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Fueled by early success, Palo Alto TMA eyes expansion

Original post made on Jan 18, 2019

The Palo Alto Transportation Management Association is now preparing to bring its traffic-fighting efforts to California Avenue, where it kicked off its outreach efforts on Wednesday.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Friday, January 18, 2019, 6:56 AM

Comments (18)

Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jan 18, 2019 at 8:41 am

Cal Ave needs some 30 minute (or less) parking spots. Too many people have to circle to find somewhere to park just so that they can pick up or drop off something quickly.

Posted by musical
a resident of Palo Verde
on Jan 18, 2019 at 2:05 pm

30 minute (or less) parking spots are great for drivers needing to use their cell phone.

Posted by Ahem
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jan 18, 2019 at 6:35 pm


Palo Alto Transportation Management Association (TMA) has raised:

$100,000 from facebook, Paliantir etc.
$240,000 from private contributions.
$480,000 from City of Palo Alto.

and so far has "steered more than 230 downtown Palo Alto workers away from cars and toward other forms of transit".

If my math is correct that is over $3,500 per person over all and an over $2,000 per person contribution from the City of Palo Alto alone.

How much more of our money is the City willing to spend to keep the mad orgy of development going? How more of our money is the City willing to spend so developers can continue to launder ill gotten gains through Palo Alto real-estate?

Posted by People not parking
a resident of Midtown
on Jan 19, 2019 at 9:50 am

Thank you PATMA! We all benefit when people find other ways to get to work.

It is great to know your programs are making some headway. I'd love to see them extend to workers in Midtown and other places around town.

$2k per person to switch from driving sure makes a whole lot more sense than $60k per parking spot for building a new garage in downtown Palo Alto!

Posted by Abitarian
a resident of Downtown North
on Jan 19, 2019 at 10:58 am

The data presented tells us that a lower percentage is driving and a higher percentage is using alternative transportation.

Sounds good, but percentages present a very incomplete picture of the situation.

If the population of workers is increasing, better percentages could still mean the raw number of solo drivers is growing.

Additionally, because the maps and capacity of alternative transportation are not growing in any meaningful way, we may soon reach a hard limit on separating drivers from their cars.

More data and better analysis is needed to truly understand TMA effectiveness.

Posted by Mora
a resident of Midtown
on Jan 19, 2019 at 11:03 am

Congratulations to the Palo Alto TMA program for coming up with a thoughtful, flexible, inclusive program for the workers at the lower end of the payscale that commute into Palo Alto to keep our businesses going. As a member of the California Ave Area Business Association, I'm thankful to the funders who have offered to pilot the extension to the CalAve area. It would be wonderful to build on the success of the downtown.

In light of articles like this one (Web Link it is clear that the workers who use public transport are getting squeezed out of options to come commute to work. Raising awareness and increasing the use of public transport is a win win for all!

Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jan 19, 2019 at 11:09 am

It seems to me that the TMA is concentrating on people coming into Palo Alto without giving any consideration to those who already live here.

Is anything being done to help those who live here get to their jobs elsewhere?

Is anything being done to help improve students getting to school by bus or shuttle. The fact that so many go by bike is great, but there is still a great deal of traffic around schools. Can TMA work with the school district to improve traffic flow around schools at school commute times by improving bus and shuttles?

Is anything being done to coordinate shuttles with Mountain View and cross borders into Mountain View and Menlo Park? We are not an island and many of us cross into neighboring cities and county just to live our lives.

I agree that until we get better and more efficient public transport then we are not going to are not going to get more commuters on already full modes of transport. Increasing capacity and improving service are the next things that have to be done to make a difference.

Posted by NeilsonBuchanan
a resident of Downtown North
on Jan 19, 2019 at 11:23 am

NeilsonBuchanan is a registered user.

It is good to see another yearly report about Palo Alto TMA. I am a supporter and have attended almost all of the Board Meetings.

I am optimistic about the future of the TMA…cautiously optimistic for a high risk, high return venture tackling real problems. Here are the hurdles ahead.

1. Scale, more than California Av….Menlo Park and/or EPA?
2. Strong “venture” governance. A small city TMA is a heavier lift than other city endeavors such as the zoo and children theater
3. Internal management flexing its costs and responding to scaling opportunities
4. Oversight from our new city manager, some but not too much
5. City audit within the next year addressing the difficult to measure outcome metrics.

For example, how many non-resident permitted vehicles have been eliminated in residential neighborhoods adjacent to Calif and Univ Ave commercial cores?

Posted by Ahem Ahem
a resident of The Greenhouse
on Jan 19, 2019 at 11:26 am

@Ahem thank you for posting to contributions, but I believe the City of Palo Alto contributions totals around $680,000.

