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Stanford rewards walk-bike commuters with cash

Original post made on May 20, 2013

Stanford University faculty and staff who walk or bike to work will now not only feel good about helping the environment, but they'll receive cold, hard cash for doing so.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Monday, May 20, 2013, 12:45 PM

Comments (31)

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Posted by businessdecision
a resident of another community
on May 20, 2013 at 1:24 pm

How infantilizing.


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Posted by But...
a resident of Stanford
on May 20, 2013 at 2:02 pm

That's great, but not everyone is physically able to walk/bike to work: too much stuff to carry; physical limitations; time constraints; inclement weather, etc. Get real

Reward them for driving an energy-efficient vehicle instead.


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Posted by businessdecision
a resident of another community
on May 20, 2013 at 2:32 pm

The General Use Permit means that Stanford can't encourage additional driving ("no new trips").
The Americans with Disabilities Act will put paid to Walk 'n Talk.


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Posted by Mike
a resident of University South
on May 20, 2013 at 3:23 pm

If Stanford wants to increase participation, they should make this program open to all employees. Currently, for example, SLAC staff are not eligible.


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Posted by Richard
a resident of Midtown
on May 20, 2013 at 4:54 pm

Mike, this is about reducing trips to campus and a deal cut with Santa Clara County. SLAC is in SM County. The hospital and LPCH are in Santa Clara County but have not previously been included in programs like this, either. Are they eligible now, or is it only University proper?
There may be some people who can't participate because of physical limitations, but they are vastly outnumbered by those who could but don't.


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Posted by Pat Markevitch
a resident of Downtown North
on May 20, 2013 at 6:20 pm

So now Stanford will pay employees who park in the neighborhoods surrounding Downtown and then bike onto the campus. I'm not making this up. I have seen people park on my street, pull their bikes out of their cars and head into Stanford. I followed one of these folks once just to verify that was what they were doing.


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Posted by Not an issue
a resident of Community Center
on May 20, 2013 at 6:54 pm

And, pat, what is your point? Were they doing something illegal? You followed someone onto campus and? Did you verify that he/she was an employee or maybe just a casual visitor or maybe they were just biking through Stanford to the foothills. So, bottom line, you saw one person do this and therefore Stanford is evil and all the employees are dishonest.


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Posted by Pat's right
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on May 20, 2013 at 7:16 pm

They park in our neighborhood, too, and then bike to Stanford for whatever reason. But they park in our neighborhood because apparently they can't park on campus or at the hospital ( I see quite a few wearing scrubs).

It adds just enough cars to our neighborhood to make homeowner parking difficult, what with all these big houses having one-car garages.


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Posted by Not an issue
a resident of Community Center
on May 20, 2013 at 7:25 pm

Pats right-- how do you know thy bike to Stanford? Because they are wearing scrubs? Have you followed them as well? Old palo alto does not have a parking problem. There is plenty of parking in old palo alto. But let the Stanford bashing begin.


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Posted by Mike
a resident of University South
on May 20, 2013 at 8:25 pm

Richard, SLAC may be in San Mateo county, but many SLAC employees live and drive through Santa Clara county like I do.


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Posted by Low tech by choice
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on May 21, 2013 at 1:58 am

And how about those who don't use a smart phone--also excluded??


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Posted by businessdecision
a resident of another community
on May 21, 2013 at 6:46 am

I'm surprised to see Pat challenged. College Terrace had a HUGE problem with Stanford affiliates--surely that was (respond if I'm wrong, College Terrace) the main reason they got permits. Anyway, this is the kind of thing people do, gaming the system. No reason to question whether or not that's what Pat is seeing.

Yes, it's getting "old" - the way we edit out people without cell phones, people without good health, people with concerns about sun exposure--


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Posted by How do you know
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on May 21, 2013 at 7:04 am

How do you "know" they are collecting the commuter incentives? Maybe they are just avoiding the parking fees. Maybe the are riding their bike for exercise to work and they can't ride the whole distance from their home.


