Easy parking keeps transit ridership down
- Published Wednesday, December 27, 2000, in the San Jose Mercury News
All those parking spaces keep workers off trains
By Gary Richards
Mercury News Staff Columnist
Tasman Drive is ground zero in Silicon Valley: where traffic
converges from interstates 880 and 680, Montague Expressway and
Sal Alberti of Fremont drives this route every day. And he knows the
problem: Parking. Too many parking spaces.
``You mention that light rail will ease this mess but not if the new
Cisco buildings provide parking spaces that employees can use,'' he
said. ``In fact, each of the new buildings on Tasman has huge parking
lots. Does the city have a plan for this increase in traffic?
``Who is planning this mess?''
Lots of folks. But no one seems willing to cut back on the football-
field-size parking lots.
I figure growth is inevitable, be it here or in Coyote Valley. But
every firm, not just Cisco, seems to want a parking space for each
employee, a recipe for continued gridlock.
There's another way, and you only need to look to downtown San Jose,
where trains are full and Caltrain ridership is booming.
Partly because parking, while still cheap, is at a premium. Many
commuters prefer the trolley because they are tired of driving around
in often futile attempts to find a parking spot either near San Jose
State University or the business areas.
Build thousands of parking spaces and people will drive and nothing
will change. Limit parking and wise folks will opt for transit.
Light rail runs smack down the middle of Tasman Drive. We don't need
a parking space for every single worker.
CISCO'S DEFENSE: Alberti also wanted to know if Cisco helped pay for
any road improvements. The valley's largest company contributed funds
that paid for the widening of Alder Drive to four lanes and made a
contribution to improving Montague Expressway.
Cisco also participates in the Eco Pass Program, where workers can
ride transit free of charge.
POTHOLES: The rains have begun, and Jonathan Hirshon says several
potholes on Fourth Street in San Jose are real killers. ``These
terrors have caused more damage to my car than I can tell you,'' he
said. ``I only pray that you can alert the city to fix these openings
to the abyss prior to a serious accident.'' Consider it done. San
Jose's pothole hotline is (408) 277-4373.
Contact Gary Richards at mrroadshow@... or (408) 920-5335.