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What ideas do you have about the draft Transportation Element?

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this is just a test. will this idea show up on the extended version? it does not link. Highlight new ideas Regional planning for transportation is a must, a large percentage of the traffic coming to Palo Alto comes from other counties. Point to point bus system is required, this means a bus picks up riders for example from Pleasanton, goes directly to Palo Alto without stopping on the way in other cities. So there will be one bus for each city in East Bay. This way the trip time is reduced to a minimum. The plan can be adjusted as the number of riders changes, but must be in place for at least a year regardless of the number of riders, so people can get used to the idea of using a bus. We will need to start collecting parking fees to fund our shuttle system. I believe $1/hr is a reasonable parking fee. There will need to be an investment in parking meters and parking control officers, but that should be covered by the parking fee. In the actual question there is a spelling mistake. Seniors "get around safeLy not safety"? More frequent bus for cross town (North-South) Palo Alto during peak hours, but not more stops, so that the wait + trip should take less than 30 minutes. Bus arrival should be available real time on an App so we can check if the bus is coming soon or not, as we decide whether to drive our own car and sit in traffic, or wait for the bus. If I live to seniority (10 years hence) I'll get around safety by riding my bike at night without running lights! It's so thrilling. Next, I'll sit/lie on the curb in front of City Hall until they give me a proofreading job. No more parking garages. They are a magnet for the homeless and a blight to the landscape. Smaller buildings and fewer people and less traffic overall. Make these areas for the neighborhood. Stop population growth. Build smaller buildings that house residents and their needed businesses. Wide bikelanes and sidewalks. With less population traffic will be better. Encourage biking and three wheel bikes for those with less balance. Help seniors who can't drive well any more learn to ride a tri-bike. coordinate existing transit. example:Margarite buses meet cal train arrivals and departures(mostly) VTA does not need to improve.too far to walk from bus stop to train platforms. two atgrade crossings at the PA CAl train station. One atgrade at Palo Alto the long ramps make it difficult for pedestrians and near impossible for old and handicaped riders. Basic fact the more parking the more cars will come. More cross town buses needed. Out lying parking with frequent shuttles in. loop shuttle buses downtown. incentives for employees to use transit. Parking meters. Sharrows especially on Homer and Channing st. Lytton Ave. and Channing (east of Middlefield) are well marked for cyclist. Otherwise down PA is not bike friendly. I am concerned about two traffic trouble spots that I pass through on Alma St. in the downtown area: 1) At Alma, near University Ave., pedestrians cross freely from both sets of stairs (north & south of the hump) at Caltrain Station. There is no cross walk there. This needs some study and solutions. 2) A left turn light is needed for southbound Alma traffic at Hamilton. It would make left-turns safer and improve traffic flow. Better public and local public transportation to remove so many cars driving around Palo Alto on errands, etc Yes. It forces people to slow down. I wish we had it on our street. People constantly speed down our street, even while kids are playing nearby. They don't stop at stop signs and don't look to see if other cars are coming across the intersection. Add more electric vehicle charging stations in parking lots and on the streets. Regional cooperation is critical. We need to make a concerted effort to bring BART to Palo Alto. Provide Transportation as a Service so that people could sign up for services by monthly subscription This could consist of vans, busses, taxis, Zipcars, etc. Replace city parking lots with garages when possible to provide more parking in a given footprint. Yes, transportation is regional issue. yes speed bumps ( not the sharp ones that toss bicyclist) one lane with turn lane and bike lanes, instead of two lanes roundabouts all are helpful 4 way cross walks at more intersections, from lytton to Channing and Middlefield to Alma for a start. Signs with pedestrians and children it is not just a problem for aging people. better transit options and so fewer cars will help, Add frequent and reliable transportation to SFO. We once had the KX bus (before that the 7F) that made it easy to get on in Palo Alto and get down at any SFO terminal. Samtrans dropped it -- why? Why aren't we working with our neighboring cities and counties to increase public transportation. Build it and they will come. Regional cooperation is essential. People don't use public transportation because routes don't connect efficiently within cities and between cities; all neighborhoods aren't served; service isn't frequent enough; service doesn't start early enough and run late enough. When public transporation is fast, efficient and reliable, believe me -- people will use it. I for one will be glad to get rid of my car. I am a senior and it pains me that it is necessary to drive. I'd love to have fast, reliable and efficient services that connect all the neighborhoods in Palo Alto AND connect Palo Alto efficiently with the other cities along our corridor, including East Palo Alto (so EPA workers can get to their jobs safely and efficiently). We need to serve everyone, including seniors and workers who can't afford the train or who don't have cars. It should be very easy to pay and affordable so everyone is encouraged to use mass transit. 1. Add more bike corrals so that it is easier to park a bike. Several bikes can park is the space just ONE car takes up. And keep adding safety features to bike routes. We must make the bike routes south to Mountain View safer and faster. The route next to Caltrain behind PALY is fantastic -- it's safe and fast for bikes and pedestrians. We need to create the same south to Mountain View (work with our neighboring cities to make these connections efficient and safe). We should use eminent domain to run the bicycle/pedestrian pathway south from Churchill all the way to Mountain View. There is the space to do it. We need to be bold, push, and pay the price. 2. Create public transit that serves all neighborhoods frequently and efficiently so people can use it. As long as it is inconvenient people will choose their car. Once it is frequent, fast and reliable people will be glad to use it. The population is only going to grow no matter what we do so we MUST add alternatives to driving. Please put Oleanders down the median from Quarry to Sand Hill Road. It looks horrible now. They have flowers, love the heat and dryness. Beautiful for wildlife. Thank you Covered parking by solar panels will save city money. Multi level parking on California St should be made higher if possible. We have never actually instituted density minimums but really need to. We should no long be building single homes or gigantic condos within half a mile of train station. We should make this actually happen. Part of the problem with mixed use development is that the FAR for the housing portion is really small. We should be encouraging ground floor retail + 3 floors of housing or retail + commercial + 2 floors of housing. But the current restrictions don't allow you to build that much housing, which exacerbates the jobs housing imbalance. We should invest heavily in TDM and in public transit. We should also charge for parking. Charge more on the streets than in the garages and charge more during peak usage times. Use fees from parking to further invest in TDM and public transit. test Appropriate housing, affordable for Seniors especially, with van pools for transportation and also City bike shares, with protected bike lanes (e.g. raised curbs) 1) Charge much more for parking. It costs $20,000 (at least) for 200 square feet of office space for a year for a person in downtown PA. It costs under $500 for a car. Street or garage parking should cost money for everyone, and everyone should be able to easily pay for parking (whether on a daily basis or longer term) -- requiring proof of residency or employment complicates things unnecessarily. 2) Add more bike infrastructure. Many key places (University Ave/Palm Drive, area around Town and Country, Middlefield near Oregon Expressway) where there is no way to get around on a bike. The percentage of Palo Altans who drive to work alone is absurdly high, in large part because of this poor infrastructure. 3) Local public transit infrastructure. In concert with increased parking fees, the city should markedly improve shuttle service, focusing on speed and frequency, to downtown and Cal Ave. If City Council works with businesses, rather than chastising them, they can probably get them to pay for much of it. I agree with the commenters who would like to see paid parking, so as no longer to incentivize single occupancy trips etc. It would be good to use the surge pricing idea, that is, charge a lot for a place close to the desired destination, but much cheaper for some blocks away. Put people first, not cars in all decisions. Extensive shuttle system (frequent and ubiquitous), protected bike lanes (and intersections a la Salt Lake City), more EV stations, BRT on ECR (with bike lanes). Charge for parking, make employers give transit passes to employees or encourage them to carpool to reduce SOV trips. Biking should be at 50% rideshare with the great weather we have and flat terrain -- there's not excuse to drive a couple of miles to do errands for all able-bodied residents. Provide classes/workshops/mentors for getting everyone feeling safe on a bike. Of course all decisions need to be made in a regional context. People don't use transit within one jurisdiction so coordination is a must! Make sure that transit works seamlessly to reduce stress and increase convenience. VTA Buses should such up with SamTrans and Caltrain and you need frequency so people don't need to wait for more than a few minutes for transit connections. Bike paths should be coordinated with our neighboring cites to ensure that they are integrated. MTA is dysfunctional, so perhaps a more regional transit authority should be established. It's a disgrace that there are 27 different transit agencies in the Bay Area and they are not coordinated. Take a look at the SPUR report on getting the various jurisdictions to work together. I love our traffic circle. I'm a biker and it really helps slow down the traffic in my neighborhood. Also really appreciate the bike boulevard on Bryant and the street closures there, it really helps bikes feel safer as the barriers keep a lot of traffic off that street. I would like to see more traffic diversion from bike corridors throughout the city. Make people pay for parking and use that revenue to boost transit options (shuttles, bike/ped boulevards that are PROTECTED). Make the price steep enough to use as a "stick" and provide convenient alternative transit as a "carrot". Employers should give transit passes to all employees and encourage carpooling. Most people who drive downtown or to CA Ave do so out of habit, not necessity. Start a marketing/gamification campaign to make biking/walking the default mode of transportation. Also get some better housing options in these areas so people won't need to own cars. Make Zipcar more available and visible (don't put them underground in parking lots, put them out on the streets so people are reminded that there is an option if they have to drive in an emergency). More protected bike lanes that are wide enough for tricycles. Shuttles and "vanpool" shuttles to take those who can't (or shouldn't) drive to do errands. Encourage Lyft and Uber to provide lower-cost service to seniors. Build housing for seniors in downtown and Cal Ave so they can walk to services. We need a better public shuttle system, or some sort of city-owned version of Uber. I'm usually pro-bike, but I would worry about elderly seniors falling off and breaking a hip. Regional coordination is an absolute must. Buses and shuttles need to coordinate way better with Caltrain and BART. It should be painless to hop off a Caltrain ride, get on a bus, and then get to work. Mobility as a Service. Support the City of Palo Alto / Joint Venture Silicon Valley Mobility as a Service Project. Mobility as a Service (MaaS) envisions a seamless, door-to-door combination of transportation modes—public and private transit, bikeshare, rideshare, carshare, vanpool, taxi, employer commute benefits, electric scooter/bike lease, pay-by-phone parking, future robo-taxis—to reduce private auto usage. A “Mobility Aggregator” gathers all services into a unified smartphone app with easy fare payment, one-stop billing and integrated employer subsidies. MaaS dissolves the boundaries between different transport modes, providing a more customer-centered experience while improving the efficiency of the entire transport system. Bay Area employers provide a range of customized employee programs to facilitate commuting: transit passes, Wi-Fi motor coach service, last mile shuttle buses from transit, payroll subsidies and more. Our MaaS Project aspires to accelerate software integration between mobility apps and employer programs. Stanford University has an exemplary commute program. Stanford’s $3.60/day parking charge that funds such incentives as the Marguerite shuttle bus and Caltrain GoPass has reduced single occupancy vehicle (SOV) commuters to 48 percent and has eliminated the need for $107 million in new parking structures. Working with employers, PA & Joint Venture will undertake various revenue-neutral pricing experiments to accelerate MaaS adoption. Align with State 2040 transport policy to project the climate. CTP2040 Alt 3 (California Transportation Plan 2040, Alternative 3): * 2040 transport GHG = 20% of 1990 emissions. * Accelerate transport electrification. * Reduce driving by 17.3% (reduce VMT by 17.3%) * Convert HOV2 to HOV4 – convert two-person carpool lanes to four-person * Double transit & biking. * “Road capacity enhancing strategies were rejected due to concerns these would ultimately increase VMT.” I agree with everyone - transportation is obviously regional. Cap the number of commute vehicle trips Palo Alto is now surrounded by Trip Caps in Stanford, Menlo Park, Mountain View, Sunnyvale, and Cupertino. Palo Alto should consider implementing a Trip Cap to reduce commuting. A “trip cap” restricts the number of commute trips into an employment site or into an employment area. For example, “Between 7AM and 9AM, Facebook East Campus may have no more than 2,600 vehicle trips. Hourly trip measurement must be provided to the City of Menlo Park, using sensors at driveway entrances. For each trip above the cap, Facebook shall pay a penalty of $50 per day per trip. After noncompliance over 6 months, the fee increases to $100 per day per trip.” Typical Silicon Valley SOV (single occupancy vehicle) commute mode share is 76%. The pioneering trip cap was the 1989 Stanford General Use Permit #1. The “GUP” allowed Stanford to grow by 2M square feet, with “no net new commute trips.” As a result, Stanford charges $3.60 per day to drive alone and park, applying that parking revenue to green commute alternatives and incentives. Results: 48% SOV with $107M in parking structures avoided. REFERENCE: Stanford 2000 GUP trip cap:, pgs 12-14,19 Mountain View’s North Bayshore Trip Cap requires between 30% to 45% SOV, depending on the density of employment within buildings. One employer faces penalties of $100K for each 1% over the cap. REFERENCE: MTV 2105 N. Bayshore trip cap: Sunnyvale ‘s Central & Wolfe Trip Cap is to MTV’s Cap, requiring about 50% SOV (35% reduction from ~76%). REFERENCE: Sunnyvale: Central & Wolfe TDM Plan: Menlo Park’s East of 101 (Facebook, etc) Trip Cap requires about ~56% SOV (25% reduction), with a $50 penalty/trip/day. REFERENCE: Menlo Park 2013 FB west campus trip cap: pgs 40-46: For Cupertino’s Apple Campus II, the trip cap reduces from 72% SOV down to 66%. In Irvine, there is an active market “trading