News

Crescent Park traffic report analyzes depth of concerns

Neighborhood survey seeks to get officials to listen

Seeking to persuade the Palo Alto City Council to take traffic congestion seriously, Crescent Park residents have conducted their own survey to gauge feelings, identify the problems and to offer some potential solutions.

The 36-page survey found that 94 percent of respondents in the besieged neighborhood think the city isn't doing enough.

The report, compiled by neighborhood resident John Guislin, is a response to a comment made by Mayor Liz Kniss during a July 30 council meeting, when Kniss said "traffic is not as overwhelming as you might think."

The comment baffled and angered some residents, particularly in Crescent Park, which is sandwiched between the city's downtown core and commuter conduits University Avenue and U.S. Highway 101. Crescent Park routinely experiences heavy traffic backups and unsafe driving from cut-through commuter traffic on residential streets. Residents cannot access their homes and fume from idling vehicles polluting their homes.

"The goal of the survey is to help clarify the issue and the parameters so you understand it a little deeper. Our community should be engaging and building solutions," Guislin said.

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He and a group of Crescent Park residents who are active in traffic issues put together nine questions through online-survey tool Survey Monkey. The survey link reached approximately 850 residents who belong to the Crescent Park Neighborhood Association.

Guislin said 189 residents, or 22 percent, responded. The response is comparable to a wider 2017 National Citizens' Survey conducted by the city of Palo Alto, which received a 20 percent response rate from residents throughout the city. That survey found that 37.16 percent rated the ease of travel by car as "poor" and 45.36 percent rated it "fair."

In the Crescent Park survey, respondents indicated multiple times of the day when traffic is bad, as opposed to choosing only one time when it is most problematic. Weekday evenings are the peak time, 74 percent of the residents said. But weekday afternoons and mornings are also an issue by high percentages: 65 percent of respondents experience heavy traffic on their street during the afternoon and 48 percent in the morning. During weekends, only 11 percent described traffic as a problem, with 5 percent saying it is rarely an issue.

More than 60 percent of respondents "strongly agree" that traffic negatively impacts their quality of life, and more than 60 percent rated traffic overall as a major or moderate concern.

The top vexations involved the time required to reach freeways (91 percent); time required for short-distance trips (85 percent); feeling unsafe as a bicyclist (84 percent); and impeded access for emergency vehicles (76 percent). More than 60 percent rated air and noise pollution, feeling unsafe as a motorist or pedestrian and having difficulty exiting the driveway as major or moderate concerns.

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When asked what they consider the primary cause of traffic congestion, a majority of respondents listed backup from commuter traffic from U.S. Highway 101, unsynchronized traffic signals that contribute to backups on University Avenue, cut-through traffic into neighborhoods, excessive office development in downtown and commuters from large companies such as Facebook and Google.

A whopping 94 percent of respondents said the city government wasn't doing enough to address traffic problems. Some said the city has exacerbated the problem by adding more office and commercial development while reducing parking spaces; others said they have no clear sense of what the city is doing at all. Still, others pointed to poor planning that has failed to create viable mass transit connections.

"I see nothing they have done to correct the problem except place pots on the streets and the plants are dying. There are too many people trying to get out of town at the same time," one resident wrote, noting recent transportation office efforts to make some streets appear more as gateways to a residential neighborhood than as arterial streets for commuter traffic.

The survey asked residents for two or three actions they would like the city to take. The most common recommendation was to freeze development. Other top recommendations included enforcing existing traffic laws; adding cameras on traffic signals; adding public transit and shuttles; stopping cut-through traffic; having a greater police presence and ticketing; fixing traffic-light timing; and installing traffic-calming measures.

"All responsible governmental bodies and city governments should work together to address this issue. We need to seriously look at new public transportation options and, possibly, incentivize the private sector to come up with solutions. Growth can't, and shouldn't, be stopped in a healthy economy, so changing the way people commute is the only healthy option," one resident wrote.

Others suggested remote parking with shuttles for commercial organizations with more than a certain threshold of employees. Another suggestion was to have employees vary their start and end times to alleviate traffic clogs.

Many concerns and solutions focused on an individual resident's needs. Guislin said that it could be a challenge to get residents to see the problem beyond their own driveway or street. The problem must be fixed holistically so it isn't pushed somewhere else.

Guislin said he realized the survey has limitations. The Crescent Park survey was not randomized, for example. But it provides a picture from which a greater conversation can take place with city leaders. The first problem is building the political will to affect meaningful changes, he said.

"It wasn't perfect; it's our first time. We'll do it again and we'll make it better," he said.

Guislin plans to distribute the survey to the Palo Alto City Council this Monday, Oct. 22 at its upcoming Transportation Town Hall, which begins at 5 p.m. at Council Chamber at City Hall, 250 Hamilton Ave.

View the Crescent Park Neighborhood Association traffic survey, courtesy of John Guislin.

Related content:

Synchronized green lights in University Avenue's future - May 17, 2018

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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Crescent Park traffic report analyzes depth of concerns

Neighborhood survey seeks to get officials to listen

by / Palo Alto Weekly

Uploaded: Sat, Oct 20, 2018, 6:34 am
Updated: Mon, Oct 22, 2018, 8:22 am

Seeking to persuade the Palo Alto City Council to take traffic congestion seriously, Crescent Park residents have conducted their own survey to gauge feelings, identify the problems and to offer some potential solutions.

The 36-page survey found that 94 percent of respondents in the besieged neighborhood think the city isn't doing enough.

