Mountain View Voice

Opinion - August 30, 2013

Is anyone worried about development impact?

With 68 projects in the pipeline, city will soon be mired in gridlock

by Scott Haber

One can't help but notice the recurring theme in letters over recent weeks and months pertaining to the trade-off between quality of life and the torrid pace of local development.

A public discussion of the proposed project at Castro Street and El Camino Real that would replace the Rose Market and other surrounding businesses drew about 80 opponents a few weeks ago, yet this corner represents only the tip of the iceberg of what is currently envisioned for the city.

The first phase of the San Antonio shopping center is a cruel joke at best: this is the end product for a "gateway to Mountain View" and a "pedestrian friendly" development, another (goliath) Safeway and (yet another) Starbucks, topped with high-rent apartments? If this an example of visionary perspective, we should all be suspicious when inspecting the other pending monstrosities which may be deemed worthy of approval by the current City Council, from developer Merlone-Geier's phase two at San Antonio, and well beyond.

For anybody even remotely interested in the excessive quantity and scale of proposed and approved developments, both residential and commercial, visit http://is.gd/LPmhtr and you will be shocked. Sixty-eight projects, including Google's 1- million-square-foot campus (technically on federal property) for a yet-to-be specified number of workers and residents and an additional 1-million-square-foot development at the (soon to be former) Synopsis site.

Adding a million here, and a million there doesn't seem to faze the city council much and one has to wonder if more than a passing thought has been given as to the enormous impact these projects will have throughout the city which is already reeling from congestion before many of these projects have even broken ground. Cramming as many edifices and people into any available space as quickly as you can does not seem indicative of good planning. Although many consider it a blessing that we are essentially Ground Zero for national employment and prosperity, I beg to differ; we have seen the consequences of rampant development in other communities before. The corresponding Pandora's box of over-development produces less a spectrum of diversity and uniform prosperity than a preponderance of homogeneous affluence and a framework whereby we are all crammed together like rats.

As escalating real estate prices continue to displace more people, there is an erosion in the city's unique quality of life, formerly accessible to and inclusive of people of more modest means.

Just because you can build something doesn't mean you must, that you go overboard, that you say yes to any and all developments, or gravitate toward aesthetically-mundane architecture, the highest densities, the tallest buildings allowable, or the developer with the deepest pockets. One notable exception was the purchase of Frances Stieper's Rengstorff property under the assumption that it would otherwise be developed, so the council preserved it for public use as a park; too bad we haven't advocated for projects such as this tenfold instead of selling out to wholesale development.

If we continue to operate and accelerate at the current unbridled pace and wonder five years ( or three years or two years?) from now why the city is as gridlocked as downtown Palo Alto and why it is characterized by generic high-density developments from one end to the other, we will have only ourselves to blame. Once the last vestiges of old Mountain View have been exploited and obliterated and the concrete has been poured, it will be way too late to reverse the damage. "If you build it they will come" is a mantra best reserved for Iowa corn fields.

Scott Haber is a resident of Flynn Avenue in Mountain View

Comments

Posted by Jerry, a resident of Slater
on Sep 2, 2013 at 8:56 am

Spot on Article - MV is in the grips of over-development that will destroy our suburban way of life. Those elected to protect us and our way of life apparently feel there is something wrong with Mountain View since they seem to have such a strong desire to change it from suburban into an urban concrete jungle. The General Plan allows 4-6 story building along the entire length of El Camino which has the potential to increase the population 20,000 to 40,000 people. Their are over 1000 apartments currently in the proposal and building stages on El Camino alone. Traffic has clearly gotten worse in the last few years with a modest increase in the population from 70K in 2000 to 74K in 2010(from US Census). I believe the City Council isn't concerned with gridlock because this is their goal so they can push you out of your car and onto a bike, bus, or your feet.


Posted by MVResident67, a resident of Cuesta Park
on Sep 2, 2013 at 9:29 am

I am very concerned. Evidently the Mountain View our elected leaders envision for the future is not the Mountain View I envision for my future. It makes me angry and very sad. I have much more to say on the subject, and will continue to address this directly with City Council, in letters and in person...often.

I hope that other residents of Mountain View who share similar concerns about the future of their city will not be shy about sharing this concerns with City Council.

Waiting until the next city council election is not soon enough...take action now, please!


Posted by MVResident67, a resident of Cuesta Park
on Sep 2, 2013 at 9:32 am

Sorry about the typos and poor grammar. Posted before proper editing.


Posted by Konrad, a resident of another community
on Sep 2, 2013 at 11:25 am

Konrad is a registered user.

Scott Haber, in his letter in the August 30 issue, asked "Is anyone worried about development impact?" Scott, many residents of Mountain View are concerned. We know that Mountain View's population density is four times the average population density of Santa Clara County. We know that when the fact that the area North of Highway 101 has little housing is factored in, Mountain View is the most densely populated city in the county.
Scott, we know that out of town developers look at Mountain View as an unguarded pot of gold. They know that they have four and possibly five City council votes in their hip pocket. It is a license to print money.
John Inks, our Mayor, is a Libertarian, and as such John believes that anyone should be able to do whatever they wish including turning Mountain View into a high density rental community. Michael Kasperzak has told opponenets of the propsed Castro Street and El Camino project that five stories is not dense. He went on to say that perhaps he would consider eight stories as dense. Ronit Bryant, who grew up in Europe, wants to turn Mountain View into a European Village where everyone walks instead of driving. Margaret Abe-Koga wants to turn two lanes of El Camino Real into bus only lanes. If you think that traffic is bad now, just wait until Margaret has her way. Only Jac Siegel and John McAlister are truly concerned about our quality of life.
How did it get this way? Look in the mirror. We, the residents of Mountain View keep electing proponents of growth (increased density) at any cost.
What can we do about it? Next year Ronit Bryant, Margaret Abe-Koga, and Jac Siegel term out and will be leaving the City Council. We can elect three Council Members who place quality of life of the residents above the gold for out of town developers. Now is the time for all who want change to come together.

Konrad M. Sosnow
Trophy Drive


Posted by Denise, a resident of another community
on Sep 2, 2013 at 3:12 pm

Great article, thank you Mr. Haber. It appears we are all fighting this growth in the bay area and yet our 'representatives' are not acting on our behalf. I have not seen one article supporting the build up of high rise buildings and apartments (and to be clear, high rise means anything over 2 stories). We are being bullied by our representatives who are only supporting big businesses and developers. This equals money, not progress. We do need to stop this outrageous addiction to building more and building higher.


Posted by MVResident67, a resident of Cuesta Park
on Sep 3, 2013 at 10:38 am

Random...

A few years ago when a new "master planned community" was approved, nearby residents lived thru over two years of nearly constant construction and it's attendant noise and dust. I was unable to open my windows for WEEKS during the destruction of the South Bay Christian School because of the deafening amount of noise and dust that filled the air. I wound up calling the city numerous times to report the builder working on weekends, evidently without gaining the required approval from the city. And, when I mentioned to a city staffer what a nightmare the construction process had been on the nearby residents, the response I got was "but, the development will increase your property value". Seriously? I cannot get back those two years of feeling like a prisoner in my own home caused by the construction, can I?

When is construction slated to begin on McKelvey Park? Is the city taking in to consideration the impact of multiple major construction projects occurring simultaneously within very close proximity to each other, and the impact this construction will have on the neighbors, which includes two schools as well as a very busy recreation center?

El Camino Real has turned into one long construction zone and if/when the latest and greatest 200 unit apartment block at the corner of El Camino Real and Castro Street is approved, that means that not only will the nearby neighbors have to suffer thru years of construction chaos created by that development but also the year plus it will take to demolish (remove TONS of dirt = hundreds of big rigs driving up and down residential streets) and rebuild McKelvey Park.

My questions are:

Are these projects going to improve the quality of life for the nearby residents of this quiet neighborhood?
Are these projects going to improve pedestrian safety...with TWO schools within feet of each of these projects? How do the current residents of Mountain View benefit from this kind of wholesale development on top of quiet residential neighborhoods?

