News

Residents sound off on frustrations with traffic

Some call for more data, less city growth at special town hall meeting

For Palo Alto residents exasperated by worsening traffic congestion, the city offered some hopeful news on Monday night: Help is on the way. Also, some words of caution: Expect delays.

In a special town hall meeting dedicated to traffic, the City Council heard from dozens of residents who either vented their frustrations about deteriorating traffic conditions or offered suggestions for easing congestion. Many argued that it's time to put a moratorium on commercial development to limit commuter traffic; many others called for the city to hold more meetings with residents before they significantly redesign roadways, like Ross Road or the Charleston-Arastradero corridor.

And while city staff assured residents that the Palo Alto (like the region as a whole) is moving ahead with a slew of projects to relieve congestion, one resident after another argued that the city isn't doing enough. They came armed with surveys, data sets and anecdotes.

Mark Nadim, a resident of Palo Alto Hills, said the congestion on Page Mill Road keeps him from leaving his house until after 10-10:30 a.m. And when he leaves, he knows he has to return by 2-2:30 p.m., otherwise traffic will be horrible.

"Most of this traffic is for Stanford Research Park and most of it is single-occupancy vehicles," said Nadim, one of about 30 speakers to address the council Monday night. "We need to have some shuttles, buses ... to reduce the number of cars turning from (Interstate) 280 to Page Mill Road."

Allen Akin, who lives in Professorville, said he has installed a camera at his house to help him count cars. He saw traffic at Lincoln Avenue and Waverley Street increase from 4,200 cars per day in 2013 to 5,600 cars per day in 2018, a 33 percent hike.

"There's not an hour in the day or the night without traffic," Akin said.

The Monday meeting was triggered by an offhand comment made by Mayor Liz Kniss on July 30, when she said that the community's concerns about traffic are "exaggerated" and recommended that residents try "alternate routes." Those who do so, she posited, would "find that traffic is not as overwhelming as you might think."

Two weeks, hundreds of emails, and several "Marie Antoinette" references later, Kniss apologized, retracted her comments and invited residents to City Hall for a special town hall meeting on traffic. Close to 100 residents took her up on that offer Monday.

By most accounts, traffic is getting worse. The most recent National Citizens Survey, which was released earlier this year, showed only 42 percent of local responders giving the city "good" or "excellent" ratings when asked about "ease of travel by car" – down from 65 percent a decade ago.

The problem is not just one of perception. Traffic studies conducted by the city continue to show the number of cars climbing on major arteries from one year to another and sucking up an increasing amount of commuter time. Data from the Caltrans Performance Measurement System and Joint Venture Silicon Valley show that Bay Area drivers experienced about 200,000 hours of delays because of traffic congestion in 2016 -- up from about 100,000 hours in 2012.

The same pattern seems to hold true for Palo Alto, which has Santa Clara County's highest ratio of jobs to housing. East-west travel through local streets has only gone up by a relatively modest 7 percent between 1967 and 2016, going from 208,000 vehicles to 222,500. North-south travel, on the other hand, has seen a 59 percent increase, with the number of vehicles going from 225,400 to 358,300 over this period.

A recent survey conducted by residents of the Crescent Park neighborhood, where traffic problems are particularly severe, indicates that most in the neighborhood see traffic as a particularly wretched problem on weekday afternoons and evenings: That's when the highest percentage of residents -- 65 percent and 74 percent, respectively – report experiencing traffic problems.

Of the 189 respondents, 91 percent said they were particularly concerned about the time it takes them to reach freeways; 85 percent said they were also primarily worried about the time required for short-distance trips.

"It just solidifies our belief that commuter traffic is the source of our problem," said Crescent Park resident John Guislin, who led the survey effort. "Getting our residents not to drive is admirable but it's not going to address the big problem that we all face."

The one claim that almost everyone who took the Crescent Park survey (94 percent, to be exact) agreed on is that the city isn't doing enough to address the problems, which a large majority of respondents (88 percent) said is negatively impacting their quality of life. Staff from the city's newly created Office of Transportation tried to push back against this perception by both detailing the local projects currently in the works and by underscoring the fact that traffic is a regional problem, well beyond Palo Alto's power to solve alone.

The city's newly hired consultant, Wayne Tanda, noted that Palo Alto added about 5,000 jobs between 2012 and 2017. While significant, it's far short of the roughly 100,000 jobs that were generated in other cities in northern Santa Clara County, including Mountain View, Sunnyvale and Santa Clara.

"Ninety-five percent of job creation was beyond Palo Alto's control," Tanda said. "When you add San Mateo and San Francisco, you can see that regardless of what Palo Alto does, there will be more travel and it will be in the north-south direction," said Tanda, a consultant with the firm Municipal Resource Group.

But Greg Welch, who lives in Crescent Park, pushed back against this assertion and made the case for halting local commercial development until the city solves its traffic problems. Palo Alto, he said, is transitioning from a town into a corporate-office park, with the volume of jobs growing by 11 percent between 2011 and 2017 and the population growing by 4 percent, according to U.S. Census data.

"We can say it's a regional problem but it's not," Welch said. "It's a direct result of development policy in Palo Alto."

While some proposed solutions, including new restrictions on office development, others praised the city's efforts to promote biking and reduce driving. But even these efforts drew criticism. The Ross Road bike project, which the city implemented earlier this year, proved a tough sell for many residents, hundreds of whom have criticized the large new roundabouts that are included as part of the effort.

A few residents offered similar concerns about the city's ongoing traffic-calming effort along the Charleston-Arastradero corridor. Joe Hirsch, who lives on Georgia Avenue in the Barron Park neighborhood, said the city's efforts to reduce the number of car lanes and add roundabouts are making the problem worse. While staff listed "reducing bottlenecks" as one of its primary actions to address traffic, Hirsch argued that project near his home suggests that the opposite is true.

"It seems to us and many in the area that the city is, in fact, creating (the) bottleneck," Hirsch said. "Arastradero-Charleston is an excellent example."

Eva Gal agreed and said the lane redesigns and traffic-calming measures along Charleston-Arastradero force buses to encroach on bicycling kids and cars. Gal said she reached out to the council for help in addressing her concerns but only two members -- Eric Filseth and Lydia Kou -- agreed to meet with her.

"As a former educator, I'd give everyone of you an 'F' now in terms of communication, in terms of responsiveness and in terms of awareness of what our community needs," Gal said.

Some lauded the council's effort to encourage alternatives to solo driving. Justine Burt, a sustainability consultant who assists the Palo Alto Transportation Management Association with outreach, said that while some downtown employees have good reasons to drive, others indicated that they would be happy to switch to other modes of transporation but didn't know about the many options available to them.

"There's so much more we can do in terms of behavior change," Burt said.

After hearing from the public, the council offered its own suggestions, including better communication with residents, improving data collection and providing its transportation division with more resources. Council members agreed that commuter traffic is the primary reason for Palo Alto's worsening congestion and, as such, should be the primary focus of the city's efforts.

Councilman Cory Wolbach was among those who concurred that the city should do more to promote the Palo Alto Transportation Management Association (TMA), the downtown nonprofit charged with reducing the rate of commuters who drive solo. He suggested that the city work with other cities to create a subregional TMA. Such an organization, he suggested, can use its purchasing power to buy transit passes in bulk at a more affordable rate. Kniss and Councilman Greg Scharff supported such an idea, which could involve nearby jurisdictions in Santa Clara County and cities in San Mateo County, including East Palo Alto and Menlo Park.

Wolbach also suggested that city should invest more in the transportation division, whether by hiring more employees or bringing on more consultants.

Other council members generally agreed and offered a range of views on the best way to come up with the money. Councilwoman Karen Holman said it's time to institute a per-employee tax on local companies to fund transportation improvements. Vice Mayor Eric Filseth said the city should consider further raising the employee parking-permit rates for downtown garages, a suggestion that Scharff supported. In San Francisco, Filseth said, such permits sometimes go for thousands of dollars per year.

"There's probably room to generate more revenue from commercial parking downtown," Filseth said.

Councilman Adrian Fine suggested that the city is blundering by building new garages and by allowing visitors to park for free at city lots and garages. The city's transportation woes should be looked at as a "mobility" problem, rather than purely as an issue of traffic congestion. As such, council members' opposition to programs like Santa Clara County VTA's Bus Rapid Transit on El Camino Real isn't always consistent with its goal of making it easier for people to get around.

Staff and council members all acknowledged that it would be tough to truly solve transportation problems with the current staffing levels. The Transportation Office -- which is charged with implementing the myriad bike projects, making traffic-signal improvements and planning for the redesign of the rail corridor, among other tasks -- has 10.5 full-time-equivalent positions, said Deputy City Manager Rob de Geus. It also has a vacancy at the top, with the recent resignation of Chief Transportation Official Joshuah Mello.

As a result, some of its more promising transportation programs have failed to materialize. The council has been talking about expanding the Palo Alto Shuttle system for years, and despite stacks of reports on the subject, the program has yet to launch. Similarly, the bike-share program that the council approved earlier this year (which allows the city to accept applications from various private bike- and scooter-share vendors) has also been slow to take off.

De Geus said that the city has so far received two applications for the bike-share program, one of which was deemed incomplete. The other one, he said, is mostly complete, aside from the outreach component and could be launched in the next few months. At the same time, he said, staff is mindful of the blowback that other cities had experienced with too many bikes and scooters on the streets. As such, the city is trying to make sure they don't cause unwelcome disruptions.

Kniss noted early in the meeting that overcoming the staffing challenge in the critical department -- much like solving the traffic problems -- won't be easy, particularly given the correlation between the two problems.

"It's a challenge to find someone in that particular area and, as you know, it's hard to hire people in the Bay Area for very obvious reasons -- some of them involving traffic," Kniss said.

