Traffic and Commuters

With so much traffic spreading into many neighborhoods, and with a lack of regional transportation plans, what do you propose Palo Alto should do to address employee traffic into town? How to you propose to ease the congestion on our arterial streets — especially during the rush hours — so fewer commuters will try to take unsafe short cuts through our residential neighborhood streets?

How do you "put the genie back into the bottle"? First, the alternatives to single-occupancy vehicles is limited. Caltrain reports that it is near/at capacity during peak hours. VTA has a pattern of reducing bus service to us and other peripheral areas of the County. Large companies already have Transportation Demand Management (TDM) programs. The City is subsidizing the creation of a TDM association (TMA) for smaller business

However, skepticism of TDM claims is important. Part of our traffic and parking problems are the result of the City approving projects based on assumptions that many of the employees would use transit. But these claims were simply "aspirational" - there was no enforcement mechanism and thus the landlord and occupant put little if any effort into promoting transit.

As to cut-through traffic on residential streets, the first priority is to keep from making the situation worse. For example, the idea of putting bicycle lanes on Alma will push traffic onto the nearby residential streets, including the Bryant Street Bike Boulevard. What is the sense of making Alma safer for the few bike commuters who would prefer to use it at the cost of decreased safety of cyclists and pedestrians on all those other streets?

The City needs to include in its assessments of traffic changes that there are apps such as Waze that not only make it easier for commuters to cut through residential neighborhoods to avoid congestion, and by doing so, the City is actually encouraging traffic cut through neighborhoods.

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