trips” between parcels within the greater Irvine Spectrum Center trip cap area. Experiment with new ways to solve age old problems e.g. - Try out on demand shuttle services instead of extending current shuttle service. i.e. use smart routing algorithms to pick up and drop off patrons exactly where its needed (or within say 50 meters) - Provide real-time updates for schedule changes and current shuttle location Increase efficiency and viability of public transport by encouraging more housing near transit centers Yes, it is a regional issue but it is also very local. If Palo Alto allowed more housing to be developed (and this is to be decided by the city council) then we would have less pressure on these regional transit systems. Yes. Anything that the city can do to discourage people from using cars in Palo Alto will decrease traffic and parking problems and thereby encourage economic growth and increase our quality of life. Nobody should park for free. Bicycles should be given priority over cars, and the streets (including paved areas currently designed for cars) should be re-designed with bikes in mind FIRST. Bike paths need to be created that are commodious and physically buffered from auto traffic - and these can be created on the streets currently dedicated to car traffic (our streets are plenty wide enough to allow for protected bike-lanes - we don't need to go asking for private right-of-way access). I drive a car and ride a bike - but like many others, I would ride more if the streets were designed for cycling. As streets are upgraded/repaved, new bike lanes should be implemented throughout the city, providing access to all main shopping districts. The standard of success should be "would I feel safe biking to the various locations I need to get to with my 8-year-old?" If the answer isn't yes, we have more work to do. The single biggest thing you can do to encourage walking & cycling and enhance the feeling of safety is to separate bikes/peds from cars. Spend your money on designated buffered bike lanes and widening existing pedestrian areas first. Once that's done, then sure - improved amenities would be great. Yes yes yes. And prioritize bikes and peds above cars. Always. Dedicating a lane of traffic on El Camino to public transit and adding protected bike lanes on El Camino and within the shopping center would make a huge difference in decreasing traffic to these destinations. Also encouraging integration of SamTrans and VTA, with dedicated-lane transit service crossing over the county line, to further encourage folks commuting in from out of the city to use alternatives to cars. There should be a BRT stop in front of the shopping center, and another one at Town & Country Village. For parking at Stanford Shopping Center - they need more EV charging and bike parking. And they need more designated cycle paths within the parking area. It is scary to get there on a bike right now - it feels like bikes are an afterthought and not particularly welcome. But bikes are cleaner and safer and take up a lot less room than cars - so if more people came on cycles, they would have more room to build more stores (or housing! a la Santa Row), plus it would be cleaner & safer & more fun and more people would come to shop there. PAMF needs better bike parking & access as well. Yes - but traffic calming needs to be implemented in tandem with a radical increase in transit options AND protected bike lanes and bike-share stations. Calming is a stick - it makes driving more difficult and will frustrate people in cars - so we also need a carrot to make alternatives to driving safe, easy and attractive. Midtown is in dire need of improvement when it comes to bike & ped safety. There is currently no safe way to cross Oregon Expwy from north Palo Alto and go to the shopping district on Middlefield. Bikes are forced either into fast-moving car traffic or else onto sidewalks, and once inside the shopping district have no parking, and no safe way of moving around. I do most of my errands by bike, and I would frequent the shops & cafes here a lot more often if I didn't feel like I was taking my life in my hands. This needs some attention ASAP. Don't add any NEW parking spaces - instead invest that money into 1) converting existing parking spaces to dedicated EV charging spaces, 2) improving transit and 3) adding dedicated bike infrastructure. Specifically: * consider charging for all parking, but providing EV charging for free for the first two hours * families need a way to cross University safely on foot or by bike - add dedicated protected bike lanes at three crossing streets (e.g. Emerson, Bryant, Cowper) * make University Avenue car-free one day per week with a vision of making it permanently car-free. (Add shuttle service and bike lanes, with three designated car crossings only, eg Waverly, High and Webster.) In addition - encouraging mixed-use affordable housing (without parking spaces) in the downtown area would decrease the number of people commuting into downtown and increase the number of people patronizing businesses in the evening. Palo Alto needs to show leadership by approving alternative 4C for VTA's Bus Rapid Transit proposal, which provides a dedicated lane for transit (and potentially emergency vehicles) and a buffered bike lane for safer cycling on the ECR corridor. This would be a huge step in implementing the 'grand boulevard' vision for El Camino, making it a safer place for pedestrians and cyclists, bringing less traffic and emissions into our city from commuters, creating more foot traffic for local businesses, and offering residents more choices for how we get around. Ideas for improving regional transit include: * support policies making it easier to run cross-county express buses (public versions of Google bus) * support integrated user experience between different transit brands including coordinated fares and schedules (see studies by SPUR) * support management of 101 corridor, with a goal of reducing driving mode share (see work by TransForm) * support Dumbarton transit and revival of rail project The shuttle service is great, but it's not well advertised or well signed, and the bus doesn't feel approachable from a design standpoint (it looks like a church bus or a special school bus... not something tourist friendly and fun). Suggestion: include notification about the routes and how to ride it in the utilities forms that people need to fill out when they move into town, and add some incremental signage/infrastructure to stops to better explain what it is, and perhaps paint the sidewalks a clearly distinctive color to denote where these stops are. When considering upgrading the fleet in the future, consider phasing out the short bus in favor of something more welcoming and clearly signed , e.g., the denver free 16th st mall ride, or a vintage trolley design. Could also have a larger parking lot near, e.g., the 101 exit where Ikea is followed by the shuttle route down university ave to limit cars downtown from those commuting in for work. (which we'd expect people to take to avoid paid parking) Ultimately this is a commuter city... it's not walkable for the majority of residents (Especially south side)... so the better solution encourages mass transit where possible or else improves density. There's a longer term solution to allow for more density downtown to allow for walkability...which means building up. This is a commuter city in a car culture. Let's face it--the city population doubles during the workday. So any solution internal to Palo Alto is going to be quite limited... short of tolls, parking fees, more parking, or bike lanes/shuttles from train stations there's not too much else you can do without involving other parts of the state. Example: integrated bus lines from San Francisco... an integrated bike trail to link the baylands more safely up and down the peninsula, more linkages to/from the train (what we have is good--can we sign it more?) I don't think the speed of traffic in my neighborhood is an issue, and more calming is not required. I do think the cars parked on sidewalks, however, is a significant one and a dangerous one for small children using those sidewalks. This would be best accomplished by increasing density downtown to increase walk ability. The other parts of downtown are already well served by shuttle systems. Perhaps do more to increase awareness of what's already here... and don't solve for Seniors only... to get scale for one group to benefit the most these types of solutions are best when they work for everyone--seniors are better off if it's broadly used by all ages. Do NOT charge high rates for downtown parking... all that will do is to further discourage middle class people from going downtown... most high paid workers commuting in can afford the parking fees, but you don't want to discourage tourism or make the downtown un-accessible to the residents who don't live walking distance away. Perhaps create free parking for residents, all others requiring a paid permit for parking more than X hours? Would be a way to tax out of towners who commute here for work, and potentially encourage a few more to take the train. I think the biggest issue is commuters mid-week when the town population doubles. I live on the south side and on the evenings or weekends I can always get parking in one of the great garages or on the streets... have never had to drive more than a couple of blocks to a garage to find parking. So the real issue I assume is mid-week. One way to address that might be more density of shuttle services from the train station... could encourage more folks to use the train. My office is up by the 101 and I have several co-workers who have to commute by bike from the train, which is a long ride, or drive themselves from SF. The shuttle is too slow currently. I think Palo Alto should have limits on the number of single occupant vehicles parking for new developments. It's worked in other new developments, it's cheap to implement, it actually limits the number of cars, and it's good for the environment. Acknowledge that it is very hard to reduce SOV (single occupant vehicles). The front section of the Transportation Element should acknowledge that we are addressing a very difficult problem. In the history of auto-centered suburbs such as Palo Alto (Joel Garreau calls out Palo Alto as an extreme "Edge City"), there are few examples of switching folks away from driving alone and few examples of significantly reducing traffic. We have to try very hard to innovate, but it won’t be easy. Palo Alto’s auto-centered commuting stats: It is difficult to shift travel behavior in Silicon Valley and other suburban US locations. It is difficult to launch successful mobility services in auto-centric locations. The chances for success of these systems will be greatly enhanced if demand can be increased. Long-range California state policy increases demand, so is enabling. The creativity within the mobility service ecosystem is very encouraging. The availability of big transport datasets is enabling, allowing for pre-launch analysis of whether critical mass can be achieved. The lower demand for auto ownership by Millennials is enabling. 1. Silicon Valley is extremely auto-centered. It is easy for folks to get around without a car in Helsinki, but many times more difficult in Silicon Valley: Silicon Valley is about 3 times worse than Helsinki on different dimensions. As SPUR’s analysis concluded, 75% of Bay Area jobs are located close to freeway exits - on top of various other auto-centered challenges, our sprawling human settlement pattern thwarts transit. The hourly operating cost of a public transit bus is in the range of $135. For private transit with lower labor cost, that cost drops to about $80. Public transit requires taxpayer subsidy, private transit has to break even. New buses cost $500,000. Currently the economics are very difficult for both suburban public and private bus transit. As far as GHG, standard 50-passenger buses get 6 mpg (8 mpg per hybrid). A Nissan Leaf carpool filled with four people gets about 480 miles per passenger per gallon (equivalent). That is pretty hard to beat, except via bike. Alternatives to driving alone have a hard time succeeding in Silicon Valley. Only 1 out of 1,000 trips is provided by Lyft/Uber. There is limited scale for that great new “on-demand, smartphone-dispatched, cross-city shuttle” that suburbanites repeatedly dream up for their neighbors to ride. Alas, we cannot even point to a single successful suburban US system of this sort. Given many past failures of suburban mobility services, a quantified “success narrative” should be developed before new services are launched. In 2015, we should not be repeating past failures. Our 7 million Bay Area residents take 28 million trips per day. There are now robust datasets of these trips that allow for system simulation to forecast waiting times, ridership, business model inputs, and “whether critical mass can be obtained.” It is undesirable to launch a new service without first developing a success narrative. Stanford’s Marguerite shuttle bus system is one of the most popular in the US. This system has high suburban demand because Stanford charges $3.60 per day to park. Without parking charges, demand would be much lower. 2. McKinsey GHG Abatement Curve Image: For climate protection (and traffic relief), there are many policies that are “cost-negative,” such as energy efficiency retrofits of buildings. At this point, policy-makers prefer cost-negative and low-cost ($20/ton or less) policies. In comparison to cost-effective policies, policies that cost $1,000 per GHG ton reduced represent a questionable spend of scarce financial resource. Some public transportation expansion projects are in the $1,000+ per ton range. Beware. Within transport, carpooling/ridesharing, biking, walking, telework, filling empty seats in existing public transit, private sector mobility services, and driving price increases can be exceptionally cost-effective. 3. Exceptions to auto-centricity Stanford University has reduced SOV commute mode shift dramatically. The cost of “A Lot” parking permits is roughly $3.60 per day. Stanford provides one of the richest set of commute incentives, including Caltrain commuter rail passes and one of the US’s higher ridership local shuttle bus systems. SOV commute mode split is about 49%. As Stanford grew, trip reduction avoided $107M in parking space construction costs. Where jobs for knowledge workers can be located very near Caltrain stations there is significant behavior change. Palantir does not charge for parking like Stanford, yet achieves about 38% SOV mode share. SRI (by Menlo Park Caltrain) achieves 59% SOV. Throughout the entire US, there are a handful of “effective but expensive” trip reduction programs that provide free workplace parking (and are not located next to Caltrain): Google Mountain View at 52% SOV, Genentech South SF at 58%, Facebook Menlo Park at 59%, and Microsoft Redmond at 62% SOV. These programs often have a Human Resources cost justification because employees work productively during their green commutes on WiFi-enabled buses. The cost of these programs is out-of-reach of the vast majority of US employers. When adding new housing, minimize driving and GHG: Low-driving, affordable-by-design (unsubsidized) transit-oriented Microunits Low Driving Housing: 300 square foot downtown & Cal Ave micro-apartments for seniors, singles, and tech workers. 