Honestly, I am seriously considering putting my home on the market. This is not my Mountain View - the Mountain View I have lived in and loved for over two decades. Not only am I not up for living thru several more years of large scale construction projects that will not only be make my quality of life worse while the construction is ongoing, but will not provide a better quality of life once they are completed...unless one considers increased traffic, increased noise, less pedestrian safety, along with the loss of privacy, an added benefit.

Yeah, life is too short this kind of stuff....


Posted by Garrett, a resident of another community
on Sep 3, 2013 at 12:09 pm

Any of you read the business papers about the tech and the tech related growth that seems to be going on around here. I am not talking about Google, but talking about the shear number of jobs being created in and around Mountain View, Sunnyvale, Santa Clare and North 1st Street in San Jose.

Growth is good when it is well planned and must be built where other transit options can be added later.

Mountain View is not the suburb like it once was. Silicon Valley landed on our doorstep, it grew to be a center of the world.


Posted by USA, a resident of Old Mountain View
on Sep 3, 2013 at 12:30 pm

Unlike us armchair quarterbacks, the city planners have to deal with reality. The fact is that the high cost of land means that the days of low density single-family homes on big lots are gone. Even the high-end houses recently built on the old Grant Road farm have small lots.

Also, there is little new development. What is happening is redevelopment. We are tearing down old buildings along El Camino that really need to be torn down. Does anyone really miss the Tropicana motel? Yes, El Camino will become more of a concrete canyon, but what is there now is not so great anyway.


Posted by MVResident67, a resident of Cuesta Park
on Sep 3, 2013 at 1:02 pm

<"Unlike us armchair quarterbacks, the city planners have to deal with reality.The fact is that the high cost of land means that the days of low density single-family homes on big lots are gone.">

~~~

I live the reality, every single day. And, the REdevelopment that has been proposed for the corner of El Camino Real and Castro Street will not only result in the loss of numerous small businesses (Rose Market!) along both Castro Street and El Camino Real, but it will literally back up on top of EXISTING single family homes and small two story apartment units. The last drawings I saw showed a four story sheer wall along the Castro Street side of the development, with a driveway less than 15 yards from Sonia. It also shows that these apartments will have balconies with spectacular views into the yards and EXISTING homes of the neighbors along Park, Sonia and Harpster.

How does narrowing Castro Street between El Camino Real and Miramonte as well as adding 175++ apartments with an access driveway on Castro Street result in less traffic congestion and better pedestrian safety, especially so close to a school? There was already one traffic accident in front of Graham Middle School and the school year has just begun, and last year three children were struck by cars as they made their way to/from Graham.

REdevelopment can be a wonderful thing...if it is smart re-development that does not shatter the quality of life for the current residents of a neighborhood and the city in general.



Posted by MVResident67, a resident of Cuesta Park
on Sep 3, 2013 at 1:10 pm

@ Garrett:

<"Growth is good when it is well planned and must be built where other transit options can be added later.">

~~

Are you suggesting that Mountain View should continue to numerous high-density REdevelopment projects and worry about traffic and other infrastructure issues later?


Posted by MVResident67, a resident of Cuesta Park
on Sep 3, 2013 at 1:14 pm

Should read...

Are you suggesting that Mountain View should continue to approve numerous high-density REdevelopment projects and worry about traffic and other infrastructure issues later?


Posted by Jeral Poskey, a resident of Old Mountain View
on Sep 3, 2013 at 2:30 pm

I definitely measure the impact of these developments. They result in lowered greenhouse gas emissions, less sprawl, and more compact living patterns.

Don't get me wrong; I love Mountain View the way it is. But this community resoundingly voted for President Obama, which leads me to believe we believe in climate change. To fight it, we have to give up a little. (I hope we weren't so hypocritical as to just be voting for change for other people, not ourselves.)

The region is growing. It might seem nice if all that growth happened far, far away from us, but that's neither polite nor is it in keeping with values that Mountain View voters expressed in choosing a president. Let's be smart about development. Let's not let developers plop a 20-story tower in the middle of a neighborhood. But let's also not think that we can put our heads in the sand and deny future development, redevelopment, and growth, all because we wish we could prevent change.


Posted by sophiemutterfan, a resident of The Crossings
on Sep 3, 2013 at 2:36 pm

The whole city becomes a huge construction site. Does the city officials care about living quality in Mountain View? Does anyone notice the accumulated dust on the windowsill actually are black? Does anyone notice the noise and road blocks due to constructions? It makes our daily life unpleasant.


Posted by sophiemutterfan, a resident of The Crossings
on Sep 3, 2013 at 2:38 pm

@Jeral Poskey I thought you mean "higher" greenhouse gas emission.


Posted by Callin You Out, a resident of Castro City
on Sep 3, 2013 at 2:47 pm

@sophiemutterfan

In your comment you stated "Does anyone notice the accumulated dust on the windowsill actually are black?"

That's really what this is all about, isn't it. You MV residents are afraid of the "black" element moving into your white neighborhood. Well, I have news for you. The Bay Area is a multicultural place, and you are bound to run into varying shades from white to brown to black on a daily basis. I'm sorry your bedroom community is being invaded, but it will be better for mountain view in the long run.

Stop the hate!


Posted by konrad M. Sosnow, a resident of Blossom Valley
on Sep 3, 2013 at 3:46 pm

@USA,

"Also, there is little new development. What is happening is redevelopment. We are tearing down old buildings along El Camino that really need to be torn down"

We are replacing commercial buildings with high-rise apartments which increases our already over densely populated city,

When our population density is adjusted to reflect the low number of housing units North of 101, Mountain View is denser than any other city in Santa Clara County. The City Councils in other cities are concerned about the quality of life for their residents. Mountain View City Council has for years been known as developer friendly and resident hostile.


Posted by Jeral Poskey, a resident of Old Mountain View
on Sep 3, 2013 at 4:13 pm

No, @sophiemutterfan, I meant lower GHG emissions. Our area is adding jobs, and the best way to lower GHG is to make sure people don't have to live in Gilroy to work here.


Posted by Garrett, a resident of another community
on Sep 3, 2013 at 4:42 pm

Transportation and Infrastructure should not be ignored but must but improved and means to look to the future. Bus Lanes on El Camino Real or Central Expressway might someday come, but still we need to solve moving people around.

The growth is in the jobs, those companies are growing out at the office parks and it is not just Google. Those workers need housing, they want to live near work and they are willing to take other options. We need to build housing close to jobs, most important close to retail and other services.

Don't think we need to approve all the building plans that come before the city council, in fact i believe in good planning. Castro and El Camino should be planned right with those homes in mind. 4 stories on the corner, 2 to 3 stories near by. Add a 2nd floor to the Rose Market.

I don't see El Camino becoming a street of tall buildings, not all developers will be into building residential buildings. We are going to need retail, non retail needs, open space, offices, hotels, small type developments. 4 to 8 stories will not fit everywhere, if a 8 story building is going to be built, by the office parks is best.

Traffic by schools, this is become a problem in every city, just the other day was driving in a school zone. I was doing 20 mph due to the fact was coming close to crosswalk, car passed me on the left. Adults with kids were going to cross, I stopped. No high rises, businesses or any kind of big density, only single family homes. Driving habits have become terrible and are getting worse.


Posted by MVResident67, a resident of Cuesta Park
on Sep 3, 2013 at 4:53 pm



@Jeral Poskey:

> "Let's be smart about development. Let's not let developers plop a 20-story tower in the middle of a neighborhood. But let's also not think that we can put our heads in the sand and deny future development, redevelopment, and growth, all because we wish we could prevent change." <

~~~~~

Presently, I am not concerned that our duly elected Mountain View council members will be approving a 20 story tower in the middle of a neighborhood, but they ARE poised to approve a FOUR story 175++ unit apartment block literally right next door to - and on top of - a small quiet neighborhood composed of mostly single family residences and small two story apartment units.

You and I seem to be agree that smart development (or redevelopment) is a good thing, evidently we disagree as to what constitutes "smart development".

Also, not that it really matters, but I suspect there are plenty of Mountain View residents who did not vote for our current president nor do they agree with all of his policies or his overall agenda. Thankfully, we live in a free country where differing opinions are allowed.