Watch "Behind the Headlines" to hear what Palo Alto Assistant City Manager Ed Shikada says city officials are doing to improve transportation.

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Comments

40 people like this
Posted by Who bears the cost to fix this?
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Oct 22, 2018 at 11:18 pm

I like Holman's idea whereas Wolbach/Kniss look to make residents pay for a problem caused by offices

The Downtown non-profit, who funds it?

Last I heard, it's the City- residents, any offices?

You can't have it both ways, either you have a moratorium and then maybe residents pitch in, OR you have offices pay up and fund the "downtown non-profit"

Enough is enough


81 people like this
Posted by Resident
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Oct 23, 2018 at 1:39 am

The Transportation department has gone nuts with the pro-biking [portion removed]. Most residents don’t work in Palo Alto and even those who do, will not bike. The funniest thing I saw was that the East Bayshore street leading to the Main Post Office had been painted with a bicycle image. As if it’s safe for a bicyclist to ride in the middle of that road! It’s a major cut-through street! Only an idiot would venture to bike there.


59 people like this
Posted by Bob
a resident of Fairmeadow
on Oct 23, 2018 at 3:49 am

I like bikes, but we're giving up too much street space to the bike lanes that people don't use that often.

These "road diets" just make it harder for everyone to get around. We can dream about a world where we don't need cars, but Palo Alto was designed and built for those who have cars. Until we blow up the cute houses and rebuild some highrises, we're stuck with it.


82 people like this
Posted by Big Problems Need Big Solutions
a resident of Crescent Park
on Oct 23, 2018 at 4:52 am

Sorry, but more CalTrain passes, local shuttles, the hopelessly dysfunctional TMA (which lets public funds be misspent by local businesses), and ratcheting up parking permit fees are not going to solve our growing traffic mess. Even combined, they will only impact a few hundred or thousand employees.

We need to get tens of thousands of cars off our roads if you want to see traffic get better. I've only heard two solutions for that so far:

1) Stop all commercial headcount expansion. It's not enough to halt new commercial construction because existing businesses will just pack employees closer together. This is a national trend. Right now, local companies can add 10,000 more daily employees just by shrinking worker space by 10% and the city won't lift a finger to stop this.

2) Compel Stanford and local businesses to fund commuter buses. Reportedly, about 1/3 of Google and Facebook employees get to work each day using such buses. If we could get 1/3 of Stanford and tech company commuters onto buses, traffic problems will go down.

The City Council must focus on big solutions like these instead of wasting time on "feel good" efforts with minuscule impact.


54 people like this
Posted by mauricio
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Oct 23, 2018 at 6:08 am

mauricio is a registered user.

Quote:'Palo Alto, he said, is transitioning from a town into a corporate-office park'.

But the person who is arguably the most responsible for turning Palo Alto into a corporate office park was the one who called this meeting, after claiming that P.A. didn't actually have traffic problems.

Why in the world would residents fall into the trap and show up for this sham meeting?


36 people like this
Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Oct 23, 2018 at 8:14 am

It must be remembered that traffic is not a one way problem. People who live in Palo Alto are having problems getting out of town in the am commute and returning in the pm commute. Traffic getting to highways shows me that there is no reverse commute here, just both way traffic. This is true even with Caltrain stations appearing to have as many riders getting on as get off at both stations.

On another note, I was late for a meeting in Mountain View mid morning recently because at mid morning there were 3 separate lane reductions or flag men working construction work that caused traffic backups. Traffic flow is being impacted by the construction itself.


27 people like this
Posted by In Moderation
a resident of Barron Park
on Oct 23, 2018 at 8:24 am

> the staffing challenge in the critical department -- much like solving the traffic problems -- won’t be easy, particularly given the correlation between the two problems.

>> “It’s a challenge to find someone in that particular area and, as as you know, it’s hard to hire people in the Bay Area for very obvious reasons -- some of them involving traffic,” Kniss said.

So the solution to rectifying traffic gridlock in Palo Alto is to hire more staffing?


23 people like this
Posted by Supporting the TMA
a resident of University South
on Oct 23, 2018 at 8:36 am

A TMA that works across the scale of the problem would be an excellent idea! While it's important to address congestion in downtown, the real problem is regional, and we need regional solutions.

@Big Problems - the TMA is funded by parking revenue from employees who park in the garages, not by residents. This funding stream was created by Councilmembers Filseth and Fine (thank you for putting the burden of reducing traffic on businesses, where it belongs!).

I support Councilmember Filseth's suggestion that parking prices can be raised further. It is currently still cheaper to drive and park than to take transit. The tech companies downtown have very low driving rates - about 33% - because they offer GoPass, which makes the train free for employees. Once taking transit is cheaper, we should expect to see even more employees switching from driving to mass transit, which reduces congestion and also the need to build expensive parking garages.


9 people like this
Posted by Hopeful
a resident of Fairmeadow
on Oct 23, 2018 at 8:44 am

Residents are allies, not the enemy. We want the city's programs to work. Hope you take us up on meeting again in 6 months.

I don't think the TMA as it is can do much on its own. With some more heft to it, it might be able to make a dent in traffic. Glad to hear Council thinking about how to work with our neighbors who are dealing with similar problems.


42 people like this
Posted by In Moderation
a resident of Barron Park
on Oct 23, 2018 at 8:44 am

> I support Councilmember Filseth's suggestion that parking prices can be raised further.

And I support "free-parking" for Palo Alto residents only. This can easily be accomplished with a tag or sticker on the vehicle. Registration by mail to City Hall accompanied by a utilities, cable TV or household telephone/internet bill.

Let the out-of-town commuters and shoppers pay for the parking fees as they are the ones who have created this growing 'space' problem.


5 people like this
Posted by Allen Akin
a resident of Professorville
on Oct 23, 2018 at 8:45 am

Allen Akin is a registered user.

Gennady: Minor correction -- my last name is "Akin" rather than "Aiken". I know this isn't your fault; it was misspelled on the speakers' list.


51 people like this
Posted by Online Name
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Oct 23, 2018 at 8:51 am

Online Name is a registered user.

1) The Crescent Park study wasn't handed out at the meeting. How do we get it?

2) Arthur Keller's research showed "car-iight" is a myth since the numbers haven't changed in decades, thus blowing a huge hole in all the "car-light" claims used to justify under-parking.

3) The city consultant's "study" was a joke, ignoring the fact that PA's job growth is about 4 times that of the county and surrounding cities and stressed the need to reduce "locally generated" car trips -- ie OURS -- while ignoring COMMUTER car trips and how densely packed offices NOW are.

4) The polite tone of the comments masked the deep outrage and gave the city and CC a license to continue waffling and ignoring us. Describing specific problems as "tiresome" was angriest and a huge understatement.

One speaker noted that " Only two council members -- Eric Filseth and Lydia Kou -- had agreed to meet with her.” Where were the rest of them??

5) [Portion removed.]

6) Where was official apology for not having done this study themselves and for their decades and years of inaction and failure to respond to us? Where was the plan to fix this mess?


16 people like this
Posted by Who bears the cost
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Oct 23, 2018 at 8:54 am

I recall a large amount of City funds going to a non-profit for this issue - can someone clarify.

Staffing to fix this should NOT be by adding another salary at the City. Staffing just outsources Council’s responsibility. Moratorium on office growth is something that can actually help and no staff needed.

If the issue is “regional” is there any regional funding?


16 people like this
Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Oct 23, 2018 at 8:56 am

The financial cost of traffic congestion and parking is not the only cost.

The problem is traffic and lack of parking is also in personal time. I could park in certain places if I could find a spot to park at lunchtime, or I could take an hour before or after a lunchtime meeting which will cost me 3 hours of my time instead of 90 minutes.

You can raise the cost of parking and people will still pay to park because their time is more important than company reimbursed parking costs for partial day meetings or occasional meetings where commuter permits do not help.

The only way to make it efficient to not park is to improve transit so that it is more expedient to use than going by car.

For example, for many business people using their car, an occasional meeting in downtown Palo Alto occurs as part 2 in a 3 day set of meetings, in Mountain View, Palo Alto and Redwood City, for example. That driver will be reimbursed for his parking by his employer regardless of the cost provided he is able to show receipts.

However, my occasional meeting in downtown which will last over 2 hours, or a 10 minute document drop off, cannot be done efficiently by use of transit without adding horrendous amount of time to my day.

The former 3 stop day example cannot be done apart from a car and parking costs are immaterial.

The latter example of a one destination trip regardless of length of time cannot be done by public transport when time is more important than parking costs.

Public transportation has to be improved to make efficient use of time when it can be quicker to use than driving.


21 people like this
Posted by Allen Akin
a resident of Professorville
on Oct 23, 2018 at 9:08 am

Allen Akin is a registered user.

Gennady didn't mention a comment that I thought was one of the most significant of the night. Greg Scharff pointed out that building housing locally is not going to improve traffic, and suggested that we stop conflating the two issues. Although other people said this, including Greg Welch earlier in the evening, I don't remember hearing it from the dais before.

I alluded to another point during my presentation, but I was out of time so I didn't elaborate: If you have good-quality data, you can set policies based on it. For traffic, consider adding zoning rules that say projects can't be approved unless traffic falls below threshold levels at all the measurement points.

This gives companies who want to expand in Palo Alto economic incentive to solve the problem, rather than just pushing the costs onto the rest of the community. It might not matter which solution they choose to support -- private transport like Google buses, TMA funding, public improvements like shuttle systems and satellite parking, and so on. The key is to make sure the costs and the benefits are shared proportionally.


43 people like this
Posted by Who bears the cost
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Oct 23, 2018 at 9:11 am

Traffic and lack of parking is due to office growth.