66% less driving (or less) and 75% less GHG than current residents. Average Palo Altan drives 26 mi/day, change this to 9 mi/day in an EV. Live/shop/work in downtown. Own fewer cars & use transit more. Zipcar, transit pass, unbundled parking, EV charging. Property taxes provide school budget surplus. Small square footage housing is “affordable by design” without subsidy. Low Impact Housing Summary Image: In San Francisco, 160 microunits at “The Panoramic” have 0 cars, no parking for cars, and 180 bikes. EFFECTIVE RESIDENTIAL DRIVING REDUCTION WITH TEETH: * Unbundled residential parking with minimum cost of $2 per day * Parking maximum of <= 0.5 parking spaces per home (Transform’s GreenTrip database will help inform this.) * Zipcar (See Tranform’s info on carsharing - ) * Transit pass (Boulder’s residential EcoPass yields 40% less VMT than non EcoPass neighborhoods. San Mateo provides residential transit passes; Caltrain and VTA offer them; there are also examples with good results in San Jose documented in TransForm’s parking database) * Bike infrastructure * Carpool matching * Developer obtains credit for off-hour shared parking ( with transit or office parking (Caltrain has allowed this at San Antonio in Palo Alto and Station Park Green in San Mateo) * Follow Berkeley’s example of “no car” apartment lease agreements * Follow the example of Stanford West Apartments (from GUP #1), where preference is given to new residents who will drive less ( Such green travel preference is legal under the Fair Housing Act and eliminates 1+ SOV commutes per home – the most cost-effective residential TDM (transportation demand management) policy in existence. (Apartments/condos are priced to ensure a waiting list.) Of the Stanford West units, 95.5% work and live at Stanford. Without green travel preference, it is more green to build office TOD (transit oriented development) than residential TOD. Housing preference must not have a “disparate impact” on “protected categories.” The biggest concern is impact on Latinos and African Americans. Effective residential trip reduction for suburbs is a novel concept. New CA CEQA will focus on VMT per capita and commute mode share, not local intersection traffic (LOS). Leaning on TCRP #102, microunit per capita VMT will be 9 miles/day (like Portland’s Pearl District transit oriented development), not the US average 26 VMT per day While pioneering Low-impact Housing in PA, performance must be measured to validate per capita reductions in VMT and energy consumption. (Per Palo Altans for Sensible Zoning, “Institute measurement systems to gather valid, real-time, continuous, and ongoing data that will facilitate better decision making by City government.”) Acknowledge Stanford Research Park (SRP) dominates Palo Alto’s transport footprint. Downtown has a much smaller impact. Local politics focus on downtown, but the Transportation Element should focus more on SRP. Given that very few transit shelters have been added in Palo Alto over the past three decades, the City should provide attractive bus shelters at all stops that can accommodate them in the right-of-way rather than wait for VTA or SamTrans to provide them. The shelters should ideally: (1) protect riders from the elements - especially the sun; (2) provide seating for the elderly and disabled; (3) offer real-time transit information and post up-to-date transit schedules and maps; (4) inform riders about the area immediately surrounding the stop with neighborhood maps; (5) include security features such as lighting and a call system that connects users directly with Palo Alto Police Dispatch; (6) be included in the City's non-smoking ordinance and have posted non-smoking signs; (7) receptacles for recycling, food waste and trash. Regular cleaning maintenance can be done by the City's public works or recreation departments or any other department that has cleaning crews maintaining facilities across the city. Each stop should be individually named with those names clearly visible to an approaching bus. Shelters could be designed to serve as placemaking structures that reinforce each neighborhood's unique character. It is important to remember that current ridership may be depressed due to the poor quality of existing transit stops that offer no amenities or protection so typical ridership thresholds for adding shelters will be a poor metric in deciding where to place these shelters. Priority locations can be identified as those that serve both transit lines and local shuttle routes, average more than three riders per hour, have key services located within 1/4 mile (e.g., medical services, shopping, recreational opportunities), or have nearby housing developments with densities higher than the city average. The City's provision of these shelters should be considered both an investment in future transit riders and a recognition of the value of those riders who currently brave unfavorable conditions and long waits to take transit. Every new office development should provide enough parking for every employee. No exceptions, and the option should be removed from whatever bargaining process developers go through with the city. Install parking meters and charge for hourly parking. Use the revenue to fund an expanded shuttle service which serves the entire city. Develop transportation hubs on the edges of the city for commuting workers with shuttle service to Univ Ave, Calif. Ave, Stanford Indust. park, and other commuter destinations. Charge minimal amounts - $1/day - to support the shuttle service. Electric vehicles with solar panels over parking structures to allow the vehicles to recharge. Set up a shuttle web throughout the city so no inhabitant is more than a 10 minute walk from a shuttle stop. I definitely drive slower on streets with traffic bumps. If the city wants to slow traffic, then why not put bumps on all through streets? Clearly that is not a reasonable idea, but the current traffic calming process - bumps, circles, barriers - seems to be be put in place where residents complain loud enough. There has been no city-wide analysis that I am aware of to figure out how much traffic each street should support. And there is certainly NO current presence of our PA constabulary keeping an eye on the speeders and dangerous drivers. No transportation element should be put in place without a thorough analysis of regional opportunities and solutions. My suggestions: - underground CalTrain and convert it to the BART system to allow a streamlined commute opportunity around the SF Bay area - develop a regional BIG (Google bus) Bus program that serves not just Palo Alto but the surrounding communities as well. - put transportation hubs in place at the edges of Palo Alto - Baylands, North Palo Alto near the Caltrain station, Stanford and Stanford Industrial park, South PA near the Charleston industrial area - Connect the transportation hubs to the industrial areas of the city with a city-wide shuttle service - Improve the availability of rental bikes and improve the biking routes for access and safety. FYI, biking on Middlefield Road is insane. No one in their right mind should attempt to commute on that street. And the other current bike streets are under utilized, not well marked and not patrolled. - Finally - our transportation problems are not going to be solved until Palo Alto and surrounding cities realize that there is a finite number of vehicles that can be accommodated on city streets. Unless PA is willing to exercise eminent domain and widen streets, only so many cars/trucks/busses can travel through the city without grid-lock ensuing, which does happen now at commute hours. It may be time to seriously consider limiting development. Establish a shuttle program with shuttle hubs/stops no more than a 10 minute walk for each resident. Establish guidelines for each shopping area so that each area includes a grocery store, pharmacy, mail services, etc. Hardware store would also be nice, since I notice that Midtown Hardware is shutting down. Electronically managed on-demand services have been suggested. If these are made available, they should be strictly regulated with respect to fees, insurance, etc. Seniors are one of the most vulnerable inhabitants of our community and need to be assured that using a service like Uber, etc., is safe and not subject to variable cost depending on time of day or location, or whatever situation Uber thinks it can use to extort more money from a rider. We need more public transportation from California Ave business district to Stanford Hospital and facilities. The only shuttle bus available is Margurita line C from Olmstead & Yale every 15 minutes. We need it closer to California Ave train station. Stanford Margurita cancelled the service during the construction of California Ave streetscape. With more walking traffic in California Ave now, please reinstate it. 1. Permit parking on closeby residential district. 2. More parking garage in commercial district. 3. More frequent shuttle buses to other part of Palo Alto, especially between California Ave. and Stanford Hospital, available 4. New buildings, offices or residences, should provide their own parking spaces. 5. promote underground parking space under driveway. I support giving the TMA the resources and funding it needs to create carpool incentives for residents and workers alike. I'd also like to see the TMA work on buying Caltrain tickets in bulk for small company employees so they can also take advantage of reduced rates. I like the idea of incentivizing students to not drive. I'd like to see more zip cars throughout Palo Alto, especially at the train stations as well as large condo and apartment complexes. All new housing and office buildings should come with some zipcars. I'd like to see the shuttle service do more for students. Today the hours don't align well with student use and especially after school activities. I'd like to see us start charging for parking. On-street parking should definitely require a fee. Garages can also require fees but should be less than on-street parking so that people are incentivized to park in garages rather than ont he street. Lots of other vibrant downtowns charge for parking, no reason we can't do that and then give that money to the TMA to further reduce the number of people driving alone in Palo Alto. We should work with companies like Lyft and Uber to create "on-demand" shuttles. I.e. cars or vans could pick up multiple passengers where and when they need it, instead of running a mindless shuttle that is inflexible and often not useful. Most work commuters are coming from the South Bay. Why not run some county-wide shuttles that pick people up from Sunnyvale, San Jose, etc and take them to work in the Stanford Research Park? Some companies there can afford their own shuttle systems, but others can't. Can the TMA help them pool resources to establish a multi-company or public shuttles to the South Bay? All new development should be required to add some bike parking. Stanford shopping center is really lacking in this. Studies have shown that it's much cheaper to reduce driving demand than it is to widen roads or add parking garages - and much more environmentally friendly, too. I support the policy below which says that as a general matter, we should not be adding more road capacity and more GHG-producing vehicles to this city. I would like to see us do a trial phase wherein we dedicate one lane of El Camino to buses and HOV. This street is just going to turn into a parking lot if we don't find a way to reduce the number of cars on it. The only way to do that is to make it as fast to get to your destination by doing something other than driving alone. If we don't do this, soon enough we'll all be sitting in never-ending traffic on El Camino. I like the traffic calming measures on Arastradero. They have made biking there much safer and many parents feel much better about letting their kids bike to school, instead of driving them. Since so many trips in PA are of PA residents driving to University Ave, seems to me that one of the best way s to reduce the parking pain would be to funnel more housing into the downtown area and surrounding neighborhoods. If we're going to be adding more people over time, then they might as well be living in a place where they won't be producing extra intra-city commutes. I'd like to see us working towards grade separating the Caltrain and ideally, trenching it so we can use the land on top for parks, bike paths, and additional housing. 100 years from now, when we imagine the future, do we really still imagine a giant train ripping through the middle of our city? We need to get with the times and start looking like a modern city, where we don't have tons of people getting injured or killing themselves by a train and where all traffic doesn't grind to a halt every time a train comes by. It's silly for us not to make this investment, which would continue to benefit us for many generations to come. All new multifamily housing should come with at least one zipcar. Parking should be unbundled - i.e. you pay if you want to use it. We should also experiment with housing that doesn't have any parking at all in areas where we have parking permits. Just never give those people permits. Lots and lots of young people and seniors would love to live in housing where they're not implicitly paying for parking they don't use and lots of them don't need or want a car, particularly if they're living right near the Caltrain. Explicitly incorporate human life and welfare (i.e., reducing and preventing trauma) as specific sustainability goals. Supporting (a) greater regional opportunities for brining bikes on transit and (b) making free bikes available for point-to-point "short hops" between frequent destinations once a regional commuter has reached Palo Alto (e.g., from Palo Alto CalTrain station to City Hall). It has limited value; the best way to calm traffic will be to reduce traffic by promoting walking, cycling, and improving transit. Separate cars and trucks from human-powered and "light-powered" vehicles (such as small, battery-powered, single-person vehicles). We should experiment with plans that reconfigure two-way streets to provide grade separation or "parking separation" that would avoid mixing these different travel modalities. Turn University Ave. into a "pedestrian street" and re-route traffic on Hamilton and Lytton. Separate human-powered and light-battery-powered vehicles from cars and trucks. Offer free point-to-point shuttles and bicycles between remote parking areas and important University Avenue/Downtown and California Avenue destinations to support "shuttle or bike the last mile" alternatives to parking downtown. (In addition, this could be coupled with extended parking privileges at remote locations.) Do not encourage automobile transportation by providing free parking. Everybody must pay to park their cars so they have real consequences for their transportation choices. Measure the performance of our transportation system by looking at mobility management (all modes) rather than evaluating road usage in terms of average daily traffic (aka motor vehicles) or giving priority to measuring average delay for drivers in rush periods. We can't add on lanes to congested roadways, but if we had a robust system of buses to supplement trains or get to and from shopping, we would reduce the peak period delay for drivers AND reduce the carbon footprint of our community transportation choices! And investing in our bike network at critical pinch points can take hundreds of cars off the road while increasing safety for bicyclists. Along with traffic and parking woes, Palo Alto is suffering from incredible noise pollution. Can Palo Alto work to reduce the unnecessary noise created by some cars that honk (often loudly) whenever the driver locks or unlocks their door? This unnecessary noise adds up and creates dangerous stress -- as when a driver locks their door just as you pass on your bike (or car) and a loud horn startles and frightens you. Every driver can see -- so if their headlights flash they know their car has locked or unlocked the door. Or a horn can merely chirp softly, that's all that's needed. Can the City work with car manufacturers, dealers and car repair companies to reset the horn levels much lower, or turn them off, to help bring more peace and quiet to Palo Alto? Can we work with state government and county government to bring about this simple yet powerful change to help make life in Palo Alto sustainable? Every car trip within Palo Alto has a cost to our community. Consider developing a specific cost per passenger mile per vehicle amount that can be included in the cost benefit analysis applied to all programs. This would be similar to the OIRA approach taken by the federal government (see, for example, writings of Cass R Sunstein former director of OIRA). Having a standard amount (that was updated regularly with input from all stakeholders) would provide a principled basis for making tradeoffs. Separated bicycle paths should be added a specific goal. A network of completely separated paths (that do not allow motor vehicle traffic) have been the only safe and effective solution for promoting cycling as the first choice of wheeled transport in