Posted by Steve, a resident of another community
on Sep 3, 2013 at 5:21 pm

ABAG's region-wide command for increased density is no doubt driven by environmental policy. Some federal agency is probably threating to cut off funding unless they see a policy in place to address some issue or another. And like so many other government programs, I'll wager the policy doesn't even need to work.
'Environment' encompasses more than just 'greenhouse gas'... over density has polluted the Mountain View quality of life enough to make the commute from Morgan Hill sensible.


Posted by Garrett, a resident of another community
on Sep 3, 2013 at 6:51 pm

Morgan Hill and Gilroy have had issues with over development with ABAG there was of life could be under threat. If even without ABAG, we do need to build housing.


Posted by Jerry, a resident of Slater
on Sep 3, 2013 at 8:21 pm

Having lived in a suburban Mountain View for 50 years I don't see anything wrong with my way of life or Mountain View for that matter in regard to housing density. I suppose if I wanted to live in Manhattan or San Francisco I would move to the urban jungle not try to turn Mountain View into my ugly cramped stack & pack vision of the future. I also assume Google et al settled here because they valued the suburban life style as well. Otherwise they would have chosen SF instead. Unless you're going to tell me that Sergey & Larry lust after one of these high density apartments? I suppose you lust after one of these apartments as well and ride a bike to work and don't own a car and charge all your electronics off of solar panels? As to those who say we must provide housing for all these workers. I say why? It's my town and I like it less dense. You're the one arguing for so called "progress" and change I don't agree with. I'm for sustainability - sustainability of MV in its current less dense form.


Posted by Chuck, a resident of Old Mountain View
on Sep 3, 2013 at 9:21 pm

We have exactly what we deserve.
If we desire to change it we not only have to vote for politicians that will get it the way we want it but we need to become pro-active and work toward getting them elected, relaying to them our desires for our community and then holding them accountable. If they do not run the city the way we want then they need to be recalled.
I serously doubt that even one of the developers changing our landscape and packing our streets with vehicles lives in Mountain View.
I also seriously doubt if any of the upper managers,CEO's or COO's of the dot com's north of Bayshore live in Mountain View.
They would not put up with what we are forced to on a daily basis.Traffic,conjestion, huge trucks, dirt, noise, pollution, etc, etc, etc.
We need to put a stop to this wholesale prostitution of our city.
It will soon be too late!!


Posted by Concrete Jungle, a resident of Castro City
on Sep 4, 2013 at 8:41 am

New Rules: All Approving Counil Members move to Cement High Rising Buildings.


Posted by Political Insider, a resident of Old Mountain View
on Sep 4, 2013 at 9:00 am

Is anyone worried about development impact?

Fortunately not the majority of Mtn View residents who weigh the benefits and costs of redevelopment and vote to support growth candidates. Mayor Inks received the most votes in last years election. No-growthers like Siegel and McAlister have received the least number of votes to get elected. Most of the no-growthers have personal preferences against developers and see them as evil.

Every council project undergoes an EIR to looks at traffic and parking concerns. In every case theses concerns are found to have minimal or no impact. The recent Madera project in my neighborhood is a fine example. Parking and traffic have improved. Sight lines are unnoticed in terms of the size of the project and its impact on the neighborhood. But the bottom line here is the developer who risked millions of dollars to get it right. And the fact that the project is 100% leased is his reward for risking his own money. (the no-growthers, who risked nothing, claimed no on would want to live in this project)

Redevelopment is a natural process as our city ages. The benefits outweigh the costs, which is supported by the increase in land values. People want to live here because there are jobs here. Focusing only on the costs ignores the huge benefits provided by redevelopment.


Posted by MVResident67V, a resident of Cuesta Park
on Sep 4, 2013 at 9:58 am

< "For anybody even remotely interested in the excessive quantity and scale of proposed and approved developments, both residential and commercial, visit Web Link and you will be shocked. Sixty-eight projects, including Google's 1- million-square-foot campus (technically on federal property) for a yet-to-be specified number of workers and residents and an additional 1-million-square-foot development at the (soon to be former) Synopsis site." "



Thank you for posting the link to the list of proposed and approved developments...it is a staggering amount of development. One thing I noticed when reviewing the 12 page/68 list of projects, is what is not yet on that list, specifically the corner directly across Castro Street and El Camino Real, the current location of the Chase Bank. I have heard that that corner is slated to be REdeveloped with yet another monstrous high-rise high density apartment development, and that just North of Greystar's proposed four story 175+ apartment development on El Camino Real & Castro Street, on the corner of El Camino Real and Miramonte, there are plans (though evientally nothing formally submitted at this point) for another high-rise high density development. So, we aren't just talking about the impact of adding 175+ apartments (@1.2 cars per apartment, or so the city calculates) we are talking about adding THREE TO FOUR TIMES the number of units, people, cars etc. to just that one city block on El Camino bounded by Castro Street to the South and Miramonte to the North.

Development on this scale would equal a death by a thousand cuts for the small quiet neighborhood of single family residences and small two story apartment units that these developments would literally be parked on top of. And the additional noise, congestion, exponential amount of increased traffic...well, it is staggering to contemplate. Evidently the city is in a shot first and ask questions later mode = build it and then figure out how to manage the infrastructure that will be required to manage growth on such a large scale.

Please, make the time to take a look at the following link and scroll down to the bottom where the map highlights where each of the current development proposals are slated to be built...it is eye popping.

Web Link


Posted by MVResident67, a resident of Cuesta Park
on Sep 4, 2013 at 10:35 am


Word of the day: upzoning.

upzoning
1. The practice of changing the zoning in an area typically from residential to increased commercial use. This is a controversial practice because upzoning allows for greater density and congestion in the area which affects the current occupants. The term can also apply when changing the zoning to limit growth and density.

Exhibit A: Mountain View, CA

Please see: Web Link


Posted by Will someone desribe the benefits, a resident of Old Mountain View
on Sep 4, 2013 at 11:37 am

Seems to me that neither the city or the council has done a very good job of describing the benefits that flow from all the redevelopment projects....
Existing residents are perhaps overlooking the upside, but most are reasonable people who would listen with interest...

Clearly the 90s redevelopment of Castro has helped keep the city solvent and given us a vibrant restaurant scene and rising house prices but what about this latest round..... what are the future fiscal benefits ?

Surely at some point the tax windfall will benefit everyone (anyone interested in lower taxes/rates?)
Failing that the increased pot should deliver some tangible improvements to city residents....

What's the investment/upside for schools?
What kind of money becomes available for infrastructure investment ?
Will we get more parks ?
What services are protected/improved ?
Will we get more transit options?

Anyone want to pick up the thread ?


Posted by Garrett, a resident of another community
on Sep 4, 2013 at 12:16 pm

I don't think you will see Lower Taxes unless the market tanks out but you might see more benefits as in parks or paying down the city debt. But as prices for real estate goes up so does the cost of buying land for parks, schools and street improvements.

If people moving into these new projects and aren't interested in having kids but will to live here. You might not see the large number of kids like in the baby boom generation. I would imagine in time both Slater and Whisman will be reopened, in the meantime start making plans.

We can't go out and build new roads, so we must start think other means of transport. One thing I noticed the new people moving in are really to bike or live close to work. I heard talk about shuttles, RBT, light rail but nothing ever seems to get beyond the talking stage.

The benefits will come in ways and not at the same time


Posted by Political Insider, a resident of Old Mountain View
on Sep 4, 2013 at 1:25 pm

"Thank you for posting the link to the list of proposed and approved developments...it is a staggering amount of development."

Staggering? Based on what objective metric?

"Development on this scale would equal a death by a thousand cuts.... Evidently the city is in a shot first and ask questions later mode = build it and then figure out how to manage the infrastructure that will be required to manage growth on such a large scale.

The city studies the impact on parking, traffic and infrastructure, and always finds these impacts to be minimal or non-existent. Bottom line these claims are unfounded.


Posted by konrad M. Sosnow, a resident of Blossom Valley
on Sep 4, 2013 at 2:36 pm

@ Chuck, a resident of Old Mountain View
You are correct - We have exactly what we deserve.

Political Insider points out that Mayor Inks received the most votes in last years election. The two controlled growth advocates - Siegel and McAlister have received the least number of votes to get elected.