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Posted by Evergreen Park resident
a resident of Evergreen Park
on May 21, 2013 at 10:31 am

@Not an issue - You are correct the people parking in the neighborhoods and biking/walking to Stanford are not breaking any laws. The streets belong to everybody. It is frustrating when you want to have people stop by and they have to park 3 streets over to visit. Maybe the solution is for Stanford to purchase some property on the outskirts and build Park and Walk/Bike lots. That way the city and the neighborhoods are not subsidizing a VERY wealthy institution.


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Posted by Annette
a resident of College Terrace
on May 21, 2013 at 10:46 am

In the past I also saw people drive up, park on Stanford Ave or in CT, and bike or walk to campus. The CT parking program has helped alleviate the problems caused by this. There will always be some group that game a system and I'd hate to see good efforts curtailed because a few people cheat. OF COURSE Stanford came up with an app - too funny!


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Posted by Joel
a resident of Barron Park
on May 21, 2013 at 2:08 pm

Joel is a registered user.

What if you bike but don't have a smart phone?


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Posted by Not an issue
a resident of Community Center
on May 21, 2013 at 4:01 pm

The number f people that.cheat is minimal, as Annette points out, but since this involves Stanford-- people have an excuse to bash the " evil empire". Stanford quietly does more for the environment and curtails traffic then any local venue. Meanwhile palo alto whines about too much traffic and benefits from stanford as a neighbor.
Business decision-- anyone's claim can be questioned, especially when a singe incident is used to tar a wonderful institution and it's employees.


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Posted by Pat's Right
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on May 21, 2013 at 7:09 pm

@not an issue: Actually, my husband, tired of strangers who obviously do not live on our block taking parking spaces, actually went up to some of them as they unloaded their bikes and ASKED them why they were parking where they were almost every day lately. He is much braver than me, but some of them replied that they were on their way to Stanford to work.

BTW, people in scrubs at 6:30 am are usually working for a hospital, and Stanford is the nearest one! Logical process of deduction


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Posted by businessdecision
a resident of another community
on May 21, 2013 at 7:26 pm

Oh, come on. People aren't bashing Stanford. I'm not. I'm not bashing "it's employees" or "its employees." I'm not bashing. This is how people are.

Of course not everyone parking in front of your houses is doing it while on the way to Stanford and, yes, it's fine and dandy to question people's claims.

Tar-- wow. Stanford of course knew that there would be these kinds of consequences to no new trips, and Stanford is not, in my opinion, lagging in responding.

I don't think you are really seeing that much of an anti Stanford attitude here but maybe wish you were.


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Posted by Not an issue
a resident of Community Center
on May 21, 2013 at 7:38 pm

[Post removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]


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Posted by Chris
a resident of Stanford
on May 22, 2013 at 4:11 pm

You might have more luck focusing on those naughty drivers parking in your driveway or private garage. Street parking is what it is. Public.

Also, if you live that close to Stanford you probably should bike more and not need so many cars that you require street parking.


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Posted by Not an issue
a resident of Community Center
on May 22, 2013 at 4:56 pm

Exactly,Chris. Public streets are available to all. Not sure why people are asking people who are parking on public streets why they are parking there. Anyway there is no parking problems in old palo alto


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Posted by Pat's right
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on May 23, 2013 at 7:55 am

There are six of us in a house with a one-car garage, which is used for "stuff"" and tool boxes and bicycles. We have four cars which must be parked on the street, as our driveway is a shared one and we cannot park there. Btw, we bike a lot, which is why the cars, two of which are hybrids and the third very fuel efficient, remain parked!

not an issue seems to have a bone to pick with someone.


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Posted by businessdecision
a resident of another community
on May 23, 2013 at 8:08 am

Of course street parking is public. However, patting yourself on the back for doing what is, after all, legal isn't always the best way to go, as Apple is finding out. How about not law but the golden rule? In any case, there are a lot of "issues" with street parking, again, because people are the way they are. Residents check who is on the street, who has that car, why are they here? I've been in city council meetings where residents complain about oil left on the public street by non-residents of that street. I can think that's ridiculous, but it's a reality. Many people know it's a reality and choose not to exercise their right to park on public streets.