The report, compiled by neighborhood resident John Guislin, is a response to a comment made by Mayor Liz Kniss during a July 30 council meeting, when Kniss said "traffic is not as overwhelming as you might think."

The comment baffled and angered some residents, particularly in Crescent Park, which is sandwiched between the city's downtown core and commuter conduits University Avenue and U.S. Highway 101. Crescent Park routinely experiences heavy traffic backups and unsafe driving from cut-through commuter traffic on residential streets. Residents cannot access their homes and fume from idling vehicles polluting their homes.

"The goal of the survey is to help clarify the issue and the parameters so you understand it a little deeper. Our community should be engaging and building solutions," Guislin said.

He and a group of Crescent Park residents who are active in traffic issues put together nine questions through online-survey tool Survey Monkey. The survey link reached approximately 850 residents who belong to the Crescent Park Neighborhood Association.

Guislin said 189 residents, or 22 percent, responded. The response is comparable to a wider 2017 National Citizens' Survey conducted by the city of Palo Alto, which received a 20 percent response rate from residents throughout the city. That survey found that 37.16 percent rated the ease of travel by car as "poor" and 45.36 percent rated it "fair."

In the Crescent Park survey, respondents indicated multiple times of the day when traffic is bad, as opposed to choosing only one time when it is most problematic. Weekday evenings are the peak time, 74 percent of the residents said. But weekday afternoons and mornings are also an issue by high percentages: 65 percent of respondents experience heavy traffic on their street during the afternoon and 48 percent in the morning. During weekends, only 11 percent described traffic as a problem, with 5 percent saying it is rarely an issue.

More than 60 percent of respondents "strongly agree" that traffic negatively impacts their quality of life, and more than 60 percent rated traffic overall as a major or moderate concern.

The top vexations involved the time required to reach freeways (91 percent); time required for short-distance trips (85 percent); feeling unsafe as a bicyclist (84 percent); and impeded access for emergency vehicles (76 percent). More than 60 percent rated air and noise pollution, feeling unsafe as a motorist or pedestrian and having difficulty exiting the driveway as major or moderate concerns.

When asked what they consider the primary cause of traffic congestion, a majority of respondents listed backup from commuter traffic from U.S. Highway 101, unsynchronized traffic signals that contribute to backups on University Avenue, cut-through traffic into neighborhoods, excessive office development in downtown and commuters from large companies such as Facebook and Google.

A whopping 94 percent of respondents said the city government wasn't doing enough to address traffic problems. Some said the city has exacerbated the problem by adding more office and commercial development while reducing parking spaces; others said they have no clear sense of what the city is doing at all. Still, others pointed to poor planning that has failed to create viable mass transit connections.

"I see nothing they have done to correct the problem except place pots on the streets and the plants are dying. There are too many people trying to get out of town at the same time," one resident wrote, noting recent transportation office efforts to make some streets appear more as gateways to a residential neighborhood than as arterial streets for commuter traffic.

The survey asked residents for two or three actions they would like the city to take. The most common recommendation was to freeze development. Other top recommendations included enforcing existing traffic laws; adding cameras on traffic signals; adding public transit and shuttles; stopping cut-through traffic; having a greater police presence and ticketing; fixing traffic-light timing; and installing traffic-calming measures.

"All responsible governmental bodies and city governments should work together to address this issue. We need to seriously look at new public transportation options and, possibly, incentivize the private sector to come up with solutions. Growth can't, and shouldn't, be stopped in a healthy economy, so changing the way people commute is the only healthy option," one resident wrote.

Others suggested remote parking with shuttles for commercial organizations with more than a certain threshold of employees. Another suggestion was to have employees vary their start and end times to alleviate traffic clogs.

Many concerns and solutions focused on an individual resident's needs. Guislin said that it could be a challenge to get residents to see the problem beyond their own driveway or street. The problem must be fixed holistically so it isn't pushed somewhere else.

Guislin said he realized the survey has limitations. The Crescent Park survey was not randomized, for example. But it provides a picture from which a greater conversation can take place with city leaders. The first problem is building the political will to affect meaningful changes, he said.

"It wasn't perfect; it's our first time. We'll do it again and we'll make it better," he said.

Guislin plans to distribute the survey to the Palo Alto City Council this Monday, Oct. 22 at its upcoming Transportation Town Hall, which begins at 5 p.m. at Council Chamber at City Hall, 250 Hamilton Ave.

View the Crescent Park Neighborhood Association traffic survey, courtesy of John Guislin.

Related content:

Synchronized green lights in University Avenue's future - May 17, 2018

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

Comments

Thank you!
College Terrace
on Oct 20, 2018 at 8:33 am
Thank you!, College Terrace
on Oct 20, 2018 at 8:33 am
59 people like this

Grateful to the residents who undertook this survey. Let this be a wake up call for Liz Kniss. We have an issue with traffic!


Resident
Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Oct 20, 2018 at 8:50 am
Resident, Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Oct 20, 2018 at 8:50 am
14 people like this

The only area that I know doesn't have cut through traffic is where the barricades have gone up between Churchill and Cal Ave. Not sure of the name of the area, but I know I have got lost in there trying to find my way out on more than one occasion.


R. Davis
Crescent Park
on Oct 20, 2018 at 8:54 am
R. Davis, Crescent Park
on Oct 20, 2018 at 8:54 am
75 people like this

QUOTE: (from the PA Weekly) ...a comment made by Mayor Liz Kniss during a July 30 council meeting, when Kniss said "traffic is not as overwhelming as you might think."

