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Biking is not the only answer to traffic calming, how about public transit improvements?

Original post made by Resident, Another Palo Alto neighborhood, on Aug 10, 2011

Any time the subject of traffic comes up it is always assumed that using a bike is the only alternative to driving. We should instead be talking about improving public transportation.

Many people are unable or unwilling to ride bikes as alternatives to driving. Many people need to carry too much stuff, take elderly or very young people along, have no shower facilities at their destination or not physically strong enough to use a bike for the type of trip they need to make.

Getting improvements in PA shuttle, VTA, etc. are a big part of the solution which is never discussed. Getting kids to school, seniors to medical or other appointments, teens to after school activities, social activities, local jobs, can all be done if there were better public transportation.

It is about time all the traffic commentators in Palo Alto started pressing for better public transportation rather than pressing people to start riding bikes.

Comments (8)

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Posted by svatoid
a resident of Charleston Gardens
on Aug 10, 2011 at 12:34 pm

Resident--well said and well written. Now if only our biking proponents (Kishimoto,Fletcher etc) would read it and take action. The city wants to be better than Portland. Potland has a good public transportation system

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Posted by train rider
a resident of Midtown
on Aug 10, 2011 at 12:42 pm

I use Caltrain all the time. That is the best public transit in Palo Alto. I hope they electrify it soon to make it more efficient.

The city shuttle bus never goes where I want to go, but I would not mind if the city put more effort into improving that system.

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Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Aug 11, 2011 at 9:08 am

The reason why public transportation could work in this area very well is because so many of the residents have lived and worked in areas where good transportation exists and have used it.

Teens do not need to be driven everywhere by their parents, they need to get used to being independent or they will suffer later.

We have a large aging population. Many seniors will not give up their cars because they don't see how they will get around. Some of them probably shouldn't be driving, but doctors and family members are not preventing them from driving due to lack of alternative transportation modes.

Companies like Facebook have shuttles for Caltrain, but smaller companies are not able to do this. We need to have reliable transportation for first and last mile Caltrain users. In fact, we would probably find more people using Caltrain if we could solve the firstmile/lastmile problem.

We have no school buses for historic reasons. We are complaining about school commute routes being too dangerous for kids to ride their bikes. We are complaining about backpacks being too heavy. We know that we have homework projects which will not fit in backpacks. Riding a bike carrying a heavy backpack and having another dangling from the handlebars is dangerous and wrong. We know we have students who need to take musical instruments or sports gear to school on a regular basis. All these issues could be dealt with much better if we had shuttles that were able to get all our school kids to school at a reasonable cost rather than free.

Our city council should be looking at improving shuttle service and putting pressure on VTA or another body to get Palo Alto the bus service we need to improve traffic flow, rather than always assuming that everyone can ride their bikes and that will be the magic solution.

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Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Aug 13, 2011 at 4:48 pm

According to local tv news, ridership on VTA and Caltrain is up.

It must be time for our city council to take VTA to task. We are definitely underserved compared to other parts of the county.

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Posted by train rider
a resident of Midtown
on Aug 13, 2011 at 5:04 pm

Mercury-News says public transit use on the peninsula has been soaring: Web Link

I regularly see full trains and buses during commute hours. Obviously, with all the budget cutting, transit agencies need to put their money where it will have the most impact. That is generally in the highest density areas and the highest volume times/routes.

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Posted by PA Neighbor
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Aug 18, 2011 at 9:55 am

If public transportation is the supposed answer, how come VTA bus line 88 is almost empty when it passes the end of my street. This bus costs far more to operate than it takes in from bus riders.

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Posted by fool
a resident of Midtown
on Aug 18, 2011 at 9:57 am

look at 88,it has four emty zeros on top of each other.

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Posted by rider
a resident of Midtown
on Aug 18, 2011 at 3:53 pm

Not all buses or trains are full for their entire route. At some stops, a lot of people will get on. At other stops, a lot of people will get off. If you want to do passenger counts, you need to stay on for the whole route and see what happens.

Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

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