the example.
This is the Silicon Valley, people. Why aren't the parking garages on a grid? And a city-wide valet system in place? Businesses should all pay an added tax split between all at a # staff per tax level basis. If someone is participating in a carpool for work, they arrive at work, the valet looks at his/her iPad, pulls up the parking grid, finds parking space # Z47 is available, takes the car there, and since every garage has a bike-share station (as they need to in the very near future), the valet then zips back to his/her post. The valets take turns, like at the VA in Palo Alto. No cost to the commuter. Make it easy for commuters, they will come. Who with half a brain wants the hassle of looking for parking first thing in the morning? And the hours for this service need to be what the businesses set, not what the city decides. Not everyone works 9-5. Just a thought. And by the way, why on earth is the city approving new houses that have 5 bedrooms and a ONE CAR GARAGE?? Where do you think all those other cars are going to be? Not room in front of most homes for 4 cars to park, so who gets the space in front of their neighbor's home? Just askin'.


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Posted by Mr.Recycle
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Sep 13, 2013 at 5:59 pm

We need a city wide residential parking permit program. If people can't park for free all day in residential neighborhoods, they won't be able to drive. Supplement that with remote parking lots and shuttles.


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Posted by Douglas Moran
a resident of Barron Park
on Sep 13, 2013 at 6:13 pm

Douglas Moran is a registered user.

"Stew Plock" represents the smug arrogance that makes this issue so hard to resolve. He believes that inflicting pain on commuters is the solution, and this allows the local planners to ignore whether transit is usable.

VTA regards a 90-minute one-way commute via transit as "Good" service. At one point, I attempted to replace my 12-20 minute drive with transit and it took an average of 70 minutes.

The common claim by transit advocates that the problem is that Americans just want to drive is falsified by the experience of many Europeans I know who moved here expecting to use transit, but quickly gave up when they found it to take 4-6 times as long as driving.

There are even transit advocates I know that refuse to use the local light rail system because it is so slow (a system repeatedly rated as worst in the country).

Data-based analyses of transit use have found that to be truly usable by most people, one needs to have considerably higher population density than is plausible for this area (other than SF).


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Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Sep 13, 2013 at 6:17 pm

A cynic would say the TDM is another standard city council dodge: let's propose a study, and then defer all decisions until we finish the study. Or at least until after the election.

Better yet, it's a "magic bullet" vision that neatly skirts the real problem: out-of-control development and zoning-for-sale that lead to traffic, parking, congestion, ugly buildings, and other general destruction of the character of the city.

So we can say we're doing something, without having to actually do anything. Because actually doing something meaningful would conflict with the Big Development special interests who are our masters.

All of which is too bad because the TDM has some real ideas in it. In a better council's hands it might do some good, combined with real reforms elsewhere. But for this council it's presumably an excuse for inaction in an election year, with business as usual after that.


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Posted by Palo Altan
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Sep 13, 2013 at 6:23 pm

Let's keep this simple. No new oversized commercial developments in Palo Alto. And, any building that is built, must have enough underground parking for all the employees that will work in that building. Our current city council and Architectural Review Board need to be ousted. This is the worst city council in 50 years.


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Posted by Kathy
a resident of Professorville
on Sep 13, 2013 at 6:33 pm

Why do the PA city council members have their own private 24 hour a day reserved parking spaces on Level 1 of the city hall garage? What hypocracy. This city council is a disgrace. I can't believe this group of incompetents is making lifelong city decisions for the intelligent people of PA.


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Posted by CrescentParkAnon.
a resident of Crescent Park
on Sep 13, 2013 at 6:37 pm

> Why do the PA city council members have their own private 24 hour a day reserved parking spaces on Level 1 of the city hall garage? What hypocracy. This city council is a disgrace.

Kathy, it can't be as bad as all that, at least not because or just parking, but it sets the wrong tone like the Wall St. analysts getting paid bonuses to crash the economy or Congress getting its own Cadillac health plan. What I'd like to know is if their cars are paid for by the city?