Public transportation such as mass transportation does not exist. That’s the “regional” problem. Not everyone travels North South for peet’s sake to use the one train in town.

Again - a moratorium on office growth would help and something in council’s power to do. The rest is throwing resident’s money away, insult to injury.

Close the Chamber of Commerce.


50 people like this
Posted by Online Name
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Oct 23, 2018 at 9:17 am

Online Name is a registered user.

Allen Akin, agreed but Greg Scharff also said there was no relationship between traffic and offices development. Of course that was during the meetings about the office cap initiative.

So tired of them insulting our intelligence.


18 people like this
Posted by thoughtful solutions
a resident of Downtown North
on Oct 23, 2018 at 9:29 am

I strongly appreciate Wolbach and Fine being the "adults in the room" (ironic, since they are on the youthful side). It is not feasible to pull up the drawbridge on our city. It is surrounded by world leading companies and a world leading university. They are right that the correct thing to do is invest in the TMA to manage traffic as a whole. This would allow us to invest in shuttles plus the train. As long as we force residents and businesses to each fend for themselves, the situation will not get better; we need to build a structure that allows everyone to pool resources and coordinate.


24 people like this
Posted by In Moderation
a resident of Barron Park
on Oct 23, 2018 at 9:30 am

> The only way to make it efficient to not park is to improve transit so that it is more expedient to use than going by car.

Yes. But public transit also has its own inherent limitations based on run scheduling and the individual needs of the riders. Time frames are different for everyone and relying on public transit will always be a compromise of sorts.

Case in point. I commute via public transit every day using Caltrains (California Avenue station) to MV. Then Light Rail from MV to SJ (Julian Street).

I do this to save on downtown SJ parking garage fees and to utilize the time while commuting on reviewing paperwork...I am an attorney with an office near the Santa Clara County Superior Court in downtown SJ.

There are times when I wish the Light Rail would go non-stop to SJ but that is wishful thinking as others have their own individual boarding and departure requirements as well. There will never be a public transportation system specifically geared to the needs of one person and that is why people drive cars. As a result, you now have multitudes of single car drivers headed to wherever it is they're going creating traffic and parking gridlock.

Whenever I'm in Palo Alto during the weekdays, I've noticed that between 11:45AM and 1PM, trying to find parking is a complete hassle as one usually has to drive 'round and 'round before finally finding a spot. I attribute this conundrum to the midweek lunch crowd and in many ways, I would like to see fewer dining establishments in PA as well. Being a 'brownbagger', I often resent the drivers who create traffic/parking clutter just to eat lunch.

There is no solution to this ongoing gridlock issue as Palo Alto has now become a major hub for a variety of INDIVIDUAL business, shopping and dining needs. The city can hire as many consultants and staffers as they see fit but it won't make one iota of difference in terms of any major significant improvements.





28 people like this
Posted by Pete
a resident of College Terrace
on Oct 23, 2018 at 9:56 am

We will always have traffic as long as 90% of our workforce lives in other cities and we continue to offer free parking everywhere.
- more workforce housing in Palo Alto
- no new parking garages
- charge for parking
- more investment in TDM programs and the TMA
- continue to build out a safe all-ages-and-abilities bike network
- support bus only lanes on El Camino


23 people like this
Posted by WE are the solution.
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Oct 23, 2018 at 9:57 am

WE are the solution. is a registered user.

I was interested to see many people including younger people (not kids, adults, including parents)speaking about sustainable transportation options--carpooling or sharing rides, improving transit, walking and bicycling.

Younger folks are the ones who will have to deal with the mess we leave behind. Older Palo Altons love to talk about sustainability. It's like an intellectual exercise for them--but the younger folks are WORRIED. They are doing something about it because they know they will have to live with the consequences. Start at home. Try to use alternatives to driving alone. Before you pick up your car keys to leave the house (a habit), try to remember to consider your options. Is there a free City Shuttle, VTA bus, Marguerite or train option for you? If you are going somewhere with others, can you carpool (share the ride)? IF it is under a mile, can you walk? IF it is under 5-10 miles (depending on your physical ability) can you bike?

We love our kids and grandkids. Let's make smart choices at home for their sakes. Change is not going to driven by government. We are the problem. We are the solution. Our love affair with cars is hurting the planet. It's time we rethink how we move about.


22 people like this
Posted by Downtown Granny
a resident of University South
on Oct 23, 2018 at 9:59 am

I applaud Wolbach's interest in forming a regional TMA. Now THAT'S a positive suggestion that's worth pursuing. It's a regional problem and getting regional municipalities and their commercial interests in alignment is key. That he's already spoken to other mayors in the region speaks to his proactive nature.
On another note, one speaker last night said it took her over 20 minutes to go one mile for a dentist appointment. She lamented the it took SO long. Did she ever consider walking or riding a bike? She's part of the problem if she's not finding an alternative to driving one mile. Really?


57 people like this
Posted by Who bears the cost
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Oct 23, 2018 at 10:02 am

Wolbach and Fine are not the adults in the room because if they were, they would know that the “drawbridge” nonsense is just that.

Adult math is that “world leading” companies can pay for the impacts they create or move.

Wolbachnand Fine cater to chamber of commerce chatter which is soft on business and expect residents to pay for everything.


6 people like this
Posted by Gennady Sheyner
Palo Alto Weekly staff writer
on Oct 23, 2018 at 10:13 am

Gennady Sheyner is a registered user.

@Allen Akin,

Thanks for your comments and sorry for the typo. I corrected it.


43 people like this
Posted by Barron Park Dad
a resident of Barron Park
on Oct 23, 2018 at 10:36 am

On behalf of the community, I'd like to welcome Mayor Kniss to Palo Alto. I'm not sure where she's recently moved from but I'm guessing it's a big city like Atlanta or Phoneix.

As a 25+ year resident of Palo Alto, I think we should begin to educate her that traffic is terrible in Palo Alto and continues to get worse.

If she had lived here as long as many of us, she would understand the concerns of the community about traffic.

Welcome Mayor Kniss!


47 people like this
Posted by mauricio
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Oct 23, 2018 at 11:19 am

mauricio is a registered user.

The "Car-light" housing idea has been proven by every study to be a falsehood anywhere it has been tried. it actually increases both the number of car trips and their length. It achieves the opposite of what it purports to achieve.

Many people are unable to walk or bike, due to age, illness and other physical issues.

The Bay Area will not have world class public transit capable of transporting people anywhere they wish to go for decades, if ever.

The only solution to the worsening traffic crisis, caused by over population and excessive commercial development is to reverse that trend. A moratorium on commercial development for at least 10 years would be a start. No more ADUs. No more housing developments. Put pressure on companies to expand and relocate elsewhere. No more public underwriting of problems created by commercial entities. Palo Alto should never have been allowed to become a corporate office park and those who continue to allow hit should be voted out of office.


22 people like this
Posted by Mayor Lenny Siegel
a resident of Mountain View
on Oct 23, 2018 at 11:24 am

Mountain View is building housing near employment centers to give people the opportunity to walk and drive to work, but we recognize that we need to improve public transit as well. VTA is unwilling or unable to address traffic, particularly commute traffic, in the job-rich cities of northern Santa Clara County. So I want to confirm that some of us in Mountain View have been talking to Cory Wolbach and others about creating an umbrella Transportation Management Association. I've been particularly interested in creating a public-private transportation partnership along the multi-city San Antonio Road Corridor. We can't afford not to.


37 people like this
Posted by Norman Beamer
a resident of Crescent Park
on Oct 23, 2018 at 11:35 am

Several points:
1. One potential solution, which city council rejected a couple of years ago, is to establish satellite parking lots outside the city core and have a robust shuttle system for the "last mile" into town. Even better would be to establish a joint powers authority spanning multiple municipalities so that the satellite lots could be, for example, on the other side of Dumbarton with high quality bus shuttles into this area. Likewise for 280 commuters. Who pays for it? -- Office employee head tax.
2. I'll try to be as polite as possible, but the contingent of bicycle enthusiasts that showed up at the meeting conveyed a self-righteous, smug attitude that was unwelcome. There is no way that bicycles are the answer to the problem of office worker commuters coming in from the East Bay or 280. You are doing a disservice to residents who are plagued by the morning and evening traffic jams and cars cutting through residential neighborhoods. Please get off your high horse and take of your tin foil magical thinking hats.
3. I disagree that new downtown parking garages are a bad idea. They are needed for local folks and retail customers who want to come in and patronize local businesses. That kind of traffic is not the problem. Of course permits for the all-day office worker commuters should be priced high enough so that they are strongly motivated to car pool or use other means of transport.


14 people like this
Posted by Boris Foelsch
a resident of Palo Verde
on Oct 23, 2018 at 11:35 am

If you look beyond the borders of Palo Alto, you will surely see that automobile congestion is a regional problem. Sure, we have our unique challenges and Caltrain is actually part of the solution as is cycling. I am happy to have a great bike commute route and an employer that subsidizes Caltrain in order to reduce car trips. Driving a car for every trip is a real problem. The more Palo Alto can do to reduce car trips, the better. We can make the community more liveable and safer with road diets and other traffic calming measures. It works. The safer it becomes, the more people will get out of their cars. You can too.


10 people like this
Posted by Recall naurucio
a resident of Barron Park
on Oct 23, 2018 at 11:37 am

You can always count on maurucio to come up with impractical, unenforceable and probably illegal " solutions" to our problems. Palo alto a corporate office park? Hardly? Does Maurucio even know how much of palo alto land is occupied by housing? I doubt it.
[Portion removed.]


22 people like this
Posted by developers rule
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Oct 23, 2018 at 11:38 am

[Post removed.]


