New Transportation Work Plan Outlines Initiatives and Efforts Underway in Palo Alto
Learn about Palo Alto’s Transportation Work Plan and ways to share feedback on community issues of interest that are transportation related
After receiving feedback from the community earlier this year, the Palo Alto City Council adopted four priorities, two of which fall within the responsibility of the newly created Office of Transportation. Transportation has consistently been a top City Council priority in some form or another for the last six years. Most transportation activities also support the City Council’s climate change priority.
The recently adopted Transportation and Traffic Work Plan highlights a series of efforts underway or planned that seek to address these priorities. This blog highlights some of the main priorities of the work plan and ways the community can share feedback on transportation related issues of interest.
Work Plan Focus Areas
The work plan focus areas include mobility (i.e., Safe Routes to School, transit agency coordination, and the Palo Alto Shuttle), bike boulevard implementation and other traffic calming programs, supporting the Highway 101 Pedestrian/Bike Bridge Project at Adobe Creek, other capital improvement projects, and evaluating/implementing parking management efforts.
Many of these efforts are already underway, and some are either about to begin or are being re-evaluated.
For more about the City’s Office of Transportation, go here.
Launching New Ways for the Community to Share Input
The transportation work plan also highlights new ways the Office of Transportation and the City are approaching outreach and community engagement for transportation issues.
Designing a rail system for Palo Alto’s future is one important priority underway, which involves a series of community opportunities to stay connected, share input and learn about the process. To read more about the City’s Connecting Palo Alto effort, catch up through a recent blog series or go to Connecting Palo Alto website here.
In addition, the Office of Transportation will be hosting a series of informal conversations called “Word on the Street” to gain input on transportation issues within the neighborhoods. More coming soon on this initiative!
The City recently created a new transportation newsletter for the public to stay connected and up to date. To sign up for transportation-related news, go to www.cityofpaloalto.org/newslettersignup.
For other transportation related resources, go here.
Connecting Palo Alto — Rail Grade Separation Efforts Underway
Closely related is the City Council priority focused on Rail Grade Separations. In addition to the items in the Transportation Work Plan, the Office of Transportation is supporting the Connecting Palo Alto planning effort, which is a community-based process for informing the public, receiving feedback, and helping the City Council make an informed decision in the spring of 2020.
The City Council adopted the Rail Grade Separation work plan on April 22, 2019, with direction to staff on many aspects of that program. Since that time, staff, community leaders through the Expanded Community Advisory Panel and consultants are evaluating grade separation options.
The City is hosting a community-wide meeting on November 7 where the public can learn more about grade separations in Palo Alto and be informed about where the City is in the process. This meeting is the first in a series of community meetings and community engagement opportunities planned for early 2020. The meeting will be held at Mitchell Park Community Center in the El Palo Alto room from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.
To learn more about Connecting Palo Alto, go to connectingpaloalto.com
Parking Programs and Priorities
One of the goals of the Office of Transportation is to improve traffic flow, increase safety on major streets, and increase the ease of public parking.
On June 24, 2019, Transportation staff presented to City Council a Parking Working Plan that outlined 35 recommendations from a study by Municipal Resource Group, the City’s transportation consultant.
Other specific work plan items include the evaluation and revision of the residential preferential parking (RPP) permit program to enhance its effectiveness and sustainability. There is a history of the City administering unique residential preferential parking permit programs. These programs are community-driven, requested by the neighborhoods and designed to minimize residential parking intrusions from non-resident vehicles. The recently approved pilot program in Old Palo Alto is an example of the community-driven process.
With the recent addition of the Old Palo Alto residential preferential parking program, the City maintains six different parking programs. This program requires resident or guest permits during enforcement hours (8:00 am to 5:00 pm) for parking in excess of two hours. The Old Palo Alto RPP program does not include options for businesses to purchase employee permits to offset the cost of the program. As a result, residents are sharing in the cost to administer the program. Two of the existing parking programs also do not have employee permits and include elements where residents share in the cost of the program. Each resident can purchase up to five annual parking permit hangtags for $50 each and up to 50 transferable one-day hangtags for $5 each.
Another parking alternative is establishing paid parking options in the Downtown area. The City hired a consultant to study and evaluate paid parking, and once the evaluation is complete and community input is gathered, the City Council will be presented with options to consider. The data and information gathered may show that paid parking is not a viable solution.
For more on the City’s parking programs, go here.
The Office of Transportation is Hiring!
Staff retention and development are critical to supporting the City’s transportation priorities and initiatives. Are you, or someone you know, interested in working with a dynamic team focused on Palo Alto’s transportation issues?
The Office of Transportation is currently recruiting, or will be soon, for the following positions:
· Senior Engineer
· Administrative Assistant
· Administrative Specialist (part-time)
The Office of Transportation also recognizes the rapid pace of change in the transportation field and actively engages its staff in professional development activities and individual growth.
Want to learn more? Head to governmentjobs.com/careers/paloaltoca to see current openings and to sign up for job alerts.
More Online Resources
For more about parking, go here.
For more about Safe Routes to School, go here.
For the City’s bike boulevards, go here.
Learn about City transportation priorities by going here.