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Posted by Arnie
a resident of Palo Verde
on Sep 13, 2013 at 7:24 pm

The transit issue is a "Catch-22". VTA cut service in Palo Alto a few years ago because of low ridership. Palo Alto residents complain that there is no transit service, but they didn't use it when it existed. VTA cannot afford to serve a city that doesn't use its buses. If you want more transit service in Palo Alto, then you need to actually use it instead of just talking about it. Yes, Doug, it is very time consuming right now but if you want things to change you need to put up with that while advocating for improvement (unless you don't mind being a hypocrite).


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Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Sep 13, 2013 at 7:50 pm

Transit is a big problem and VTA, Caltrain, the shuttle don't do it.

Example, how many Foothill College students live in Palo Alto? I don't know the answer either, but how do they get there from Palo Alto? They have to get whatever way they can to San Antonio and then get an often overfilled bus to Foothill. Why?

Can't the VTA or whoever work out that people want to get certain places and make efficient services.

How long does it take to get to SFO or SJC from Palo Alto by transit? Well it wouldn't take very long if we had an efficient bus that used 101 and came off at one ramp in each city with a parking lot and bus stop that went between SFO and SJC. Why don't we have that service? Because the present transit companies don't see that we don't need their arbitrary boundaries but need to get across boundaries, zones and need to do as quickly as possible.

Google Buses and the new Groupon Service provide efficient, comfortable buses which provide a working environment with wifi. VTA provides dirty, uncomfortable buses filled with the homeless which are not what professional commuters find useful.

VTA is not a suitable bus service to meet the needs of professional commuters who want to travel more than 3 miles.


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Posted by common sense
a resident of Midtown
on Sep 13, 2013 at 9:55 pm

An interesting fact: 7 of the 9 council members live within 1.5 miles of City Hall - so why do they need reserved parking at City Hall? Can't they walk or bike like they encourage everyone else to do?

Another case of "Do as I say, not as I do" - council members like to treat themselves as princes & princesses of the city, rather than serve the residents.


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Posted by AR
a resident of College Terrace
on Sep 14, 2013 at 12:57 am

Proposal: limit the reserved parking for CC members to Monday nights. Of course they have to go to City Hall at other times but they'll have a much more realistic Palo Alto experience if they get to experience the problem they helped build. At least limit the # of CC spaces to 4 so that they can set a carpooling example.


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Posted by Douglas Moran
a resident of Barron Park
on Sep 14, 2013 at 2:04 am

Douglas Moran is a registered user.

RE: Arnie
On VTA's cancel of much of its bus service to Palo Alto, you have cause-and-effect wrong. VTA cut service on lines that had good ridership in order to move funding to light rail and BART-to-San-Jose. I have lived in this area for 30 years (after living in several places where I didn't need a car).

I would say that public transit here is incompetent, except that providing service to commuters does not appear to be one of its goals. Instead, public transit is a patronage activity. Jobs for transit workers, jobs+profits for construction, increased land values for politically influential landowners in downtown San Jose. If you didn't include the powerful special interests, analysis after analysis demonstrated that BART-to-San-Jose was bad transit policy: It was very inefficient spending of transit money.

In my many years of experience with transit issues, the biggest obstacle to improving public transit are the transit advocates: Their blind adherence to ideology consistently produces bad results.


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Posted by Joe
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Sep 14, 2013 at 8:53 am

Doug Moran wrote—

I would say that public transit here is incompetent,

In my many years of experience with transit issues, the biggest
obstacle to improving public transit are the transit advocates:
Their blind adherence to ideology consistently produces bad results.
---

It is very difficult to find fault with either of these two comments. Given that the VTA Board is comprised of elected officials (for the most part) who have no experience running transportation companies, or for-profit companies for that matter, all they end up doing is spouting pious platitudes, and rubber-stamping the never-ending bad ideas of the VTA staff.

It is very difficult to get financial information associated with VTA on-line, and there is little evidence that the elected officials making up the Board have any idea how to evaluate this information.

It would be a worthwhile exercise to consider terminating VTA, looking to see how private-sector sources could be utilized to provide the services needed by Santa Clara County instead.