20 people like this
Posted by Commuter
a resident of another community
on Oct 23, 2018 at 11:40 am

There are lots of empty church lots during the weekday. Palo Alto city, businesses and Stanford could rent space in these lots for commuter parking and have robust shuttle bus routes from these church lots to major employment areas within PA during business hours. Stanford Margarita should also expand coverage to shuttle employees from surrounding communities i.e., Mountain View and Redwood City.


20 people like this
Posted by Online Name
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Oct 23, 2018 at 11:42 am

Online Name is a registered user.

@Barron Park Dad, wonderful! Let us know where /when the Welcome Wagon should meet.

Re "adults" in the room, don't parents usually teach their kids it's polite to respond to polite inquiries, especially from the people they're supposed be serving?


7 people like this
Posted by developers rule
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Oct 23, 2018 at 11:43 am

It would be appreciated if speakers didn't open their speeches with long descriptions of how long they have lived here and other irrelevant biographical details.
No one cares, and it is not relevant to the substance of your statement -- which should be shorter, so the listeners don't tune out. (I tune out, so much irrelevance and self-praise.)


51 people like this
Posted by red thread
a resident of Downtown North
on Oct 23, 2018 at 11:51 am

I decided to move after much of a lifetime in PA. I have a second home where a lot of driving is required to reach food and services, however I found that I used more gas in PA than I did in my remote retreat, 3 times as much!! It was from sitting in traffic and the slow pace of movement when traffic moved. The heavy traffic is destroying much of the quality of life we had enjoyed for so long.

Now it seems little can be done. Growth was not managed well and developers built with almost unchecked abandon. And businesses that desperately wanted the Palo Alto location were not forced to fund parking garages and alternative transportation for their employees to keep impact on PA reasonable. We've seen our Downtown turn into an expensive and mediocre food court. And distracted drivers often come close or do hit us when we walk around town. This has ruined our peaceful enjoyment of this wonderful place I have lived in since I was 1. It's hard to leave the weather and the neighborhood, but not at all hard to leave the stress of all that traffic. It's miserable.

All the things I had looked forward to enjoying when I finally had the time are mostly cut off to me unless I'm willing to sit in hours of traffic. If I want to go see a movie, I have to time it so that it's between 10-2:30 in the day or late at night, or go to the museums in the city, 10-2:30, and so on. Life has gotten so small. It just isn't worth it. And I resent all the politicians over the years that didn't watch out for it's citizens and taxpayers. I, along with many of my neighbors went to many meeting and were very active in communicating what was happening, but little to nothing was actually done. I hope that changes, but it appears, for now the damage is done and not easily undone.


15 people like this
Posted by Curmudgeon
a resident of Downtown North
on Oct 23, 2018 at 11:55 am

[Post removed.]


14 people like this
Posted by Anon
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Oct 23, 2018 at 12:00 pm

Posted by Resident, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis

>> [...] gone nuts with the pro-biking [...] The funniest thing I saw was that the East Bayshore street leading to the Main Post Office had been painted with a bicycle image.

IIRC, those markings were put in after the downstream creek bike path was blocked due to construction. Is it open again?

>> [...] As if it’s safe for a bicyclist to ride in the middle of that road! It’s a major cut-through street! Only an idiot would venture to bike there.

It is not a controlled-access highway, is in fact a low-speed street, and doesn't have room for a bike lane. "Share the road" is not only the law, but, makes perfect sense when cars and bikes have to share a low-speed road and there isn't any other nearby bike-way. That frontage road was never intended to be a major highway through EPA. Commuters have gobbled it up like everything else.

Posted by Bob, a resident of Fairmeadow

>> I like bikes, but we're giving up too much street space to the bike lanes that people don't use that often.

"Street space" is seldom what slows people down end-to-end. Bottlenecks at major intersections are a major problem. For example, when traffic is queued up for multiple light cycles on Arastradero between Foothill and El Camino, the current one-lane portions generally have -zero- impact on your end-to-end time. Even if you go infinitely fast between the two queue locations, you will still be queued up when you get there. The one lane section has the nice feature that it stops "weavers" who have a negative impact on everyone else.

>> Until we blow up the cute houses and rebuild some highrises, we're stuck with it.

If we had room somewhere (your neighborhood? ;-) we could build a new neighborhood with the same density as the highest density neighborhood in Manhattan (Upper East Side), at ~110,000 people per square mile, within a four-story/50-foot limit. Roughly 256 people per "net" acre, or, 128 2-person units/net-acre (fewer per gross acre). High-rises are neither sufficient nor necessary to achieve higher-density housing.

Web Link

I understand that some real estate developers keep pushing the idea of high-rises, but, the idea is a distraction.

If you can convince the occupants to go car-less, I have no objection to building streetscape-friendly 4-story dense townhouses/apartments. But, NYC is unique in that over 70% of people commute to work without cars, and they do it in 30-45 minutes. To do that requires dense public transportation in the area-- which means, for us, the Peninsula and Santa Clara County. And that means that isn't going to work here without a major investment in public transportation. Building car-light housing without that is an exercise in futility.

It has nothing to do with high-rises, and, everything to do with dense public transportation.


14 people like this
Posted by Rose M
a resident of Mayfield
on Oct 23, 2018 at 12:03 pm

Rose M is a registered user.

Almost everyone is part of our traffic problem. Do you drive to the gym? Do you drive to the grocery store several times a week? Do you drive downtown to a movie? Did you complain that Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) would just cause more traffic delays? What are YOU doing to decrease traffic? How about riding local transportation, using your bike, organizing your week to minimize driving, getting your kids to WALK to school, and pushing local authorities to improve Caltrain's midday and evening service? Evening train service is only one per hour, so using the train and BART for an event in SF could mean waiting one hour in the cold and windy Millbrae station. To get back from an evening performance in SF now, one must drive to Millbrae and get on the train or BART. If we had two trains per hour at night, returning would be more feasible and we wouldn't have to drive to Millbrae. How do we reduce traffic? Stay out of YOUR car and increase our public transportation so using it is feasible. All this talk about putting new housing next to the train stops -- it won't work if train and bus services are inadequate. Change your behavior AND push regional authorities to cooperate and improve our transportation options.


31 people like this
Posted by jguislin
a resident of Crescent Park
on Oct 23, 2018 at 12:10 pm

jguislin is a registered user.

"...the city offered some hopeful news on Monday night: help is on the way. Also, some words of caution: expect delays."

I would dispute that this is what the city offered last night. Instead they presented data they claim shows Palo Alto traffic from 1967 to 2016 increased only 7% in the East-West direction and 59% in the North-South direction. Residents are skeptical and will be sourcing their own data to put the city's numbers to the test.

The city also failed to address why their traffic projects take so long and are so contentious. I did hear the assistant city manager they could be better at communications - hallelujah!

City leadership also need to get better at collecting and sharing data about how they will act to stop the traffic issues from getting worse. The business community has a big role to play and the city has been unable to even get a workable business registry in place.

Residents clearly said they want to engage with the city to find solutions. We should know in short order if they heard this plea.


29 people like this
Posted by Dilettante
a resident of Greenmeadow
on Oct 23, 2018 at 12:23 pm

Dilettante is a registered user.

One of the biggest affronts to local residents' concerns over appalling traffic conditions is Stanford University's current project on its portion of Foothill Expressway, between Page Mill and Alpine Road, where they are turning the current one-lane in each direction into a MEANDERING one-lane in each direction country road: the new portion curves in and out around numerous new islands and bulge-outs, seemingly to make the road more "bicycle friendly."

Countless residents of Menlo Park, Portola Valley, and western portions of Palo Alto have utilized Foothill since it was built, as the only other north-south alternatives (El Camino or Alma) are much further east.

Thousands of cars flow in an out of Stanford campus onto Foothill Expressway every single day, and for Stanford to intentionally exacerbate congestion here is particularly irksome. Countless Stanford commuters travel up Stanford Avenue, make a left turn onto Foothill, and then line up waiting to turn right on Page Mill to go to Hwy 280. Stanford could have made multiple right-turn lanes in this portion, but they chose to selfishly stick to one lane. Similarly, Peter Coutts Road could also be easily widened to allow more Stanford traffic better access Page Mill/280. The same situation is mirrored on the Alpine Road end, where Stanford appears loathe to encroach on their beloved private golf course to ease traffic woes.

I understand Stanford's desire to keep "The Farm" feeling like a bucolic farm, but the university outgrew that moniker back in the 1970s; their arrogance and self-centeredness with regard to their over-sized traffic impact is something to keep in mind as Stanford seeks to develop along El Camino Real and elsewhere.


8 people like this
Posted by Anon
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Oct 23, 2018 at 12:35 pm

Posted by Dilettante, a resident of Greenmeadow

>> One of the biggest affronts to local residents' concerns over appalling traffic conditions is Stanford University's current project on its portion of Foothill Expressway, between Page Mill and Alpine Road,

Once the construction is done, it will be interesting to see what a comfortable speed is. IIRC, the speed limit on that section has been 35 mph. Unless that changes appreciably, what difference does it make? But, even if it slows down traffic slightly, I doubt if it will make any difference in your elapsed time to get to the area of, e.g., Woodside High School at rush hour (been there, done that), because the real bottlenecks, at Page Mill (and Arastradero from further to the south), along with the extended Alpine/Sand Hill/Santa Cruz intersection, are always the bottlenecks.

Some of these "traffic calming" measures are an attempt to get people to flow down and follow the speed limits without an army of traffic enforcement cops.

I can hardly wait until self-driving cars put a stop to aggressive driving.


11 people like this
Posted by Wayne Martin
a resident of Professorville
on Oct 23, 2018 at 12:43 pm

Trip generation and land use are definitely linked. Given how little knowledge of urban planning that the average City Council member exhibits, it’s not surprising how off-the-mark many comments from the dais seem.

