Climate Change

Palo Alto, despite being a leader for climate action, must continue to work diligently to reduce the long term effects of climate change. A significant amount of our city’s carbon emissions are a result of unsustainable modes of transportation. As an avid biker who recognizes the health benefits of using bicycles to travel, I am dedicated to working and investing in programs that increase accessibility for environmentally friendly ways to travel for Palo Alto’s residents. These programs would not only encourage more residents to use alternatives to cars such as biking or skateboarding but would also ensure that they can do so safely. In order to ensure a healthier and happier community, it is crucial to encourage every generation of Palo Altans to reduce car usage. The impacts of climate change are currently being felt in our city, state, and country, so we must be proactive in ensuring we protect our planet!

Frequency of Use

Last year, around 60 percent of high school students in the Palo Alto Unified School District walked or biked to school. However, this was true for less than 10 percent of adults and seniors. I am in favor of investing in a pilot program for adults and seniors. Developing a pilot program for these age demographics will increase quality of life and provide an environmentally sustainable method of transportation.

We can address this by:

  • Locating housing near jobs, services, shopping and transit to increase both
    walking and biking.

  • Investing in programs that increase safety which are crucial for both movement
    and safe places to store bikes and scooter.

  • Exploring the development of a private bike and scooter share program.

  • Transform certain streets into bike and walkways in order to increase non-car commuting.

It is extremely crucial that every Palo Altan, regardless of income, has sufficient opportunity and equitable accessibility to reduce their carbon emissions through public transit.

Alternative Forms of Transportation

From electric scooters to bikes to skateboarding, there are a multitude of alternatives to using a car to get to your destination. I strongly believe that these modes of transportation are not only environmentally sustainable but also encourage healthy habits, as it has been proven that going out into nature is also therapeutic, often crucial to good mental health. There is no reason why cars should be Palo Altans’ only option for travel and accessibility to alternatives that will lead to an increase in our city’s sustainability.

I have a history of working towards this goal by:

  • Voting in favor of establishing an e-scooter program in Palo
    Alto.

  • Being the only council member who consistently bikes to
    council meetings despite being the furthest from the City Hall.

  • Exploring programs that give financial incentives to bike to
    work.

  • Being endorsed by the League of Conservation Voters, twice
    (2016 and 2020).

In terms of really trying to meet our climate change goals, initiatives are being taken, and we are trying to help traffic and congestion problems. These are good steps forward. These programs are actively giving Palo Alto’s residents opportunities to mitigate the already devastating impacts of climate change. 

I have supporteda ccess to wider ranges of transportation for Palo Altans by:

  • Favoring more public buses, providing more transportation options for all citizens,
    including students, senior citizens, and commuters.

  • Favoring programs that help (subsidize) low wage workers to use public transit and ride share services.

  • Addressing barriers such cost and frequency of service, I also favor Caltrain expansion.

I am aware that many low wage workers have multiple jobs and difficult schedules so this is a real challenge that can succeed only with funding and more flexible options for these workers.

Safe Bike Routes

Last year, around 60 percent of high school students in the Palo Alto Unified School District walked or biked to school. However, this was true for less than 10 percent of adults and seniors. I am in favor of investing in a pilot program for adults and seniors. Developing a pilot program for these age demographics will increase quality of life and provide an environmentally sustainable method of transportation.

I have demonstrated this by:
 

  • Consistently voting for projects to expand bike lanes and routes. I voted in favor for the Highway 101 Bike and Pedestrian Overpass Bridge.

  • Exploring the construction of protected bike lanes. I also urged the council to push for more research regarding the implementation of such a project.

  • Holding office hours regarding Arastradero Road Improvements, and Bike Overpass.

Tragically, earlier this year Paul Lafargue lost his life taking his usual route home. The Palo Alto community has offered our prayers and condolences to his family but we must actively work toward ensuring a tragedy just like this never happens again. These bike lanes would be put in place to prevent more Palo Altans from losing their lives on the road. I have urged the city council to further research on the feasibility of implementing this program.

In October 2019, my office put out an article about protected bike lanes and we found overwhelming support for this program. The responsibility of an elected official is to amplify the concerns of their constituents and I hope to continue to work to make Palo Alto safer for bikers, skateboarders, walkers, etc.

Natural Resources

I am in favor of allocating increasing resources for saving water and solar panel subsidies.

For example:

  • I voted in favor of keeping Palo Alto's purchase of electricity from homes with solar panels.

  • I also voted in favor of increasing energy efficiency for buildings in Palo Alto and carbon neutral energy supply.

  • I have long advocated for the reduction of plastic waste.