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Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Sep 14, 2013 at 8:59 am

I would go as far as to say that VTA, SamTrans, Caltrain, Muni, BART, etc. should all be merged into one Bay Area transit authority. I would like to see them run as one service with a simple goal of getting people where they need to go as efficiently as possible. I would like to see buses arriving at stations before trains arrive and waiting to leave after the passengers have left the train and been able to get on a bus. I would like to see one ticket for a trip that takes less than 40 minutes regardless of how far the trip is and how many individual modes of transport are used.

I could go on about family tickets discounted, off peak discounts, evening free parking and better advertising/marketing, but I have said so before many times and I don't have the inclination to do it here again.

Suffice it to say that Bay Area public transportation sucks.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Joe
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Sep 14, 2013 at 9:06 am

> I would like to see one ticket for a trip that takes less than 40
> minutes regardless of how far the trip is and how many individual
> modes of transport are used.

This is clearly unrealistic. But how much do you feel you should pay for such transport?


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Posted by Jules
a resident of Greenmeadow
on Sep 14, 2013 at 10:03 am

Re: D.Moran
I was under the impression that Palo Alto would only allow construction of the new Stanford Hospitals if no new parking structures were added ( per some email sent around to Stanford community from ? Parking office or admin). Hence the comment that MY city is making my life difficult. Supposedly Stanford had to only use parking already in place and make employees walk or use shuttles to get to the hospitals. Furthermore, another email mentions that Stanford can have only so many cars on the road at certain crucial intersections e.g el Camino and embarcadero at commute hours thus the push for " use of bikes etc" with no actual thought to when people actually are required to get to and from the campus. Would be nice to know the whole story....


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Posted by Silly
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Sep 14, 2013 at 11:38 am

I remember when the Stanford Hospital expansion was being debated and the university swore and the PA City Council agreed that not a single new car would be added to our traffic mess.

Sure, and people commute by broomstick.


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Posted by enough
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Sep 14, 2013 at 11:42 am

There is no integrated public transportation system which serves Palo
Alto. It is patch work which might work for some people for commute purposes but if your work hours vary and you are outside peak hours even these people will be in trouble. There is simply no viable system here compared to France for example where you can
travel just about anywhere easily, quickly, in safe and clean
surroundings. This is simply used as subterfuge by the City Council
in a strategy to continue to build out Palo Alto far beyond its
capacity with the destruction of the City and its neighborhoods
the inevitable result. We have had enough of this- I don't know
who is even listening to any of this anymore.


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Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Sep 14, 2013 at 12:24 pm

Joe, that is a good question and I don't know the answer.

At present though the system is broken. I know that with the zones on Caltrain, someone who travels 4 stations in one zone can pay less than someone who wants to travel to the next station which is in another zone.

I know that there was a time when the kids in the South on Loma Verde where the Gunn/Paly barrier is could come home from Gunn on one bus for one fare in less than 30 minutes while the Paly kids who lived opposite on the same street came home from Paly on two buses for 2 fares and took over 45 minutes. That is very wrong.

To get to a Caltrain station on one bus, then pay Caltrain fare, then another short bus ride on say Sam Trans, means 3 fares on 3 different agencies. I know there is a clipper ticket, but that less than 5 miles commute takes 3 fares and can't be economical.

There has to be a method whereby the price of commuting shorter distances has to be more economical. Paying 6 fares every day is just not going to attract people to use public transit. If the aim of the council (and other councils around the Bay Area) is to get more people out of their cars, then they have to make public transit more attractive. Revamping the whole system must happen to do this, and pricing and fares are part of this. Anyone who has lived in urban areas (not just cities) where public transit works, realises that clean, affordable, efficient, transit can be an attractive alternative to driving but that is far from the system we have here.


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Posted by Garrett
a resident of another community
on Sep 14, 2013 at 3:45 pm

@ Resident.

I agree that the transit agencies need to be merged and a super agency needs to be formed. Transit here is beyond terrible for such a large metro area.


