Everybody wins – helping East Palo Alto residents drive less

Teresita works in healthcare in Redwood City.  Mona works at jobs in Palo Alto, East Palo Alto, and other locations. At the East Palo General Plan forum in the Costano School gym on Saturday November 23, both East Palo Alto residents said they would prefer to do less car commuting.

Mona would take a shuttle to her retail job downtown in Palo Alto, but the shuttle comes only every 30 minutes.  Teresita has tried bicycle commuting to her health care job in Redwood City, but does not feel safe. The Ringwood Bridge over the 101 freeway has had some crime, and she does not feel safe using it in the dark. There are also unsafe stretches of roadway in Atherton, East Palo Alto, and Redwood City.teresitamona

One opportunity to improve matters may come from the cities where they work.  On Monday night, the City of Palo Alto is holding a study session about transportation demand management practices at large employers and in other cities.   Early next year, the City Council will evaluate the opportunity to create Transportation Demand Management districts, similar to those in Mountain View and the City of San Mateo.

Redwood City has a pilot grant-funded program, Connect Redwood City investing in several methods to help workers and residents drive less.  As part of the pilot, they will conduct surveys to assess the effectiveness of the programs and identify opportunities for improvement.

Effective TDM programs, for employers and cities, conduct surveys to find out people’s travel patterns.  Then they create programs to help people make choices other than driving.   Employers and cities that invest in these programs, can incur major savings in parking costs and help reduce traffic problems.

When Palo Alto and Redwood City do surveys, they will find clusters of employees in East Palo Alto.  If there are enough EPA residents with common needs, the job centers may find it in their own interest to partner with the City of East Palo Alto and other neighbors, investing in shuttles, bike and pedestrian improvements, and other programs that reduce the car impact burden on the employment centers, and the cost and health impacts of driving for workers.


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