urban areas. Encouraging cycling without separating lanes will inevitably increase the number of vehicle/bicycle accidents, injuries, and deaths which will deter and reduce cycling regardless of other efforts. All of the ideas below, for enhancing flow, could be supported by having the Comp Plan delineate how bad the congestion can be at each intersection (LOS) and not allowing development to push it higher than that. The Comp Plan could state that the LOS at a specific intersection would have to IMPROVE in order for more development to be allowed. Delineating the LOS required might be the only remedy the city has to the gridlock-enabling loophole in CEQA . (The one that says CEQA cannot be used in relationship to gridlock…isn't it Orwellian that this CEQA protection has been eliminated?) To build, developers would have to consider HOW THEY can take responsibility for the impact of greater density, rather than shifting the burden to the existing residents or the public in general. Everyone talks about Regional systems, but I think there also needs to be more attention paid to local needs. There has to be a bus or shuttle service serving south Palo Alto, from the San Antonio service road to downtown Palo Alto. There are a number of residents who live in the San Antonio/Alma area who cannot walk to Charleston Road to take the shuttle. Traffic "calming" is a milder form of NIMBY traffic discouragement, road blockage that tell drivers to go elsewhere. Even though there's no elsewhere to go to. To the extent that it works, it does so by increasing congestion on un-calmed streets. The city needs to be serious about reducing the number of new commuters it attracts. Yes, traffic calming measures have been effective in our neighborhood, and I'd like to see more of them- especially around the elementary and middle schools. yes, traffic calming can be a difficult issue for any neighborhood to evaluate and implement. The only basis to reach consensus is a strong planning department which monitors traffic trends to evaluate safety issues. Both residents and spillover non-residents create problems. Currently safety and neighborhood quality cannot be proactively managed. The first step is to identify 10 neighborhood streets at risk and monitor them regularly. This is the proactive way to identify risk and then traffic calming, enforcement and other mitigation measures can be rationally evaluated. Without convenient neighborhood-based public transit to and from schools, many parents are going to continue to drive their children to and from school, thus adding to traffic problems. I do think that traffic calming measures in College Terrace have been effective. However, I am worried about the impact of future high-density office development without adequate parking included. Observation, not an idea. I live on Newell road near Dana. Everyday I see cars driving fast down Newell and barely slowing for stop signs, especially on way towards Newell bridge. Stop signs alone do not seem to be very effective for calming, in my opinion. Long identified in the BPTP an additional under crossing beneath both CalTrain and Alma for bicycles and pedestrians midway between the narrow/steep California Avenue under crossing and Meadow should be built. One location would pass through the CPA power substation on Park at Lambert and emerge on El Carmello. This creates a safe Midtown Connection destination. Trains could continue to pass over or could pass under such a tunnel. Properly planned, such a tunnel should allow bike trailers, strollers to pass easily. Such a tunnel should be in place should the narrow/steep California Ave be overhauled. The very wording of the question demonstrates that the City Staff does not understand the very concept of "traffic calming" (touched upon by several previous commenters). "Calming" involves removing the "jitters": the rapid acceleration and braking, the unnecessary lane changes. One of the basic observations is that the most effective way to reduce speeding is to reduce stops and congestion. Measures designed to "slow traffic" are anti-"traffic calming" and are well-known by traffic engineers to *increase* problems. Yes. It slows down the traffic. The streets I drive that have traffic calming bumps make a big difference. I really believe we need it on El Carmelo Ave. I would definitely like traffic on Everett to be calmer; it's a bloody freeway sometimes. And that's when folks actually obey the stop signs. But let's be real, here. Do you really think a city that refuses to put a stop sign on a dangerous intersection that everyone *knows* is dangerous because there are no sight lines (Everett/Bryant) would be interested in other "calming" measures? I mean, the ultimate calming is a stop sign, right? But I tried for 3 years to get one there, and was told that there wasn't enough accidents to warrant one. Really. So, we have to wait for someone to die there first. Speed bumps would be ok, I guess, as long as there's a slot in them for bicycles. Otherwise, they are too dangerous for bicycles. The traffic circles on Everett do nothing, and are perhaps even more dangerous than without them, because you never know when someone is going to want to go all the way around them; cutting oncoming traffic off. Apparently, it is also necessary to go around them as fast as you can, because that's what everyone seems to do. Evergreen Park has the best traffic calming every: BARRICADES! (Thank you Magic.) I've lived in Palo Alto for 52 years and biked and driven both Arastradero and Stanford for 40 years. The road diet on Arastradero and the speed bumps on Stanford have brought the average speed of the traffic down to 25mph. As far as I am concerned Charleston traffic calming is not helpful. It was better before the changes. More tempers On Arastradero between Foothill and El Camino, it has been a mixed bag. During peek school drop off times, it is still pretty slow, and sometimes maddeningly slow. I suspect it will get worse when the city puts the hard barriers in. On the other hand, if the goal was to slow things down, it worked since traffic is often at a standstill. As for off peak times, I don't think it has slowed traffic much at all. Peoples still drive too fast. So in that regard, it has been a failure. I think the city needs to make Arastradero work at peek school drop off times while using radar or other enforecement measures during off peak times. One more thing. I rarely experience, but I'm told the traffic on Arastradero at rush hour in the evening going towards El Camino from Foothill is terrible. Traffic calming in terms of how it has been implemented in Palo Alto, seems a very ineffective way to manage traffic. My goal is for more efficient traffic by which I means moving more cars in less time so there are fewer fumes from idling cars in traffic and less cut through traffic on residential streets. Done properly, it slows speeding cars and speeds up cars waiting at lights. Most changes to traffic lately seem to slow traffic to a crawl in rush hour, and do little or nothing to slow down traffic off hours. Traffic on Alma, for example, now regularly backs up almost a mile going south behind the new traffic light, at Alma Village, which apparently is controlled solely by when cars want to enter and exit Alma Village. As a result, I am much more likely to turn north and take residential streets to E. Meadow to get to El Camino south. There needs to be much more thoughtfulness in the timing of lights to ensure traffic moves as smoothly as possible and there are fewer cars idling waiting to get through a light. If the light at Alma plaza is an example of traffic calming, it failed. Similarly, the lights on Embarcadero are an embarrassment. I hope the multimillion dollar fix is finished soon and actually improves the situation. I often shop at Trader Joe's in Mt. View rather than PA because it is so difficult to get to the store in PA. Charleston modifications, IMHO, are mostly a failure. I usually take residential streets to avoid driving on Charleston. Seriously consider adding bike lanes to heavily trafficked streets, especially Embarcadero and Oregon Expressway. We live in college terrace - perhaps the extreme of traffic calming. I live on the cnr of busy stanford and a quiet cul-de-sac street. Clearly the speed bumps on stanford do help; its at least a lot easier to cross the street when walking. However the mini circles inside the neighbourhood are absolutely useless and quite dangerous. Most folks dont even know how to navigate circles/roundabouts (and there is a difference between these two) so it ends up being treated like a 4-way yield. Perhaps thats what we should just do - replace these inconsistent circles and stops with 4-way yields throughout. In general, PAO is being promoted by the City (and aviation advocates) without scrutiny of its impact on pollution (noise, lead from Avgas, and other chemical pollution) both east and west of 101. The City needs to have a distributed ongoing noise and pollutant monitoring system to establish the real impact of airport operations on residents and the environment, especially in the sensitive Baylands, and near homes and schools. The results of these monitoring systems need to be shared publically and on a quarterly basis. How else can 'intensity' of operations or the extent of 'environmental impacts' really be known? There is a need for an airport oversight commission that is not designed as a service to pilots, and pro-aviation groups. Residents need to have a voice in assessing the impacts of operations and the financial viability of the airport, including external costs. The City needs to invite more open discussion of the sustainability (and desirability) of supporting the continued operation of PAO. Restoration of the wetlands, use of the land for much coveted athletic fields, and other "community building" land uses have not been considered as part of a 2030 vision. Why not? The City has an obligation to consider external costs (such as environmental degradation, and quality of life degradation) when analyzing the cost to Palo Alto of the airport operation. The airport is currently and historically NOT self-sustaining and is relying on FAA grants and the General Fund to support operations and improvements. However, those FAA grants come with strings that limit the City's ability to control the kind of services offered at PAO. If the airport can only be profitable by adding to the number of aircraft using the airport, and adding to the number of student or hobbyist pilots that circle over the baylands and overfly our homes, is that a cost residents accept? No one asked, but they should. The City can be forced by the FAA to accept operators such as air taxi services (like Surf Air) which are really commercial enterprises and benefit only a few wealthy individuals. We could be asked to accept a skydiving operation, or a drone delivery base. What is the cost to residents of these 'services'? The current 'revised' wording of the Airport Element (not shown here) is blatantly biased in favor of pilots and the aviation groups, with an eye for protecting their rights above all others. What is this Airport costing our City and its residents in the long run? Who really benefits for it being there? How about measuring the noise in neighborhoods? Put some aircraft detection equipment in place to fill gaps in radar systems which allow the lowest flying aircraft to go unidentified. Require planes in Palo Alto airspace to be identified by tail number, to insure the safety of our airspace. Require that planes based at PAO burn only unleaded fuel (or if their planes can't do that, they can be based elsewhere). Discontinue the availability of leaded Avgas at PAO, by the year 2017. Globally smaller, one person vehicles to reduce the footprint of each individual driver. If each vehicle takes up half the space of current vehicles then you are "doubling" the available space without doing much at all to existing infrastructure. Parking would double, 2 lanes become 4, etc. Do we really need 105lb women driving 6000lb Escalades? No. Self driving, pay for use cars. I need a car, i requestone on my phone for this day at this time. It comes to my door, i say, "church please." It takes me to church. Now, i have two options, i can hv the car wait for me, which i will pay for, or i can releasethe car so it can take someone else, who attended the services prior to mine, home. The same car, or any other that is available at the time comes to pick me up after services are over. I say, "Home." After it takes me home it drives away." This would drastically lessen parking problems. Please make Homer and Channing Avenues two way streets again since the PAMF has moved Residents have difficulties getting out of their driveways due to these one way streets Bicyclists coming out of the Homer Avenue tunnel face a street going east which makes it dangerous for them and also increases the difficulty to get downtown High Street which is one way from Lytton to Channing Avenue needs to be changed to two way as well Frequent shuttles that swing through all the neighborhoods. The shuttles that Palo Alto has provided are a good start, but more complete geographic coverage is needed. In most places where public transit works, one never has to wait long for the next bus, so frequency is also critical to success. To be effective in getting folks to bike and walk more, we need to encourage clustering of essential services (grocery, pharmacy, (optional: farmers market) near the dense housing areas. California Ave is an example. (We may need a few chain stores to fulfill the grocery and pharmacy.) Without each of these, walkability is a failure. Make all one way streets in Palo Alto two way streets including High Street If commuting from, say, Gilroy to Palo Alto by public transit requires two transfers and takes twice as long as driving in rush hour, commuters will continue to drive in to Palo Alto. Parking restrictions will simply annoy them. If we honestly want to reduce car commuting, we need to synchronize public transit across the entire Bay Area. Another comment here suggests converting CalTrain to an underground extension of BART that runs as frequently as a subway. That's a good start, but let's incorporate SamTrans and VTA too. A hundred years ago, you could take a train from San Francisco to Santa Cruz in less than an hour. Let's bring back the good old days! Palo Alto should be speaking with CalTrans. The mess they have recently created with the on/off at Embarcadero is increasing traffic since the on/off ramps are one lane now. Anyone with any common sense, can just watch 6-9am and 4-7pm the mess that taking out the second lane has created. The traffic backs up onto 101 and Embarcadero and then back onto existing surface streets. Consider some commercial zoning within neighborhoods so that markets, coffee shops, hardware stores can be walked to by residents. Current commercial activites are limited to "centers" / University/California/Middlefield/San Antonio and lots of people can't walk to them, so everyone drives, causing more cars on the road and congestion in the parking areas. Get serious about encouraging biking - we have lots of people who want to bike, but not enough resources so support that desire. California Avenue's new bike racks are already full on the weekends causing people to lock bikes to trees. If we want to get serious about encouraging biking, let's give some of the prized parking spaces along Cal/Univ/other avenues to bikes. Put bike parking there, very visibly. Or build significant bike parking somewhere near, not just one-off bike locking spots. Bike lanes need to be protected space for bikers - not just designated by signs but by actual paint on the street or concrete barriers to protect the bikers from cars. A rail system that encircles the bay should absolutely be a goal. At this point this would mean bringing BART to the peninsula or bringing a complete new system that would replace BART (not likely). Bringing light rail up to Palo Alto would mean that south bay and peninsula have a different system than everyone else. Cobbling together systems slows travel and adds complexity for anyone somewhat hesitant to deal with public transit. That said, if we must cobble together systems due to Southern Pacific or some other reason, the transit points must be seamless in the same place, like the subways in great subway cities like NYC and London. there need to be several commute and other active bike riders on the Transportation dept. and other departments that plan bicycle ways. Pedestrians who walk with difficulty need to be consulted in planning transit centers. At Grade crossing at every transit center would eliminate many problems for all but especially anyone with navigation problems and bicycle riders. Modify 25 mph sign on Middlefield Road (for those entering Palo Alto from Willow Road) to provide feedback to motorists on their actual speed. This would be more of an impetus to slow down as they are heading south on Middlefield. Middlefield Road, a residential arterial roadway, (downtown) is a parking lot at peak commute times in the morning and evening--especially between University Avenue and Willow Road. Would like to see creative approaches to calming this area. Could the bike lane on University Avenue be moved to Hamilton Ave., which runs parallel, and then could there be 2 lanes on University Avenue going east--one that goes to bridge and one the goes to 101? Long Term -- put train tracks in a deep trench with an overlay, then capture the surface space for soft impact transportation -- garden lined pathways for walking, biking, and driverless electric shuttles for seniors Bike lanes should be two-way and separated from the roadways resulting in: 1. Increased bike safety and increased enjoyment of bike riding (thus increased bike riding) and 2. Cars having the room travel at appropriately safe speeds, to increase efficiency, and cut down on GHG emissions. 