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Posted by Douglas Moran
a resident of Barron Park
on Sep 14, 2013 at 5:27 pm

Douglas Moran is a registered user.

Re: Jules on how "no net new trips" for the Stanford Hospital expansion came about

Early in the considerations, traffic studies indicated how difficult and/or expensive it would be to expand the road network. For example, adding lanes along University Avenue from 101 to Middlefield by taking the front yards of houses (remembering how wealthy and influence the owners of those house are). For example, increasing traffic capacity through the University Ave downtown.

Because this couldn't/wouldn't be done, the "no net new trips" criteria (fiction?) was adopted as a foundation of the expansion proposal.


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Posted by Douglas Moran
a resident of Barron Park
on Sep 14, 2013 at 5:38 pm

Douglas Moran is a registered user.

On merging the transit agencies:
To offset the advantage of simplified coordination, you need to consider the effect of politics. The larger the transit entity, the more likely that small cities are going to get shorted.

I previously mentioned BART-to-SJ. Remember that although VTA got a sales tax measure passed by *promising* improvements to transit around the county, what it said after the tax was passed was that BART-to-SJ had priority on *all* that tax money -- that the "promised" improvements for Caltrain and bus service would be only done with money that BART-to-SJ couldn't use at that time (various of these improvements were done because of delays in B2SJ). Recognize that by making it easier for workers to get to downtown SJ from further and further away, those political power commercial property owners in the downtown SJ area benefit from their properties becoming more valuable. And everyone else pays for little benefit.


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Posted by Not an issue
a resident of Community Center
on Sep 14, 2013 at 6:04 pm

I guess we should have just forced Stanford to shut down the hospital, children's hospital and the cancer center. All those sick people and their visitors and the people who care for them driving through palo alto ( of corse that people will come from other directions is ignored by palo alto) is just too much. Better to shut it all down. If the ever is another major disaster in the bay area , palo,alto will be glad the hospital is there.
Also,ignore all that Stanford does to mitigate traffic in the area-- no other employer in palo alto is required to do that.


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Posted by CrescentParkAnon.
a resident of Crescent Park
on Sep 14, 2013 at 6:21 pm

Douglas Moran had a really good point about University Ave. How it is very unlikely that those expensive homes are going to be grabbed by eminent domain to create a louder, faster University Ave. able to service Stanford or Downtown Palo Alto any better.

But that is true everywhere in Palo Alto. All the major arteries are like this - practically impossible to upgrade, there is nothing to be done, except to either do someone or realize we are not going to do something.

If we do not redesign the city to modern specs. we should not be trying to have all this new growth. We just should not do it.

Trying to play games like forcing people out of their cars, or to use Public Transit that does not exist yet is an exercise in futility.

We are already too crowded and we just accept rush hour traffic that is really pretty awful. Try getting up or down University, Embarcadero. Middlefield, Alma, etc during rush hour.

Until we have a plan to deal with opening Palo Alto up to a traffic upgrade we just have to be happy with what we are. Is there any other way to think about this?


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Posted by Judy
a resident of Midtown
on Sep 14, 2013 at 6:27 pm

As a resident of south Palo Alto I've given up going Downtown. I go to Mnt Vw or Los Altos when I go out to dinner. I can't even remember when the last time I was Downtown, it's too crowded and too busy and I can't park anywhere.


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Posted by Garrett
a resident of another community
on Sep 14, 2013 at 7:17 pm

Right now we should be talking and acting to get people out of their cars, not force them but one day we are going to wake up and traffic will be so bad, so terrible. It will cost more money, more time and we might not even have the land to build anything.

Expect more of the same car centered improvements.


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Posted by CrescentParkAnon.
a resident of Crescent Park
on Sep 14, 2013 at 9:07 pm

> Right now we should be talking and acting to get people out of their cars

This is the kind of thinking that is the problem.

When you look at history, it is rarely someone making predictions and designing to those predictions that works. We have had cars for 100 years, and they work, and people like them, we know how to live with them.

Someone always has to think they know a better way, and is ready to wipe everything that works away to implement it ... with them and their ideas at the center, or course.

