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Transportation policies

From: domainremoved <Adina>
Date: Tue, 6 Oct 2015 14:42:04 -0700

Dear Council Members,

Thank you for reviewing the transportation and land use policies for the
general plan update.

I'd like to add some detail behind two of the Transportation Commission
recommendations which have been incorporated in the draft policies.


Here are some notes about the benefits of utilizing VMT as a metric, and
some of the issues with LOS. It is important to continue to monitor that
our intersections continue to function, but there are significant
weaknesses to using LOS as the main metric.

* LOS has been used historically to trigger funding for transportation
improvements. Our city clearly needs impact fees. However, following the
city's direction, it would be helpful to use impact fees to reduce
congestion by improving multi-modal transportation and reducing vehicle
trips, rather than widening roads and intersections which can increase
traffic through induced demand

* LOS is a poor metric metric to suggest congestion relief through vehicle
trip reduction strategies. A vehicle trip reduction strategy may not
relieve congestion although it is not applied directly at the to the
specific intersection. For example, the tunnel from Hamilton to Facebook
can reduce car trips through at Willow and Bayfront; even though the tunnel
is not at the intersection directly. Also, the use of the Dumbarton bus
can relieve congestion at Willow intersections, even though it is not an
intersection improvement. Both of these improvements relieve congestion by
reducing vehicle trips and VMT.

* At a General Plan review meeting, it was suggested that VMT only
addresses long-distance trips. In fact, over 80% of trips are short
non-commute trips that all together represent a substantial amount of VMT
and peak hour trips as well. Utilizing # of vehicle trips is a good
complementary metric to focus on congestion relief relating to short trips

* LOS alone measures mobility, but not the benefits of accessibility or
travel time. For example, let's say we add a grocery store and pharmacy
in Belle Haven. These retail developments may bring added congestion to
the closest intersection. LOS may get worse. But a Belle Haven resident is
able to get to the nearest full-service grocery in 7-8 minutes - including
a wait at the light - rather than 20-30 minutes to downtown Menlo Park.
Residents experience better travel time, better access (and lower VMT) even
though LOS is worse. This is one of the main problem with using LOS as
the main metric - it discourages infill development that improves
accessibility of needed services.

* Timeliness. While the guidelines to implement the new state law SB743
are still being finalized, our General Plan will last for decades, so it is
reasonable to start following the direction of state policy; other cities
are starting to use VMT as a metric

Paid parking

Paid parking can be a very powerful tool to enable the availability of
parking in downtown areas, and to incent the use of transportation
alternatives in workplaces. The use of paid parking in particular
situations needs to be evaluated, rather than mandated upfront. However,
for a plan that will last decades, paid parking is an important tool to
have available in a toolbox.

At a workplace, LinkedIn's new plan for their new HQ buildings in Mountain
View calls for paid parking as part of a strategy with a goal of a 35%
drivealone rate. Dynamic pricing programs such as used in Redwood City and
San Mateo can help ensure that valuable customer parking is available for
customers who need it, and lower cost parking is available for employees
and people willing to walk a bit further.

Thank you very much for your consideration.


- Adina

Adina Levin
Menlo Park
Received on Tue Oct 06 2015 - 14:43:28 PDT

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