Editorial: Now with a department of its own, can city's transportation priorities finally get accomplished? | Town Square | Palo Alto Online |

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Editorial: Now with a department of its own, can city's transportation priorities finally get accomplished?

Original post made on Oct 4, 2019

City Manager Ed Shikada and the council are in the process of implementing a major shift in how transportation issues are managed at City Hall.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Friday, October 4, 2019, 6:46 AM

Comments (13)

17 people like this
Posted by Anon
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Oct 4, 2019 at 9:15 am

We're stuck with a vast oversupply of office space and a large number of people driving into town. When they get here, once they get through bottlenecks near the off-ramps, they drive through residential neighborhoods to get to work, speeding, turning right at red lights without stopping, even with kids on bikes in crosswalks in front of them, turning right at stop signs without slowing down, and then, reversing the process at quitting time. We need two things:

1) Traffic enforcement

2) More commuter rail throughput and route options to bring as many commuters in here without cars

I love bicycles, but, most people are not going to commute from Pleasanton and Danville by bike. Bike improvements are for Palo Alto residents. To make life better, we need to reduce auto traffic. Get commuters in here via alternate means.


19 people like this
Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Oct 4, 2019 at 9:31 am

This is Palo Alto of course.

Anything that should be simple is made so very difficult here. We still are waiting for the bridge to replace the tunnel under 101.

I have been waiting for electric signs at garages with information about empty spots, none have come.

We don't have real time apps telling us how long to wait for a bus or shuttle. These are common place elsewhere.

As for paying for parking for 3 hours plus, so far forget it.

I will believe they might do a good job when I see some of the simple things other places do become common place here. I won't hold my breath though. After all, we have to make every issue a big issue and we have to have design competitions and statement making everythings.


37 people like this
Posted by We are here, we are here, we are HERE!
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Oct 4, 2019 at 10:15 am

You can't take a bus from Gunn High School to get to Foothill College 15 minutes away, to take public transit would take longer than walking there (although it would be less dangerous for lack of any coherent pedestrian ways).

It just seems like all these expensive changes are window dressing to justify more senseless overdevelopment. We just had another article some weeks ago in which our emergency services chief said the density is going to be the cause of significant loss of life in the kind of foreseeable emergencies we have here. When do residents (and our lives) take any kind of priority in City Hall decisions?

This is Cuckoo and Cowbird-bird development, emphasis on "cuckoo". You know the "brood parasites" that lay their eggs in another bird's nest, get the other bird to raise the chick as its own and at some point the (big highly paid tech) baby bird takes over the nest and pushes all the original occupants out, including he original bird's own children? In the case of our local situation, it would also involved the new bird screaming at the former occupants that they failed to build enough nest/housing to anticipate the brood parasite taking over!!

There are limits to infrastructure and resources. The example of Hong Kong shows that even if you have the best transportation infrastructure in the world used by almost everyone (except the wealthiest), people still can't all live next to their jobs. People in Hong Kong have average commute times equal to those in LA. With the advent of cleaner transportation technology for cars, at some point, the significant loss of productivity, freedom, and discretion over time of mass transit weighs in favor of the newer individual transportation technology.

I'm not suggesting we don't improve the absolute dumb mess our current mass transit "system" is (when you can't even take a bus from the high school to the local community college for middle college classes), but I am saying densifying hasn't and won't lower costs or create benefits (anymore than it did in Hong Kong all the while people were promised them there, too), and these transportation promises are similarly just ways for rich developers to keep getting their way at everyone else's expense.

We need to push for converting office space into housing, and find a way to include the transportation circulation in the picture of any new development. Otherwise, we're just inviting the Cuckoo birds to lay more of their corporate overgrowth eggs in to parasitize and push out existing residents (who, contrary to the self-serving developer rhetoric, mostly also had it really hard getting into their own nests, too).


26 people like this
Posted by dtnnorth
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Oct 4, 2019 at 11:38 am

I am with We are Here, some of the ridiculous traffic calming they have done on Arastradero Rd and E. Charleston just adds to more traffic than I have seen. Pulling out of Piazza's is more dangerous. I just dont get it, just because we get a grant we should spend it making bad choices. I think this plan is left over from Mello guy


27 people like this
Posted by Online Name
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Oct 4, 2019 at 11:48 am

Online Name is a registered user.

Save us some money and get rid of the idiotic traffic "calming" obstacles that impede through traffic, that eliminate parking spaces, that back up traffic at EVERY Middlefield intersection by sticking posts and giant BOTTS dots in the road. The bulbouts like they just put at Piaxxa's is utter expensive nonsense that's damaging our cars.