Well, that rarely works, and this thing of trying to artificially re-design life by taxing, or raising the price of fuel, or not supporting the infrastructure of a system that works does not work.

If we want our lives to work, then we need to need to do the closest things that we know will help ... and right now that is building roads and infrastructure that can handle the number of cars we have. If we cannot do that or afford to do that, then we need to stop growing so much so we can catch up with the problem we have. Part of the problem is parking, and that is what makes this problem look worse than it is, in order to make money and take power we have been under-building infrastructure, and overbuilding growth, and rationalizing it with nonsense about green-ness to make everyone feel better - like this is progress.

Well, I'm just saying I don't think this phony green stuff is progress.

If we want Palo Alto to work, we should grow in line with what will work with our infrastructure. Don't build infrastructure just to build it, build it such that it preserves the best of our city.

We have huge challenges to widen University, Embarcadero, Middlefield, Alma. And all the people who live along those routes now need to have alternatives to just being trampled on. If it cannot be done fairly, then we need to acknowledge that, not just keep growing like a cancer, or unrealistically expecting everyone to bicycle everywhere.

Quit letting people enlarge their homes without places to park their cars. Stop pretending we are still a rural village and let people develop their houses up as long as they provide parking.

We need so real good ideas, not just pie in the sky green hopes that are never going to work in Palo Alto until it just absorbs into a giant vertical SFBayArea giga-plex.


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Posted by Joe
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Sep 15, 2013 at 8:31 am

> There has to be a method whereby the
> price of commuting shorter distances has to be more economical

This point-of-view might make sense if it weren't for the fact that all of the local public transit agencies are already heavily subsidizing their customers. VTA claims that its fare box recovery is about 45% of the cost-of-service. Caltrain is a little better, in that it claims that it recovers about 65% of its cost of operations. What's not clear is if the cost of infrastructure is ever included in any of these calculations. It's a sure bet that it is not—making the subsidies much higher in reality.

So—your concerns about "economical" fare pricing are not realistic, when the total cost of running the system is considered. You're already getting a great deal—paid for, in part, by local/state/federal taxpayers.


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Posted by Bob
a resident of Community Center
on Sep 15, 2013 at 10:23 am

My parents are very seniors. I asked them when was the last time they went to downtown Palo Alto. It's been so long ago they couldn't remember. They used to go to T&C to Hobee's, but that's gone. Mom likes Chico's so they go to Los Altos for that. Even going to AVenidas is a problem due to parking.

And why are there no left turn signs on University at Middlefield from Middlefield in either direction? During rush hour only one car can make a left turn if that. Where is the Transportation Department? I asked about this and was told the lights would cost $100K?
That's 'chump change' at City Hall. And WHY doesn't the city straighten out the MESS on Embarcadero at PALY-Town and Country-Middlefield. It the city blind to this nightmare?


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Posted by resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Sep 15, 2013 at 12:10 pm

@Bob
You are exactly right. The City staff does not do what they should
be doing and does what they should not be doing. Money is not even
a factor.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by anonymous
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Sep 15, 2013 at 12:30 pm

From the article, "The memo from the four council members also cites the Contra Costa Transit Center as a success story...the...program is managed by a specially formed Transportation Management Agency funded by contributions from new commercial developments in the district area. Its strategies include BART fare subsidies, gas cars, special parking for carpools and car-share services for mid-day errands or emergency trips home. The memo suggests that Palo Alto consider the creation of such an agency."

- I am very concerned about the bureaucracy entailed here. They mention a new agency. We are in an era of unbridled growth of local, regional, state, and federal government bureaucracy and I question how it can have oversight to ensure legitimate use of funds and reaching (whatever) goals.
- How can we afford this - what will be the "return?"
- It seems like more than "contributions from new commercial develoments" would be needed to operate this bureaucracy, knowing that government employees get entrenched with benefits. So the local taxpayer is on the hook for this - unknown expenditures?
- WHO exactly decides the persons who will receive the "BART fare subsidies" and other perks?? Does one apply based on location, "need" (as determined by whom? - what constitutes "need?" - I would think anyone who rides BART would be up for a "subsidy" of their commute costs!)
- ANYONE who needs a mid-day trip home or has an "emergency" can demand "special parking?" What exactly will be approved for an "emergency?"
- I guess it's a transference of $$$ from commercial developers (and then, undoubtedly, the hapless regular folks taxpayers like myself) to "fund" these schemes.


