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Council Considering Toll Roads for City Streets

Original post made by Jim Neal, Old Mountain View, on Apr 28, 2014

It may be that Mountain View will be following the VTAs lead by introducing the first toll lanes in the city to the North Bayshore area (ostensibly to improve traffic flow). They even have a slick new name for it "Congestion Pricing".

So does that mean that there will be tolls booths to enter the North Bayshore area? Absolutely not! The implementation will be a lot simpler. The City will just install cameras that take a photo of every single license plate that enters the area.

To me this raises serious privacy issues since there was no mention that I could find of how long this data will be retained, nor about restrictions for its use, and not even about how the data will be secured. When I mentined these concerns at the Council Study Session today at the Senior Center, for some reason Council Member Abe-Koga was reduced to a fit of the giggles. Of course it is possible that she wasn't paying attention to what I was saying and was giggling t something else. Regardless, with all the issues that have been in the media lately regarding safeguarding people's privacy, I think that it is a very important consideration. I also said that I thought that although the Council says that this will be a "last resort", it will be a first resort as the toll lanes will generate a revenue stream and I have never seen the government just walk away from any revenue. If this never happens I will be very surprised!

During the meeting, many people also mentioned the idea of having reversible lanes where you would have 3 lanes inbound and 1 outbound in the morning, and the revers in the afternoon, as well as adding lanes to San Antonio, an underground tunnel from Charleston, and a dedicated bridge for bike/ped only. I think that these are all excellent ideas.

John Igoe (of Google) and I both suggested that there be dedicated bus lanes added constructed from 101 that go into the North Bayshore and do not compete with traffic on Shoreline. In addition, I suggested that the Council leave the shuttle bus program to the large employers as I think they have done an excellent job with them thus far and would be far more capable of managing it and determining the optimal solution without having the City get involved.

Trip caps were also discussed, which is where the city would set a limit on how many vehicles are allowed to come into the North Bayshore without enacting penalties. I am very concerned about the effect that Trip Caps and Congestion Pricing will have on the few remaining small businesses that are already struggling in the North Bayshore area. The city says that they will of course have exemptions, but the process will just add another layer of complexity to the issues that the small businesses are already dealing with and I believe that people that are already finding the traffic issues to be challenging enough, will simply say "forget it" if they also have to go through a process where they have to have the business remove the charge for the Congestion Pricing or tolls.

Jim Neal
Candidate, Mountain View City Council
Web Link

Comments (1)

Like this comment
Posted by Jim Neal
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Apr 30, 2014 at 8:14 pm

Jim Neal is a registered user.

One more thing that I forgot to mention is that if the city is able to start charging tolls for the North Bayshore, how much longer do you think it will be before they start applying "Congestion Fees" to El Camino Real, San Antonio Rd, and Rengstorff Ave?

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