Tonight, Monday January 26 at 5:30pm, the City of Santa Clara is having a major study session on a variety of transportation and land use topics including BART to Santa Clara, Bus Rapid Transit on El Camino Real, the Lawrence Station Area Plan, Tasman East Specific Plan, as well as road pavement needs. This major study session has had very little publicity in advance – if you are interested in these topics please come and speak up.
Also tonight Monday January 26 at 9pm, Palo Alto City Council will be considering whether to impose an office growth limit for the city, of 35,000 or 50,000 square feet per year. The goal of the city is to reduce traffic and parking problems. However, square feet of new development is a very blunt instrument to address the amount of driving. A recent survey of three large tech companies downtown, which offer transportation benefits including Caltrain’s deep-discount Go Pass, shows that less than 40% of employees drive to work; but a parallel survey of a set of smaller businesses downtown showed that a majority of employees drive. This blog post from Palo Alto Forward provides a number of recommendations for Palo Alto to directly address the core of the problem - cars – rather than the indirect problem – new offices.
On Wednesday, January 28th, the City of San Jose is expect scheduled to receive about $1.5 million in funding from the Metropolitan Transportation Commission for a San Jose program to reduce vehicle trips, and encourage transit, bicycling and walking. The money is being repurposed from a grant for bicycle signal detectors at intersections, and is being complemented by $270,000 in funding from the City of San Jose.
Modeled after the SmartTrips program in Oregon, the program will provide customized marketing of transportation options to people in targeted neighborhoods, and with major and new employers. In its first year, the program will start by serving a few thousand people within the greater downtown – four square miles with nearly half the city’s population, and then expand to other locations including East San Jose. With measurement to assess effectiveness, these voluntary programs will serve as a starting point for larger scale transportation demand management programs that will be required in the Diridon Station Area and other areas targeted for vehicle trip reduction.
On Thursday, the advisory committee for Sunnyvale’s General Plan, called Horizon 2035 will meet for the first time in two years. Horizon 2035 will set city’s strategy to address housing and transportation for the long term. This is the opportunity to set policies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by creating places that require less driving, and that provide housing to address the affordability crisis. The Horizon 2035 meeting is a great chance to learn about the plan – this Thursday, January 29, 2015 7:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m at City Hall in the West Conference Room. The agenda can be found here.
Also on Wednesday, January 28, the South San Francisco City Council will review its Downtown Plan for approval. The plan is intended to revitalize the downtown area and make better use of the underutilized Caltrain. A centerpiece plan to improve safety and access to the Caltrain station is getting funding and money from San Mateo County Measure A.