Mountain View Considers Toll Roads to Address Traffic

Mountain View is considering so-called "congestion pricing" to alleviate traffic on city roads during commute hours.

The plan calls for motorists to pay a toll if they decide to use the San Antonio, Rengsdorf and Shoreline off ramps on Highway 101. Officials said the idea is to get people out of their cars.

"If we really want to change behavior, we've seen that pricing, which doesn't have to be sky high, but some little amount, really does change behavior significantly," Mayor Chris Clark said.

The North Bayshore Park area of Mountain View is expected to be an area with heavy traffic when Google and other companies expand up to 3.4 million square feet of new office space and bring in up to 20,000 new workers.

Councilman John Inks is not in favor of implementing congestion pricing. He is concerned companies looking to move into the area may choose other cities and take those jobs with them.

"It puts a question I think in some businesses' mind, 'Do we want to go where there are toll roads that our employees are going to have to pay?' So there's a basic public relations image there," Inks said.

Campaign for a Balanced Mountain View said putting housing in North Bayshore Park and reducing employment growth are the answers to reducing traffic.

"So that we can solve the jobs, housing imbalance and not simply put a band-aid on like congestion pricing," said Lenny Siegel with the campaign.

Meanwhile, some drivers said they are in favor of the plan.

"I really think it's a good idea," Dave Leoni said. "I think it encourages people to use public transportation. It provides monies to invest back into infrastructure."

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