The following is a transportation study from Los Altos which links trips generated by a proposed project in their town:

Web Link

Shame that we’ve almost finished another election cycle with no real chance to evaluate the candidates’ knowledge of the issues facing our town.


8 people like this
Posted by Pete
a resident of College Terrace
on Oct 23, 2018 at 12:57 pm

Wayne,
any city council member who voted in favor of the Cal Ave and downtown parking garages demonstrated a severe lack of knowledge regarding transportation planning. For the upcoming election that means Filseth and Dubois.


10 people like this
Posted by Recall naurucio
a resident of Barron Park
on Oct 23, 2018 at 1:32 pm

Please note that in keeping with the weekly policy of denigrating certain council members that do not march in lockstep with the weekly's masters the editor had not removed a posting by curmudgeon--, in which he insults a council members intelligence.


11 people like this
Posted by Susan Monk
a resident of University South
on Oct 23, 2018 at 1:43 pm

With so many cities trying to operate or launch TMAs, it makes sense to explore whether there could be economy of scale by working together. Thank you Mayor Liz Kniss for your leadership in dedicating a full council meeting to this top issue and to Cory Wolbach for your solutions-oriented focus to this local and regional problem. Perhaps the PTC could provide a forum for further community input and plan of action?


18 people like this
Posted by Who bears the cost
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Oct 23, 2018 at 1:45 pm


Did I hear the Adrian Fine is in favor of revenues from parking lots but against parking lots?

The "regional" issues are a hoax, and funny that Lenny Siegel who came to declare war on Palo Alto on airplane noise issues during the Select Committee is talking "regional." It was appalling to hear his NIMBY rant and I would not trust ANY regional chatter which is completely out of the City's control. Mt View by the way moved noise on to everyone by closing down Moffet.

These veteran politicians should have thought about this decades ago.

We don't need to work on "umbrella" organizations to do basic shuttles and other good ideas, but the main one is to stop the bleeding. Moratorium on offices space, and no more chatter until more data is available.


10 people like this
Posted by AB
a resident of Professorville
on Oct 23, 2018 at 1:46 pm

How about cost of all of us sitting in traffic, not being able to work? Those dollars should count as lost revenue in Palo Alto and I would bet they would far surpass any amount of money these new office buildings bring into our city.


15 people like this
Posted by Harley Rider
a resident of Ventura
on Oct 23, 2018 at 1:48 pm

I never have a problem with PA traffic as motorcycles are allowed to weave between passenger car lanes.

Red or green light, 95% of the time at various intersections I am leading a pack of cars stupidly idling and waiting for the lights to change. And two times out of three, they end up having to wait for subsequent signal changes in order to proceed wherever it is they are headed.

By the time they are moving along bumper to bumper, I'm having my first beer of the late afternoon. Cheers.


3 people like this
Posted by Mickie Winkler
a resident of University South
on Oct 23, 2018 at 2:03 pm

Big Problems Need NEW Solutions.
Consider using air space for transportation as cities around the world have done--erect an urban gondola.

Let’s look at some advantages.
They are relatively inexpensive.
They can be rapidly built.
They can carry up to 5000 passengers per hour.
They are very safe.
Emission free.
They don’t compete with roadways.
My favorite feature is that they can be built to cover one route and then extended. You don’t have to build a system all at once.

Just think about this option.
MIckie


10 people like this
Posted by Harley Rider
a resident of Ventura
on Oct 23, 2018 at 2:11 pm

> erect an urban gondola.

Requires too much space as a loop/return path is also required. Besides, no one around here is going to want a gondola traveling overhead above the RR tracks and over our backyards.


34 people like this
Posted by Interesting
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Oct 23, 2018 at 2:26 pm

Tom DuBois talked last night about organizational structure of the Traffic department and moving them out of the Planning department to a more operational role. He also mentioned requiring the new head of traffic to be a Traffic engineer. Seemed obvious but then I checked - Josh Mello was NOT a traffic engineer. DuBois makes total sense. And having the traffic department build and operate it’s plans should connect them to what’s actually happening , which hasn’t been the case.


12 people like this
Posted by Justine Burt
a resident of Crescent Park
on Oct 23, 2018 at 2:26 pm

I appreciate Mayor Kniss and Councilmember Wolbach's support of the Transportation Management Association. It's showing results but needs to be part of a regional network of municipal TMAs, as Cory Wolbach is pushing for. We have the solutions to get many more people out of their cars and into alternative transportation methods. We just need to ramp up our level of effort.


12 people like this
Posted by Who bears the cost
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Oct 23, 2018 at 2:44 pm


It appears that the traffic event was to plug the Kniss/Wlbach/Siegel plan.

Before giving them a regional umbrella organization to piddle with, I would give the local High Schools or Middle Schools a chance.

Project learning.



23 people like this
Posted by Rick
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Oct 23, 2018 at 2:49 pm

@Mayor Lenny Siegel, Housing near work is a myth. In today's corporate environment people change jobs much more frequently than they change lodging. Moving house is a pain, children don't want to change schools, whatever.

Hence the brutalist housing developments Mountain View is responsible for on the South side of San Antonio and the likewise brutalist housing Palo Alto is putting up on the north side and around the corner on El Camino are going to be the nail in the coffin for both cities as far as east/west traffic movement.

Don't bother to consult with Cory. He and the other developer friendly board members are not going to survive the next election.


4 people like this
Posted by Rick
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Oct 23, 2018 at 2:57 pm

@Mickie Winkler, I refer you to the Simpson's Episode "Marge vs. the Monorail"

Web Link


24 people like this
Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Oct 23, 2018 at 3:23 pm

I urge you to look at Pat Boone for CC. He is listening and wants to learn more. He also wants to implement traffic concerns by talking to our neighbors rather than just going alone.

For all those "bullet voters" only wanting to vote for 2 candidates, I remind you that there are 3 seats, you have 3 votes and by only using 2 one of the people you want to keep off council will also likely get on council. Please use one of your votes for Boone and let him and his fresh vision see what he can do. I for one am tired of the same old arguments and ideas that just simply do not work. I am ready to try something else and I think Boone is a someone else that has fresh energy to look beyond the same worn ideas of getting people out of cars and onto bikes. That is not working and although more people may be on bikes, it is not going to be a solution to many of the problems.

Give Boone a chance to listen to our concerns and to work beyond our boundaries to make a difference.


15 people like this
Posted by Rick
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Oct 23, 2018 at 3:25 pm

Voted for Boone already. ^


24 people like this
Posted by mauricio
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Oct 23, 2018 at 4:23 pm

mauricio is a registered user.

Quote:Mountain View is building housing near employment centers to give people the opportunity to walk and drive to work,

And what happens when workers change jobs and job location, which keeps happening frequently in SV's ultra dynamic economy? The worker who works in Mountain View today, and the same is true for Palo Alto residents, might, and probably would, find a better, more rewarding position in San Jose, Pleasanton, Campbell or San Francisco. What then?

The "I must work within walking or biking distance to my work' mantra is a sham. In the meantime, Mr Mayor, you are destroying and ruining your once reasonably pleasant town.

if you actually care about your town, why don't you ask Google to use some of their 100 billion dollar cash reserve to expand along the I-5 corridor and stop bringing more people into your town instead of turning it into a human sardine can plagued out of control traffic? Have you even been anywhere near San Antonio Rd around rush hour?


13 people like this
Posted by Online Name
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Oct 23, 2018 at 4:42 pm

Online Name is a registered user.

@jguislin wrote "City leadership also need to get better at collecting and sharing data about how they will act to stop the traffic issues from getting worse. The business community has a big role to play and the city has been unable to even get a workable business registry in place.

Residents clearly said they want to engage with the city to find solutions. We should know in short order if they heard this plea."

Thank you for doing the research that the city itself should have funded and done. Keep up the good work.

I'm confused by your conclusion though. How and when will we know? It's been years and even decades that we've been complaining about inaccurate data and problematic "improvements" like Middlefield, Ross, Arastradero, etc. and we're still waiting for any type of response from the city employees, consultants and most of the city council.

If the current CC balance is maintained, the pro-development majority will make the appointments to the Planning and Transportation Commission so we'll be even less likely to be heard or to have our concerns addressed.


10 people like this
Posted by Gale Johnson
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Oct 23, 2018 at 4:57 pm

Gale Johnson is a registered user.

@Interesting: Yes, Tom Dubois almost always makes sense when he speaks. Ditto for Eric Filseth. They do their homework and are analytical and data driven CC members. They have the educational, employment, and business backgrounds to fall back on when it comes to making tough decisions. Some of the others are so into themselves with their purely political views of a new and better world, and a better PA, that they can't separate the real current practicalities from their own idealist, but for the time being, unrealistic and fantasy world solutions. They are way ahead of our times, but their ideas will be spot on sometime in the future, maybe, say a couple hundred years from now, long after I'm gone...and after they're gone as well.

Cars, as we know them, won't exist. Humans, if they're still like us, will be zipping around and commuting in Elon's tubes, or flying around in their own personal drones, or riding bikes or air buses in the sky, like in "Mary Poppins". The housing problem will be solved. There will be colonies of people sent to our planets and other solar systems to relieve pressure on our planet Earth. First ones to go should be Google and Facebook employees. They can set up their own forms of government and hopefully they will have learned from our modern day failure of local government here in PA.

C'mon readers, my tongue was in my cheek some of the time when I wrote this. I think you can tell where the dividing point is.


23 people like this
Posted by Gale Johnson
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Oct 23, 2018 at 5:27 pm

Gale Johnson is a registered user.

