Town Square

Why aren't we #1?

Original post made by what gives???, Stanford, on Feb 23, 2013 had a story yesterday about the 10 worst cities for traffic and Palo Alto was not among them!!! What gives????
Web Link

Considering the stories we hear on this forum about gridlock and bumper to bumper traffic in the city. I would have thought that Palo Alto would have been in the top five. Plus all the stories of cars blowing through red lights, not stopping at stop signs and nailing families in crosswalks, we should be right up there.

This is outrageous. Our city council should produce a colleagues memo urging CNN to re-do the survey.
Perhaps they can appoint a special blue ribbon panel headed by Yoriko Kishimoto to meet with CNN to address this greivous wrong, especially considering how the citizens of Palo Alto are suffering from traffic day and night, 24/7.


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Posted by outraged resident
a resident of Greendell/Walnut Grove
on Feb 23, 2013 at 11:41 am

I agree. There are cars in Palo Alto 24 hours a day!! Cars on El Camino NEVER stop for any of the stop lights. % families were nailed on California Avenue last week because cars ignored the stop signs and a few bicyclists were mowed down also.
What aren't we #1-- we are #1 for everything else

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Posted by CNN is right
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Feb 23, 2013 at 12:39 pm

What gives: you obviously haven't moved around and lived in other cities in the U.S. or Europe. By comparison to many other cities our traffic is fairly light.

Your description of traffic in Palo Alto is thoroughly exaggerated. I walked around some 3 miles of south PA this morning on streets almost empty of traffic. We should count ourselves lucky that it is not as you describe even during the rush hour. Be thankful you don't live in Brooklyn or LA; CNN's analysis is correct.

What I would like to see in PA is that we have the same parking restrictions as Menlo Park which requires that you park your vehicle off the street at night. It has the effect of far fewer cars left on the streets 24/7.

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Posted by Not as Bad as That
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Feb 24, 2013 at 1:36 pm

As bad as PA traffic is, and it IS bad, there are more than ten places worse in the area surveyed. It is still one of the worst places for traffic on the peninsula, the Bay Area, and California. However, it is NOT one of the ten worst in the nation.

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Posted by Not an issue
a resident of Community Center
on Feb 24, 2013 at 4:16 pm

THere are no traffic problems in palo alto to speak of. Many of the complaints that you hear are from people that think having even one car in palo alto is bad. We deify a womandenigrated drivers while claiming that EVERYONE should be biking all the time regardless of the circumstances . We allow a biking lobby to control policy regarding traffic, knowing that cars are vital to the city. We think the solution is to get rid of car lanes and then the cars will magically disappear. We want people tto use public tranortation,but have an unusable system that takes you more tha hour to get somewhere that would take you 10 minutes by car. We talk about walk able neighborhoods, but oppose the development of local shopping centers, allowing them to be converted to housing, and shoot down retail with claims about noise, traffic etc. we waste money on art projects and fancy bike bridges and do not deal with our crumbling roads.
Traffic is not aroblem in palo alto despite the tune sung by some former council members and others over and over again.

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Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Feb 24, 2013 at 4:51 pm

I think the traffic problem in Palo Alto is a different problem than in other areas due to the fact that we have surface street problems rather than highway/freeway problems. Yes, 101 can be a headache particularly the on/off ramps, but the problems that Palo Altans have are on the local, neighborhood streets.

I recently had an early commitment which involved Oregon Expressway w/b in the morning commute time. I was held up at each light for more than one light change. Traffic entering Oregon from side streets meant that only 2 or 3 vehicles in each lane were able to cross at each green light. Not what I call expressway travel.

I generally drive n/s on Middlefield or ECR in commute times and stay off Alma because once again it takes more than one green light to cross each light due to entering traffic from cross streets.

The eb/wb routes are congested due to the few routes to cross Caltrain and also the left turn only am at Churchill. Also the Arastradero/Churchill bottleneck is problematic.

My particular bug bears are the ECR/Alma/Sand Hill and the T & C mess. These two gridlocks affect each other.

An enlightened traffic engineer who lives in Palo Alto and drives regularly on our streets would know about these trouble spots. Unfortunately, our traffic engineers do surveys and automatic vehicle counts without actually standing watching the commutes or attempting to drive them.

Until such time as a traffic engineer who knows what he is talking about from the experience of trying to get from A to B like real people, we are not going to see any type of improvement. We need efficient traffic movement, not traffic calming or slowing. The only reason we have so many speeders or red light runners is because for many drivers it is the only way to get 100 yards further along in commute time.

Traffic is only going to get worse in Palo Alto with the increase in housing and the increase in office space. Public transit is not going to alter the problems unless school traffic is elminated through a comprehensive shuttle system and choice/commuter schools are eliminated. Even then, I can't see that the summer/school breaks traffic is any lighter than school day traffic.

For what it is worth, those of us who sometimes/always try to get around Palo Alto in commute times, know that it is bad.

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Posted by Not an issue
a resident of Community Center
on Feb 24, 2013 at 5:00 pm

Resident-- you are correct we need efficient traffic movement instead of slowing and calming. But we will not have that when we have a person like Jamie Rodriguez on the staff. His goal is to hinder auto traffic as much possible, at the behest of the bike coalition ( which has way too much input on traffic matters). Any complaints or disagreement are ignored ( witness the charleston/arastedero road narrowing project) .
The town and country mess is ridulous and I am shocked that it has not been addressed in any manner.

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Posted by listenup
a resident of College Terrace
on Feb 25, 2013 at 9:18 am

Chillax everyone. The OP was obviously being sarcastic. We have no traffic problem here in PA.

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Posted by Palo Alto Native
a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Feb 25, 2013 at 9:54 am

Yes, the OP was being sarcastic, obviously, but kind of wasted all our time in doing so. Thus, I waste more time by entering my opinion. I grew up here in the 70s and there was a lot less traffic. What I worry about most is cut-through drivers mowing down students who are bicycling to school. There are only a couple of times during the day where traffic is backed-up, and that's during school time and rush hour. And it's not so, so bad, just an extra 5 minutes is needed.