If we desire to change it we not only have to vote for politicians that will get it the way we want it but we need to become pro-active and work toward getting them elected, relaying to them our desires for our community and then holding them accountable


Posted by konrad M. Sosnow, a resident of Blossom Valley
on Sep 4, 2013 at 2:38 pm

@Political Insider - If uncontrolled growth is so great why aren't Palo Alto, Sunnyvale, Cupertino, Los Altos, etc. following Mountain View's path of uncontrolled growth? When our population increases by 50% and our streets are chocked with traffic, will you still be happy?


Posted by Resident since 2005, a resident of Cuesta Park
on Sep 4, 2013 at 2:39 pm

I find it interesting that the current debate in this comment thread is couched along lines of growth vs. no-growth, green vs. not-green, and other black vs. white alternatives. I think we need to stop and ask whether the article by Mr. Haber actually poses those questions.

To me the question is really about hitting the pause button and taking into consideration the overall redevelopment plan and having a discussion about looking at the totally of the plan. Some of us are rightly concerned about projects in our neighborhoods, but the larger issue in front us is about finding the right amount of growth in the overall, as well as, the right redevelopment plan for each neighborhood. I have talked to many of my neighbors and while there are some that want no-growth, most of us want growth that makes sense and takes into account the fabric of the community. Does it make sense to add three large buildings on the corner of Castro and El Camino that will accommodate 175 units when the proposed site is so close to not just one, but TWO schools? Does it make sense to do this when four more building sites are proposed just 1/2 mile away, all to be undertaken within a few months of each other?

Yes, we are ground zero for the tech industry... that should translate to being ground zero for demonstrating thoughtful leadership in growing our community.


Posted by Garrett, a resident of another community
on Sep 4, 2013 at 3:39 pm

I expect good leadership when it comes to growth, yes Castro and El Camino Real had a 175 unit apartment building planned but I don't expect the city to approve such a large project. I would be the first to say. "Back to the drawing board with you". Sunnyvale, Cupertino and Los Alto have their growth issues, each one different then the next but still it is growth.

Buildings that were built between 50's and 80's are going to come down, outdate and useless in the senses of needs, space and the fact they paid too much for a site. Only way to get some kind of ROI is to knock it down, redevelop.

The house I grew in as boy is now worth more then what my folks paid, they sold if for more, the next person sold it for much more. I would imagine the next owners will want to sell it for more then the purchased price. I don't expect landlords, property owners, developers, business owners to keep everything in the 1970's


Posted by SP Phil, a resident of Shoreline West
on Sep 4, 2013 at 3:57 pm

A key point is made in the very first comment--the reference to the General Plan. The 2030 General Plan, passed in 2012, followed many, many presentations for and/or open to the public over several years. I attended several of these over the years and there was always a mention of higher-density buildings to be sited at major intersections and along transit corridors.
Therefore it is surprising that some are only now discovering what was never hidden: that the future of Mountain View will not look like the past, and that (re)development should and is being planned. That is what the City Council has been doing.


Posted by Political Insider, a resident of Old Mountain View
on Sep 4, 2013 at 4:30 pm

@konrad M. Sosnow, market based exchanges do not have uncontrolled growth, since the marginal benefits to growth will decline and/or the marginal costs will increase. There will be some sort of equilibrium like in other types of markets that will constrain growth. Sunnyvale and Palo Alto have supported a lot of growth. Los Altos has not which is why their downtown sucks.

@Resident since 2005. Who decides what the right amount of growth is or what growth makes sense. Should we let bureaucrats with limited knowledge and no vested interest make decisions. Or should we let property owners seek out the best use of their land and bear the risk of getting it right or making sense out of their decisions. I dont know the right answer but i expect those with a financial interest, risking millions of dollars, have a better chance of figuring out the demand for their land and its best use. If you have a better idea for someone else's land, then buy it.

@SP Phil - you are correct. All of this is spelled out in the general plan which was supported by all of the current council members.



Posted by MV resident, a resident of Rengstorff Park
on Sep 4, 2013 at 4:53 pm

Scott – thank you for the article.
City Government has a responsibility to the people of Mountain View to balance out the tidal wave of developer and corporate power and wealth that is currently washing over all of us. In exchange for letting classic condos or another corporate "profit suck" like starbucks come into Mountain View and take as much money from our community as they possibly can, City Government should protect or negotiate to share the responsibility for the quality of life issues that are so important to a community. We should be honestly assessing, addressing and prioritizing parking, traffic, congestion, green space, affordability and density issues before and as a condition to approving any (re)development. Unless the voters demand some sort of a change, the future of Mountain View is to become a vertical, dense, congested, overbuilt, overpriced, city filled with millionaires who spend all of their time working and purchasing overpriced commodities from corporate chains.


Posted by Jerry, a resident of Slater
on Sep 4, 2013 at 5:43 pm

I'm not against Development that is in accordance with this City's historic values and standards. I'm against the current climate of over-development that currently pervades the halls of power in MV and the idea that we must pack 'em in like bees in a hive to have progress. I've seen many times when so called progress has very distasteful consequences. As far as the notion that we must build for as many people as MV based corporations hire, that logic if extended out says if Google hires a million people then we must house them all in MV is not reasonable argument. As far as the General Plan goes - Yes it's true, I didn't watch my City council members as if they were children that needed minding - My mistake. That does not invalidate my opinion that MV is headed in the wrong direction. I'm also not against green if one is so disposed or people who want to walk -walking or people who want to bike- biking. Nor people who want to drive -driving. I say provision should be made for everybody's personal transportation choice.
Cramming so many people into the city so it purposely causes gridlock is not affording me a choice it is deliberately and calculatingly stealing my choice.

It's clear to me what Kasperzak wants "But longer term, Kasperzak sees a need for a change in the current car culture. ... We've got to find better ways to get (places) other than getting into the car."-LA Town Crier 8/21/13


Posted by konrad M. Sosnow, a resident of Blossom Valley
on Sep 4, 2013 at 5:58 pm

@Political Insider -
Because land is so expensive and building costs are relatively low, the marginal benefits to taller buildings will exceed the marginal cost as you build taller buildings - See Three Sixty, Axis, City Heights, and The88 in San Jose. Would you like one of these next to your home?

The issue is that five members of pour City Council think that it is O.K. to build whatever and wherever the developers can make money with no regard for existing residents.

My guess is that you are, or are related, to one on the five, or are a developer.


Posted by Political Insider, a resident of Old Mountain View
on Sep 4, 2013 at 6:39 pm

@konrad M. Sosnow,


"Because land is so expensive and building costs are relatively low, the marginal benefits to taller buildings will exceed the marginal cost as you build taller buildings - See Three Sixty, Axis, City Heights, and The88 in San Jose. Would you like one of these next to your home?

Maybe taller building would provide more profits but you cant compare SJ to MV. I assume you are not a developer. Why dont you ask a developer why they dont propose taller buildings in Mtn View? IN many cases it just not profitable to build taller buildings. And no on is proposing these types of building next to SFH's.

"The issue is that five members of pour City Council think that it is O.K. to build whatever and wherever the developers can make money with no regard for existing residents."

Flat out a false claim. I am a resident and like a lot of others I support the council. See my previous comments on votes to support pro-growth council members

"My guess is that you are, or are related, to one on the five, or are a developer."

I am a retired planner from another city that has contact with MV city planners. I am not a council member nor related to one.


Posted by MVResident67, a resident of Cuesta Park
on Sep 4, 2013 at 7:50 pm

@political insider:

I almost spit out my coffee when I came across this bit...

<" The city studies the impact on parking, traffic and infrastructure, and always finds these impacts to be minimal or non-existent. Bottom line these claims are unfounded.">

Do you expect people to believe that the city can add, say 600 residential units from the stretch of El Camino between Miramonte and Castro Street and the impact on the surrounding neighborhood (let's just talk about parking, traffic and infrastructure right now) will be "minimal or non-existent"?

Really?


Posted by sophiemutterfan, a resident of The Crossings
on Sep 5, 2013 at 12:04 am

@Callin You Out, why are you so irritable, I am just stating the fact that DUST on my windowsill is black. Why did you comment about white community, multicultural, etc? I know better than you about this. The community I stay is exactly a multicultural place. Don't misunderstand me before judging my comment!