"Traffic is not as overwhelming as you might think" declared the mayor, though she somehow had a keen awareness of all the cars idling while stopped.

To the point where the mayor & city manager even suggested dispersing friendly citations to remind motorists.

Your PA City Hall in action.


Resident
University South
on Oct 20, 2018 at 9:24 am
Resident, University South
on Oct 20, 2018 at 9:24 am
71 people like this

As others have noted, Downtown office development is one of the biggest drivers of our ever worsening congestion. Unfortunately, at Wolbach's initiative, in 2017 the council voted to eliminate the long term cap on Downtown office/commercial development. This move will not only exacerbate the traffic, it also gave a green light to the speculators who bought the President Hotel and are evicting the long time residents to convert it to a commercial hotel use. If the cap had remained in place, the speculators would known they not have been allowed to convert it from residential to commercial.


It's All Over Now Baby Blue
Old Palo Alto
on Oct 20, 2018 at 9:46 am
It's All Over Now Baby Blue, Old Palo Alto
on Oct 20, 2018 at 9:46 am
79 people like this

Much of this this traffic congestion and overcrowding of Palo Alto through commercial overdevelopment can be directly attributed to the likes of Kniss, Fine and Wolbach.

Their vision of a modern day Palo Alto is one of a compressed nature where everyone and everything is crammed in, leaving little room for anything else.

Palo Alto is starting to remind me of those crooked tombstones at old churches where people used to be buried on top of one another to save space.


Online Name
Registered user
Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Oct 20, 2018 at 10:11 am
Online Name, Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
Registered user
on Oct 20, 2018 at 10:11 am
68 people like this

Good for the residents conducting the survey that the city itself should have done years ago. Instead they wasted huge amounts of money on unwanted and unnecessary "traffic diets" while denying we even have a traffic problem (Kniss) or that there's any relationship between office growth and congestion (Scharff, Fine, Wolbach) or that it would be wrong to restrict office growth commercial developers' "freedoms" (Cormack).

Extend that survey to ALL residents whose complaints have been ignored and marginalized.

Stop the continued commercial development that pushes traffic into our neighborhoods and forces US to pay for parking permits and over-priced bureaucrats who give developers and big employers a free pass!

Vote for slow-growth candidates who'll prevent us from being more over-run with traffic. Vote for Filseth, DuBois and Boone for CC. Vote for Holman for Open Space because she'll protect open space, not for Scharff who calls slow-growth advocates "extremists" and denies there's even a relationship between office growth and traffic.


NeilsonBuchanan
Registered user
Downtown North
on Oct 20, 2018 at 11:08 am
NeilsonBuchanan, Downtown North
Registered user
on Oct 20, 2018 at 11:08 am
18 people like this

Let’s hope and pray that the upcoming new City Council and City Manager move past this this hastily convened listening session. After all, annual surveys of Palo Alto citizens have been saying traffic is a high priority.

Yes, outgoing Mayor Kniss has apologized for stating that citizens’ traffic concerns are “exaggerated.”

Let’s move on. Now is the time for the Mayor to lead the Council to an action plan properly staffed and funded. The current and next city council face an inflection point. Will they divide the traffic management into regional vs local city solutions? Will they acknowledge the profound job and office market surge?
Local Palo Alto traffic can anticipated and managed but only if city manager hires staff and deploys technology. Our city manager needs council direction and funding….. or nothing will change.

Job surge continues at full pace. Every new job is bump up in traffic.

Office markets are thru the roof. Office occupancy and density create almost instantaneous traffic.

Web Link



Web Link


Good job
Community Center
on Oct 20, 2018 at 12:38 pm
Good job, Community Center
on Oct 20, 2018 at 12:38 pm
36 people like this

Thanks to the survey takers. Lots of good work there.

Yesterday afternoon I was driving on Embarcadero toward 101 and also on San Antonio Road. Horrendous traffic.
Fortunately drivers were careful and polite so we got through it.

Thanks to Crescent Park for taking the lead.
Wondering how the Mayor will try to change the subject.


Wayne Martin
Professorville
on Oct 20, 2018 at 1:54 pm
Wayne Martin, Professorville
on Oct 20, 2018 at 1:54 pm
24 people like this

Aligning my comments with those above—it’s clear that if you want something done in this town—it doesn’t pay to wait for the City to get around to taking care of business—you have to do it yourself.

The City Council is, for the most part, powerless to do much other than comment and write “colleague’s memos” (which are not legally binding). They can talk, and talk, and talk—but they don’t have the power to direct the City Manager to do anything about the problem.

Given that this is an election cycle—how many of the incumbents have actually addressed the traffic issue as if they have any idea what the magnitude of the problem might be? They all claim to have “solutions”, but none of them have laid out a plan how to deal with the issues.

The Transportation folks have not acquired and installed state-of-the-art traffic monitoring/counting equipment. Periodically, the old-fashioned pneumatic tubes can be seen around town, which provide counts for the period they are installed. But the Transportation people don’t seem to see the value of having on-line counting equipment which provided details via the City’s web-site on an hourly/daily/weekly/monthly basis.

There still is no traffic modeling that helps Planning to predict the number of vehicles that each new business will create on our streets. There are tables of traffic generated by each specific land use, but these tables need local calibration to provide the best estimates for new traffic generated.

