A 2018 study by INRIX ranked San Francisco as the fifth most congested city in the world with Bay Area drivers averaging 79 hours annually in gridlocked traffic, at a cost of roughly $2,250 per person in wasted time, fuel and higher costs passed on by businesses to consumers. The consequences of this congestion are far reaching, and affect surrounding cities including East Palo Alto, where residents have voiced complaints that their local streets are being used as short-cuts by other Bay Area commuters, resulting in untenable traffic conditions. East Palo Alto’s position as a gateway to jobs and other activities around the Bay Area is infringing on local residents’ ability to even exit their driveways let alone access their streets and frequent local businesses and institutions. Eighty four percent (84%) of the traffic on University Ave, the major arterial, is cut-through traffic that neither originates or designates in East Palo Alto. Compounding this frustration are the increased health impacts associated with pass through traffic, including elevated asthma rates, that are lowering the quality of life for long term East Palo Alto residents.
In response to both the concerns of residents and a visible increase in congestion, city officials have commissioned outside consultants to complete a mobility study of traffic and parking across East Palo Alto. The study will include recommendations around reducing cut-through traffic with the ultimate goal of improving access to local roadways for city residents. The study will also explore ways in which the existing Transportation Demand Management (TDM) policy can be updated to better support multi-modal and non-vehicular transportation options including more infrastructure for pedestrians and cyclists. Also, the study will review options for traffic calming options and congestion pricing. Additionally, the study will look to alleviate impeded traffic circulation due to on-street parking conditions, specifically (i) narrow streets and (ii) multiple cars per single-family home due to over-occupancy. Potential policies to be explored within the study include parking restrictions, permit parking and changing traffic flow. City officials are concerned not only with the technical aspects of any proposed solutions, but also the broader implications of restricting cars and parking for multi-family households who might otherwise be priced out of the area.
Using the results of this study, local officials expect to engage with City Council and local residents to determine how best to address issues of traffic congestion and parking. To support this work, East Palo Alto will partner with FUSE Corps to host an executive-level fellow for one year who will oversee the progress of the mobility study as well as facilitate engagement with local government and community stakeholders, to share the results of the study and build consensus around implementing its recommendations.
Project Summary & Potential deliverables
The following provides a general overview of the proposed fellowship project. This project summary and the potential deliverables that follow will be collaboratively revisited by the host agency, the fellow, and FUSE staff during the first few months of the fellowship, after which a revised scope of work will be developed and agreed upon by the FUSE Fellow and the host agency.
Starting in September 2018, it is proposed the FUSE Fellow will begin his or her work by engaging with the mobility study consultants to understand the context of traffic and parking in East Palo Alto. The Fellow should have some familiarity with traffic management practices and be comfortable with managing the analysis and recommendations being developed through the study. Ultimately, the Fellow will be charged with moving the study forward, and working with city officials to determine an implementation strategy for the identified recommendations.
In order to effectively facilitate the adoption of recommendations from the mobility study, the FUSE Fellow will need to rely on industry expertise but also show facility in engaging with the wider public and showing empathy and understanding for concerns of local residents about proposed changes in policies. In the latter stages of the fellowship, the Fellow will work closely with City stakeholders to implement those recommendations from the study for which funding already exists, either through available grants or alignment with the current CIP. Success will be demonstrated by the sustained and widespread support for a transportation strategy with specific policies addressing congestion and parking.
- Oversee development and completion of mobility study: Manage external consultants as they complete an assessment of current traffic and parking conditions in East Palo Alto. Collaborate closely with consultants and city officials to analyze data, identify potential solutions and develop recommendations for implementation.
- Facilitate stakeholder communication: Collaborate closely with city officials, City Council and neighborhood residents to ensure broad based support for the recommendations developed through the mobility study. Facilitate opportunities for discussions, sharing of ideas and responding to feedback. Maintain open lines of communication with internal and external stakeholders to ensure continued support for final recommendations.
- Implement select recommendations: Inthe final phase of the Fellowship, implement a subset of recommendations based on identified funding sources and develop and an initial set of lessons learned to inform later implementation of the broader plan. Develop a long term implementation plan complete with timelines, anticipated sources of funding and appropriate staff responsibilities.
- Carlos Martinez, City Manager, Office of the City Manager
- Sean Charpentier, Assistant City Manager, Office of the City Manager
- Kamal Fallaha, Director of Public Works, Community and Economic Development Department
- Humza Javed, City Engineer, Community and Economic Development Department
- At least 15 years of professional experience in a relevant field, particularly with a strong background in land use and planning, traffic engineering and/or strategic communication.
- Superior critical thinking and analytical skills.
- Ability to synthesize complex information into clear and concise recommendations.
- Ability to relate to a wide variety of diverse audiences with strong emotional intelligence and empathy.
- Excellent stakeholder engagement skills and the ability to use facilitative leadership techniques to coordinate stakeholder activities.
- Self-motivated, goal-oriented, entrepreneurial leader who can also be an independent worker.
- Persistent in obtaining information and creatively resourceful in identifying solutions to complex problems.
- Ability to create direction and movement within potentially ambiguous environments.
- Exceptional written and verbal communication skills with an ease in public presentations.
Understands the need for solutions to support all people in a community regardless of race, religion, gender, immigration status, or ethnicity.