Posted by BadPlanning, a resident of Old Mountain View
on Sep 5, 2013 at 7:56 am

The council takes into account existing landowner wishes. Unfortunately, they also take into account all of the people that want to move and live here. Oh, and all the people that want to commute in and work here for the day. Oh, and all the retail stores that have their own needs. Oh, and all the absentee landlords that want to maximize the profit potential of their property. Oh, and the city employees desire to grow their departments by growing the city, so they can get promoted. Oh, and to satisfy regional and state governments to have one city in the valley be a transportation hub, even if it ruins the beautiful community of MV.

So, yeah, the council listens, but as residents that wish to preserve MV, we are a small minority voice...


Posted by Political Insider, a resident of Old Mountain View
on Sep 5, 2013 at 8:09 am

@MVResident67.

"Do you expect people to believe that the city can add, say 600 residential units from the stretch of El Camino between Miramonte and Castro Street and the impact on the surrounding neighborhood (let's just talk about parking, traffic and infrastructure right now) will be "minimal or non-existent"?

Yes if you understand how the studies are performed. Remember the existing uses at full capacity are the baseline. Changing use from retail to housing usually results in fewer trips.



Posted by Mr Advice, a resident of Blossom Valley
on Sep 5, 2013 at 8:49 am

MV is a hot bed of an economic Gold Rush, if anyone does not like it they can move to another town. MV will never be a sleepy agriculture town again, [portion removed; be civil with other posters].


Posted by OMV Resident, a resident of Old Mountain View
on Sep 5, 2013 at 10:41 am

Reading through the comments above, my biggest impression is... people really care about Mountain View's future, our quality of life, and the pace of change that's occurring. And whether you are a pro-growther or slow-growther, that's a good thing to see.

It's clear that people's opinions on development are all relative to what they're used to, or familiar with. Those who have lived in MV for a long time or who live in a single-family house tend to think that anything more than two stories is too tall or dense. Those who are younger, have lived elsewhere, or now live in an apartment are probably more accepting of the new developments occurring in our city.

I would encourage everyone to take a step back and put things in perspective, though. Yes, we are seeing more development interest in Mountain View and some new buildings are being constructed, but this comes after a deep recession where there was very little built. There were NO new apartment buildings built in MV between roughly 2000 (when the newest phase of Park Place was built between Castro St and Eagle Park) and 2011 (when Madera Apartments started). Now there are about 3 or 4 under construction, with several more planned. Is this an avalanche of development, as many here have indicated? Depends on your perspective... but keep in mind, soon enough the real estate cycle will turn again and we'll likely see an extended period where little to no construction occurs.

Perceptions of building height and density are also a matter of perspective. Someone above posted that anything higher than 2 stories should be considered a 'high-rise'. People commonly refer to the new apartment complexes being built as high-rises when they are 3 to 4 stories (like Madera). In MOST other parts of the country, let alone the world, it would be considered laughable to call a 3-story building a high-rise.

As for comments about people not wanting to live in 'stack and pack' housing... check out the occupancy rate (100%) and rents ($5000+ for a 2-bedroom) that Madera Apartments is attracting, and you'll quickly see that there is a pent-up demand for a more compact, urban-style housing with amenities, near transit, and in a walkable neighborhood.

Last, to put things in perspective... Think about your quality of life this year versus 5, 10 or 15 years ago (assuming you've lived in MV that time). Is it really that different now, with this uptick in development? I for one haven't noticed that it takes me much longer to drive anywhere locally... if anything, I see more traffic on the freeways, but I can still hop on El Camino and get anywhere I want to go in MV in 5 or 10 minutes. I can still find parking downtown, for free, all over the place, even if I have to use a parking structure now rather than a parking lot. And I notice that the businesses on Castro Street are now booming, and San Antonio Center is booming, with the new residents and workers in town, which is great for our tax base and city budget.


Posted by BadPlanning, a resident of Old Mountain View
on Sep 5, 2013 at 1:56 pm

I think it is not the amount of construction that is alarming people, but the size and density of the projects. Despite what 'Political Insider' said, developers will push for projects with the highest profit potential. This means maximizing indoor square footage by going up as far as you can and minimizing the very expensive underground parking garages and square footage stealing parking spaces (thereby letting the city absorb the residents parking on the public streets). The fact that developers don't propose 12 story buildings, doesn't mean that they don't want them. They just know that they won't be accepted.

The new high density developments are pushed right up to the public sidewalks and have minimal landscaping. The interior is almost all paved. Every new development that is allowed to uglify the community can be pointed at by future developers as "Well, you have to allow my development, since you allowed this other one last year. It's not fair to deny my application."

So, it's important to only allow developments that preserve the beauty of the community.

Unfortunately, there are other agendas at play that are out to turn MV into a giant bus stop. Pave everything over and have 8 story apartment buildings with no parking. You can just go outside and scurry onto the nearest train/bus/lightrail/pod option and travel to work. Afterwards, you can re-board the same option, scurry home and watch TV. That is the most optimal green lifestyle that MV is targeting.

I encourage all MV residents to elect the next set of Council members that are committed to preserving the character and beauty of MV. Don't just let them pander to the 'smart growth' nuts & developers. Save MV!


Posted by Political Insider, a resident of Old Mountain View
on Sep 5, 2013 at 2:49 pm

@BadPlanning,

"developers will push for projects with the highest profit potential. This means maximizing indoor square footage by going up as far as you can and minimizing the very expensive underground parking garages and square footage stealing parking spaces (thereby letting the city absorb the residents parking on the public streets).

Flat out wrong and ignorant of how developers maximize profit and not the amount of space. Take a look at the Mozart project next to Madera. Very low density and he could have produced more. A few years ago planning staff reported that the average density level was about 60% of what was allowed. There are other more binding constraints on utilizing land.


Posted by konrad M. Sosnow, a resident of Blossom Valley
on Sep 5, 2013 at 2:51 pm

@ Bad Planning,

Right On! - "I encourage all MV residents to elect the next set of Council members that are committed to preserving the character and beauty of MV."

I don't think that City really studies the impact on parking, traffic and infrastructure as they always finds these impacts to be minimal or non-existent. I'll bet that if they stood at El Camino and Castro at 6 p.m. they would say 'Light Traffic, moving smoothly."


Posted by Max, a resident of Rex Manor
on Sep 5, 2013 at 4:21 pm

I'm wondering if we are looking at this the right way. Should we judge these projects based on density or another metric?

As a resident, my interest is ensuring that the city is promoting productive places (however they develop), for the long haul. I agree that $5000/month rent at Madera feels exclusionary. However, those rents indicate something very positive about our city. It indicates that there is great value to those types of developments.


Also, to clarify, what do we mean by "our quality of life?" I'm not trying to make a point with this question, I just want to be on the same page.


Posted by BadPlanning, a resident of Old Mountain View
on Sep 5, 2013 at 4:53 pm

@Political Insider: " Take a look at the Mozart project next to Madera. Very low density and he could have produced more."
This is about as good as it gets regarding higher density developments. Notice the space left for landscaping and the plants chosen--very high quality. It is clear that this developer is an exception--they have chosen to fit into the community better rather than maximizing profits. Check the development on dana and calderon. Wall to wall pavement jammed up against the street. This is much more typical of the type of projects that 'Political Insider' is defending.

@konrad: A lot of these studies are simply a formality. If the city planners want the development, then its going to happen.

@Max: " I agree that $5000/month rent at Madera feels exclusionary. However, those rents indicate something very positive about our city. It indicates that there is great value to those types of developments."
I would suggest that if you build the same structure in East Palo Alto, you would have trouble charging 1/2 of the rents asked for by this development. Most of the value is the location, meaning the environment that is built around it. Beautiful walking streets where homeowners maintain lovely front yards for passerby's to enjoy. A variety of interesting restaurants on castro that have not all been taken over by expensive bland corporate owned eateries. Safety. Also, I would be careful about assuming anything about the marketing efforts from Prometheus. Given that google has locked up a good # of units and are paying far less than this $5k/month, what are the real #'s Also, how long are these people staying in these units? When the market dives again, what will happen?


