Palo Alto inks $500K deal to loosen traffic gridlock, explores parking fixes

: bizjournals – excerpt

Try driving through Palo Alto during rush hour and you’re likely in for some quality time behind the wheel.

The wealthy Peninsula city known for its concentration of high-paying jobs is a poster child — along with other Silicon Valley office hubs like Mountain View and Sunnyvale — for the traffic gridlock that results from decades of unbalanced economic development.

Because Palo Alto has a very limited supply of homes priced under $1 million, tech workers, professional service providers, hospitality workers and Stanford academics alike commute into the city each day for work, leading to clogged streets and packed parking lots. As I have reported, the city had 3.1 jobs for every one housing unit as of 2012, U.S…

Recognizing that keeping commuters employers happy is a good thing for the city’s tax base, Palo Alto officials are working on multiple fronts to curb traffic woes and parking shortages fueled by the jobs-housing mismatch.

This month, the city approved a $499,880, three-year contract with Berkeley-based consulting firm Moore Lacofano Goltsman Inc. (MIG) to organize a downtown nonprofit Transportation Management Association, according to a report by Palo Alto Weekly. The city aims for the group to “coordinate incentives for downtown employees to switch from cars to other modes of transportation,” the paper adds.

“The city, employers and transit agencies have already promoted trip reduction and alternative options,” according to a memo on the need for the new downtown Transportation Management Association. “Yet, these initiatives are not comprehensive in nature and have not been effective from a district-wide standpoint.”…

Urban planning advocates throughout Silicon Valley are urging area cities to consider transit-oriented development and other means of reducing productivity-sapping traffic. But with disjointed public transit sometimes forcing commuters to switch between multiple systems — commuter rail, light rail, buses, bike sharing, etc. — the question is whether alternatives to driving are really practical(more)

At some point you have to questions the wisdom of continuing the same tactics when traffic is getting progressively worse. No tactics are in order. November elections will bring a fresh look at the driver backlash in many localities. A list of local election issues is coming soon. Stay tuned to metermadness.

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