In some towns, when there have been disagreements between the residents and transportation planners, the residents have raised money and hired consultants for a second opinion about a given solution proposed by their town government. We here in Palo Alto need to do the same—even though it means shelling out a few bucks every now and then. We also need to realize that the City only listens to people/groups willing to sue. While most people might shy away from being litigants against City Hall—it probably is the only way to get them to listen and do something.


Voter Curiosity
College Terrace
on Oct 20, 2018 at 2:02 pm
Voter Curiosity, College Terrace
on Oct 20, 2018 at 2:02 pm
26 people like this

> The City Council is, for the most part, powerless to do much other than comment and write “colleague’s memos” (which are not legally binding). They can talk, and talk, and talk—but they don’t have the power to direct the City Manager to do anything about the problem.

^^^^Why is the PACC so impotent and what is their actual mission?




Wayne Martin
Professorville
on Oct 20, 2018 at 2:23 pm
Wayne Martin, Professorville
on Oct 20, 2018 at 2:23 pm
30 people like this

> Why is the PACC so impotent and what is their actual mission?

To answer this would take a while, as it involves the political history of Palo Alto from the beginning.

Let me try, however:

1894 City incorporated (effectively as a general law town).

1909 The voters approved a Charter creating a somewhat “radical” form of City government called: Council/Commission—which resulted in a large number of “civilians commissioners” being selected to aid the 15-person elected Council in running the City. From what I was able to discern from the City annual reports published from 1912 until the late 1940s—the City grew in area and City staff to about 450 employees by the late ‘40s under this form of government.

But there was trouble in Rivercity. Various rivalries developed among the City departments. By the mid-1940s those folks who created this form of local government were dying out and replacements were hard to find, and/or the public had lost its appetite for this much civic engagement. The Charter of 1949 came along (which was actually just an amendment that gutted virtually every word of the 1909 Charter) and created the Strong City Manager/Weak City Council form of government. The once strong Council now was required to sit on the sidelines and watch the City Manager run the show.

So—the Council under the current Charter doesn’t have much in the way of authority to do anything but attend meetings, vote on Staff recommendations and approve the budget.

1949 Strong City Manager/Weak City Council Charter Amendment Approved by Voters.


Voter Curiosity
College Terrace
on Oct 20, 2018 at 3:13 pm
Voter Curiosity, College Terrace
on Oct 20, 2018 at 3:13 pm
23 people like this

>> So—the Council under the current Charter doesn’t have much in the way of authority to do anything but attend meetings, vote on Staff recommendations and approve the budget.

Next question...then why are some PACC candidates so outspoken and seemingly passionate about their election day promises/platforms if they are in essence, impotent?

Who are they trying to kid?

Or is this an audition for an upcoming role at the Community Theater?


Wayne Martin
Professorville
on Oct 20, 2018 at 3:45 pm
Wayne Martin, Professorville
on Oct 20, 2018 at 3:45 pm
9 people like this

> then why are some PACC candidates so outspoken and seemingly passionate
> about their election day promises/platforms if they are in essence, impotent

I suppose you would have to ask them. However, having watched this merry-go-round for a long time now, I would hazard two guesses:

1) They don’t understand the role of the City Council here in PA.
2) They believe that we, the voters, don’t understand the role of the City
Council and if elected, they will fulfill their promises.


Curmudgeon
Downtown North
on Oct 20, 2018 at 4:42 pm
Curmudgeon, Downtown North
on Oct 20, 2018 at 4:42 pm
38 people like this

"Let’s hope and pray that the upcoming new City Council and City Manager move past this this hastily convened listening session."

This curiously named "listening session" is another installment in the "let's pretend we're listening to 'em" series that has worked well enough on numerous prior issues.

Veteran politician Kniss is nowhere near as clueless as she seems. She is incorrigibly pro-developer, so expect the outcome of this "listening session" to strangely morph into a conclusion that traffic woes are overstated and all we need is a new consultant to study our option.

Consultant duly hired, report delivered, report praised, report shelved, dozens of new office developments approved.


Online Name
Registered user
Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Oct 20, 2018 at 4:52 pm
Online Name, Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
Registered user
on Oct 20, 2018 at 4:52 pm
29 people like this

The CC's not that impotent since they get to determine office caps, approve specific buildings, regulate ADUs, etc., etc. otherwise the developers wouldn't be contributing 3 times as much money to the pro-development candidates.

From the 10/11 article from the Town Talk menu Web Link
"Things were looking up for Elizabeth Wong in February 2017, when the Palo Alto City Council narrowly approved her plan to build a four-story mixed-use building on University Avenue site that once housed the popular Shady Lane boutique."


good job
Community Center
on Oct 20, 2018 at 5:01 pm
good job, Community Center
on Oct 20, 2018 at 5:01 pm
23 people like this

So how do we control the City Manager. He does listen to the council members he sides with, like Scharff, Kniss, and their gang.

Can we do an investigation of the CM's decisions, the number of staff he has surrounded himself with, any kickbacks on the _huge_ contracts he proposes every month via the opaque Consent Calendar, etc.
I've been struck by the number of PR people he has hired.


Anonymous
Duveneck/St. Francis
on Oct 20, 2018 at 5:05 pm
Anonymous, Duveneck/St. Francis
on Oct 20, 2018 at 5:05 pm
32 people like this

Those who read this thread, pls. tell a friend or neighbor about our issues, discuss a bit, and urge to vote on Nov. 6.
Let’s try to prevent under-parking of approved projects, which is affecting many more of us and which is an unrealistic way to operate here.
Let’s try to have sensible growth.
Some change is inevitable.
I’m still amazed at Lis Kniss’ comments about traffic.
The city of Palo Alto should be run for the benefit of the residents of Palo Alto, not outside interests or behemoth Stanford.


