BY ALLISON LEVITSKY
Daily Post Staff Writer
In what she acknowledged was an unusual move for a City Council member, Palo Alto Mayor Liz Kniss offered a public apology last night (Aug. 13) for questioning the widely accepted belief that traffic is bad and getting worse.
“Seldom does a council member say they were wrong,” Kniss said from the dais last night, the first council meeting since she made the comments last month.
“I heard from all over this community about the trouble with traffic, about the traffic jams, about the traffic difficulties,” Kniss said, apologizing for what she called “obviously misjudging” the severity of the problem.
Kniss then announced that the city would hold a town meeting on traffic in the council chambers on Oct. 22.
At a council meeting on July 30, Kniss said that “some of our reports of traffic are really exaggerated” and suggested that residents be “willing to try alternate routes, not go your normal route.”
On Aug. 3, the YouTube account Sensible Zoning posted a 100-second clip of Kniss’s comments on the council video entitled “I Haven’t Seen Any Traffic.”
The video was shared on the Crescent Park Neighborhood email list and the neighborhood social media site Next Door with a message accusing Kniss of “willful ignorance of the many issues residents live with due to congested traffic” and speculating that her downplaying of the traffic problem “might be considered a part of her support for commercial interests who want to continue growing commercial activity in and around downtown.”
The online posting then called on residents to email Kniss and “help her understand that we expect our mayor to have a better grasp of the growing traffic impacts we face in Palo Alto.”