Google, others look to fix Shoreline traffic woes
In a series of invitation-only meetings, proposals are being discussed for fixing traffic problems in and out of the North Bayshore office district, home to Google and Shoreline Amphitheatre.
After attending the Oct. 4 meeting organized by Sustainable Silicon Valley, Mayor Mike Kasperzak says that developers and tech companies are drafting plans for a traffic management agency which may pay people to leave their cars at home, charge for parking and provide transit passes. It is a model used by Stanford, which has capped car traffic at 1989 levels despite expansive growth.
"A transit management agency, sort of like what they've done at Stanford, I think will happen," Kasperzak said. "They are creating a charter for the Transit Management Agency. I think the business community is anticipating that."
Kasperzak recalled a presenter at the meeting who said, "Free parking is like free pizza. If pizza were free, would there ever be enough pizza?"
Potentially adding thousands more cars to an already congested Shoreline Boulevard and Charleston Road, Google, Intuit and other tech companies are planning new office buildings following the approval of the city's 2030 general plan. It potentially allows more than double the density of existing buildings in North Bayshore and could increase the employee count from 17,000 to nearly 30,000.
Despite the efforts, there may still be more cars.
"It does concern me that developers are talking about two major parking structures out there," Kasperzak said. "We don't need 8,000 more cars on 101."
There is also discussion about better markings on streets for bicyclists, Kasperzak said.
Kasperzak said he introduced himself as "the pod car mayor" because he has called for a personal rapid transit system to connect North Bayshore to downtown train station and NASA Ames, a system which has been estimated to cost $10 million. But Vice Mayor John Inks said North Bayshore businesses don't seem as interested in that concept, at least not yet.
"Traffic and transportation system engineers are working in a world in which they know," Kasperzak said. "We're not looking at new things that are faster, safer, better."