3. Eliminate "traffic calming" as a goal for arterials. It only leads to cut-through traffic when drivers are frustrated. Underground the tracks. Stop commercial office space development until programs that claim to diminish car use are proven successful. If we then see DIMINISHED traffic, we could consider growth. Institute a city-wide resident-only parking program on all residential streets. (Excluding service vehicles) in order to encourage employers to participate in alternate transportation strategies, and eliminate neighborhood parking intrusion by workers who commute into Palo Alto. Underground the tracks from Mountain View to RWC and make it possible to get across towns safely and efficiently: this is the only effective way to satisfy state and federal legislation mandating reduced emissions, noise, congestion, fuel consumption, and (although it's not a federal mandate) tragic deaths. We need better transporation connections so that people will use mass transit more. It's difficult for residents in South Palo Alto to access the routes they need. Not everyone is capable of biking or walking several blocks to their destination. We need better transportation options for people heading into San Mateo county. For example, we used to have an inexpensive bus that went to SFO. Now it's much more difficult and expensive to take Caltrain to BART to get to the airport. Let's look at popular destinations up and down the peninsula and help people get there without driving. I live on El Camino near Arastradero. The traffic calming (i.e., lane reduction) on Arastradero has been a nightmare. It is now extremely time-consuming to get to or from the freeway at peak hours. I have to drive through Los Altos to get to 280! Slowing traffic to a crawl is not effective for anyone living in Palo Alto. We should have a door-to-door shuttle for seniors, similar to the one that serves Menlo Park. We should also design shuttle routes around destinations that seniors need, e.g., Avenidas, shopping and medical appointments. To connect the city shuttle with VTA bus system-both on schedule and stops. This idea is a bit unrelated, but considers the issue of young children mainly biking to school. The current program of traffic crossing guard personnel on bike to school routes improves safety, but often leads to confusion or worse, to frustration for drivers, since traffic crossing guards are oblivious to the traffic. Training crossing guards to direct traffic also would lead to much smoother coordinated flow of both bikes pedestrians and cars. Admittedly this is a major change, since a person directing traffic has the authority to enforce right-of-way over other controls (stop signs, etc.) But a widespread use of human traffic direction would be an effective fix at many intersections that fail to handle the current traffic levels, without the need for investment in new infrastructure. We already provide this in extreme situations, such as for football games. The current situation is so dire that the needs for convenience and safety for citizens of all ages merit consideration of training a special cadre of public safety employees just to direct traffic. Here's a more ambitious high-tech solution: Plan for and design high-density lanes that are limited to self-driving vehicles that take advantage of inter-vehicle communication protocols like the decade-in-consideration DSRC ( proposals. The capacity of such a lane would be several times normal traffic levels, since vehicles (cars and busses) would "platoon" at shorter distances between each. It might appear counter-intuitive, but it could also reduce highway traffic accidents. The technology to do this is mature and demonstrated, but it would take a public initiative to develop standards and resolve the equity-fairness questions. (How to not make it a privilege just for the few who could afford it.) It can't be that far off since you may already be noticing the common appearance of self-driving cars in test mode on local streets. As for "not compromising the needs of pedestrians and bicycles" , a better use of under- and over- passes on major thoroughfares would both increase vehicle "Level of Service", and convenience + safety for pedestrians and bicycles. For a start - why not extend the railstation track underpasses to extend under the major roads running alongside the stations so that a person can enter the underpass to avoid crossing a busy street and get to and from the platform? And you could add food concessions to the passageway, as major city transit hubs do. Connect the city shutter system with the VTA bus system on schedule and stops. Publicize the changes. The will encourage more bus riding even for short distance errands. Expand public transportation system with increase availability and stops, particularly at clinics and hospitals. Adopt a ‘Complete Streets’ policy to design and operate the entire right of way to enable safe access for all users, regardless of age, ability, or mode of transportation. Use large shade trees and landscaping to provide relaxing, pleasant and cool areas for cyclists and pedestrians. Jeremy, Below is an email I sent to Councilman Tom Dubois regarding possible technical complications of Caltrain electrification. The posts which hold the elevated wires are 40’ high above grade, which would require elevating the overpass at San Antinio Road to provide clearance. Alternatively, if a trench were provided for the trains, it would have to be 40’ deep. This means that the trench could not cross the creeks without enormous pumping stations to send the water below the trench. More details are included below. Subject: possible complication to electrification of Caltrain Tom, I have just stumbled upon an apparent technical difficulty that might pose a serious complication to electrification of Caltrain in Palo Alto. What drew me to review the Palo Alto Rail Corridor Study is my concern about the increasing difficulty of crossing Alma and the tracks by bike, particularly by students on bikes. With ever increasing traffic, this problem will become worse and biker safety further compromised. I started by thinking that we need a bridge or a tunnel for a safe crossing at Meadow and another at Charleston. I then realized that a single bridge or tunnel would be better, halfway between Meadow and Charleston, from Lindero Drive at Alma across to Park Blvd near Robles Park. This plan would require taking one house on Park Blvd by eminent domain, but would move all the bike traffic away from the busy car traffic on Meadow and Charleston. However, this plan would depend on the feasibility of crossing Alma and the tracks, by either a bridge or a tunnel. And I looked into the Rail Plan to see how high a bridge would need to be or how deep a tunnel would need to be. Whether high speed rail is ever built is yet to be determined. I hope not. But even if not, electrification of Caltrain would seem to be a worthy project for environmental reasons, even if the UP freight trains continue to be fueled by diesel. I call to your attention a potential technical problem relating to electrification of Caltrain. Buried deep in the Rail Corridor Study on page A-09 is a drawing of the dimensions required for the system. I have copied one of the figures below but all are on the link provided below. Note that the height above ground of the top of the poles which carry the power lines is 40 feet. I interpret this to mean that the overpass at San Antonio would need to be elevated to provide the needed clearance. And, the height of the poles would be definitely noticeable all along the length of Alma. But instead, suppose we were to put some or all of the rail system into trenches. The drawing below shows the depth below the surface to be about 50 feet. But the land elevation is pretty low in Palo Alto and so the bottom of the trench is probably well below the water table. This means that the trench could not cross the creeks without installing a huge pumping station to move the creek water under the structure and back up on the other side. Although the creeks may be almost dry most of the year, the pumping capacity would probably have to be greater than the 100 year stream flow. Any failure of the pumping system would result in flooding the trench, disrupting rail service and potentially damaging the rail system. Or if the trench were a truly waterproof box, the upward forces of pressure of the water in the water table would tend to float the trench upward. Thus the trench would require an underground bridge structure to hold the buoyant enclosed trench down during normal times and be able to withstand the increased pressure when flooding occurs. I view this complication as making a trench too complex and expensive to be justified. Or, the tracks could be on an elevated viaduct. The drawing of the elevated viaduct shows it to have a height of about 105 feet above the depressed roadbed. This structure would stand out like a sore thumb and be visible throughout much of the city. If these potential technical problems have any merit to them, then even electrification of Caltrain would have a very large financial impact on the city, and the cost of electrifying the entire peninsula corridor would be much larger than presently anticipated. High speed rail might have even greater hidden problems, but I did not look into that. Below are the links to the city documents: Rail corridor study: Page A06 of rail corridor study: I look forward to your comments, and I am available for discussions in more depth on this subject. Best regards, Frank Frank Ingle, Ph.D., PE, CEO Instruments for Science and Medicine, Inc. 814 Richardson Ct Palo Alto, CA 94303 650-799-3813 All city-owned or leased vehicles (police, fire, utilities, shuttles, etc.) should be electric or plug-in hybrid. Palo Alto will have to increase density, not just because ABAG requires more housing units, but because when we add more housing units, at least some of those will be occupied by people employed here, thereby reducing auto trips. Palo Alto must also have additional low-income housing units, to enable at least some of the low wage earners to live nearby (e.g., especially caregivers for seniors). Single-level parking lots should have housing above them (e.g,, behind the retail stores on California Avenue). Single family homeowners should be allowed and encouraged to add small in-law units (and be relieved of the current parking regulations for second units). Programs T-1, T-2, and T-3 are all useful approaches. Expand the Palo Alto Shuttle system schedules and routes to service middle and high schools before school, immediately after school, and later to support after-school activities. If necessary, charge a nominal fee (e.g., 25 cents). This solution is very local, so it is better addressed by a local shuttle rather than by VTA. Yes, the Peninsula needs true high-speed, frequent, quiet, and separated from auto traffic transit service that interfaces well with BART (at Millbrae and later in San Jose) and with CA HSR (if and when that finally happens). The current blended approach will complete in about 15 years, but it will be at best medium speed, noisy (with train horns), and will have large traffic impacts. Frank Ingle has highlighted additional issues. So, a comprehensive solution needs to be investigated further. The idea is controversial, but Palo Alto should support El Camino Real Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) proposed by VTA. It has been successful in many places (, If this is coordinated with Palo Alto and Marguerite shuttles to major destinations (Stanford Research Park, etc.), it should reduce SOV trips to and from Palo Alto. (Note: Program T-36 as described appears to be complete, and should be removed from this list?) Program T-48 is insufficient as stated. It should add, "If the County program is determined to be insufficient for Palo Alto, Palo Alto should encourage (demand?) improvements in the County program, or Palo Alto should implement its own program." When redesigning streets ensure they are lined with shade trees to protect asphalt. According to the USDA Forest Service, an unshaded street segment in California requires 6 slurry seals over 30 years, while an identical one planted with small-crowning trees required 5 slurry seals, and one with large-crowning trees required only 2.5 slurry seals which is a 60% savings for resurfacing over 30 years. Ensure large thoroughfares are tree-lined and pleasantly landscaped to make them as attractive as treed neighborhood streets and discourage cut through traffic in neighborhoods: Research shows that urban roadside character affects route choice. The study demonstrates the positive perceptual and economic effects of naturalistic roadways and suggests one strategy for route design in transportation planning. Ulrich, R.S. 1974. Scenery and the Shopping Trip: The Roadside Environment as a Factor in Route Choice. Unpublished doctoral dissertation, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI. Use trees as a traffic calming measure. Extensive research shows that that trees and landscape should be an integral part of the safety management of urban roads as they contribute to a safer street, with mid-block crashes, fewer injuries and fatalities. Evaluate potential of Policies T-35 and T-37 for neighborhoods beyond Homer and Channing Avenues. Enforce the existing 50% tree canopy cover regulation to counter urban heat island. According to the EPA tree shaded surfaces may be 20–45°F cooler than the peak temperatures of unshaded materials. Trees’ evapotranspiration, alone or in combination with shading, can help reduce peak summer ambient temperatures by 2–9°F. As an overarching principle, make large shade trees a priority in the design or redesign of streets, not an afterthought. Making them a priority ensures that they will deliver on the promise of all their transportation-related benefits, as well as their sustainability and public health benefits. Transportation benefits include: Enhancing walkability and encouraging residents to use alternate modes of transportation such as walking or bike riding Calming traffic and re-routing traffic away from neighborhood streets Combatting the urban heat island effect Prolonging road surface useful life and lowering maintenance costs Sustainability and public health benefits include: Energy savings and GHG reduction Water-related benefits Physical health benefits such as improved upper and lower respiratory tract health and cardiovascular health, etc. Psycho-social well being, such as reduced stress, enhanced mental focus, etc. Making trees a priority means planning for them appropriately. This includes creating adequately sized planting spaces and providing quality soil.