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Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Sep 15, 2013 at 1:46 pm

The way to fund public transportation is to put higher taxes on gas.

Gas taxes are ridiculously low. Countries that have successful public transportation have much higher gas which makes people a lot more likely to think of how expensive it is to drive.

Young people are not buying into the idea that they need to buy a car. Zip Car participation is definitely a young people trend and they are also leaving it later to get their licenses. It is no longer something they all do on turning 16.

Even the cost of the license is ridiculously low. Compared to the other costs of driving (insurance and road taxes), public transportation as an alternative is not affordable. Make driving a more expensive option to an affordable, clean, efficient public transportation system and young people will use it because they haven't been driving every day for the last 20 or 30 years.


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Posted by Garrett
a resident of another community
on Sep 15, 2013 at 2:31 pm

Building roads to handle the present needs of drivers and remember that,most,every product we use is driven in by truck. Traffic is a problem and will get worse.

Future drivers will pretty much end of driving on our same present day crowded traffic clogged roads. Even transit gets stuck in the same traffic filled roads.

The only difference is 10, 20, 30 or 40 years ago would have been cheaper. Stand on University Ave and Bay Road, then look around. Tell me how much traffic improvement to handle the ever increasing amount of cars, trucks and other vehicles.


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Posted by Deep Throat
a resident of another community
on Sep 15, 2013 at 2:38 pm

The colleagues memo says the purpose of the proposal is to take cars off the road, but the last item in the "Around Town" column in the same issue of the Weekly says that ridesharing services like Ridepal take cars off the road also allow for more development, because "traffic is the main impediment for expansion."

"My name is Greg Scharff, and I do want to talk about world peace," he said. Scharff referred to "a civil war" between Palo Alto's pro-development forces and the "residentialist" folks who want to preserve a small-town feel. "This service takes cars off the road and allows for more growth," he said, continuing that traffic is the main impediment for expansion. "You're allowing Silicon Valley to grow — thanks for that."


 +   Like this comment
Posted by pat
a resident of Midtown
on Sep 15, 2013 at 3:08 pm

> "And why are there no left turn signs on University at Middlefield from Middlefield in either direction? During rush hour only one car can make a left turn if that. Where is the Transportation Department? I asked about this and was told the lights would cost $100K?
"That's 'chump change' at City Hall. And WHY doesn't the city straighten out the MESS on Embarcadero at PALY-Town and Country-Middlefield. It the city blind to this nightmare?"

The 2013 Budget, page 184, Planning and Community Environment says: Objective: Decrease traffic congestion on roads and intersections

Measure 1: Percentage of survey residents rating traffic flow on major streets good or excellent has been 46% in 2010, 47% in 2011 and 40% in 2012. Nice downward trend!

If the transportation department spent the majority of its time on traffic congestion, maybe we wouldn't have the mess on Embarcadero at El Camino, or at El Camino and Page Mill, or on Oregon east any time after 2 pm, or on the Maybell "safe route to school."

But the chief transportation officer spends way too much time thinking up new projects so he can apply for grants – with no concern that his wish-list projects aren't funded in the budget.

Then we have a city manager who is asking for $2.1M to remodel just the first floor of City Hall. This would renovate the lobby, council conference room, human resources conference room, elevator cars, and provide new signs.

At the same time Councilman Mark Berman"… advocated a bond for those items that resonated with the voters, including sidewalk and street repairs." Web Link

Is ANYONE at City Hall listening to or working for the residents?


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Posted by Garrett
a resident of another community
on Sep 15, 2013 at 3:55 pm

Like everything else throughout life goes up in price. It costs more to get a cup of coffee, gas has certainly gone up and so has housing.

