Driving still most common commute mode to work, shop

But transportation survey suggests more bike to school than drive

Single-occupancy car trips remain the "preferred mode" of transportation for Palo Alto residents who commute to work, as well as for non-residents who commute into the city for work each day.

However, for Palo Altans with school-age children, bicycling has caught up with driving as a way to get to school.

These tidbits can be gleaned from the city's first-ever "transportation survey" of residents and workers administered this past spring. A summary of the results is contained in an "informational report" for the City Council at its meeting Monday, Dec. 9.

About 2,800 residents, as well as 852 non-residents who commute in to Palo Alto daily, responded to the survey, which was made available online through Survey Monkey as well as through hard copies in various community facilities. The survey was administered from March 11 through May 5.

About half of the Palo Alto residents who responded reported living within one mile of a Caltrain station.

Eighty percent of vehicles owned by the Palo Alto respondents are gas-powered, but 20 percent are now powered by alternatives with hybrids (11 percent) being most popular followed by compressed natural gas (7 percent) and electric (2 percent).

Forty-four percent of residents who responded reported that they commute daily to a workplace outside of Palo Alto, while 39 percent said they work within Palo Alto or at Stanford University. Much smaller numbers said they work from home.

Second to solo-driving commuting for Palo Alto residents was bicycle commuting, followed by carpooling, Caltrain and walking.

Residents reported that their most frequent regular shopping destination was Town & Country Village, followed by Midtown, Downtown, California Avenue, Charleston Center and Stanford. More than 71 percent said they drive to go shopping.

Among non-residents who commute into Palo Alto for work, more than half also reported solo driving as their most frequent mode of commute. The next biggest chunk said they come by Caltrain, followed by carpooling and bicycling.

The most frequently reported home zip code among non-resident commuters was San Jose (18 percent). Those commuting from Mountain View and Menlo Park together comprise 14 percent, about the same number who come from San Mateo, South San Francisco, Burlingame, san Carlos, Belmont and San Bruno combined.

Chris Kenrick


Like this comment
Posted by Bike2work
a resident of Mountain View
on Dec 6, 2013 at 5:08 pm

The consultant's analysis of Question #2 (Do you live within 1 mile of a Caltrain Station?) neglected to show the San Antonio Station. The 1-mile radius around that station covers a good chunk of south Palo Alto.

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Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Dec 6, 2013 at 5:19 pm

Those who say they drive to go shopping perhaps stop off on the way home from work or part of several errands. Did the survey take that into account and also did it ask where outside Palo Alto people shop?

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Posted by Justin
a resident of Mountain View
on Dec 7, 2013 at 1:23 pm

Maybe parking wouldn't be so much of a problem if everyone stopped driving by themselves? There is no lack of parking in Palo Alto, just too many people driving by themselves. Charge for parking and this will change.

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Posted by relentlesscactus
a resident of another community
on Dec 7, 2013 at 3:21 pm

What percentage take high speed rail to work?

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Posted by SteveU
a resident of Barron Park
on Dec 7, 2013 at 5:26 pm

SteveU is a registered user.

Bus from Safeway in Midtown to Baron Park?
Haul a weeks Groceries onto the 22 from San Antonio and see how many thumbs up you get. Not everyone eats out. Not everyone shop for groceries at the same place. Are we advocating only a City Run 'State' food store?

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Posted by Like being safe
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Dec 8, 2013 at 11:37 am

I used to bikeride a great deal everywhere, including to work. Actually, I rode to anyplace under 12 miles each way. But is was going to work, three-and-a-half miles away, that I was hit by cars on two occasions: once breaking my wrist and elbow, the second time damaging my knee so severely that it had to be replaced-- at the "young" age of 39! The first time I was sideswiped and knocked over! but the second time the driver ran a stopsign and made an illegal left turn. I was hospitalized for four days that time, in a wheelchair two months, on crutches eight months.

Drivers here just do not pay attention: they talk on the phone, put on makeup, eat, text, and feel that they have priority over everyone else on the road. They are always in a hurry and honk at people doing the speed limit. There are also a lot of people who did not learn to drive until they came her in later life, and they just are not very good at it, not having control of the car sufficiently.

For my own safety, I returned to driving, but at least I drive a plug-in hybrid. Thanks to the second injury, I can no longer even walk the three miles to work, and bikeriding is now painful. This may improve, but it is not worth the risk.

Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

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