Can transportation services and infrastructure meet the challenges of new growth? The staff-strapped Transportation Department will need help.

May 5, 2019 – Palo Alto Matters

Housing did not make the cut for City Council’s top four priorities this year, but a transportation priority was carried over from last year with an added focus on traffic. On Tuesday, May 7, the Council Policy and Services Committee will review the 2019 Transportation Work Plan and make a recommendation on City Council approval.

Given expectations for a growing resident population, existing public dissatisfaction with traffic and parking congestion, and continuing regional jobs growth, demand for transportation solutions is high. But with senior staff vacancies (including the Chief Transportation Officer) and a to-do list that already exceeds staff capacity, new big fixes will remain elusive.

In contrast to last year’s comprehensive Housing Work Plan, the Transportation plan is not chock full of ambitious new programs and strategies. Instead, the plan strives to complete a staff reorganization, address understaffing, and otherwise basically stay the course. That’s not to say they’re sitting idle, but rather indicates that resources are thinly stretched just to serve current needs. The department already has twenty items on this year’s council agenda related to parking, mobility, traffic engineering and rail. Big Initiative Activities will continue to include:

  • ongoing work on rail grade separation planning (another council priority, with a separate work plan approved on April 22);
  • evaluating and updating the residential preferential parking (RPP) permit program (see below);
  • instituting a revised community engagement process for transportation projects; and
  • considering opportunities to increase automated data collection systems.

The Council Policy and Services Committee will consider the Transportation Work Plan on May 7 at 6:00 pm in the Community Meeting Room at City Hall. Click here for the staff report.

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