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What new policies and programs would you add to the Transportation Element to incorporate the concept of sustainability?

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What new policies and programs would you add to the Transportation Element to incorporate the concept of sustainability?

Share your ideas on sustainability.

How do you consider the question of regional opportunities and solutions be part of an updated Transportation Element? Would you consider regional cooperation important?

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How do you consider the question of regional opportunities and solutions be part of an updated Transportation Element? Would you consider regional cooperation important?

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Do you find that traffic calming is an effective way to slow traffic in your neighborhood?

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Do you find that traffic calming is an effective way to slow traffic in your neighborhood?

Share your ideas on traffic calming and neighborhood impacts.

Given Palo Alto’s aging population, what are the most important improvements the City could make to ensure that seniors are able to get around safety?

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Given Palo Alto’s aging population, what are the most important improvements the City could make to ensure that seniors are able to get around safety?

Share your ideas on mobility for people with special needs.

What are your thoughts on addressing parking in the University Avenue/Downtown and California Avenue business districts?

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What are your thoughts on addressing parking in the University Avenue/Downtown and California Avenue business districts?

Share your ideas on parking facilities.

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Select one of the goals below to read an annotated version of the existing Transportation Element and provide your ideas and comments.  


The Transportation Element fulfills State requirements for a “Circulation” Element. The State requires this Element to address transport of people and goods and related infrastructure such as streets and highways, truck and transit routes, bus and rail stations, bicycle and pedestrian facilities, and airports. Its policies take into account the physical, social, and economic effects of circulation, as well as regional impacts and coordination needs. 

A significant focus of the Transportation Element is congestion, which contributes to air, water, and noise pollution, and to frustration for drivers, bicyclists, and other travelers. Increases in roadway capacity are not anticipated in Palo Alto, so the Transportation Element addresses congestion with policies aimed at reducing automobile dependency, increasing travel alternatives, and encouraging fewer trips. The Transportation Element encourages a land use pattern that supports reduced dependence on cars and guides City decision-makers to take into account the environmental and social costs of increased traffic when considering future projects. 

Click here to view the current Transportation Element.

Click here to view the Planning and Transportation Commission’s recommended changes.

Click here to view the existing Transportation and Traffic conditions report.

What follows is a digital, annotated version of the existing Transportation Element with questions and annotations intended to highlight potential changes that the Citizens Advisory Committee will consider. 

How would you incorporate current thinking on GHG reduction strategies into the Transportation Element? What new policies and programs would you add to the Transportation Element to incorporate the concept of sustainability?

The existing Comprehensive Plan was written prior to significant government efforts to combat greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) that have contributed to climate change. Terms we have grown accustomed to related to climate change, such as “sustainable” and “sustainability” are not included in the existing Transportation Element. Most general plans updated since 1998 have focused on sustainability as a basic objective.



GOAL T-1 Less Reliance on Single-Occupant Vehicles 

This goal focuses on land use decisions that encourage multi-modal transit options and the true economic cost of local transportation decisions.

With a changing population, what other forms of transport should be included for discussion?

The programs associated with Policy T-1 are currently related to land-use decisions that encourage alternative forms of transportation.

POLICY T-1: Make land use decisions that encourage walking, bicycling, and public transit use. 

PROGRAM T-1: Encourage infill, redevelopment, and reuse of vacant or underutilized parcels employing minimum density requirements that are appropriate to support transit, bicycling, and walking. 

PROGRAM T-2: Promote mixed use development to provide housing and commercial services near employment centers, thereby reducing the necessity of driving.

PROGRAM T-3: Locate higher density development along transit corridors and near multimodal transit stations. 

How can we expand what should be considered as part of our overall transportation decision making? What programs would you include?

POLICY T-2: Consider economic, environmental, and social cost issues in local transportation decisions. 

PROGRAM T-4: Consider the use of additional parking fees and tax revenues to fund alternative transportation projects. 

POLICY T-3: Support the development and expansion of comprehensive, effective programs to reduce auto use at both local and regional levels. 

PROGRAM T-5: Work with private interests, such as the Chamber of Commerce and major institutions, to develop and coordinate trip reduction strategies.

PROGRAM T-6: Expand Palo Alto’s carpooling incentive programs. 

PROGRAM T-7: Encourage the Palo Alto Unified School District to use parking fees, regulations, and education to discourage students from driving to school. 

PROGRAM T-8: Create a long-term education program to change the travel habits of residents, visitors and workers by informing them about transportation alternatives, incentives and impacts. Work with the Palo Alto Unified School District and with private interests, such as the Chamber of Commerce, to develop and implement this program. 

PROGRAM T-9: Support the development of regional on-line transportation services to provide current information on transit, parking, and roadway conditions, as well as computerized trip planning. Provide information kiosks at locations such as University and California Avenues. 

PROGRAM T-10: Expand the range of City services that can be received via computers or through the mail. 