Folks--Mountain View has been "lucky" these past few years since financing has been locked up to prevent massive redevelopment. Now is the time to wake up and fight for our beautiful city. Once it's gone, it's gone…. (downtown SJ)


Posted by Max, a resident of Rex Manor
on Sep 5, 2013 at 5:15 pm

@Bad Planning

I agree the much (or most) of the value is in the surrounding environment, not what the units looks like. But, I think we may disagree as to whether a project like Madera diminishes the neighborhood. It doesn't appear that way to me (but that might be an issue of personal taste). When I say "like Madera," in this case I am indeed speaking of density. I wonder if a project like that would be more acceptable to neighbors if it had a different look, but with the same density?

Also, I would like to clarify I know of the marketing efforts of Prometheus. I hope you don't think I am parroting their position.


Posted by AC, a resident of another community
on Sep 5, 2013 at 6:35 pm

AC is a registered user.

OMV Resident:

It was better 15 years ago.
We were more neighborly 15 years ago.
We were more of a community 15 years ago.

More than anything else, this is my concern. Mountain View has been the best place to live. I moved here from Beaverton, Oregon in 1993. I've never wanted to live anywhere else. And I don't want to find myself changing my mind about it. I'm a good commute to everywhere I've worked, I love my church community (St. Joseph, Mountain View), I love the easy access to Shoreline Park. And I've been happy with most of the people in this town. And yes, I'm a renter; and I have been all this time.

What's wrong with density? The erosion of communities. In addition to the concerns cited above. I can't afford a home here, I don't make that kind of money. It's okay; it's a privilege I just can't afford. That's not austerity, that's the reality of living within your means.

Increased density, just as you find in urban communities, brings the necessity of more people "looking out for themselves and minding their own business". There's nothing wrong with that fact; it's just the way it works. And even in highly urban places, it's the people who have "lived there forever" who preserve the identity and character of those communities.

Do we remember the much talked about unity and support in New York 12 years ago when disaster hit? I believe that the majority of that is because people who live there stay there. They become part of the community, part of the landscape; and change happens incrementally, which by definition means "slowly" in the view of those who would wish for instant results and "surging forward".

This is part of the reason I've loved Mountain View. And I *moved here* for the tech boom twenty years ago.

I'm not saying "down with this idea" or "down with that idea". What I encourage all of you, my neighbors, who obviously care enough to write as much as you've written, is to consider not just what we want/don't-want/think/disagree-with; but to consider "What is it we're trying to preserve, and what is it we're trying to achieve?"

For the record, I'm against the pace of the growth; but perhaps not the growth entirely (I can't see that far ahead). We're just moving too fast. How will this wonderful community survive *that much change* in *such a short span of time*?


Posted by Garrett, a resident of another community
on Sep 5, 2013 at 6:57 pm

Mountain View has survived many a boom, look after World War 2 when most of the single families homes were built. At one time MV was the faster growing city in California, in the 50's, look at the old black and white photos of MV just before 1950, you will see lots of empty space.

In the 60's changes were around, then the 70's and then the 80's rolled around, then we enter the 90's. Of course we are in the new century so again things are changing. Just remember in the 50's which Mountain View went from being rural to the suburbs which also affected lots of old residents.


Posted by Political Insider, a resident of Old Mountain View
on Sep 5, 2013 at 7:32 pm

@BadPlanning

"It is clear that this developer is an exception--they have chosen to fit into the community better rather than maximizing profits.

Pure nonsense. How do you know they didnt maximize profits? Your dismissive attitude towards staff reports is just because you dont like the results.

What I stand for is for all residents to use their property as they see fit. You blame developers but it is the land owners that are seeking to increase the value of their land. The see alternative uses and want to pursue those opportunities just like all residents


Posted by NorthLosAltos, a resident of another community
on Sep 5, 2013 at 8:21 pm

NorthLosAltos is a registered user.

Dear Neighbors / Residents of Mountain View:

The alarm bells should be going off like sirens!!!!

Excerpts from Mountain View City meeting minutes:
(San Antonio Shopping Center Scoping Meeting August 28 2013
held in City Office) ---

The Phase 2 Project proposes mixed use development including
office commercial retail hotel cinema restaurant parking on a
9.9 acre site at the existing San Antonio Shopping Center.
Existing uses at the Project site to be demolished include
59,655 square feet sf of commercial and retail buildings.
The Project proposes to develop the following uses office
392,855 sf commercial and retail 82,690 sf, hotel 142,085 sf
with 167 rooms, above ground parking and building service area
504,095 sf, restaurant 35,360 sf, cinema 67,280 sf with 1710 seats.

The Project site is comprised of six blocks.
Block 1 would include underground parking and retail and
restaurants. Block 2 would include underground parking and
space for commercial and office uses. Block 3 would include
two stories of retail in the southeast corner of the block.
Block 4 would include a hotel restaurant and retail space.
Block 5 would include a surface parking lot underground
and aboveground parking and space for retail uses. Block 6
would include underground parking surface parking space for
retail use and a cinema.

Access to the proposed parking garages and surface parking
would be via Pacchetti Way, California Avenue and San Antonio
Road. The Project would include approximately 2490 parking
spaces in the parking structures and surface lots and 69
street parking spaces along proposed internal streets.
A pedestrian promenade would extend north south through
the project site.

End of excerpts from the Mountain View City meeting minutes.

2500 parking spaces in this ongoing concrete jungle...
I can't imagine what Thanks Giving Friday, Christmas season
and New Years will be like! San Antonio Road traffic is
already unbearable going north starting from El Camino
intersection.

Unbelievable destruction of neighborhoods in the making!!!
What we are complaining about is the horrendous HIGH DENSITY
development. San Antonio Road traffic is already in gridlock...
--------------------


Posted by BadPlanning, a resident of Old Mountain View
on Sep 5, 2013 at 8:42 pm

@Max: "But, I think we may disagree as to whether a project like Madera diminishes the neighborhood."
I agree that density metric alone determine the impacts (positive and negative) to the neighborhood. However, it *is* an awfully good metric, since increased density has direct correlations to less vegetation (trees, shrubs and flowers), increased parking and traffic, less air-space (meaning reducing views of our beautiful skies) and more.
Regarding the Prometheus marketing… I'm sure you are aware of the obvious marketing, but I really think these recent releases of the high rents #'s are a deliberate marketing ploy to increase the perceived value of the complex to the community. Your earlier response suggesting that high occupancy/high rent means that is is needed, is an example of how dangerous it is to accept unverified #'s. Let's look at the occupancy rates and rents of the complex two years from now and see. Of course, I bet they won't release those private business #'s.

@AC: "Increased density, just as you find in urban communities, brings the necessity of more people "looking out for themselves and minding their own business". There's nothing wrong with that fact; it's just the way it works. And even in highly urban places, it's the people who have "lived there forever" who preserve the identity and character of those communities."
Well said! The high density developments are going to ruin our sense of neighborhoods and community. People are not going to want to live here for very long…it's sad.

@Political Insider: "What I stand for is for all residents to use their property as they see fit. You blame developers but it is the land owners that are seeking to increase the value of their land. "
Wow. So residents in a R1 should be able to put in a 5 story condo complex, pushing the building right to the border of their lot. I know you claim to have been a planner in another city, but show an alarming lack of good sense. Very sad.


Posted by Political Insider, a resident of Old Mountain View
on Sep 6, 2013 at 8:57 am

@Bad Planning " - So residents in a R1 should be able to put in a 5 story condo complex, pushing the building right to the border of their lot. "

I never claimed what you said but your statement shows a complete lack of understanding of planning. Density is not the binding constraint. There are setbacks, open space requirements, FARS, park requirements, etc, that are more binding. I never said to change any of these items, just let the land owner try to increase the value of his land subject to these constraints.

@NorthLosAltos - Unbelievable destruction of neighborhoods in the making!!!
What we are complaining about is the horrendous HIGH DENSITY
development.

So you would prefer a return to the Menu Tree in the San Antonio area? What neighborhood is being destroyed. Is it the Crossings which destroyed the Old Mill area? Part of the market process includes destruction, but also creation of new and better things. You fear mongering is just that. Putting people next to jobs and retail will reduce traffic and parking issues. People are spending a lot of money to locate in the San Antonio Plaza area.