@Rick, Don't be too sure that the developer friendlies won't be elected to CC. There are a lot of registered voters who are staunch Democrats, and ones of the far left persuasion who will vote for them. There might be nothing that will pull them away from their beliefs and thinking...including local newspaper endorsements. I'm for any plan that will keep Dubois and Filseth on CC.


15 people like this
Posted by mauricio
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Oct 23, 2018 at 6:02 pm

mauricio is a registered user.

It's not true that staunch Democrats are for development. Development is the home turf of conservatives. Pave and build over everything is a conservative reflex. I'm a left-wing Democrat and I am fine with density, but only in large urban centers such as large and medium size cities. I personally hate the urban life style, but it's absolutely fine for people to enjoy and want to live in dense cities, as long as people who don't are not forced to adopt an urban city lifestyle-all lifestyles, urban, small town, rural and suburbia are legitimate.

There are many liberals and progressives who want to live in small towns and rural areas. I now live 90 percent of the time in a rural area east of Carmel-by-the Sea, and the overwhelming majority of my neighbors and the locals I meet are politically progressive, significantly more progressive than the average Palo Altan.

Some career politicians in the Democratic party are supporting only urban areas, and seem hostile toward small town and rural life styles. This is a huge, historical mistake which has already cost them dearly in local and national elections. Liz Kniss belongs to that faction of the party, and the last presidential elections have shown the disaster such attitudes have caused.


7 people like this
Posted by Anonymous
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Oct 23, 2018 at 8:10 pm

As a city resident who occasionally goes downtown for services, post office, etc., to make brief visits, shop, eat, I do not want to be charged for parking. I am not within walking distance of downtown, esp. with boxes/packages I need to mail. Nor can I walk across Embarcadero and go down E. Bayshore to the main post office. I drive there.
Incidentally, I have seen a pro or semi pro cycling type guy riding down the middle of E. Bayshore with all the typical line of traffic....with all due respect, it seemed a poor choice to me and clearly held up the auto traffic. Yes, I know there are bike symbols on the road.
The above is way different from the large-scale major commuting issues - and regular volume that brings!
We need a mix of choices when it comes to commuting, transit routes, public transit and parking. Paid parking in large garages and validation in some cases, like you see in downtown Redwood City, seems to work well. As far as I know, they have a mix of paid and free on-street parking, right? Being able to run into a place like Apple on University w/o the hassle of paying to park seems right to me.
Please try to stop the flow of commuters, commercial vehicles and rideshare drivers cutting through our neighborhood streets while staring at their devices, pulling over at odd unexpected places whether to pick up or deliver.
Today I noted large trucks on Embarcadero, thought they were not permitted, and supposed to use Oregon. Two police vehicles came by, I thought I saw them looking atbthese trucks....


7 people like this
Posted by Downfall
a resident of Fairmeadow
on Oct 23, 2018 at 8:56 pm

I would like to see the city council work with the some of the largest local employers to set caps for daily employee trips (I think Stanford already has something like this in place). I believe that for many of the local tech companies many of their employees could get by fine working from home. The employees would likely be happier to be saved the commute and car trips would be removed from the road.


17 people like this
Posted by Online Name
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Oct 24, 2018 at 9:07 am

Online Name is a registered user.

A NEW post from Next Door re our ridiculous, unsafe and costly traffic "improvements":

"A junior at Paly riding his bike to school was hit by a car in the intersection of Moreno and Ross Road last week during the school rush hour around 8am. He entered the roundabout and was struck from behind by a driver taking his grandchildren to school. Police, fire, and ambulance raced to the scene and the boy is okay.

We need to rip out the roundabouts.
If you haven't signed the petition yet, please do so.
Web Link


1 person likes this
Posted by Rando Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Oct 24, 2018 at 9:19 am

Palo Alto should be pushing Caltrans to do a MUCH better job on synchronizing the traffic signals on El Camino -- it needs to be done in cities both North and South of us, too, or it won't help.

Caltrans should also be addressing issues
* with sensors that do not detect bicyclists properly (side streets)
- and tell bicyclists to STOP using the pedestrian crossings which lengthens the cycle time!
* with sensors that detect non-existant cars in the turn lanes
* with cycle times that are too slow
- perhaps more distant sensors on side streets would allow shorter cycles if you can detect that there is really only one car trying to enter from a side street



7 people like this
Posted by To Online Name
a resident of Greenmeadow
on Oct 24, 2018 at 9:25 am

@Online Name -- right... and every time there's an accident at a regular intersection we should be signing a petition to rip out intersections, because they're unsafe.

Teach drivers to observe bicycles -- it's NOT a problem with roundabouts it's a problem with unobservant drivers, and we have the same problem with those drivers NOT STOPPING at stop signs.


13 people like this
Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Oct 24, 2018 at 9:38 am

Where is the data of before and after traffic counts on Ross and surrounding streets?

Where is the data of traffic collisions with bikes or pedestrians with vehicles in the preceding years of the bike boulevard?

Is there evidence that Ross needed safety improvements?

What about the bike bridge over 101 that would be a great safety improvement?


2 people like this
Posted by Love to BIKE!
a resident of Downtown North
on Oct 24, 2018 at 9:38 am

This is a direct result of not building housing while allowing unbalanced office development. Our jobs/housing ratio is so far out of whack, no wonder everyone floods in and out to Highwway 101 and the bridges.

Stanford is now building millions of square feet of commercial space and ridiculously little housing, East Palo Alto is about to build millions of square feet of commercial space and almost no housing. Our traffic issues do not exist in a vacuum. They are a result of our land use decisions! Build housing, support alternative transportation and Transportation Demand Management programs, facilitate other transportation modes. You cannot stoplight-time, road block, road build, reroute your way out of this land use mess.

Build housing!


14 people like this
Posted by Allen Akin
a resident of Professorville
on Oct 24, 2018 at 9:42 am

Allen Akin is a registered user.

Well-designed systems have redundancy and resilience; making one mistake isn't enough to cause a failure. Poorly-designed systems tend to be fragile; making one mistake has a high probability of causing a failure.

I think it's fair to argue that trying to push increasing amounts of traffic through streets with fragile designs (for example, those with an uncontrolled mix of vehicle and bike traffic) is the wrong thing to do. All drivers and all cyclists make mistakes from time to time.


2 people like this
Posted by Anon
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Oct 24, 2018 at 9:44 am

Posted by Online Name, a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland

>> "A junior at Paly riding his bike to school was hit by a car in the intersection of Moreno and Ross Road last week during the school rush hour around 8am.

>> We need to rip out the roundabouts.

If you have references to studies comparing roundabouts to other intersection types that show that roundabouts are inferior, I would like to see them.

We need statistics, not a single anecdote.


30 people like this
Posted by Online Name
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Oct 24, 2018 at 10:14 am

Online Name is a registered user.

Hardly a single incident.

The city ignored the 3,000+ --- three thousand!!! -- residents who signed the original petition protesting the roundabouts who warned similar incidents would happen, hired $$$ consultant to study if it was "appropriate and feasible" to fix its mistakes, decided it couldn't fix its mistakes since it had signed a contract and its new $$$$ traffic consultant's report failed to mention the Ross Rd problems at all.

Similar problems all over the city that are still being ignored and that get no response. That's why residents are so outraged.


16 people like this
Posted by Online Name
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Oct 24, 2018 at 10:23 am

Online Name is a registered user.

Web Link

Residents petition city over Ross Road safety upgrades
Traffic-calming measures pose hazards to bicyclists, some claim
Newly constructed concrete islands have been built in the center lanes of Loma Verde Avenue and Ross Road to slow traffic.

Residents who say that safety installations on Ross Road are making the bicycle boulevard more dangerous are petitioning the city of Palo Alto to remove some of the structures.

Web Link

Residents sound off on Ross Road changes
Palo Alto officials vow to improve public outreach after outpouring of criticism

Residents packed into the Mitchell Park Community Center on June 12, 2018, to sound off about the recent bike-boulevards that the city had constructed on Ross Road and other local streets. Photo by Gennady Sheyner.

After installing a host of "traffic calming" measures aimed at promoting bicycling on Ross Road, Palo Alto officials are now facing an equally tough task: calming the residents who are frustrated and enraged by the rapid transformation of their streets."




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Posted by Anon
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Oct 24, 2018 at 11:50 am

Posted by Online Name, a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland:

>> [various links to outraged residents]

I'm aware that a lot of people here don't like roundabouts. What isn't clear is what the statistical evidence shows. A study of -conversions- back in the 90's in Belgium showed a possible bicycle safety problem when intersections are converted from lights to roundabouts. Other studies have claimed that there is no statistically significant difference in bicycle safety. One possible issue raised is in the period right after the conversion while people are getting used to the new configuration. There are several papers out there behind paywalls that I have not read.

Personally, I'm not convinced by the "March on Washington" approach without better statistical evidence regarding the effect on bicycle, and pedestrian, safety. I have not seen convincing evidence either way regarding the relative safety of roundabouts and 4-way stops.


6 people like this
Posted by Giraffe
a resident of Greenmeadow
on Oct 24, 2018 at 12:47 pm

Giraffe is a registered user.

Speaking of Ross Road, I drove down it twice in the last couple weeks, and each time, I saw one bicyclist. Ok, I did drive down it a 3rd time, and saw three bikes - one was a small child riding behind (I presume) his mother.

So, I think the idea that this is dangerous for bikes is either so true that bicyclists avoid Ross, or it is greatly exaggerated since so few cyclists use Ross.

I don't see much at either end of Ross, nor along it, that would generate enough bicycle traffic to make all the changes worthwhile.


3 people like this
Posted by Bikes vs Cars
a resident of College Terrace
on Oct 24, 2018 at 1:48 pm

If one rides a bike regularly, he/she tends to despise cars.

If one drives a car regularly, they tend to see bicyclists as nuisances.