PROGRAM T-11: Promote private delivery services to reduce the necessity of driving. 

PROGRAM T-12: Encourage telecommuting, satellite office concepts, and work-at-home options. 

Do you have other ideas/comments about reducing auto use?

Back to the goals.


GOAL T-2: A Convenient, Efficient, Public Transit System that Provides a Viable Alternative to Driving 

This goal focuses on improving multi-modal transit stations, accessing regional destinations, promoting shuttle services to employment areas, supporting the development of a fast rail system, and integrating public school commuting into the public transit system.  

Should the City add a policy with specific requirements that proposed development demonstrate that adequate public transit is available and that the design of the project supports transit?

POLICY T-4: Provide local transit in Palo Alto. 

PROGRAM T-13: Establish a jitney bus system similar to Stanford University’s Marguerite Shuttle. 

How would you define success in a multi-modal station?

POLICY T-5: Support continued development and improvement of the University Avenue and California Avenue Multi-modal Transit Stations, and the San Antonio Road Station as important transportation nodes for the City. 

PROGRAM T-14: Pursue development of the University Avenue Multi-modal Transit Station conceptual plan based on the 1993-1994 design study. 

PROGRAM T-15: Improve the environment at the University Avenue Multi-modal Transit Station, including connecting tunnels, through short-term improvements and regular maintenance. 

How do you consider the question of regional opportunities and solutions be part of an updated Transportation Element? Would you consider regional cooperation important?

As the region has changed, pressure for transportation between cities and counties has grown.

POLICY T-6: Improve public transit access to regional destinations, including those within Palo Alto. 

What are your thoughts on rail (in this case, Caltrain) in Palo Alto? Do you have additional suggestions on improving Caltrain services?

Since the last Transportation Element was adopted, there has been a significant expansion of rail as a way to move people around the Bay and thru and to Palo Alto. The “Next Generation Caltrain” idea focuses on improving Caltrain through electrification, improved train car design for expanded capacity and faster loading/unloading methods.

POLICY T-7: Support plans for a quiet, fast rail system that encircles the Bay, and for intra-county and transbay transit systems that link Palo Alto to the rest of Santa Clara County and adjoining counties. 

PROGRAM T-16: Evaluate the extension of a light rail line from Mountain View through Palo Alto to Menlo Park. 

PROGRAM T-17: Support Caltrain electrification and its extension to downtown San Francisco. 

What role should employers play in transportation?

POLICY T-8: Encourage employers to develop shuttle services connecting employment areas with the multi-modal transit stations and business districts. 

Given the significant changes since the adoption of the existing Transportation Element in 1998, what is the role the local transit system should be playing in public school commuting? How can that role be defined when thinking about the various ways people move around today in Palo Alto?

POLICY T-9: Work towards integrating public school commuting into the local transit system. 

POLICY T-10: Encourage amenities such as seating, lighting, and signage at bus stops to increase rider comfort and safety. 

POLICY T-11: Support efforts to integrate train, bus, and shuttle schedules at multi-modal transit stations to make public transit use more time-efficient.

What are your thoughts on continuing to include specific time goals to decrease wait times in the Transportation Element? Are there better ways to address this problem? 

POLICY T-12: Support efforts to decrease wait times for intercity transit to a maximum of 20 minutes between 6:00 AM and 10:00 PM. Design for a maximum wait time of 12 minutes for intra-city transit, if feasible. 

How can technology and ride sharing services be part of the solution to traffic and movement of people in Palo Alto?

POLICY T-13: Encourage a responsive private sector taxi service. 

Do you have other ideas/comments about public transit?

Back to the goals.


GOAL T-3: Facilities, Services, and Programs that Encourage and Promote Walking and Bicycling 

This goal focuses on improvements to pedestrian and bicycle paths to provide access to local destinations, create continuous paths, and promote the implementation a county wide bicycle system. 

After reviewing the Bike and Ped Plan's com plan summary, what do you see as priorities for an updated com plan?  Would you want to see bicycle transportation prioritized over other modes in the new Transportation Element? If so, how?

The 2012 Bicycle and Pedestrian Transportation Plan was unanimously adopted in July 2012 and contains the policy vision, design guidance, and specific recommendations to increase walking and biking rates over the next decade and beyond. The adopted BPTP provides a blueprint for updating the Comp Plan's bicycle- and pedestrian-related policies and programs.  Table 2-1 in the BPTP (pages 2-8) documents the relationship between the BPTP and the existing Comp Plan and suggests where recommendations from the BPTP may be incorporated into all goals of a revised Transportation Element.  Staff anticipates that the Updated Comp Plan will substantially reference the BPTP. 

POLICY T-14: Improve pedestrian and bicycle access to and between local destinations, including public facilities, schools, parks, open space, employment districts, shopping centers, and multi-modal transit stations. 

PROGRAM T-18: Develop and periodically update a comprehensive bicycle plan. 

PROGRAM T-19: Develop, periodically update, and implement a, bicycle facilities improvement program and a pedestrian facilities improvement program that identify and prioritize critical pedestrian and bicycle links to parks, schools, retail centers, and civic facilities. 

PROGRAM T-20: Periodically produce a local area bicycle route map jointly with adjacent jurisdictions. 

PROGRAM T-21: Study projects to depress bikeways and pedestrian walkways under Alma Street and the Caltrain tracks and implement if feasible. 

PROGRAM T-22: Implement a network of bicycle boulevards, including extension of the southern end of the Bryant Street bicycle boulevard to Mountain View. 

PROGRAM T-23: Develop public sidewalks and bicycle facilities in Stanford Research Park and other employment areas. 

PROGRAM T-24: Provide adequate outside through-lane widths for shared use by motorists and bicyclists when constructing or modifying roadways, where feasible.

POLICY T-15: Encourage the acquisition of easements for bicycle and pedestrian paths through new private developments. 

POLICY T-16: Create connecting paths for pedestrians and bicycles where dead-end streets prevent through circulation in new developments and in existing neighborhoods. 

How do we balance improved bike paths with our natural environment?

POLICY T-17: Increase cooperation with surrounding communities and other agencies to establish and maintain off-road bicycle and pedestrian paths and trails utilizing creek, utility, and railroad rights-of-way. 

PROGRAM T-25: Evaluate the design of a Bay-to-Foothills path.

PROGRAM T-26: Complete development of the Bay Trail and Ridge Trail in Palo Alto. 

POLICY T-18: Support the development of the Santa Clara County Countywide Bicycle System, and other regional bicycle plans. 

POLICY T-19: Improve and add attractive, secure bicycle parking at both public and private facilities, including multi-modal transit stations, on transit vehicles, in City parks, in private developments, and at other community destinations. 

PROGRAM T-27: Work with Caltrain, Amtrak, and public bus operators to expand bicycle storage on public transit vehicles during both peak and off-peak hours. 

POLICY T-20: Improve maintenance of bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure. 

PROGRAM T-28: Adjust the street evaluation criteria of the City's Pavement Management Program to ensure that areas of the road used by bicyclists are maintained at the same standards as, or at standards higher than, areas used by motor vehicles. 

PROGRAM T-29: Provide regular maintenance of off-road bicycle and pedestrian paths, including sweeping, weed abatement, and pavement maintenance. 

PROGRAM T-30: Develop cooperative programs with the City and businesses to keep sidewalks clean in the University Avenue/Downtown and California Avenue business districts, and other centers. 

POLICY T-21: Support the use of Downtown alleyways for pedestrian- and bicycle-only use. 

PROGRAM T-31: Test the Downtown Urban Design Guide emphasis on the use of alleyways for pedestrian- and bicycle-only use. Allow controlled vehicle access for loading and unloading where no alternatives exist. 

Do you have creative ideas for public-private partnerships that could support new and improved bicycle and pedestrian facilities? 

POLICY T-22: Improve amenities such as seating, lighting, bicycle parking, street trees, and interpretive stations along bicycle and pedestrian paths and in City parks to encourage walking and cycling and enhance the feeling of safety. 

POLICY T-23: Encourage pedestrian-friendly design features such as sidewalks, street trees, on-street parking, public spaces, gardens, outdoor furniture, art, and interesting architectural details. 

PROGRAM T-32: Improve pedestrian crossings with bulbouts, small curb radii, street trees near corners, bollards, and landscaping to create protected areas. 

Do you have other ideas/comments about bicycling and walking?

Back to the goals.


GOAL T-4: An Efficient Roadway Network for All Users 

This goal focuses on roadway maintenance, comprehensive solutions to traffic problems, maintaining appropriate street capacity, regulating truck movements, and designing new roadways that that encourage multi-modal transit options.

POLICY T-24: Maintain a hierarchy of streets that includes freeways, expressways, arterials, residential arterials, collectors, and local streets. 

What other factors should be included when considering new roadways or significant modifications to existing ones? Examples might include prioritizing pedestrian/bicycle safety or aesthetics.

POLICY T-25: When constructing or modifying roadways, plan for usage of the roadway space by all users, including motor vehicles, transit vehicles, bicyclists, and pedestrians.

PROGRAM T-33: Develop comprehensive roadway design standards and criteria for all types of roads. Emphasize bicycle and pedestrian safety and usability in these standards. 

PROGRAM T-34: Establish procedures for considering the effects of street modifications on emergency vehicle response time. 

What is your experience travelling to the Stanford Shopping Center?  What thoughts do you have about transportation and parking there?

POLICY T-26: Participate in the design and implementation of comprehensive solutions to traffic problems near Stanford Shopping Center and Stanford Medical Center. 

PROGRAM T-35: Consider increased public transit, a shuttle, and other traffic and parking solutions to ensure safe, convenient access to the Stanford Shopping Center/ Medical Center area. 

PROGRAM T-36: Extend Sand Hill Road to El Camino Real and construct related improvements consistent with neighborhood and community interests. Do not extend Sand Hill Road to Alma Street. 

PROGRAM T-37: Provide safe, convenient pedestrian, bicycle, and shuttle connections between the Stanford Shopping Center and Medical Center areas and future housing along the Sand Hill Road corridor, the University Avenue Multi-modal Transit Station, Downtown Palo Alto, and other primary destinations. 

POLICY T-27: Avoid major increases in street capacity unless necessary to remedy severe traffic congestion or critical neighborhood traffic problems. Where capacity is increased, balance the needs of motor vehicles with those of pedestrians and bicyclists. 

Is Level of Service (LOS) as a metric useful?

There is new thinking on the use of Level of Service (LOS) as an appropriate way to measure the success of an integrated transportation system. The State legislature passed SB 743 in 2013 to remove LOS as a required topic in environmental review documents, after determining that using LOS focused the conversation on the movement of vehicles at the expense of other forms of transportation (walking, biking) and that mitigations for LOS impacts often create more impacts.

POLICY T-28: Make effective use of the traffic-carrying ability of Palo Alto’s major street network without compromising the needs of pedestrians and bicyclists also using this network. 

PROGRAM T-38: Implement computerized traffic management systems to improve traffic flow when feasible. 

PROGRAM T-39: Maintain the current program of not adding traffic signals on Alma Street north of Lytton Avenue and south of Channing Avenue to Churchill Avenue; and on Middlefield Road north of Lytton Avenue and south of Channing Avenue to Embarcadero Road. 

POLICY T-29: Regulate truck movements in a manner that balances the efficient movement of goods with the residential character of Palo Alto’s arterial street system. 

PROGRAM T-40: Evaluate the feasibility of changes to Palo Alto’s through truck routes and weight limits to consider such issues as relationship to neighboring jurisdictions, lower weight limits, increased number of routes, and economic and environmental impacts. 