Posted by Jerry, a resident of Slater
on Sep 6, 2013 at 9:43 am

Ah yes progress, the thought that everything new has to be embraced and what we have now has to be changed in order to move forward. Brings to mind such marvels as Thalidomide which did not merely cure morning sickness, "it also produced severe birth defects. In the late 1950s and early 1960s, thousands of babies around the world were born with missing or deformed limbs." "PCBs, asbestos and dioxins are just three of the most infamous potholes on the road to progress." Of course, my personal favorite from the Gold Rush era was hydraulic mining using water cannons. Now that's real progress and it's so efficient how it cuts through the soil like a knife through butter. Now think of all the jobs it created and the fact that companies could make more money with hydraulic mining and thus hire more workers. Who would be opposed to that kind of progress? We see the impact to the environment as being minimal and we must embrace the change because its the future, its modern, and you're so hip and happening because you embrace change.

My point? Just because something is new, sparkly, and cutting edge doesn't mean it should be embraced. Many times progress is going backwards in disguise and you will end up in a worse place with worse problems than you started with. Sometimes simple is better than complicated and LESS (density) IS MORE (than hi density). I have a sneaky suspicion that all you high density advocates are selling me a pig in a poke.


Posted by kathy, a resident of Sylvan Park
on Sep 6, 2013 at 10:05 am

The city council is sacrificing the character of Mountain View by approving multi story projects on every available parcel of land, many directly adjacent to single family homes. This would not happen in downtown Los Gatos. I have always wanted to live closer to downtown Mountain View, but now? Not really. I am upset that our council does not protect long standing small businesses like Better Bagel and Rose Market. These small businesses cannot fight big developers and greedy landlords, Mountain View will end up like any other American City, filled with high density housing, strip malls plastered with the logos of national chains (Jamba Juice, Starbucks, Chipotle, Walmart, etc), it will have no character, no personality and no reason to live here. They really do not 'get' what makes a city unique. We might as well move to Milpitas where housing is cheaper. I have emailed the council a couple of times, aside from a couple of brief courtesy replies, the silence was deafening.


Posted by Jerry, a resident of Slater
on Sep 6, 2013 at 10:18 am

@ Politcal Insider - Well then we agree that there should be constraints on building we just disagree on what those constraints should be. I want constraints that are more in line with Mountain Views traditional values (suburban). You want a concrete jungle. Mountain View is a suburb and I wish it to stay so I'm not in favor of turning it into the big city for transient companies or transient people. BTW ( Where's Sun and Adobe two large former Mountain View Companies). Mountain View is my home and I like it the way it is for the most part. I reject the notion of stack and pack and I seriously doubt people will be as nomadic and unrooted as this ill conceived plan anticipates ( Moving every time their job location changes). Young people yes, but once you start a family these things change and you start valuing stability more and you "Settle Down".


Posted by AC, a resident of another community
on Sep 6, 2013 at 10:34 am

AC is a registered user.

@Jerry and @kathy

I'm not being the least bit sarcastic when I must say: Very well said.
And I'm not being the least bit facetious when I say that I wish that people with your care for the community were on the City Council.


Posted by kman, a resident of Monta Loma
on Sep 6, 2013 at 11:21 am

A lot of people here miss the point that ALL the new renters will all have cars. You are an idiot if you don't understand that.

And you are an idiot if you think people are going to get out of their cars for bikes or walking or public trans.

You can make new roads and widen roads. Get rid of the carpool lanes and cars will get to there destination points sooner, less greenhouse gases.


Posted by NorthLosAltos, a resident of another community
on Sep 6, 2013 at 12:00 pm

@PoliticalInsider said --
So you would prefer a return to the Menu Tree in the San Antonio area? What neighborhood is being destroyed. Is it the Crossings which destroyed the Old Mill area? Part of the market process includes destruction, but also creation of new and better things. You fear mongering is just that. Putting people next to jobs and retail will reduce traffic and parking issues. People are spending a lot of money to locate in the San Antonio Plaza area.

My response:
Hmmm... Moderate development is what is called for. Development that
is suited for San Antonio Road.
If you need 3000 parking spaces in Phase-2 San Antonio, obviously
1000's of people will be driving there. Secondly, what segment of the
society can earn and live around the area without needing a car -- only
those make good deal of income. San Antonio Road will not be able to
handle any more traffic. It is already a treacherous / tortuous drive
today. San Antonio Road is not suited for this horrendous high-density
development. I drive every day on this road to get to 101 -- so, I
speak from my daily experience.

For everyone's reference... I am reproducing my original post so
everyone understands what I mean by HIGH DENSITY...

Dear Neighbors / Residents of Mountain View:

The alarm bells should be going off like sirens!!!!

Excerpts from Mountain View City meeting minutes:
(San Antonio Shopping Center Scoping Meeting August 28 2013
held in City Office) ---

The Phase 2 Project proposes mixed use development including
office commercial retail hotel cinema restaurant parking on a
9.9 acre site at the existing San Antonio Shopping Center.
Existing uses at the Project site to be demolished include
59,655 square feet sf of commercial and retail buildings.
The Project proposes to develop the following uses office
392,855 sf commercial and retail 82,690 sf, hotel 142,085 sf
with 167 rooms, above ground parking and building service area
504,095 sf, restaurant 35,360 sf, cinema 67,280 sf with 1710 seats.

The Project site is comprised of six blocks.
Block 1 would include underground parking and retail and
restaurants. Block 2 would include underground parking and
space for commercial and office uses. Block 3 would include
two stories of retail in the southeast corner of the block.
Block 4 would include a hotel restaurant and retail space.
Block 5 would include a surface parking lot underground
and aboveground parking and space for retail uses. Block 6
would include underground parking surface parking space for
retail use and a cinema.

Access to the proposed parking garages and surface parking
would be via Pacchetti Way, California Avenue and San Antonio
Road. The Project would include approximately 2490 parking
spaces in the parking structures and surface lots and 69
street parking spaces along proposed internal streets.
A pedestrian promenade would extend north south through
the project site.

End of excerpts from the Mountain View City meeting minutes.

2500 parking spaces in this ongoing concrete jungle...
I can't imagine what Thanks Giving Friday, Christmas season
and New Years will be like! San Antonio Road traffic is
already unbearable going north starting from El Camino
intersection.

Unbelievable destruction of neighborhoods in the making!!!
What we are complaining about is the horrendous HIGH DENSITY
development. San Antonio Road traffic is already in gridlock...
--------------------


Posted by Garrett, a resident of another community
on Sep 6, 2013 at 12:48 pm

I for one miss the Menu Tree but I have been to the new San Antonio Center which is not bad. Would imagine parking will be tough at times, Saturday or when people get off work. Rush Hour anywhere is bad and can be a pain. So do we stop change, stop building housing and stores?

We will build somewhere else, then rush hour traffic will be bad somewhere else. Then we will need to build somewhere else again. These people who aren't trying to be commuters but trying to live close to their careers and have a life without the long long drive.


Posted by AC, a resident of another community
on Sep 6, 2013 at 1:28 pm

AC is a registered user.

@Garrett,

I'm not trying to be overly argumentative here but in reference to your comment: "We will build somewhere else, then rush hour traffic will be bad somewhere else. Then we will need to build somewhere else again."

By all means, I'd say build somewhere else. I'm not trying to tell anyone what to value, what to prioritize, or what to preserve. I'm a Mountain View resident, and I'm talking about what *I* value, what *I* prioritize, and what *I* want to preserve. I'm taking personal accountability for my viewpoints here. I'm not speaking for the whole of Mountain View, or for any other community that is facing these issues. I'm sharing what *I* see, and trying to learn what my fellow residents think and feel about it.

Let me try to lighten up a bit, while still maintaining the point. I'm not talking about Sunnyvale's growth and building and renovation; it's really not my place. I'm not talking about Redwood City's growth and building and renovation; it's really not my place. I'm talking about Mountain View, where I live and where I have for twenty years loved to live.

All this really is an opportunity, you know. Those of us who have concerns for the future of the community have a chance to *be a community* about it. And if we can't get to know each others' views, if we can't try to discern how to handle it, if we can't look at ourselves and our neighbors and try to think of ways to deal with these things; then we're not a community at all, and all our spouting opinions is empty rhetoric. Not a bad thing necessarily. I'm just calling it as it is.