26 people like this
Posted by senor blogger
a resident of Palo Verde
on Oct 4, 2019 at 1:05 pm

Now that we have a new Transportation Dept. let's get rid of the atrocious traffic furniture, split speed bumps and intrusive bulb-outs on Ross Road.
Some one is going to get killed from them.


6 people like this
Posted by Anon
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Oct 4, 2019 at 1:14 pm

I have to make an "argumentum ab auctoritate" here: speaking as a senior, I must say to other seniors who have trouble seeing or negotiating bulbouts and other traffic furniture: consider that it might be time to hang up your keys. Sorry. I know that nobody wants to give up their automobile-engendered independence, but, our problem lies not in our bulbouts, but, ...


9 people like this
Posted by Evan
a resident of Crescent Park
on Oct 4, 2019 at 2:50 pm

It's not that hard. Add paid parking throughout downtown, adjust the pricing based on time/day and use the money to fund transportation programs and fund neighborhood improvements (in and near downtown, keep the money local). Paid parking should NOT be limited to just University and Hamilton. It should be in most of the zone where permit parking is today. Let each household who lives in that zone register 1-2 cars per household that won't have to pay, if need be.

Sit back, and watch parking and congestion get MUCH better downtown.


15 people like this
Posted by Paid parking for RVs
a resident of Midtown
on Oct 4, 2019 at 8:50 pm

Paid parking for RVs is a registered user.

Can we please charge the RVs as well for parking? With an extra fee for overnight parking aka lodging? Isn't there a transient occupancy tax as well?


1 person likes this
Posted by Resident 1-Adobe Meadows
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Oct 7, 2019 at 3:44 pm

Resident 1-Adobe Meadows is a registered user.

Be careful on the RV's. What we are finding out is that some do not even work so do not qualify as a "vehicle". They are getting rented to people who do not have licenses and do not know how to move them. Someone has to move it for someone else.
Better that RV's in total either occupy space provided by the owner's work place, or some city designated space that gets monitored on a regular basis. A lot on San Antonio Road on other side of 101. I want to say east. Every other city has instituted specific rules on this topic. You don't see RV's over in East PA at the Home Depot center.

Other problem is people parking on residential streets. JCC people are told to park on certain residential streets. These people are there every day. They interfere with street cleaning and safety for young children who live in the neighborhood. It is no longer a neighborhood where they can play on the street. The topic of parking was raised when Oshman / JCC was being built and it was "no problem". However they need to grow so shoving their employees onto the street is part of their growth pattern and it is not working for the residents. The people dump their trash on the street expecting some one else to pick it up.


13 people like this
Posted by Another Giveaway
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Oct 7, 2019 at 5:04 pm

Transportation having its own department will have no effect on traffic. Traffic is just going to continue to get worse.

Palo Alto city government, elected officials and staff, have been captured by the real-estate industry. Through a combination of campaign contributions and revolving door relationships the real-estate industry has taken control of Palo Alto city government and integrated city government into the real-estate industry.

In a city controlled by real-estate interests the purpose of a transportation department is to create the pretexts the real-estate industry needs to justify the continued exploitation of the resources built residents.

The only thing that will improve traffic congestion in Palo Alto is the cessation and roll-back of office development, but nothing is going to change unless we break the stranglehold the real-estate industry has on local government.


8 people like this
Posted by Online Name
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Oct 7, 2019 at 8:20 pm

Online Name is a registered user.

"The only thing that will improve traffic congestion in Palo Alto is the cessation and roll-back of office development, but nothing is going to change unless we break the stranglehold the real-estate industry has on local government."

Even Facebook figured that out when they cancelled their plans last week to expand in Sunnyvale BECAUSE of the ever-worsening traffic here. Let our pro-development politicians take heed.


2 people like this
Posted by Resident 1-Adobe Meadows
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Oct 7, 2019 at 10:35 pm

Resident 1-Adobe Meadows is a registered user.

A potential problem looming is an extensive Google build that is in MV but close by. A lot of people will be working on the build. Time for PA to establish firm boundaries for workers parking in residential areas. We cannot afford to absorb both SU and Google extensive builds and be expected to absorb their work forces.
PA needs to establish a policy and enforce it - and make sure that the parties who are into extensive builds are managing their work forces within the construction zone areas - commercial streets. PA needs to maintain it's marketability as a city that shoppers want to visit so our businesses are benefiting from good city policy. No city can afford to look shabby and unclean. We are in part a tourist area due to proximity to sports, good food, people visiting the campus. We need to look good.


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