Posted by Downtown Grandma
a resident of Professorville
on Jan 19, 2019 at 4:45 pm

Hooray for the TMA!

For all the naysayers on this thread - you're the ones complaining about traffic and here's a viable solution for getting workers out of their cars so YOU won't be stuck in traffic. Stop complaining and start offering solutions. Stopping businesses from coming to PA is not a solution. Who's going to stock the shelves at the stores, bus the tables at your favorite restaurants and wash the dishes, clean up the offices, restaurants and stores, prepare your food and clean the bathrooms at the hotels, wipe your bottoms when you need hospice care (Pathways has stopped in-home care b/c it's too expensive to live her and they can't find staff)?

I think the PATMA is a great effort at seeing if it's viable (and so far it seems that it is). We all need to stop thinking that a car-centric way of life is the only one. I heard someone at the City Council meeting complaining that it took her OVER 20 MINUTES to go a mile to her dentist office 1 mile away!!! Did she ever think that of walking that 1 mile? or taking her bike? The entitlement of folks in Palo Alto is a but much. At least the PATMA is trying!

Posted by Don McDougall
a resident of Professorville
on Jan 19, 2019 at 7:22 pm

The progress of the TMA should be applauded and supported. An earlier comment mentioned this is a heavy lift and I agree. Removing cars from our streets has proven difficult and this is a nonprofit taking in the challenge. I wish the TMA success on California avenue and look forward to further expansion of their efforts.

Posted by Nadia Naik
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Jan 20, 2019 at 4:24 pm

Nadia Naik is a registered user.

The TMA is off to a good start.

If the TMA is doing all this outreach and gathering info about employers as they deliver their programs, then that data can be used to help make the City's Business Registry more accurate - which is needed to understand how many employers/employees are in the area.

We should continue to support the TMA as a part of the solution.

Posted by Corporate speak
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Jan 20, 2019 at 10:34 pm

Maybe I'm off base, but I couldn't follow the speaker. It sounded like corporate-speak with little content, naming _lots_ of companies and programs - for the future.
I couldn't hear anything they have actually done, but he was "excited" dozens of times about what they were going to do in the future.
But one thing was clear, he wants more money.

That we don't have a business registry is ludicrous and incompetent, as though it is difficult to create one.

Posted by Ahem
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jan 21, 2019 at 1:16 pm

The problem with the TMA is it is just a distraction in the real-estate industry's ongoing campaign to keep the mad orgy of development going at any cost.

People like to hold themselves up as shining lights of virtue while bailing out Palo Alto's transportation problems with a teacup, but while everyone is bedazzled by the glory of the light, developers are filling it all back up with a fire-hose.

Posted by Rose
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Jan 21, 2019 at 2:27 pm

Rose is a registered user.

It's good news that they are working on reducing traffic through incentives to use public transportation. Two things that would help enormously: (1) Put a decent waiting room at the Millbrae station. When transferring between BART and Caltrain there can be a wait of almost one hour if it's early morning or in the evening. No one wants to go to the ballet in San Francisco and then wait in the blowing cold air in the Millbrae station for 45-50 minutes. I drive to Millbrae and then take BART. I should be able to use public transit all the way and back from Palo Alto. (2) We need more trains in the early hours and in the evenings. On weekdays, while tying to be good and not drive, there is a train at 7:30, 8:30, 9:30, 10:430 and then 12:05 leaving San Francisco. One train per hour -- that's ridiculous. The wait between trains at night on weekends is one hour and fifteen minutes. Sorry -- no one who owns a car is going to be willing to do that.

Posted by [email protected]
a resident of another community
on Jan 22, 2019 at 2:51 pm

George, we don't have "generations" to solve the climate crisis. A more useful comment suggest other ways than driving alone in an automobile to experience and enjoy quiet time.

Posted by Mark Weiss
a resident of Downtown North
on Jan 23, 2019 at 12:17 am

Mark Weiss is a registered user.

I’d rather tax the big business here, and the real estate developers and hire smart and sincere staff to manage the problem rather than the so-called non profit which to me means privatization of a self governance problem and an unnecessary complication and bureaucracy.

Two hundred thirty five reported car poolers seems like a small sample set.

Posted by Mark Weiss
a resident of Downtown North
on Jan 23, 2019 at 12:36 am

Mark Weiss is a registered user.

Blink 182 is a rock band from San Diego who has sold 20 million records. On their first Bay Area tour, I hired them to play the former Cubberley cafeteria on Earth Day, April 1997, for 150 fans, 20 of whom rode their bikes and per advertised got in 2-for-1 or half price.
How about we hire them back, to play Mitchell Park outdoors, and make it free to Palo Altans who walk to the event and $100 (plus another $100 based on the value of their car, ie progressively and sliding scale) for those who drive to the event.

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