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Budget boosts council's efforts on pensions, traffic

Original post made on Jun 18, 2019

Signaling its renewed push to tackle local traffic problems, the City Council approved on Monday a budget that establishes an Office of Transportation and adds funding for a nonprofit charged with shifting drivers to other modes.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Monday, June 17, 2019, 11:30 PM

Comments (12)

26 people like this
Posted by Downfall
a resident of Fairmeadow
on Jun 18, 2019 at 8:00 am

" In another sign of this shift, the council recommended contributing $750,000 this year to the Palo Alto Transportation Management Association, a nonprofit charged with reducing single-occupancy vehicles in the downtown area. This is a major increase from the $480,000 that the city contributed last year. It is also $90,000 than the $660,000 that the Finance Committee recommended last month, during its budget review."

Does anyone know what documented successes the Palo Alto Transportation Management Association has had to justify this significantly increased contribution? Or is it just more of our city council being magnanimous with other people's money?


27 people like this
Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 18, 2019 at 8:29 am

Throwing money at transportation by making it more difficult to drive is not a solution. Real alternatives would be to improve transportation to get people where they need to go by providing alternatives makes much more sense. Also making the parking situation just playing musical chairs around town is poor parking management. Having parking at offramps and providing efficient dedicated shuttles might make a better solution to more restrictions.

Transportation has to be looked at in a regional viewpoint. Most traffic is either coming or going from Palo Alto to somewhere else. These vehicles are obviously being used because they don't have efficient alternatives. A 3 hour commute on transportation v 20 minutes drive is not going to work to make people choose to pay for 3 rides plus some walking. If Google buses work why can't other commuters have similar options?


7 people like this
Posted by Seriously
a resident of College Terrace
on Jun 18, 2019 at 10:04 am

Also cutting more fire department response and admin. Page 213 in the operations budget. This time it’s an ambulance and taking station 3 out of service to cover the missing ambulance.


21 people like this
Posted by Dave
a resident of Barron Park
on Jun 18, 2019 at 11:27 am

Missing the point - City Council needs to stop approving commercial development permits - hotels, businesses, etc - all that drives the traffic (no pun intended). Sure, some will sue for "preprty rights", but screw them. We have enough!! City revenues are huge - no way to justify more development to generate revenue. Every additional car or job here degrades the quality of life, period. And PA should press Santa Clara County on the 800 pound gorilla - Stanford. Millions more square feet - that's not going to impact the surrounding community? That's BS. We have enough. STOP!


5 people like this
Posted by yes we can reduce (not eliminate) dependence on driving
a resident of Escondido School
on Jun 18, 2019 at 12:47 pm

yes we can reduce (not eliminate) dependence on driving is a registered user.

Providing incentives for drivers to try something other than driving solo is NOT "making it more difficult to drive"! In fact, drivers who don't have a realistic option for a transportation choice other than driving will derive great benefit from focused TMA efforts to encourage alternatives for peak period drivers to try taking transit, or carpooling, or even biking. Lots of evidence that drivers who do have choices will respond to these incentives, despite claims to the contrary by the ideologues.

Plus shifting 5% to other options leads to not just more parking spots available for everyone else during peak periods, but noticeably reduced time circling in search of a spot, reduced back up at key intersections etc. And all of us benefit from reducing CO2 and other motor vehicle pollution.
What's key to success here is specifically targeting peak period congestion -- and funding the incentives at a level that can make a difference. The TMA has demonstrated proof of concept -- so thanks to the City Council for providing this increased budget to enable a multifaceted effort to congestion management!


6 people like this
Posted by Hilda Katerina
a resident of Duveneck School
on Jun 18, 2019 at 12:58 pm

Revamp the streets for electric trams and buses like they have in Basel Switzerland! There are very very few cars. People walk, bike, scooter and ride mopeds. The entire transportation system runs seamlessly!


9 people like this
Posted by Reduce car use for less congested streets.
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Jun 18, 2019 at 2:04 pm

Reduce car use for less congested streets. is a registered user.

I agree with reducing car traffic as best we can. I drive sometimes, but I have managed to reduce my car trips by more than half by walking and biking more, riding the Shuttle occasionally and taking the train for many out-of-town trips.

Once I made the effort, I was very surprised how easy it was...and how many car trips I was able to eliminate.

For our children and grandchildren, let's make the effort!

Oh yeah, I forgot to mention that I lost ten pounds.


7 people like this
Posted by JCP
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Jun 18, 2019 at 2:29 pm

JCP is a registered user.

It's mostly lip service. Now the Council can say they made it a priority because they spent more money. This does little to solve anything.

Council will ignore bike safety and alternative transportation to approve projects that impact their wealthy friends and contributors, like Castilleja's ridiculous proposal to have cars converge from all directions to enter an underground garage on Bryant at Embarcadero.


8 people like this
Posted by mauricio
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Jun 18, 2019 at 4:58 pm

mauricio is a registered user.

All the traffic relief efforts will fail completely as long as more commercial development is allowed and more housing is developed. Check out Hong Kong's terrible traffic congestion while having the best, most modern public transit system in the world. Too many people, too much commercial development equals traffic nightmare.


3 people like this
Posted by Abitarian
a resident of Downtown North
on Jun 18, 2019 at 6:03 pm

From the article:

"Councilwoman Liz Kniss said the TMA, which purchases Caltrain passes for low-income employees and middle managers in the downtown area..."

I'm all for supporting low-income employees but why is the city using our money to buy passes for middle managers? Seems they can pay their own way.


12 people like this
Posted by Wishful thinking
a resident of Barron Park
on Jun 18, 2019 at 9:39 pm

Why are there hikes in rates and fees when city revenue is up so much? What about looking out for the taxpayer?


8 people like this
Posted by Resident
a resident of Monroe Park
on Jun 19, 2019 at 4:50 am

They are deliberately making it difficult to drive, whether directly or indirectly. In all of their plans, not just Palo Alto but regionally, single-occupant car commuting which is what the majority of people do holds the lowest priority.
Some examples are double HOV lanes, the neverending JPA flood construction, the expansion of Facebook's malignant presence all over Menlo Park, etc... basically whenever they are coming up with new construction plans that would snarl traffic and create congestion nightmares, cars are given zero consideration because of the delusional impression that we will all just magically stop driving cars.

Imagine that -- a government that serves a minority of cyclists and radical progressives over the majority of tax-paying citizens. But that is what we have.
You go to other states and you see cars being prioritized, as they should be. Traffic flow is optimal. On many roads there aren't even sidewalks. But not in the Bay Area, no in CA where an ideological, unchallenged 1 party rules and is able to get away with murder because of zero opposition at the ballots.


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