By Steve Levy
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About this blog: I grew up in Los Angeles and moved to the area in 1963 when I started graduate school at Stanford. Nancy and I were married in 1977 and we lived for nearly 30 years in the Duveneck school area. Our children went to Paly. We moved ... (More)
About this blog: I grew up in Los Angeles and moved to the area in 1963 when I started graduate school at Stanford. Nancy and I were married in 1977 and we lived for nearly 30 years in the Duveneck school area. Our children went to Paly. We moved downtown in 2006 and enjoy being able to walk to activities. I do not drive and being downtown where I work and close to the CalTrain station and downtown amenities makes my life more independent. I have worked all my life as an economist focusing on the California economy. My work centers around two main activities. The first is helping regional planning agencies such as ABAG understand their long-term growth outlook. I do this for several regional planning agencies in northern, southern and central coast California. My other main activity is studying workforce trends and policy implications both as a professional and as a volunteer member of the NOVA (Silicon Valley) and state workforce boards. The title of the blog is Invest and Innovate and that is what I believe is the imperative for our local area, region, state and nation. That includes investing in people, in infrastructure and in making our communities great places to live and work. I served on the recent Palo Alto Infrastructure Commission. I also believe that our local and state economy benefits from being a welcoming community, which mostly we are a leader in, for people of all religions, sexual preferences and places of birth. (Hide)
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Letter to Council: Focus Directly on Traffic and Parking; Development Limit not most effective approach
Uploaded: Feb 6, 2015
My first understanding from personal experience and city studies is that most increases in traffic and parking have come from more intensive use of existing space including offices, retail stores such as the Apple store, and eating and drinking establishments that seem to be thriving. Our personal experience is that twice in the last three years, CCSCE has moved locations downtown as technology firms including Palantir have bought out our space. In both cases the density of use increased dramatically in the space we previously occupied. Both landlords were extremely gracious and I am pleased to see the growing innovative businesses and workers who now occupy our space.
My second understanding from following the discussions in Palo Alto is that residents have legitimate concerns about the recent increases in traffic and parking challenges. In response the city has and is undertaking a number of initiatives directly focused on reducing car travel and associated parking need.
I believe that the ratio of parking needed per employee is subject to the alternatives we provide, incentives and parking costs and regional efforts such as expanding CalTrain and other public and private commute options.
I also find that the Council agenda is full this year with the Comp Plan and other important issues and that staff has many issues on their plate at the same time we have losses in planning staff.
As a result I believe the more effective use of Council and staff time is to work on solutions that will reduce parking and traffic from existing uses and the increases in density of existing uses that will continue. I think the time and staff effort involved in developing annual growth limitations and the legal limits to these efforts suggest that focusing directly on traffic and parking need directly will be the most effective approach for the city and meet the desires of residents to reduce the transportation impacts of development.
What is it worth to you?
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