On Monday, Palo Alto City Council will consider accelerating its strategy to address parking and traffic problems – by reducing vehicle trips. In a “colleagues’ memo” from Mayor Scharff, Vice Mayor Shepherd, Council Members Kniss and Price, the Council members recommend directing staff to develop a comprehensive “transportation demand management” plan to reduce solo car trips by at least 30% for the Downtown, California Avenue, and Stanford Research Park Areas.
Palo Alto was already in the process of a major study of options – including vehicle trip reduction – to deal with the impacts of downtown growth, including a major parking crunch that could leave Palo Alto with a bill for $100,000,000 in new parking structures if development and transportation patterns remain on today’s trajectory. The current studies will start delivering results earlier next year, for decisions and implementation in phases in 2014.
If City Council votes tomorrow on this policy direction, the work of staff and consultants will be accelerated and simplified. An aggressive car trip reduction strategy will be a mandate, not an optional choice. Staff would need to come back and review a detailed proposal with City Council before actions are taken to implement the strategy.