Price of metal and other materials has risen, labor, shipping costs have risen. I guess to purchase and install traffic lights too has risen.

Growth equals wealth and I am not talking developers.


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Posted by out of control
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Sep 15, 2013 at 8:12 pm

@pat
The Transportation staff does not do what you would expect a
Transportation Div to do. The actions taken by the City staff
are far more destructive than positive. Common sense steps
are not taken and extreme over-the-top projects which are costly
and replete with negative impacts and side effects are done
one after the other.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by anon
a resident of Evergreen Park
on Sep 16, 2013 at 10:00 am

how about if the chief transportation official for the city of Palo Alto, jaime Riodriguez, who is blocking Residential permit programs in PA neighborhoods, is forced to take public transportation t from his home( Livermore, CA ) to his job in Palo alto?????


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Look in the mirror
a resident of another community
on Sep 16, 2013 at 10:57 am

Perhaps Council should look in the mirror since City employees are provided free parking. That is a big incentive to drive solo to work and it could be changed, but Council has known about it for a long time and has done nothing to change the incentive. One easy fix is to give the value of the free parking in cash to City employees and make them pay for parking. Solo drivers would be in the same position, but the incentive would be fixed.


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Posted by Wayne Martin
a resident of Fairmeadow
on Sep 16, 2013 at 11:56 am

> gas taxes are ridiculously low ..

Well, maybe .. but everything adds up:

Web Link

Taxes, not gasoline prices, are the reason California is the state with the second-highest cost for operating a car, Bankrate.com contends.

Californians pay an average $1,809 in taxes and fees for their cars, the financial website said. That's almost double the national average of $1,058.

Overall, Californians pay an average of $3,966 annually to operate a vehicle. That compares with a national average of $3,201.
---

> The way to fund public transportation
> is to put higher taxes on gas.

There is a cost to everything.

2013 California Gasoline Costs Breakdown:
Web Link

Distribution, Marketing, Profits……….$0.26
Crude Oil Cost:………………………..$2.63
Refinery Costs/Profits:…………………$0.23
State Underground Storage Tank Fee:…$0.02
State/Local Sales Taxes:……………….$0.08
State Excise Tax:……………………….$0.42
Federal Excise Tax:…………………….$0.18
--------
Retail Prices:……………………………$3.83


The tax burden for gasoline at the moment is about 20%, which goes up and down, based on the cost of crude oil. Consider the impact of adding $1, $2 or $3 dollars in new taxes to support "mass transit". As the cost of gasoline increases to $5, $6 or $7 dollars a gallon—what impact would this have on the general economy? What impacts would this price of gas have on our individual lives? It's not likely that "mass transit" would ever be able to transport all of the people that our personal conveyances do. The result would be a huge negative impact on the economy, which would in all likelihood reduce the quality of life in California..


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Posted by CrescentParkAnon.
a resident of Crescent Park
on Sep 16, 2013 at 1:50 pm

I don't think we are paying too much ... it is that we are getting too little. Like the financial industry, and everything else ... where is all that money going ... and when can we expect some competence and value from it?


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Posted by Solo driver
a resident of South of Midtown
on Sep 16, 2013 at 2:37 pm

If an out of touch council really wants to make things fun, how about bringing back horses and horses and buggies for Palo Alto?

It would be far less expensive than fuel and it would keep staff employed by having to do the clean-up of material similiar to what is coming out of City Hall now, with this memo.


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Posted by long-time resident
a resident of Green Acres
on Sep 16, 2013 at 3:00 pm

"Residentialists" aren't against growth. Residentialists are just against stupid, thoughtless, bend-over-for-the-developers, throw-out-all-reasonable-zoning-laws, forget-we-have-cohesive-neighborhoods, or concern-for-quality-of-life growth. Growth that starts with Larry Klein's lawfirm handling the sale of a major parcel of land, using $7.3million in City funds to facilitate the purchase and a complex financing scheme that sets the whole thing in stone long before there is any public input. (Yes, I am talking about Maybell, but the financing scheme will be used again and again if voters greenlight Measure D.)