R.Davis
Registered user
Crescent Park
on Oct 20, 2018 at 5:28 pm
R.Davis, Crescent Park
Registered user
on Oct 20, 2018 at 5:28 pm
41 people like this

QUOTE:...then why are some PACC candidates so outspoken and seemingly passionate about their election day promises/platforms if they are in essence, impotent?
...is this an audition for an upcoming role at the Community Theater?

More along the lines of an audition for county supervisor.


QUOTE: This curiously named "listening session" is another installment in the "let's pretend we're listening to 'em" series that has worked well enough on numerous prior issues.
QUOTE: The city of Palo Alto should be run for the benefit of the residents of Palo Alto, not outside interests or behemoth Stanford.

This pretty much sums it up.


Wayne Martin
Professorville
on Oct 20, 2018 at 7:12 pm
Wayne Martin, Professorville
on Oct 20, 2018 at 7:12 pm
5 people like this

Didn’t want to spend too much time talking about the Council, but it’s clear that they are a central pinion in how the City operates—particularly since they do have (as pointed out above) a lot of authority where land use is concerned.

Many years ago (late 1990s) the Council tried to impose a historic preservation ordinance over the whole town. The Council even went so far as to create the Ordinance to be “a public health” matter, so that it could not be easily opposed by the residents. At some point, people in Palo Alto did get together and oppose the “preservation ordinance” that the Council referred to the voters which would have "validated" their actions--known as “Measure G”:

Vote No on Measure G:
Web Link

During the various meetings about the Council’s authority to impose this sort of control over their private property, a land use attorney spoke to some of us explaining that the Courts were reluctant to accept cases that involved city councils and problematic land use decisions. The attorney explained that the Courts felt that the councils had intimate knowledge of their jurisdictions, whereas the Courts do not.

And of course, the Maybell referendum of a couple years ago also demonstrated that property owners could successfully oppose unpopular decisions of the Council.

So—how many people are willing to create groups to educate the public about problems with various Council decisions and collect the necessary signatures to qualify the ballot measures that allow the public to offset Council decisions which are not good for the town as a whole?


Resident
University South
on Oct 20, 2018 at 10:02 pm
Resident, University South
on Oct 20, 2018 at 10:02 pm
9 people like this

Wayne Martin's claim is just goofy that "the City Council is, for the most part, powerless to do much other than comment and write “colleague’s memos” (which are not legally binding). They can talk, and talk, and talk—but they don’t have the power to direct the City Manager to do anything about the problem."
While council members vary widely in their competencies and what they aim to accomplish, who we elect determines the cities'policies and programs, as well as oversight and hiring of senior staff. "Colleagues Memos" are actually the key way that council members initiate legislative action, whether its about ADU's, renter protections, grade separations or a business tax, etc. Of course those initial memos are not legally binding any more than when a state legislator introduces a bill. The bill needs to get through hearings and be passed to make it law. They also direct the city manager on policies and programs, but not on day to day management of the staff who report to him. That's basic Local Government 101.
The council also must approve or oppose major developments, spending priorities and plans, etc, etc, etc. Just look at the agendas of council and committee meetings to see that what they do and that who we elect effects us every day.
Fortunately, we also have the citizen initiatives that can be used as a check and balance to take direct action like was done with the recent cap on office growth.


Evan
Crescent Park
on Oct 20, 2018 at 10:10 pm
Evan, Crescent Park
on Oct 20, 2018 at 10:10 pm
14 people like this

I spent 18 years in Crescent Park and grew up there.

People, this is what happens when you refuse to house the people who work in your town. When you refuse to allow new housing, time after time, your town's workforce starts moving to Fremont, Tracy, Hayward and elsewhere to afford a place to live.

You want to solve traffic? Build enough housing for the jobs we have here. And put it downtown, so that residents are walking/biking/taking transit to work, rather than driving through Crescent Park.

This town is embarrassing.


Curmudgeon
Downtown North
on Oct 20, 2018 at 10:35 pm
Curmudgeon, Downtown North
on Oct 20, 2018 at 10:35 pm
16 people like this

"You want to solve traffic? Build enough housing for the jobs we have here. And put it downtown, so that residents are walking/biking/taking transit to work, rather than driving through Crescent Park."

Nope. Downtown is full of offices and getting fuller. No room. You're too late.

But there's a way.

The logical place to build your mass housing is in our R-1 suburbs, where that fabulously valuable land is extravagantly underutilized. Especially on those egregiously oversized underbuilt parcels in Old Palo Alto and Crescent Park.

Then those drivers won't be commuters from Fremont, Tracy, Hayward and elsewhere, they'll be your neighbors. It's a guaranteed win-win.


VOTE correctly
Leland Manor/Garland Drive
on Oct 21, 2018 at 2:38 am
VOTE correctly, Leland Manor/Garland Drive
on Oct 21, 2018 at 2:38 am
30 people like this

Vote for the residentialists this election: Filseth, DuBois, Boone. The rest will continue to allow development which will worsen traffic.

The transportation department only cares about bike transportation. The cut-through traffic has exasperated residential streets so that biking is no longer safe for our children. How many residents actually bike to work? Very few Palo Altans work in Palo Alto.

