Dumbarton Corridor improvements hang by a thread; could congestion pricing help?

At the last Dumbarton Policy Advisory Committee meeting, the situation looked very grim for the Dumbarton project.  The Alameda County Transportation Commission had decided not to spend any of the measure BB funds on looking into restarting the Bay Crossing project.    And the San Mateo County Transportation Authority had a negative staff report also recommending stopping the project, leaving the policy body no staffing or funding.  WIth this bleak news, the committee sadly decided to disband.

All is not completely lost yet.  Over the last year, the Menlo Park has been working on a General Plan update focusing on the area near Facebook.  There has been strong positive interest in using the right of way to connect Menlo Park, which is planning for more jobs and homes nearby, to downtown Redwood City, which is booming with new residential and office buildings.  Ideas for this shorter, smaller, potentially cheaper West Bay project range from a bicycle/pedestrian trail, to Bus Rapid Transit, Light Rail, or Diesel Multiple Unit shuttle trains.   There is strong potential for public/private partnership with the corporations and developers in the area.

The San Mateo County Transportation Authority Board did not actually vote on de-funding the project yet.   The scathing staff criticism by departing General Manager Mike Scanlon had focused on the billion dollar expense and risky prospects of the full Bay Crossing project.   It did not seem like the board members had actually thought about the smaller scope and lower cost of a West Bay initial project

Until the board votes, it would be possible to reconsider.

Meanwhile, at a study session for the Transportation and Bicycle Commissions of Menlo Park, leading transportation expert Jeffrey Tumlin offered a radical idea for commissioners and community members concerned about the traffic congestion over the Dumbarton Bridge, and the snail-like pace on Willow Road and the other streets connecting the Dumbarton to Palo Alto, Redwood City, and 101.

To address peak hour congestion, Tumlin proposed congestion pricing, which could encourage drivers to shift their commutes off of peak, or to take transit.  Congestion pricing is used on the Bay Bridge, where it has encouraged use of BART and carpooling, and has been used successfully elsewhere around the world.

What do you think?