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Webcast: Talking transportation

Original post made on Oct 25, 2019

Philip Kamhi, Palo Alto's newly hired chief transportation official, talks to the Weekly about the city's plans to revamp its parking policies and launch a scooter-share program, among other projects.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Friday, October 25, 2019, 4:09 PM

Comments (17)

12 people like this
Posted by resident
a resident of South of Midtown
on Oct 25, 2019 at 4:25 pm

We would love to have bike sharing in Palo Alto to help us get from home to the California Ave Caltrain station. We don't want to ride our own bikes because the Caltrain station is a known target of bicycle thieves and we don't need our bikes at the destination, where there already is bike share.

I know the city had a "trial" system before that that was targeted at people visiting the city, not residents, and there were no stations in the residential neighborhoods.

9 people like this
Posted by Gus L.
a resident of Barron Park
on Oct 25, 2019 at 5:34 pm

Yeah, they are working Real hard on how people get around, Like Fewer lanes on Charleston and the back up it causes, might as well ride a bike, RIGHT?
How about a couple more stop lights on Middlefield?
Dont get me started on the ridiculous European style RoundAbouts, OMG..

18 people like this
Posted by Marc
a resident of Midtown
on Oct 25, 2019 at 5:41 pm

Why doesn't the city "walk the talk" . Start with making ALL city employees use public transportation, remote parking, bikes, etc. Including all city clowncil members. No excuses. See how that works for them.

That will clear out the city hall garage freeing up spaces for downtown workers.

Then after a couple of years they can report back on how that has effected costs and productivity and evaluate how that would impact residents and workers.


5 people like this
Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Oct 25, 2019 at 6:45 pm

Get satellite parking lots at the highway off ramps with dedicated shuttles to business areas, and bike share so some can ride their bikes to where they need to go when they get off the highways.

Commuters are going to come by car, but giving them options to stay near the highways makes sense to me.

2 people like this
Posted by War on Cars
a resident of Charleston Gardens
on Oct 25, 2019 at 9:54 pm

Yaaaawn not this nonsense again. Notice how every other article on this website is "officials doing so-and-so to magically make cars go away!"
Cars are superior, accept it and stop living in a fantasy.

14 people like this
Posted by meter maid
a resident of Downtown North
on Oct 25, 2019 at 10:41 pm

How about if the City quit building so many massive high-rises trying to make Palo Alto look like NYC. Palo Alto used to be a wonderful place to visit--quaint, individualistic, pleasant atmosphere. Now, it is nothing but ugly high-rises everywhere. Down Town, San Antonio Avenue, and now Park Blvd and California Avenue. Guess what city hall-- along with all this massive over-building taking place--there are going to be more cars, traffic, nightmarish commutes just to get around town, and there is going to be less water. Does anyone at the City Hall have half a brain to figure this out. Everyone there seems baffled about there are so many cars---Quit your run-away destruction of Palo Alto. that is the only remedy to the car issue.

7 people like this
Posted by Traffic
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Oct 26, 2019 at 5:52 am

It's all playing out exactly as predicted back in the 90's when they said the continued addition of cars onto our roads would begin to cripple us.
Did anyone think they were joking?
And before you blame everything on a couple bulb outs or roundabouts, explain why the freeways, maximized for motor-vehicles only, are so locked up all the time. Why is that? My guess is that there are too many cars for the allotted space available.

20 people like this
Posted by Someone Should Investigate
a resident of Downtown North
on Oct 28, 2019 at 9:14 am

Palo Alto Online should do some investigative reporting. I suggest looking into the contracting bid to hire the contracting company that was hired to redo Charleston Road to make it more bike friendly.

Why is a PAUSD elementary school exit curb cut so narrow and 90 degrees with an island in front that firetrucks and school buses can NOT exit out of the school driveway? WHO ARE THE CONTRACTING IDIOTS or DESIGNERS?? Waste of money.