The new City Manager has "decades of experience in transportation policy" Web Link


Anon
Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Oct 21, 2018 at 8:42 am
Anon, Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Oct 21, 2018 at 8:42 am
37 people like this

Posted by Evan, a resident of Crescent Park

>> People, this is what happens when you refuse to house the people who work in your town. When you refuse to allow new housing, time after time, your town's workforce starts moving to Fremont, Tracy, Hayward and elsewhere to afford a place to live. [...] This town is embarrassing.

Evan, I'm sorry, but, the real estate interests have pulled the wool over your eyes. This is what happens when massive office space development takes place with no thought regarding the consequences. And, even with the resulting massive traffic, we are still building more, and, there is no solid future cap.

-No more office space.-


john_alderman
Registered user
Crescent Park
on Oct 21, 2018 at 8:55 am
john_alderman, Crescent Park
Registered user
on Oct 21, 2018 at 8:55 am
36 people like this

@Curmudgeon - "Build enough housing for the jobs we have here"

Total fantasy. Build 10,000 units downtown, and they'll end up occupied in some large part by people who want to live in Palo Alto but work elsewhere in the bay area. So you still have the same people forced to live outside Palo Alto commuting in for work, and now you add more people in Palo Alto commuting out for their work. It is impossible to fix congestion by more building. The best you can do is freeze any new commercial development, and as much as possible to mitigate existing traffic. Things aren't going to get better, but we can keep them from getting worse.


No Change Is Best
Old Palo Alto
on Oct 21, 2018 at 9:33 am
No Change Is Best, Old Palo Alto
on Oct 21, 2018 at 9:33 am
23 people like this

>>The logical place to build your mass housing is in our R-1 suburbs, where that fabulously valuable land is extravagantly underutilized. Especially on those egregiously oversized underbuilt parcels in Old Palo Alto and Crescent Park.

Absoutely not. You don't pay $7M+ to live like a rat. Having some space between you and your neighbors is a desirable residential feature/option for those who can afford it. Besides, I like having a large front lawn and a huge backyard.


>>Then those drivers won't be commuters from Fremont, Tracy, Hayward and elsewhere, they'll be your neighbors. It's a guaranteed win-win.

Don't want them as neighbors. And we're not going to move or acquiece to even more overbuilding in Palo Alto. Being a local PA resident, I'll just use/find an alternative route. The commuters can have University Avenue though I feel bad for the Crescent Park residents who have to put up with them.


time for change
Crescent Park
on Oct 21, 2018 at 11:54 am
time for change, Crescent Park
on Oct 21, 2018 at 11:54 am
2 people like this

Menlo park have created a situation where the Willow Road/101 interchange prevents eastbound exit from the 101 to Menlo Park during the evening commute.

Palo Alto should similarly prevent westbound traffic from University to the 101 during the evening commute.

This would create a big loop so that all westbound traffic is along Willow and all eastbound traffic along University. It solves the major problem causing the congestion in the evenings by removing westbound traffic from University in the evening.


Rick
Adobe-Meadow
on Oct 21, 2018 at 12:14 pm
Rick, Adobe-Meadow
on Oct 21, 2018 at 12:14 pm
17 people like this

We don't need to cap office development, we need to -remove- existing developments.


Wayne Martin
Professorville
on Oct 21, 2018 at 12:18 pm
Wayne Martin, Professorville
on Oct 21, 2018 at 12:18 pm
3 people like this

> Wayne Martin's claim is just goofy

Suggest you read the Charter sometime, and then let's have this conversation.


Voter Curiosity
College Terrace
on Oct 21, 2018 at 1:42 pm
Voter Curiosity, College Terrace
on Oct 21, 2018 at 1:42 pm
34 people like this

> Wayne Martin's claim is just goofy...

Mr. Martin spelled things out quite clearly & I appreciated his insights.

I suspect that any denials of PACC impotence are based on the blind faith of countless voting constituents who perpetually buy into the various degrees and forms of election time lip service.

The City Manager model of city government pretty much reduces the CC to more of perfunctory role in key decision making processes. Council members may get to wear top hats and pound gavels but their role is tends to be more ceremonial in nature.

Palo Alto isn't small town Mayberry where the city mayor and city council call the shots. It is a highly organized (or disorganized) bureaucracy operated by various administrators who are considered 'specialists' in their respective fields.

The reality and essence of the PACC was seemingly spelled out in another post:

>>> So how do we control the City Manager. He does listen to the council members he sides with, like Scharff, Kniss, and their gang.

>>> Can we do an investigation of the CM's decisions, the number of staff he has surrounded himself with, any kickbacks on the _huge_ contracts he proposes every month via the opaque Consent Calendar, etc.

I've been struck by the number of PR people he has hired.


Palo Alto is apparently being run like a Hollywood studio.



Curmudgeon
Downtown North
on Oct 21, 2018 at 7:12 pm
Curmudgeon, Downtown North
on Oct 21, 2018 at 7:12 pm
6 people like this

"@Curmudgeon - "Build enough housing for the jobs we have here" "

That ought to read: @Evan - "Build enough housing for the jobs we have here" - it's from the post preceding mine.

Otherwise I concur 100% with @john_alderman's response.


"Absoutely not. You don't pay $7M+ to live like a rat."

Depends on the rat in question. Look, I'm merely proposing your neighborhood should be as inclusive as mine. Your outraged response is not unexpectable.


