East Palo Alto city leaders want to turn University Avenue into a toll road to curb commute traffic
EAST PALO ALTO, Calif. - East Palo Alto is trying to think outside the box when it comes to dealing with dealing with traffic concerns on University Avenue.
As more tech companies move in, and more commuters move through, they're finding residents can't get around.
One possiblity they're considering is making University Ave a toll road.
Situated in between Interstate 101 and the Dumbarton Bridge, the stretch of University Avenue through East Palo Alto is a problem. It's a congested, slow moving, head-ache inducing problem for most drivers.
Barry Thomas of East Palo Alto says, "it comes from east, west, north, south."
And as resident's frustration grows, city officials recognize something needs to be done.
Humza Javed, East Palo Alto City Engineer says, "It's not only considered a city street anymore, it's more of a commuter lane."
So, the city commissioned a mobility study, presented to the city council last week.
One of the long term suggestions is making University Avenue a toll road.
Javed says, "University Avenue being a city street, being a street that's not really meant to handle commuter traffic at this level, the city has flirted around with the idea of potentially adding a toll."
It's an idea that would take study as well as input at the state level.
But some residents already have concerns.
Thomas says, "No I don't think the people should have to pay higher prices to drive on their own roads, no."
There are other ideas as well like adding a loop road, or perhaps a reversible lane during commute hours.
And there are short term strategies too, like metering lights and speed bumps. Some of those could be implemented by early next year.
Resident Harrell Walker says, "If the city could do something about it, they should."
Some of the first steps will likely be signage to keep commuters from cutting through residential areas.
The hope is that the city council will revisit this over the next few months.