There is no middle ground. Priority should go to the group that creates the least gridlock.


10 people like this
Posted by Bike Driver
a resident of Community Center
on Oct 24, 2018 at 2:11 pm

My wife and I are in our mid 60's and we do most of our in town car trips by bike. We also drive in the evening and for trips beyond town. Door to door, we generally get to our destinations at least as fast by bike and we get regular exercise at the same time. Nearly all of our friends who bike also drive cars so I don't buy the argument that bikers don't like drivers. For the most part, drivers seem to be courteous to riders, for example by offering to let bikers go first at stop signs. There are some riders who are rude to drivers and ride dangerously. There are also some drivers who drive dangerously (risking bikers and other drivers) and others who just seem to resent bike riders.
When we drive, we appreciate that bike riders free up parking spaces and generally reduce congestion and pollution. I imagine that bikes also create a lot less wear and tear on the roads due to their light weight. Has the city staff evaluated maintenance costs resulting from bikes compared to cars?
That is a separate issues from my thoughts on the Ross Rd design and its problems.


2 people like this
Posted by Cyclists are better drivers
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Oct 24, 2018 at 2:21 pm

Researchers in Australia find that those with experience of riding a bike process visual information more quickly.
This isn't surprising at all but interesting none the less.

Web Link


19 people like this
Posted by SSS
a resident of Palo Alto Orchards
on Oct 24, 2018 at 2:40 pm

Cyclists are better drivers?

I find that the Selfish Spandex Squad likes to blow through stop signs and ignore many other laws. Your premise is they suddenly become law abiding when they wear normal clothes and add 2 wheels?


8 people like this
Posted by Anon
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Oct 24, 2018 at 2:51 pm

Posted by SSS, a resident of Palo Alto Orchards

>> I find that the Selfish Spandex Squad

It is hard to believe, I know, but, Spandex is not required to ride a bike.


18 people like this
Posted by Scrape the roundabouts off out streets
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Oct 24, 2018 at 3:41 pm

Another one of the spandex crowd quotes developments in Belgium. Another one tried to draw equivalency between the (reasonable) ones on the Stanford campus and the abomination installed on Ross road. Unbelievable.

3,000 people want the Ross obstruction removed. CC - Pay attention!

And those pretty fish designs on the new Louis road crosswalks? Already disappearing under black car grime. Imagine that. Cars on a public roadway. More money in developers pockets.


6 people like this
Posted by Rick
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Oct 24, 2018 at 3:43 pm

@Cyclists are better drivers, and drummers are better then any other musician and distinguishing time intervals. Your point?


10 people like this
Posted by developers rule
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Oct 24, 2018 at 4:03 pm

Yesterday I posted a remark about Mayor Kniss being away from her seat at the Traffic meeting, suggesting maybe she was preparing for another photo-op.

Today's mail brings a large advert from, among others, her favorite developer Stanford, opposing Measure F.
Whose picture is the only one displayed in the advert? Guess.


12 people like this
Posted by Allen Akin
a resident of Professorville
on Oct 24, 2018 at 4:32 pm

Allen Akin is a registered user.

One of the best analyses of Palo Alto density, jobs/housing imbalance, housing affordability, and traffic that I've ever read is Michael Goldman's essay from January of this year: Web Link

Among other things, it explains in some detail why building high-density housing wouldn't improve traffic or affordability. I won't try to summarize it all here; give it a look.


17 people like this
Posted by Resident
a resident of Barron Park
on Oct 24, 2018 at 4:41 pm

"Wolbach also suggested that city should invest more in the transportation division, whether by hiring more employees or bringing on more consultants."

Yet, another reason why we won't be voting for Wonbach.


16 people like this
Posted by Ally Johnson
a resident of Barron Park
on Oct 24, 2018 at 4:59 pm

Hello, The campers parked on very congested El Camino, from Matadero down past Maybell Avenue, with kids biking to schools,VTA, and Stanford Marguerite buses, UPS trucks, durt hauler trucks,etc. and cars need to drive in two lanes to get past the campers. The problem is getting worse and worse. Also campers parked less than a foot from bus stops make things even worse for VTA buses to stop at the bus stop for bus passengers to enter and exit the bus.


8 people like this
Posted by Oh well...
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Oct 24, 2018 at 8:36 pm

When all else fails council members recommend raising taxes only because they are oblivious to the obvious and have no idea how to fix the problem they've created. Hire more city consultants, hire more city employees, initiate more surveys, create more red ribbon committees seems to be their overused mantra that does nothing to solve the problem.Liz Kniss comments are somewhat offensive but, hey, she lives up in the hills and only commutes 2 days a week so I'm sure her commute "is not that bad".


3 people like this
Posted by Why is public parking free?
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Oct 25, 2018 at 10:54 am

Why is public parking free? is a registered user.

What does it say about our community when working people cannot afford to lease a studio apartment but we offer FREE space to park in publicly funded parking lots and on public streets to people who can afford to own a car?

Cities could be working together on paid parking--and use revenues to provide better transit options. It would be a start. VTA is not going to help north county solve our transit problems. San Jose controls them. North county cities need to collaborate to initiate local congestion management solutions and work together to influence VTA to help us--though I'll admit that's a challenging political undertaking.



12 people like this
Posted by Former CA Resident
a resident of Midtown
on Oct 25, 2018 at 12:14 pm

I disagree with the entire way of thinking that "WE" are the traffic and it is somehow more virtuous to walk or ride a bicycle or ride a bus/train.

There is nothing moral about transportation. We have the freedom to choose our method of transportation and one should not be encouraged over the other.
This is an overpopulation issue and its also the Silicon Valley bubble bursting.

I moved to a place far away from Palo Alto and its refreshing to see roads designed to accommodate maximum car traffic and move it efficiently, than to see these avantgarde "complete streets" designed to punish car drivers while exacerbating congestion.


4 people like this
Posted by Anon
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Oct 25, 2018 at 9:20 pm

Posted by Former CA Resident, a resident of Midtown

>> There is nothing moral about transportation. We have the freedom to choose our method of transportation and one should not be encouraged over the other.

I see nothing ethically positive about encouraging the use of fossil fuel.

Web Link


12 people like this
Posted by developers rule
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Oct 26, 2018 at 6:10 pm

I may have accidentally struck gold.
I noted recently that Mayor Kniss doesn't miss a photo-op.

Today she sent out her Message from the Mayor and her picture is in it...guess how many times.
Answer: FIVE.
Yes, five pictures in one message. We read about national figures who are narcissists, but our mayor is no slouch on this quality.

And last month, how many pictures of herself?
Web Link
Answer: FIVE


6 people like this
Posted by For Posterity
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Oct 26, 2018 at 6:21 pm

^^^^ It is not uncommon. Historical figures often have a lot of photographs taken of themselves.


8 people like this
Posted by Resident
a resident of Barron Park
on Oct 26, 2018 at 10:19 pm

I drove on Foothills Expressway/ Juniper Sierra the other day, Northbound past Oregon. What on God's earth are they doing? Traffic islands are being installed. There is a chicane installed, already there are a bunch of tire marks where people have hit the concrete curbs, and it it not even completed yet! Another waste of tax payer money and for a bonus they have made it unsafe.



10 people like this
Posted by Ally
a resident of Barron Park
on Oct 27, 2018 at 1:03 pm

VTA/Stanford Marguerite Buses, Trucks, Dirt Haulers, Cement Trucks, Cars Need To Drive In Two Lanes Due To Campers Parked On El Camino. Schools - Kids/Adults on Bikes. Safety Issue

Hello, The campers parked on very congested El Camino Real, from Matadero down past Maybell Avenue, with kids biking to schools, VTA and Stanford Marguerite buses, UPS trucks, cement trucks, durt hauler trucks (due to all the construction), cars, etc., need to drive in TWO LANES TO GET PAST THE CAMPERS PARKED ON EL CAMINO.
A number of pre-schools, elementary and high schools are located in this area.
Today, on this stretch of El Camino Real, two bicyclists riding on El Camino, were squeezed between the campers parked on El Camino and vehicles traveling on this road. It's a dangerous stretch of road. Kids biking to school will not be so lucky, and only then will something be done to alleviate this problem.

A total of five (5) campers are parked in the above referenced spot/location and have been parked here since Weds. Other times, the campers are parked in the same spot for weeks at a time. Hopefully the City of Palo Alto will enforcement its 72-hour parking policy and not allow campers to park in this area.

The problem is getting worse and worse. Also campers are parked less than a foot from bus stops creating a further traffic hazard for VTA/Stanford Marguerite buses to stop at the bus stop for bus passengers (kids/adults) to enter and exit the bus

VTA Buses... El Camino Real" "This is one of the busiest corridors in our transit network..."

Web Link


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Posted by Anon
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Oct 27, 2018 at 7:35 pm

Posted by Ally, a resident of Barron Park

>> Hello, The campers parked on very congested El Camino Real, from Matadero down past Maybell Avenue, with kids biking to schools, VTA and Stanford Marguerite buses, UPS trucks, cement trucks, durt hauler trucks (due to all the construction), cars, etc., need to drive in TWO LANES TO GET PAST THE CAMPERS PARKED ON EL CAMINO. [...] VTA Buses... El Camino Real" "This is one of the busiest corridors in our transit network..."

Ally,

Ironic, isn't it, the resistance that putting in a dedicated transit lane in each direction got, while, having an equivalent lane of parked RVs apparently is OK. I admit that I don't see why we can't convert the existing "parked RV lane" into a dedicated "transit lane".


3 people like this
Posted by Kenny
a resident of University South
on Oct 28, 2018 at 10:41 am

"Researchers in Australia find that those with experience of riding a bike process visual information more quickly."