I'm all for smart commuting solutions. I am against the mayor using them as an excuse for circumventing zoning laws in the most poorly thought-out ways. I doubt he sees the irony in using them as an excuse for turning Palo Alto into a place more and more people will want to commute from nicer places to.





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Posted by wmartin46@yahoo.com
a resident of Fairmeadow
on Sep 16, 2013 at 5:18 pm

> where is all that money going .

Here's a portion of the answer as to where "all that money" is going--

2013-2014 California Transportation Budget:
Web Link

Trying to make some sense out of this data is not exactly straightforward. For instance, the State tends to release its expenditures on a yearly basis, but how the money is spent over time on the various aspects of our transportation system is not at all easy to find. For instance, Highway 101 was expanded sometime in the 1950s through the Peninsula. It would be very useful to have access to the total funding spent on this major highway since then to compare that dollar amount against the increases in the economy, and property values of this area.

Nationally, we no doubt have spent trillions on our national road system since 1950. The value of that investment can be seen in the cumulative GDP for the US, which has been about $480T since 1950. It would be impossible for the US economy to operate without its transportation system. If we had all of the various numbers, it's hard to believe that we would not see that the ROI (Return on Investment) would be very favorable to our sense of getting value for our money.


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Posted by musical
a resident of Palo Verde
on Sep 16, 2013 at 5:33 pm

Thanks for the car and fuel cost info Wayne. Article wasn't clear on whether vehicle operating cost includes acquisition cost. Purchase or lease payments couldn't possibly be included in the $4K annual figure, could they? Or maybe I see a skewed population on Palo Alto roads.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Wayne Martin
a resident of Fairmeadow
on Sep 16, 2013 at 5:45 pm

> Purchase or lease payments couldn't possibly be included
> in the $4K annual figure, could they?

Very doubtful.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Sunshine
a resident of Barron Park
on Sep 16, 2013 at 6:05 pm

I notice that each council member has a specially reserved parking space in the parking garage. Why don't council members follow the good example of a former councilor, Emily Renzel and ride bikes?
If council wants residents to use public transit to visit downtown they should provide cheap and effective public transit alternatives.
Not everyone can walk far enough or ride a bike to shop downtown. The proposed plans effectively eliminate many who would like to shop downtown.
If you want a vibrant downtown, with good shopping and amenities for all, you must make parking available for them. Otherwise that will take their money elsewhere.
When I want to have lunch and go to a movie with a friend during the week, we need to park for over three hours. If there is no parking we will soon go to the multiplexes instead of the Aquarius or other small theaters.
You should not expect seniors to walk orride a bike downtown when they want to shop or see a movie.
Residents near downtown need to realize that they live in a city. If we want a vibrant downtown we need to provide free parking for them

P


 +   Like this comment
Posted by jb
a resident of Leland Manor/Garland Drive
on Sep 17, 2013 at 8:30 pm

How much of the downtown parking is taken by employees of tech companies downtown? Could the first effort be made to organize and reduce the parking needed by people who work downtown? I would not be able to use most of the greener options for shopping downtown or eating and taking in a movie. Recently a measure was made of the proportion of Palo Alto populace who are over sixty, and it was surprisingly large. We could be pushed out of using downtown for shopping and amusement with strict limits on cars.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by jb
a resident of Leland Manor/Garland Drive
on Sep 17, 2013 at 8:53 pm

It used to be that when the Palo Alto Weekly published its yearly almanac of Palo Alto they included some statistics that have since disappeared. They stated the population of Palo Alto and then the population of Palo Alto during the day. A difference that I remember was staggering. It was something like 56,000 souls sleeping in town at night and perhaps 200,000 people in town on a week day.

We haven't had these numbers to remind us of this disparity, which must be much larger now. My original concern was how we plan for people in case of an earthquake. How many out-of-towners should we plan for in our emergency planning. Such thoughts have died out as 1989 has receded into the past. And we don't have any real numbers now to know how upset we should be about the crowding and parking problems.


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