Do you have other ideas/comments about roadways?

Back to the goals.


GOAL T-5: A Transportation System with Minimal Impacts on Residential Neighborhoods. 

This goal focuses on reducing the impacts of through-traffic on residential areas by evaluating traffic flow in commercial areas, providing alternate routes, implementing traffic calming measures, and reducing neighborhood street and intersections widths.

How should the new Transportation Element address cut-through traffic in residential areas?

POLICY T-30: Reduce the impacts of through-traffic on residential areas by designating certain streets as residential arterials. 

PROGRAM T-41: The following roadways are designated as residential arterials. Treat these streets with landscaping, medians, and other visual improvements to distinguish them as residential streets, in order to reduce traffic speeds. 

PROGRAM T-42: Use landscaping and other improvements to establish clear “gateways” at the points where University Avenue and Embarcadero Road transition from freeways to neighborhoods. 

POLICY T-31: Evaluate smoothing and slowing traffic flow in commercial areas by reducing through-traffic lanes and trading the area for improved turning lanes, landscaping, and bicycle lanes. 

POLICY T-32: Design and maintain the City street network to provide a variety of alternate routes, so that the traffic loads on any one street are minimized. 

POLICY T-33: Keep all neighborhood streets open unless there is a demonstrated safety or overwhelming through-traffic problem and there are no acceptable alternatives, or unless a closure would increase the use of alternative transportation modes. 

Do you find that traffic calming is an effective way to slow traffic in your neighborhood?

POLICY T-34: Implement traffic calming measures to slow traffic on local and collector residential streets and prioritize these measures over congestion management. Include traffic circles and other traffic calming devices among these measures. 

PROGRAM T-43: Establish a Neighborhood Traffic Calming Program to implement appropriate traffic calming measures. Consider using development fees as a funding source for this program. 

PROGRAM T-44: Evaluate changing Homer and Channing Avenues to two-way streets with or without redevelopment of the Palo Alto Medical Foundation campus. 

POLICY T-35: Reduce neighborhood street and intersection widths and widen planting strips as appropriate. 

POLICY T-36: Make new and replacement curbs vertical where desired by neighborhood residents. 

POLICY T-37: Where sidewalks are directly adjacent to curbs and no planting strip exists, explore ways to add planting pockets with street trees to increase shade and reduce the apparent width of wide streets. 

POLICY T-38: Continue the current “guard and go” system of having stop signs approximately every other block on local residential streets to discourage through-traffic. 

Do you have other ideas/comments about neighborhood impacts?

Back to the goals.


GOAL T-6: A High Level of Safety for Motorists, Pedestrians, and Bicyclists on Palo Alto Streets 

This goal focuses on improving road safety through city transportation planning, improvement projects, and law enforcement, with a particular emphasis on school travel routes.  

POLICY T-39: To the extent allowed by law, continue to make safety the first priority of citywide transportation planning. Prioritize pedestrian, bicycle, and automobile safety over vehicle level-of-service at intersections. 

PROGRAM T-45: Provide adult crossing guards at school crossings that meet adopted criteria.

PROGRAM T-46: Encourage extensive educational programs for safe use of bicycles, mopeds, and motorcycles, including the City-sponsored bicycle education programs in the public schools and the bicycle traffic school program for juveniles. 

PROGRAM T-47: Utilize engineering, enforcement, and educational tools to improve traffic safety on City roadways. 

Are there any additional Safe Routes to School you would like to add based on new residential developments happening in South Palo Alto?

The City of Palo Alto is committed to creating and sustaining a community partnership with the Palo Alto Unified School District and Palo Alto PTA to reduce risks to students and encourage more families to walk and bike or use other alternatives to driving more often. In 2012-2014, the Safe Routes to School Partnership, through a grant from VTA, prepared “Walk and Roll Maps” for each K-12 school in PAUSD. Based on the analysis of conditions at each school, City staff have recommended improvements to the area near each campus, such as signage and markings.  Staff is also coordinating improvements with the Resurfacing Program and the 2012 Bicycle and Pedestrian Transportation Plan implementation program. See for more detail. 

POLICY T-40: Continue to prioritize the safety and comfort of school children in street modification projects that affect school travel routes. 

POLICY T-41: Vigorously and consistently enforce speed limits and other traffic laws.

Do you have other ideas/comments about traffic safety?

Back to the goals.


GOAL T-7: Mobility For People With Special Needs 

This goal focuses on compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and paratransit services.

Given Palo Alto’s aging population, what are the most important improvements the City could make to ensure that seniors are able to get around safely? 

POLICY T-42: Address the needs of people with disabilities and comply with the requirements of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) during the planning and implementation of transportation and parking improvement projects. 

POLICY T-43: Provide and/or promote demand-responsive paratransit service. 

PROGRAM T-48: Monitor Santa Clara County’s paratransit program to assess its adequacy. 

POLICY T-44: Support transit agencies in implementing or continuing reduced fare or no fare voucher systems for selected populations. 

Do you have other ideas/comments about mobility for people with special needs?

Back to the goals.


GOAL T-8: Attractive, Convenient Public and Private Parking Facilities 

This goal focuses on providing strategies that promote the efficient use of parking near the business districts and Stanford Medical Center while protecting residential areas from parking impacts. 

What are your thoughts on how to address parking in these areas?   What are your thoughts on parking fees? If fees were implemented (there are no plans to do so at this time), how would you like to see the money used?How does the increase of electric cars change decisions in high parking areas? 

Like many cities in the Bay Area, Palo Alto is experiencing an increase in traffic volumes as employment rises and housing prices continue to make commuting a necessity. Palo Alto has far more jobs than housing, which contributes to high traffic volumes from employees coming from other communities to work. Much effort has been put into traffic and parking planning in recent years throughout the City, and in particular in Downtown and California Avenue, and significant data collection related to the Residential Preferential Parking program (RPP) and Transportation Demand Management (TDM) is underway and will continue in the coming months. Parking-related policies and programs in the Transportation Element will need to be updated to ensure they reflect the most current data available and are consistent with and support any new initiatives approved by the City Council. 

POLICY T-45: Provide sufficient parking in the University Avenue/Downtown and California Avenue business districts to address long-range needs. 

PROGRAM T-49: Implement a comprehensive program of parking supply and demand management strategies for Downtown Palo Alto. 

PROGRAM T-50: Continue working with merchants, the Chamber of Commerce, neighbors, and a parking consultant to explore options for constructing new parking facilities or using existing parking more efficiently. 

PROGRAM T-51: Work with merchants to designate dedicated employee parking areas. 

Do you have any creative ideas to address commuter parking?

In addition to increased traffic congestion, Downtown Palo Alto in recent years has seen an influx of commuter parking in the neighborhoods north and south of Downtown which, according to residents, contributes to a declining quality of life. To more effectively leverage a systems approach to address parking demand and traffic Downtown, the City Council directed staff to develop and implement a series of projects and programs that collectively comprise a coordinated approach to the critical issues facing the City's commercial core (the "Integrated Parking Strategy"). The projects and programs fall in three main categories: Parking Management (e.g. the pilot Residential Parking Permit system, parking technology, improved wayfinding); Parking Supply (e.g. new parking garages, valet assist parking); and Transportation Demand Management (encouraging and enabling fewer people to drive through, e.g., ridesharing, shuttles, parking cash-outs, or commuter benefits). All three program areas are necessary to maximize the use and utility of existing parking while reducing overall traffic impacts and helping visitors and residents move through Palo Alto effectively. A recent staff report to City Council on the Integrated Parking Strategy, available here, has more detail.

POLICY T-46: Minimize the need for all-day employee parking facilities in the University Avenue/Downtown and California Avenue business districts and encourage short-term customer parking. 

POLICY T-47: Protect residential areas from the parking impacts of nearby business districts. 

PROGRAM T-52: Evaluate options to ensure maximum use of the City parking structures in the University Avenue/Downtown and California Avenue areas. 

PROGRAM T-53: Discourage parking facilities that would intrude into adjacent residential neighborhoods. 

POLICY T-48: Encourage parking strategies in the Stanford Medical Center area that maximize the efficient use of parking and, in the long term, consider the possible use of remote parking lots with shuttle bus service. 

Do you have other ideas/comments about parking?

Back to the goals.


GOAL T-9: An Influential Role in Shaping and Implementing Regional Transportation Decisions 

This goal focuses on collaborating with interest groups on regulatory changes and participating in initiatives to reduce congestion and manage regional transportation with the Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC), Caltrans, the Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority, and the State and federal governments.  

What are your thoughts on addressing each of these issues?

In recent years, many proposals and programs have been implemented by regional transportation and planning partners that affect access to and from Palo Alto: 

  • Caltrain electrification (link)
  • County Expressway Improvements (link)
  • Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) on El Camino Real (link)
  • Carpool lanes and express lanes (link)
  • VTA light rail expansion
  • Dubmarton Bridge rail (link)

POLICY T-49: Lead and participate in initiatives to manage regional traffic. 

POLICY T-50: Collaborate with public interest groups and local, state, and federal governments to study and advocate transportation regulatory changes, such as an increase in the gasoline tax and market pricing efforts. 

PROGRAM T-54: Work regionally, and in particular with adjacent communities, to establish a system of parking fees that discourages single occupant vehicle use and encourages other transportation modes.

POLICY T-51: Support the efforts of the Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC) to coordinate transportation planning and services for the Mid-Peninsula and the Bay Area that emphasize alternatives to the automobile. Encourage MTC to base its Regional Transportation Plan (RTP) on compact land use development assumptions. 

POLICY T-52: Where appropriate, support the conversion of existing traffic lanes to exclusive bus and high-occupancy vehicle (HOV) lanes on freeways and expressways, including the Dumbarton Bridge. 

POLICY T-53: Participate in seeking a regional solution to improved roadway connections between Highway 101 and the Dumbarton Bridge without construction of a southern connection across environmentally sensitive baylands. 

POLICY T-54: Support efforts by Caltrans and the Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority Congestion Management Program to reduce congestion and improve traffic flow on area freeways. 

PROGRAM T-55: Support provision of a new southbound entrance ramp to Highway 101 from San Antonio Road, in conjunction with the closure of the southbound Charleston Road on-ramp at the Rengstorff Avenue interchange in Mountain View. 

POLICY T-55: Support the application of emerging freeway information, monitoring, and control systems that provide driver assistance and reduce congestion. 

POLICY T-56: Support state and federal legislation to reduce motor vehicle emissions, noise, and fuel consumption. 

PROGRAM T-56: Implement as appropriate the “local action list” of the Bay Area Air Quality Management District (BAAQMD) and work with the Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority's Congestion Management Program (CMP) and other jurisdictions to implement those actions that require a multi-jurisdictional effort. 

Do you have other ideas/comments about regional leadership?

Back to the goals.


GOAL T-10: A Local Airport with Minimal Off-site Impacts 

This goal focuses on supporting the continued vitality and effectiveness of the Palo Alto airport. 

Now that Palo Alto Airport is managed by the City, how should we address capacity and usage issues? What issues do you wish to share about the airport in general?

POLICY T-57: Support the continued vitality and effectiveness of the Palo Alto Airport without significantly increasing its intensity or intruding into open space areas. The Airport should remain limited to a single runway and two fixed base operators. 

PROGRAM T-57: Provide a planting strip and bicycle/pedestrian path adjacent to Embarcadero Road that is consistent with the open space character of the baylands. 

PROGRAM T-58: Encourage Santa Clara County to relocate the terminal building away from the Runway 31 clear zone, allowing for construction of a new terminal. 

Do you have other ideas/comments about the airport?