Too bad the cyclists in Palo Alto can't follow suit. The distracted driving motorists are bad enough, but the, "I can do anything I want because I am entitled" cyclists are even worse. They are quick to decry misconduct by motorists, but immediately point fingers elsewhere when they are called out.

"I see nothing ethically positive about encouraging the use of fossil fuel."

Yet the Anti Growth Brigade does exactly that, and then turns around and complains about pollution, global warming, and everything else under the sun. Maybe they are whining just for the heck of it?

The simple solution is to build a lot more housing and office space in Palo Alto. Then people who live here could have a greater chance of working here.
Urbanization has been progressing for decades. The NIMBYs can't stop it, but they can throw a monkey wrench in the works to make it less effective. That seems spiteful and anti-Palo Alto to me.


8 people like this
Posted by Who bears the cost
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Oct 28, 2018 at 11:16 am

Kenny,

"Urbanization has been progressing for decades. The NIMBYs can't stop it, but they can throw a monkey wrench in the works to make it less effective. That seems spiteful and anti-Palo Alto to me."

Wrong - urbanization is more like uncontrollable growth and populists impose it without any regard to the costs of growth.

See the News Thousands protest in Rome over city's 'degradation' under populist mayor

Web Link

It's not like there aren't other places that can use the jobs and where dense housing can be more appropriate. Places where there is actually mass and public transportation (or space to build it). Not holding my breath that any of the brilliant "regional" minds will think of that. The politicians pushing to build in Palo alto are irrelevant anywhere else that is what they just want to impose a growing mess here.


2 people like this
Posted by Absurd Comparison
a resident of Downtown North
on Oct 28, 2018 at 2:29 pm

>>"Researchers in Australia find that those with experience of riding a bike process visual information more quickly."
>>>Too bad the cyclists in Palo Alto can't follow suit.

All PA bicyclists have to 'process visual information more quickly'...in order to avoid getting creamed by a car. Duh.

You cannot compare Austrailia with Palo Alto. Dodging a roadside kangaroo is a lot different than trying to avoid colliding with an SUV in a hurry.


10 people like this
Posted by History Buff
a resident of another community
on Oct 28, 2018 at 3:07 pm

Mayor Lenny Siegel wrote, “Mountain View is building housing near employment centers to give people the opportunity to walk and drive to work,…” And giving developers huge breaks to do so:

Mt. View Council agrees to reduce fees to save pilot housing development in tech park

635 homes plus 231,000-square foot office space (to be leased to Google) plus donation of a 1.4 acre parcel of land for a future 140-unit affordable housing project.

School districts asked the developer for $24.4 million. Sobrato countered with an offer of $7.25 million, about a third of which would go to the state. Mt. View council split the difference and set school fees at $12M.

Although the council acknowledged that parkland dedicated by Sobrato would not normally be eligible for credit because it is too narrow and spread out, it gave Sobrato a credit of 75 percent toward a 1-acre private park on the property's south side, a value equal to about $7.5 million.
Web Link

Developers know cities are desperate for housing, so they demand huge concessions: “If you don’t give in, we won’t build housing.” Where will that leave us in terms of schools, traffic and open space?
Yet they’re STILL building huge amounts of office space.


12 people like this
Posted by Allen Akin
a resident of Professorville
on Oct 28, 2018 at 3:26 pm

Allen Akin is a registered user.

@Kenny: "The simple solution is to build a lot more housing and office space in Palo Alto. Then people who live here could have a greater chance of working here."

Here's one way to understand why that wouldn't work.

People change jobs more often than they change homes. The vast majority of jobs within commuting distance of Palo Alto are outside the city. This means that in the long run, most Palo Alto workers will have jobs that are outside the city. At the moment, about 2/3 of Palo Alto workers commute to a job outside.

On the flip side, the vast majority of potential employees within commuting distance of Palo Alto are also outside the city. They compete with residents for jobs inside Palo Alto, so in the long run, most jobs in Palo Alto will be filled by workers from outside the city. At the moment, about 92% of Palo Alto jobs are held by workers who live outside Palo Alto.

As a result, adding housing adds about twice as many commuters going outside the city as staying inside it; so traffic increases. Adding offices adds about nine times as many commuters from outside as the number of trips it eliminates for residents who will work in town; so traffic increases.

These numbers have been relatively stable for the past 15 years, so there's not a good reason to expect them to change quickly or drastically. Again, I recommend checking out Michael Goldman's blog for a good introduction to all this stuff: Web Link


8 people like this
Posted by Kenny
a resident of University South
on Oct 28, 2018 at 6:52 pm

"Wrong - urbanization is more like uncontrollable growth and populists impose it without any regard to the costs of growth."

That's urban sprawl, not urbanization. The fact remains that the population bomb continues to explode in the Bay Area, as in other major urban centers. Stalling development won't make people go away, it will only result in an even bigger mess than before.

The anti-growth group tries to stifle development, both commercial and residential, by citing increased traffic as a concern. Their real goal is to increase their property values more than would otherwise be the case.
See the News Thousands protest in Rome over city's 'degradation' under populist mayor"

Palo Alto isn't Rome, and our buses do not catch on fire. The Romans do make a good point though. Infrastructure maintenance and upgrades are important. When infrastructure upgrades are proposed for Palo Alto, some folks go nonlinear.

"It's not like there aren't other places that can use the jobs and where dense housing can be more appropriate."

Funny thing, the NIMBYs in other communities say the same thing. If Palo Alto tries to make this a throw the problem over the fence competition, we are very likely to come out on the losing end.

"This means that in the long run, most Palo Alto workers will have jobs that are outside the city."

Then increase office space and create more jobs for Palo Altans in Palo Alto.


7 people like this
Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Oct 28, 2018 at 7:24 pm

I think for most people moving to the area, the job comes before the place to live. If a recent college grad gets a job in Silicon Valley, they will probably have the job and look for somewhere to live within commuting distance. If a young couple has one of the couple transferred or gets a better job in Silicon Valley and they move here from somewhere over 100 miles away, the other member will start looking for a job and then they will choose somewhere to live within a reasonable commute distance for either. Then when one or other changes jobs, they are most likely to stay in the same home rather than make a deliberate choice to move to be within walking distance of said job.

Once again, we are using city boundaries as being ideal. Why can't someone who moves to a job look at commuting distance rather than being within the same city? A commute of 5 to 10 miles can be within the same city or beyond a city boundary. A commute of 10 - 20 miles on Caltrain can be the same commute as a 30 minute walk or bike ride.

We have to stop looking at jobs/homes within the same city because very few people ignore city boundaries when looking for an expedient home choice or commute choice.


2 people like this
Posted by Who bears the cost
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Oct 28, 2018 at 11:08 pm

Kenny,

“Palo Alto isn't Rome, and our buses do not catch on fire.”

We don’t have buses, shuttles maybe

The reason there is no infrastructure is that nobody ever planned for your vision of everyone in Palo Alto having an office and job in Palo Alto and for every commuter wanting to live in Palo Alto to have housing built for them too.

Palo Alto’s unemployment rate is in the realm of 1% so worrying about getting the last percent an office where they can roll over from bed seems selfish instead of urging companies to build and grow where jobs and more people and room for real infrastructure are at. That would not be “sprawl.”


10 people like this
Posted by Angry Birds
a resident of Green Acres
on Oct 29, 2018 at 12:31 am

Meanwhile, the things happening at Arastradero as we speak, and what has happened at Donald and Arastradero are so MONUMENTALLY STUPID AND PATENTLY UNSAFE, it’s beginning to look like some kind of sick revenge, especially given how the City denied it could provide notice (literally saying they did not know how to reach the people living there or the neighbor volunteering for the committee).

Having witnessed and personally experienced too many dangerous near misses, I want any City employee involved in this stupidity to know that you will be held personally liable - you have been told too many times of the dangers you overtly created and have done nothing. Creating a situation of ZERO visibility for cars leaving on Donald, and now impossible turn radii for cars entering the neighborhood (of the kind that kept getting the stop sign in front of Briones School knocked down over and over and over with considerable damage to cars.) Do you realize that now cars will have to swing wide to the left and come to a stop on Arastradero, which bicyclists have a tendency to then squeeze into that tiny little space between the car and the curb to pass on the right - creating a right hook hazard for the bikes. It puts drivers in an impossible situation since they can’t keep their eyes both glued to the right and forward as they turn.

Any neighbor who wants to sue the City for the damage to your car already from having to pull up and stop (as the DMV tells you NOT to do)every time you leave the neighborhood, to avoid being broadsided, or from the ludicrous road furniture, I’ll sign on.

Joe Hirsch has reason to grumble. The lane narrowing has necessitated many of us entering the neighborhood on his street instead of later, because Arastradero has become such a parking lot at Georgia, there’s no way to turn anywhere else.


4 people like this
Posted by Angry Birds
a resident of Green Acres
on Oct 29, 2018 at 12:35 am

“The city's newly hired consultant, Wayne Tanda, noted that Palo Alto added about 5,000 jobs between 2012 and 2017.”

And if I just look across the football field at Paly, the world looks eminently flat.

Fire this guy immediately. That’s not even a clever attempt to hide a bad agenda.


10 people like this
Posted by mauricio
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Oct 30, 2018 at 6:26 am

mauricio is a registered user.

92 percent of the people who work in Palo Alto don't live in Palo Alto, so according to the pro growth lobby P.A. should build housing for them so they can work where they live. Accordingly, Palo Altans who work elsewhere should be provided with housing in the communities where they work, so the can live near their jobs. And if someone changes a job location as is so common in Silicon Valley...never mind.


9 people like this
Posted by Racer X
a resident of Barron Park
on Oct 30, 2018 at 7:02 am

At least no one is speeding on el Camino anymore


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