South Bay mayors band together to improve Silicon Valley traffic

The mayors from nine South Bay cities are teaming up to address a problem that affects all of their constituents: traffic in Silicon Valley.

Leaders from Mountain View, Sunnyvale, Saratoga, Cupertino, Palo Alto, Campbell, Los Altos, Los Altos Hills, and Los Gatos have banded together to send a letter to the Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority.

"This letter is to build a coalition so that we can have the power and strength of 9 cities to go to the VTA or any transportation agency and say we have a problem," explained Mountain View Mayor John McAlister, who spearheaded the move.

The problem, they say is that big projects in and around San Jose have left much of the West Valley and North Santa Clara County areas feeling neglected in terms of transportation funding.

"What we're saying is that's not really enough to get people out of their cars, and we can't build more roads," said Sunnyvale Mayor Jim Griffith.

The mayors are calling for a comprehensive study, one that will look at alternative modes of transportation and the big picture for the region.

"We're saying we support you looking at alternatives to more of the same. And we hope that you'll aggressively pursue alternatives to more of the same because our residents are telling us loud and clear that more of the same isn't good enough," says Griffith.

The VTA just received the letter Friday morning. They say as part of their long-range planning, they had already been seeking input from cities about their transportation needs.

The process is called Envision Silicon Valley, and cities had from May through August to submit their requests.

"We are looking at this as another request, desire in part of that process," said Bernice Alaniz of the Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority.

They say it part of VTA's job to look at the big picture already, but they will pass the request on to their board.

Drivers say something needs to change.

"Good. They have to start somewhere, right? They have to do something. Something has to happen," said South Bay commuter Julie Najmeh.

The city leaders say that it's imperative that work on the study begin as soon as possible, so it can inform project funding decisions in the near future.

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