R.Davis
Registered user
Crescent Park
on Oct 22, 2018 at 8:35 am
R.Davis, Crescent Park
Registered user
on Oct 22, 2018 at 8:35 am
15 people like this

QUOTE: Absoutely not. You don't pay $7M+ to live like a rat.
QUOTE: Depends on the rat in question. Look, I'm merely proposing your neighborhood should be as inclusive as mine.

Two kinds of rats in Palo Alto? *L*

Rat #1 - 'residentialist rat' = anti-development in regards residential & commercial overbuilding. Preservationist & protectionist.

Rat #2 - 'pro-development rat' = fiscal opportunists & those seeking additional housing in Palo Alto. Visionaries of a new Palo Alto layout.

Being that there is no middle ground...Which kind of rat are you?


PA
Palo Alto High School
on Oct 22, 2018 at 10:16 am
PA, Palo Alto High School
on Oct 22, 2018 at 10:16 am
4 people like this

E. Crecent,Center and W. Crecent should be one way to keep commuters from cutting in from of commuters on University. Very frustrating.


Julia Soderbery
Menlo Park
on Oct 22, 2018 at 10:39 am
Julia Soderbery, Menlo Park
on Oct 22, 2018 at 10:39 am
23 people like this

We lived on Center Drive between University and Hamilton for 15 years and, over the last few years, the traffic and total gridlock on our block became unbearable between about 4-8:00 on many weekdays. We could not get in and out of our driveway and would have to ask drivers sitting in traffic in front of our driveway to make a space for us to pull out. When coming home, we had to park a few blocks away and walk to our house. Then we would go back out at 9:00 pm and bring our car back to our house. Our dog even got hit by car on Center Dr., it wasn't safe. We moved to a quieter street about a year ago. It's sad to see these dangerous conditions in residential neighborhoods where kids play. There are many areas (like around Stanford) where commuters aren't allowed to use residential streets to cut around traffic. The blocks between Hamilton and University are examples of the many traffic problems.


Crescent Park resident
Crescent Park
on Oct 22, 2018 at 11:02 am
Crescent Park resident, Crescent Park
on Oct 22, 2018 at 11:02 am
7 people like this

I did not receive or hear about this survey.

Yes, sometimes the roads can be busy, but really? Is this the highest priority worry for people here? This feels like a first world problem for people who do not have enough important things going on in their lives or are spending too much time in their multi-million dollar homes. Maybe the residents of Crescent Park could direct this passion and energy to a cause that will help groups that need it...


So...
Adobe-Meadow
on Oct 22, 2018 at 11:14 am
So..., Adobe-Meadow
on Oct 22, 2018 at 11:14 am
2 people like this

The association who's members have strong opposition conducted a survey of...the people in the neighborhood known for its strong opposition.

That's like PETA conducting a survey of their members about how they feel about animal cruelty.


No problem
Adobe-Meadow
on Oct 22, 2018 at 11:14 am
No problem, Adobe-Meadow
on Oct 22, 2018 at 11:14 am
5 people like this

Depths of concern? When 600+ residents didn't respond? More weekly spin while trying to stir the pot and draw more readers, i e. Click bait story.


Online Name
Registered user
Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Oct 22, 2018 at 11:18 am
Online Name, Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
Registered user
on Oct 22, 2018 at 11:18 am
12 people like this

"This feels like a first world problem for people who do not have enough important things going on in their lives or are spending too much time in their multi-million dollar homes"

Of course they're / we're spending too much times in their homes. They can't get in/ out of their driveways just like many of us can't in other areas of the city.

Sorry about your dog and the rude commuters who rarely yield to let residents in/out of their drives even though they're just going to sit there gridlocked.

Shame on the city for spending so much money on "traffic calming" and flower pots and bollards and "studies" to invalidate the 3,000 Ross Rd residents concerns while ignoring the real congestion problems. Shame on the candidates pushing for even more office development.

Can get copies of the study if we don't want to waste hours attending yet another meaningless city meeting? Please advise.


Ann Lewnes
Crescent Park
on Oct 22, 2018 at 12:01 pm
Ann Lewnes, Crescent Park
on Oct 22, 2018 at 12:01 pm
12 people like this

Mayor Kniss and her staff had better come prepared to put a meaningful proposal on the table tonight...and fast. We are fuming mad in Crescent Park and the city has done absolutely nothing to mitigate the situation.

Please show up to tonight's meeting and vote on November 6. Let's get some people in here who actually understand/care about this issue and will move to action.





Anon
Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Oct 22, 2018 at 12:12 pm
Anon, Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Oct 22, 2018 at 12:12 pm
7 people like this

Posted by Crescent Park resident, a resident of Crescent Park

>> Yes, sometimes the roads can be busy, but really? Is this the highest priority worry for people here?

Well, the good news is that I avoid University Ave at rush hour like the plague. IF I did live along University, you can bet it would be one of my highest priorities. Traffic is terrible there for long periods every day. I'm surprised that you haven't noticed it.

>> This feels like a first world problem for people who do not have enough important things going on in their lives or are spending too much time in their multi-million dollar homes.

Wait, maybe I do understand why you haven't noticed it. I guess you must work, away from home, solidly from 6 AM to 8 PM every work day. Believe it or not, some people actually need to get to/from their houses during those hours.


Remy
another community
on Oct 22, 2018 at 12:50 pm
Remy, another community
on Oct 22, 2018 at 12:50 pm
2 people like this

"Being that there is no middle ground...Which kind of rat are you?"