It is a liability that a fire truck can not exit a children's public school in Palo Alto because of how the sidewalks and driveway concrete was laid down so tax payers money has to be spent AGAIN to fix what was "newly" designed and condoned by Philip Kamhi to ensure more biking.

Talk about waste of money and dangerous situations.

Who made the decision? How many bids were taken?

Who made the final decision to approve the design?

how much is this costing the city?

Why was the exit out of an Elementary Palo Alto School on Charleston so stupidly done (so incredibly narrow and straight without even normal widening of the exit) such that it required cars to make 90 degree turns where directly in front of the exit is an island.... that fire trucks and school buses can not exit out safely? The exit cut of the curb is so narrow with an island immediately in front of the exit that cars barely can make proper turns out of this elementary school without having to go OVER the curb as they exit out the school driveway.

When the city said they would fix this hazardous exit and how much more money will it cost tax payers. How long will it take? How long will a public school with children be forced to not really have real access to fire emergency trucks and services?

Was there a level of corruption involved in the hiring? Was there even proper design or urban design involved in the creation of the city streets? Who is the designer? Or is this simply a 1-man show of massive waste of tax payer money for some idealogical purpose?

Meanwhile, curb design and cuts that the width and narrowness prevents elementary school driveway exits are so impossible to navigate that school buses and fire trucks are unable to exit out of the school driveway (thanks to the city curb cut/design).

Check it out Palo Alto Online - who is behind this idiotic waste of tax payers money. Construction that lasted all this summer and this spring and now is still ongoing (with landscaping).

To whom do we owe this massive waste of money?

2 people like this
Posted by IPalo Alto
a resident of Greene Middle School
on Oct 28, 2019 at 5:31 pm

It’s just not working. The streets of Ross and Charleston and Louis are bizarrely laid out hazardous to all. 4 lanes are now 2 lane roads with gargantuan islands and strange jutting. Street lanes are no longer aligned and straight and requires the driver to drive as if they are playing dodge ball in movement. Curbs are huge. Nothing is standard.

I saw a bus stop at a bus stop and be forced to block the entire bike lane which forced bikers to go into the now single lane of morning streaming traffic. It’s literally playing doge ball with cars. Buses and bikers.

Why not take alma and middle field and turn them into one lane roads with huge islands and misaligned streets? Heck - do that for 101 and 280 too!!

Turn them into single lane roads with round shouts and islands using bikers as speed bumps

10 people like this
Posted by Online Name
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Oct 29, 2019 at 9:38 am

Online Name is a registered user.

@!Pslo Alto, thanks but they screwed up Middlefield years ago with the constant narrowing and widening of the road, the bulbouts and the bollards at every intersection, the bike lanes so wide that cars drive down it in front of Jordan while the kids ride on the sidewalk.

The new "transportation" guy might spend his time rereading all the articles and comments on the Middlefield disaster.

9 people like this
Posted by But what about al the cars?
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Oct 29, 2019 at 10:10 am

Since traffic is defined as too many cars in a finite a=mount of space, what are peoples plans to address that?

Surely nobody expects traffic to suddenly improve when the bulb outs are gone if the same amount of cars are trying to fit into an area they cannot fit into.
How to do actually decrease traffic as it is defined? Anyone?

2 people like this
Posted by Reality Check
a resident of University South
on Oct 29, 2019 at 1:19 pm

[Post removed.]

9 people like this
Posted by Online Name
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Oct 29, 2019 at 1:28 pm

Online Name is a registered user.

Reality Check -- What great ideas. Maybe he can also call all the hundreds of people who showed up at the Middlefield Rd meeting after the city staff repeatedly failed to notify us? Or seek responses from all the silent City Council members who suppirtefd the silly traffic "surveys" conducted when traffic's the lightest? We wouldn't want people worrying about cars getting stuck in the middle of Oregon or Embarcadero, would we?

