Palo Alto's bid to create a nonprofit that would manage downtown's traffic-reduction programs will be the focus of a community meeting at City Hall, 250 Hamilton Ave., next week.
The Transportation Management Association (TMA) will be charged with developing, marketing and administrating programs that offer incentives for drivers to switch to other modes of transportation. The new association would be funded by downtown businesses and will aim to reduce the number of commuters who drive solo by 30 percent by 2018.
The City Council has consistently supported creating a TMA, which council members see as one of many solutions to the problems of too much traffic and not enough parking.
In September 2013, council members Nancy Shepherd, Liz Kniss and Gail Price penned a colleagues memo suggesting that Palo Alto pursue such an association. They cited successful traffic-reduction programs at Stanford University and at the Contra Costa Transit Center, each of which provide incentives for commuters to take public transportation, carpool and bike to work or school.
The council voted to launch the association last February and in August, it approved a three-year $500,000 contract with the consulting firm Moore Iacofano Goltsman to kick-start the effort. The company has since been reaching out to area businesses to gauge their interest in participating in the new association and serving on its steering committee.
In a statement, the city's Planning Director Hillary Gitelman said the TMA "will be the central organization to coordinate and promote transit options and solutions to reduce solo driving into our City's downtown.
"We know that TMAs have been very successful in other jurisdictions when it comes to reducing traffic and we are looking forward to replicating that in Palo Alto," Gitelman said.
The new association is one of many initiatives that the city is now pursuing when it comes to downtown parking and traffic. In the next few months, the city is preparing to begin its Residential Parking Permit Program, which will require permits for parking in downtown's residential neighborhoods for more than two hours. The city is also looking at expanding its free shuttle service, creating a satellite parking lot on Embarcadero Road and building a new downtown garage.
More information is available at www.ourpaloalto.org/tma.