Ratatouille. You?


Roadblocked in Crescent Park
Crescent Park
on Oct 22, 2018 at 1:23 pm
Roadblocked in Crescent Park, Crescent Park
on Oct 22, 2018 at 1:23 pm
8 people like this

>> This feels like a first world problem for people who do not have enough important things going on in their lives or are spending too much time in their multi-million dollar homes. Maybe the residents of Crescent Park could direct this passion and energy to a cause that will help groups that need it...

Charity begins at home.

As a CP resident, I deeply resent those (i.e. out of the area drivers/burglars etc.) who disrupt our daily way of life.

University Avenue should be closed off like 17-Mile Drive in Carmel.

Drivers can use Oregon Expressway or Embarcadero instead.


Julie Marx
Community Center
on Oct 22, 2018 at 3:04 pm
Julie Marx, Community Center
on Oct 22, 2018 at 3:04 pm
1 person likes this

Gee, what a surprise! A neighborhood activist does a “poll” and finds traffic is bad and the city is to blame. We’ve seen this before. Council directs staff to do something. They’ll propose lane reductions (a road diet), bollards, road blocks and roundabouts. Council will approve. Then we’ll have more bottlenecks. A few years later, the cycle will repeat itself.


Anon
Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Oct 22, 2018 at 3:27 pm
Anon, Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Oct 22, 2018 at 3:27 pm
3 people like this

Posted by Julie Marx, a resident of Community Center

>> Gee, what a surprise! A neighborhood activist does a “poll” and finds traffic is bad and the city is to blame.

I' curious-- when was the last time you drove down University at 5 PM? Go see for yourself. You don't need to poll to see that traffic is very bad. Do you disagree?

The survey was to ask the locals how much it is impacting their daily lives. It is.

Who do -you- think is responsible for the traffic?


since you asked
Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Oct 22, 2018 at 4:10 pm
since you asked, Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Oct 22, 2018 at 4:10 pm
5 people like this

Anon,

"Who do -you- think is responsible for the traffic?"

OK the easy answer is the tripling of the population every day from folks who come to work here and it's the City's fault for not putting some caps on the office growth mess before it got so bad. The City has failed our neighborhoods (who fund the City offers, not the business) and it Liz Kniss' comments were gross.

The folks who create the burden are not responsible for the costs it causes on neighborhoods

Long answer:
why is traffic a problem?

"More than 60 percent rated air and noise pollution, feeling unsafe as a motorist or pedestrian and having difficulty exiting the driveway as major or moderate concerns."

Safety, Safety, Safety and people having to suck up fumes.

We have *a lot* of kids in the neighborhoods. You want to get rid of them to excuse all the cars? These kids bike and walk to the neighborhood schools every day( twice). The kids need to be safe.

Whose fault is it:

Depends what kind of town was planned for - a traffic junction or mostly residential neighborhoods?

The fault is with City leadership who failed to balance the need to keep neighborhoods safe and CLEAN and got caught up in the Chamber of Commerce thing.

But who cares whose fault it is now, the question is who can fix it.

Not the bicycle brigade that has kept the City lulled into (portion removed) I removed that portion myself.


Online Name
Registered user
Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Oct 22, 2018 at 4:36 pm
Online Name, Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
Registered user
on Oct 22, 2018 at 4:36 pm
9 people like this

MBC News Web Link
....
"John Guislin is so frustrated, he conducted his own survey, asking neighbors how they they felt about traffic. Nearly 200 responded.

"The top line finding? Eighty-eight percent of them feel there is a serious traffic problem, and 94 percent thought the city is not doing enough to address it," Guislin said.

Guislin planned to share the results with the Palo Alto City Council during a special town hall meeting about traffic Monday evening.

Welch blames the gridlock on the city's booming commercial development.

"I think, unfortunately, the city of Palo Alto development strategies have slowly started to convert this town into a corporate office park," he said. "We've seen a 30 percent increase of new commuters coming into Palo Alto every day, according to U.S. Census data from 2011."

But until drivers have better options than taking this detour, Center Drive likely will continue to look like a parking lot.

Mayor Kniss declined to comment, saying she wanted to hear from the community first."

Uh, didn't she ALREADY hear from us on this go round? Isn't that what this meeting's about?

Seriously, I want to know how many letters she got after claiming there's no traffic problem.


since you asked
Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Oct 22, 2018 at 5:41 pm
since you asked, Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Oct 22, 2018 at 5:41 pm
8 people like this

nobody asked this question but Liz Kniss said something along the same lines about airplane noise that she said about traffic.

At an election forum last election, when an airplane noise question came up, other candidates answered thoughtfully but Kniss turned to the audience to asked who really cared?

2/3 of a full house in City Chambers raised their hand

The reason Kniss talks about wanting to hear from the community "first" is because that buys enough time to say the same line in the next forum and so on. In practice, she is shifting the topic away from the people's agenda to do the business of business, not residents... and she won! So something is really creepy wrong with this picture.

When the folks who win are the people who are "ok" with kids sucking up fumes and being unsafe, something is wrong.


Make Them Pay
Crescent Park
on Oct 23, 2018 at 2:17 pm
Make Them Pay, Crescent Park
on Oct 23, 2018 at 2:17 pm
6 people like this

If the City of Palo Alto really wants to generate some revenue, establish toll booths along major thoroughfares like University Avenue. PA residents travel through for free...outsiders pay $2.00 (with periodic increases).

Done deal.


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