Or the 3,000 people who signed the Ross Rd petitions that led the city to waste more of OUR money on their consultant buddies to tell city residents we weren't experiencing problems/ And don't forget to ask our former mayor Kniss who denies we even have traffic problems who spent even more of our money on consultants who delivered that lame presentation at the packed meeting after which that report was buried along with the others.

4 people like this
Posted by Anon
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Oct 29, 2019 at 2:38 pm

Posted by IPalo Alto, a resident of Jordan Middle School

>> It’s just not working. The streets of Ross and Charleston and Louis are bizarrely laid out hazardous to all. [...] Street lanes are no longer aligned and straight and requires the driver to drive as if they are playing dodge ball in movement.

Just curious. How do you navigate on any of the thousands of streets around here that are not in a straight line?

Regardless, you aren't cruising across Nevada on US 50. Every business district and residential street requires paying attention at all times, everywhere in the State of California. You may have noticed a number of schools in all those areas, as well as a small business area at Middlefield and Charleston?

"California’s “Basic Speed Law” means that you may never drive faster than is safe for current conditions.
Regardless of the posted speed limit, your speed should depend on: --The number and speed of other vehicles on the road. -- Whether the road surface is smooth, rough, graveled, wet, dry, wide, or narrow. -- Bicyclists or pedestrians on or crossing the roadway. -- Whether it is raining, foggy, snowing, windy, or dusty."

"Around Children: When driving within 500 to 1,000 feet of a school while children are outside or crossing the street, the speed limit is 25 mph unless otherwise posted. Also, if the school grounds have no fence and children are outside, never drive faster than 25 mph. Some school zones may have speed limits as low as 15 mph."

"Business or Residential Districts: The speed limit is 25 mph, unless otherwise posted."

Like this comment
Posted by Drivers want the OTHER GUY to fix it
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Oct 29, 2019 at 2:49 pm

They don;t want o get out of their cars and actually DO SOMETHING that improves traffic, they want everyone else to do it so the roads are empty except for them.
Good luck, people like that deserve to languish in the car traffic they have created. There is zero doubt they will get traffic free conditions until we get enough cars off the road to affect traffic. The rest is just illogical blame and tissue needing snivels of "Poor me" folks.

5 people like this
Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Oct 29, 2019 at 3:14 pm

@Anon. What nonsense. We all know how to drive on roads that bend normally. We know how to deal with pedestrians, bikes in bike lanes, and children around schools.

What is increasingly becoming more difficult is dealing with the latest round of pinball machines that have popped up around town. Not only do we have to pay attention to the former things listed above, we now have green lanes, white paint and arrows reminding us to swerve from right to left and right again, we have to watch for cars merging from the left and merging from the right in places where these never happened before. As an example, on Charleston there is a merge from the left near Hoover school where there is no obvious idea of right of way. At the very least the traffic merging from the left into the flow of traffic should have a yield sign, but no, it is a free for all.

Our streets are becoming harder and harder to navigate and on top of that we have the Waymo cars practicing their algorithms on our streets and who knows what their software would tell them to do in a merge with traffic entering traffic flow from the left, or a bike that considers spreading beyond the green bike lane or becomes part of a bike caravan using a roundabout as if it is one large vehicle rather than a group of individual ones.

Bulbouts with trees that appear to grow in the middle of the street, intersections that used to be 4 way stops but no longer have 4 stop signs, blue crossings with fish where the pedestrians are busy looking at the fish rather than other traffic, and various other changes that make it harder to drive around familiar streets, is nothing more than a game of pinball and we have no idea where the wizards might appear next.

Like this comment
Posted by Fix it Nanny, Whaaa!!
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Oct 29, 2019 at 4:06 pm

I have to laugh at those demanding that nanny Pa;o alto fix their traffic jams. They won't do or suggest anything that could be done my they, themselves, rather they feel the need to cry to Nanny PA that she needs to fix it.

Guess how well that will work. Yah, correct.

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