We are actually off topic here, but is it not the case that some of these professorville houses don't have garages, and when they do, they don't have enough garages for the cars associated with them? Not an issue really thinks there "is no parking problems in old palo alto"?

In any case, as I said before, Stanford's aware that a small number of its employees game the system, and they've mentioned in staff meetings that this happens, admitting that they can't stop it but hope that.... Stanford is under much pressure to expand and is making it a high priority to manage resulting traffic volumes continuously and imaginatively. I think most Stanford affiliates greatly appreciate the programs the University has put in place and understand that parking fees help to sustain these measures. Stanford is what makes this place what it is, and I think most people understand that, understand the pressures, and see the results of Stanford's creatively addressing transportation issues on an ongoing basis.

To get back on topic, I would be surprised if this initiative added any cars to any nearby streets. There's very little cash to win., they sat.


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Posted by businessdecision
a resident of another community
on May 23, 2013 at 8:10 am

correction last sentence
There's very little cash to win., they say.


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Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on May 23, 2013 at 8:11 am

This sounds like Stanford is encouraging employees to park away from campus. If they gave them free Caltrans tickets rather than cash incentives it may make them use public transportation, otherwise they are just passing their parking problems elsewhere.

To those who live in housing which doesn't have enough off road parking for your needs I ask why you chose to live there. I can't imagine you chose to live where there were not enough spaces to put beds for your family so why not enough parking spaces? Owning more cars than space to park them is a very big problem in Palo Alto. Insurance companies are well aware of this habit and try to warn against it.


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Posted by Not an issue
a resident of Community Center
on May 23, 2013 at 8:15 am

Pats right-- the fact that you do not use your garage for your car and you have 4 cars does not entitle you to any spaces on the street. They are public and available to all. And if you bike so much and do not need the cars, the why keep them?
Anyway there is no parking problem in old palo alto/ducativille
BD-- professorville is one thing. Their issue has been downtown workers, not Stanford employees and there is no parking problem in old palo alto. Really.


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Posted by businessdecision
a resident of another community
on May 23, 2013 at 8:26 am

Community Center resident - you're Palo Alto - guess I have to believe you!

Resident, Stanford in a sense is encouraging employees to park away from campus: they've apparently rented an area at 101 and Embarcadero and run shuttles from there, although I doubt that's what you were thinking of. Stanford also provides transit passes.

Are they just passing their parking problems elsewhere? There was the College Terrace issue that bothered some residents there quite a lot, and I think there are Stanford Shopping Center issues. I doubt that Stanford is offloading its problems to that extent, but will see what other people in nearby neighborhoods say--


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Posted by Pat's Right
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on May 23, 2013 at 2:38 pm

not an issue: four cars for four adults. Four cars for four working adults when it rains, when it is too hot, when someone is too ill to ride, when someone has two children to transport, a dog to transport, groceries to get home, when knees give out, and when multiple sclerosis relapses, to go to the hospital. And when ther is somewhere to go too far to bikeride to, such as SFO.




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Posted by Not an issue
a resident of Community Center
on May 23, 2013 at 10:53 pm

Pats right- I thought that was ankylosing spondylitis, but now it's MS?


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Posted by Charlie
a resident of College Terrace
on May 24, 2013 at 9:54 am

Stanford gives employees free CalTrain passes and has free shuttles that meet the trains and bring employeees onto campus. That has greatly reduced car trips to Stanford. The latest program is aimed at the many employees who live within a few miles of campus, but have been driving solo vehicles onto campus. I know for a fact that it has caused more employees to bike or walk at least a few days a week, so that is also a help. Don't dump on the whole program just because you think a few people are parking in front of your house.

There are a lot of employers in Palo Alto who should be doing more -- maybe they should copy what the creative folks at Stanford are doing!


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