Will Congestion Pricing Be Implemented in Mountain View?
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Mountain View, CA, is home to some of the biggest names in tech. The headquarters for Google, Intuit, Mozilla, and other industry leaders can all be found in this Silicon Valley city. It comes as no surprise that career opportunities are bringing more people to the area.
However, all of these new residents mean increased traffic issues. According to Mountain View Voice, the city is planning to roll out congestion pricing. This plan is designed to encourage residents to ditch driving and switch to a different mode of transportation. Congestion is a major problem in big cities
Congestion problems in Silicon Valley
The North Bayshore tech park, where many of the tech giants are located, is going to add 6,000 more jobs. This shows that the industry is still experiencing great growth. It also means that traffic congestion might get a lot worse.
Major roads in the area already face traffic issues during rush hour. 56% of North Bayshore employees drive to work. To combat the congestion issue, the local government hopes to get that number below 45%.
Due to the pandemic, remote work policies became more common, but the number of residents who get to work by car doesn’t seem to be decreasing. The Mountain View City Council’s plan involves infrastructure improvements to promote biking and walking, along with congestion pricing to encourage people to drive less.
What is congestion pricing?
Mountain View would not be the first city to enact congestion pricing charges to drivers, and it’s common in Europe and Asia. New York doesn’t currently charge drivers congestion fees, but it will in the future. Congestion pricing charges drivers for taking certain roads or driving at peak times.
Right now, it hasn’t been determined exactly how drivers would be charged. Congestion pricing can be implemented in different ways. It can be a toll for drivers who enter North Bayshore or based on the number of miles traveled in the area.
A program like this needs infrastructure in place to keep track of congestion pricing charges. This means that cameras would need to be set up to track cars on the road. There would also need to be ways to protect the driver’s personal information.
Potential problems with congestion pricing
Reducing the amount of traffic in the area would be beneficial to the Mountain View community. However, the congestion pricing plan has potential issues.
A major issue with the program is equity; officials have not yet decided whether all drivers will be charged the same fee. Lower-income residents might not be able to drive if congestion prices are too high. While some residents could transition to walking or public transportation, others have no choice but to drive.
Another issue comes from the City Council’s plan as a whole. Transforming transportation in the area is costly. Without any major sources of funding, this burden is falling on taxpayers. 80% of funding so far comes from local taxes.
Mountain View’s congestion pricing plan is controversial and faces several questions before it can be implemented. On the other hand, residents of the community would benefit from less traffic. No one likes being stuck in rush-hour traffic, and car insurance rates can even increase in busier areas.
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