Facebook's New Focus is Auto, Not Web Traffic

FB's main concern is getting its 6,600 employees through the suburb.

By Chris Roberts
|  Friday, Apr 5, 2013  |  Updated 10:45 AM PDT
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Facebook's New Focus is Auto, Not Web Traffic

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Facebook is hoping for a smooth road ahead in its move to Menlo Park.

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Can too much traffic ever become a problem for Facebook -- or any other hits-happy Web 2.0 enterprise? Yes, when it's auto traffic in the Peninsula suburb the social networking site wishes to call home.

Palo Alto-based Facebook wants to move some 6,600 employees to a Menlo Park office campus that once housed Sun Microsystems. Menlo Park city law caps the number of employees allowed at that site at 3,600, reports the Palo Alto Daily News.

Facebook is asking city leaders to eliminate the employee cap in return for promising to cut down on automobile trips -- Menlo Park-based Facebookers would be required to take buses, shuttles or other mass transit options. The company can limit its total auto trips to 15,000 a day, Facebook says.

The environmental impact report for which Facebook must pay before a move is even considered must focus on that auto traffic, Menlo Park planning commissioners said Monday.

"It's pretty extreme, the amount of people that they want to put out there, versus how many trips they're projecting," said Vincent Bressler, the Menlo Park Planning Commission chair.

Members of the public can comment on Facebook's proposed move until May 26.

Another city official said that Facebook should promise to hire Menlo Park residents at the new campus -- for jobs such as line cook or service worker -- but Facebook would not be legally required to commit to such an ask.

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