This discussion may bear fruit in some form. Or it may not. And if it doesn't bear fruit, it's probably because we couldn't come together as a community in the first place; which says that what we said we valued so much (if indeed we valued it so much, and that's just a matter of personal integrity, which every individual has their own right to manage) was already dead.

I'm not saying that "I don't care if or where people build, or if or where there's traffic, or if or where communities erode, or if or where fast high-density growth happens". I'm saying that "I care what happens here, in *our* city".


Posted by AC, a resident of another community
on Sep 6, 2013 at 1:31 pm

AC is a registered user.

Correction to above: I meant "calling it as I see it" not "calling it as it is". I got on my high horse there for a sec, my apologies.


Posted by Garrett, a resident of another community
on Sep 6, 2013 at 1:51 pm

Then somewhere other communities will end up housing all those excess Silicon Valley types. People who only work in Mountain View, a place on a business card or worse yet just a place to speed through.

While thousands of homes and rental need to get built can't help wonder who will end up getting pushed out for someone who would prefer to live Mountain View.


Posted by AC, a resident of another community
on Sep 6, 2013 at 2:03 pm

AC is a registered user.

@Garrett

I'd like to clarify something, I'm not against growth or change. I don't think we're going about it the right way. I have the impression that there are some who are too obssessed with the instant results that the implications aren't being considered. I'm not saying "tough luck" to those who'd want to move here. I'm an advocate of going about things in carefully considered ways.

There are concerns. Real concerns. You've mentioned some of them. How do we address them? Not as hastily as we are currently doing, is how it appears to me. I'm not saying we shouldn't do it. I'm saying we shouldn't be myopic about it.


Posted by Garrett, a resident of another community
on Sep 6, 2013 at 2:29 pm

I am not for crazy growth, or freeways to the coast or building on farmland. I don't think Mountain View needs to house everyone, I understand not the need to protect your property your neighbor, your street, your neighborhood, your area and your city.

Right now we are talking apartment, next year it will be ownership homes then who knows more retail.


Posted by Garrett, a resident of another community
on Sep 6, 2013 at 2:36 pm

My last post. Drop the not before the need to protect. Was mid stride in thought and changed before edit.


Posted by konrad M. Sosnow, a resident of Blossom Valley
on Sep 6, 2013 at 2:50 pm

Developers are business people whose goal is maximizing their profits - the goal of all for profit organizations.

However, their goals need to be balanced against the impact of those already living in Mountain View.


Much of El Camino is an eyesore. Good redevelopment is a great idea. However, I want Mountain View to remain a suburb and not become a concrete jungle. I don't want to turn Mountain View into a Google company town for transient workers.


City Council is the gatekeeper tasked, with input from residents and developers, to determine the best course for Mountain View. When members of City Council disregard the interests of large numbers of residents and rubber stamps developers plans they do a disservice to our city.


We the residents of Mountain View who favor controlled development need to act. If we want our views represented on the city Council we must come together to elect Council Members with our views. Trying to convince the unholy five that controlled development is the correct course is an exercise in futility.

Who will join me in taking back Mountain View?


Posted by OMV Resident, a resident of Old Mountain View
on Sep 6, 2013 at 2:53 pm

@AC - You say immediately above "I'd like to clarify something, I'm not against growth or change. I don't think we're going about it the right way... I'm an advocate of going about things in carefully considered ways."

In case you missed it, Mountain View just adopted a brand-new General Plan in 2012, the culmination of a 3-year process of input from the community, evening meetings, Saturday workshops, and EPC and Council sessions that are too numerous to count. All of these were open to the public, and LOTS of changes occurred from the early versions to the final adopted plan based on community input.

This process was the "right way" to go about it, the "carefully considered" approach that you pine for. Did you take the time to participate? Because this was when the foundation for all the development you'r seeing now was laid. Pretty much everything we're seeing follows right from the vision of the General Plan... somewhat taller, more compact development along El Camino (actually, the General Plan envisioned considerably taller buildings at certain locations, such as El Camino & Castro, than what are proposed now)... a redeveloped San Antonio Center, more office development in the Shoreline area, and so on.

If you have a concern about a feature of a certain development, like strategies to preserve local businesses as the El Camino/Castro corner redevelops, there are many venues (Development Review Commitee, EPC, Council) to bring those up. But to call into question everything that's happening, just because it doesn't suit your comfort zone/pace, is not likely to get you very far.


Posted by konrad M. Sosnow, a resident of Blossom Valley
on Sep 6, 2013 at 3:02 pm

A Solution to resolve our issues is to bifurcate Mountain View. North of El Camino will be the Anything Goes Zone. South of El Camino will be the Controlled Growth Suburb.
Everyone will have a clear choice.


Posted by AC, a resident of another community
on Sep 6, 2013 at 3:07 pm

AC is a registered user.

@OMV Resident,

I didn't. I armchair quarterbacked, read stuff online and whined. I hope it's not too late to change that. You are right.

@konrad M. Sosnow

As OMV Resident said, there is a way. Maybe you could put together a forum/distribution to call people to the meetings and such. I honestly have thought to go to a Council meeting several times in the past year, but never went and didn't follow-up on finding out when the meetings where.


Posted by NorthLosAltos, a resident of another community
on Sep 6, 2013 at 3:20 pm

@OMV Resident --
All these numerous meetings are great... but frankly most
residents and community members are busy with their careers
and families. Not to mention the meeting times that almost
never are convenient for most folks.

We expect some reasonable thinking on the
part of the developers and the elected members of the city.
No one will object to "reasonable" level of development.

We put in place elected members to do what is reasonable
when it comes to development. We expect the elected members
to understand if San Antonio Road can handle the traffic from
Phase-1 devlopment (San Antonio Shopping Center). Based on the
excessive traffic on San Antonio Road, it has become clear
that traffic impacts were not studied realistically speaking.
On top of what is happening today with this traffic, the
Phase-2 proposal is on the table (see my earlier postings above
with details from the MV City meeting minutes) which involves
adding approx. 3000 parking spaces and 100000s of new square
footage.

I can't understand how anyone can support this out-of-control
development at lightning speed. The only solution is to turn
all of San Antonio Road into a parking lot (which is what it
already is).

So, again, "moderate development" makes sense. But high-density
development with no regard for traffic issues does not not bode well
for MV and the helpless residents of the surrounding areas.
-------------------


Posted by OMV Resident, a resident of Old Mountain View
on Sep 6, 2013 at 4:10 pm

Even though the new General Plan has been adopted, there are still plenty of opportunities to get involved and help shape the development that is happening. The City is just starting to update 3 'Precise Plans' for different parts of the city: El Camino, San Antonio Center, and the Shoreline area. If you go to the City's Community Development website, there are info sheets on each, with a contact person you can email to ask to get added to their list for announcements, upcoming meetings, etc. There are plenty of ways to get involved, beyond posting to a board like this.


Posted by incognito, a resident of Waverly Park
on Sep 6, 2013 at 10:49 pm

@kathy,

I would love for you to be on City Council. I'll volunteer for your campaign should you ever choose to run.

@OMV Resident,

Yes there are numerous opportunities for public input into the process. The PROBLEM is city council members (and MVWSD school board trustees) who *say* they value public input, nod and listen politely to the members of the audience who finally get their 3 minutes at the podium at about 10pm, and then proceed to vote contrary to the pleas of their constituents.


Posted by village.sanantonio, a resident of another community
on Sep 7, 2013 at 8:42 am

village.sanantonio is a registered user.

Posted by incognito, a resident of Waverly Park
Yes there are numerous opportunities for public input into the process. The PROBLEM is city council members (and MVWSD school board trustees) who *say* they value public input, nod and listen politely to the members of the audience who finally get their 3 minutes at the podium at about 10pm, and then proceed to vote contrary to the pleas of their constituents.

Based on what incognito said above...
1)
This is cause for great concern if inputs are being brushed aside.
2)
Perhaps all major development should be done based on voting..
why not put all major development individually on a ballot?
3)
Anyone who has to sit in traffic and pollution will be
motivated to vote. Anyone who thinks high-density development
needs some moderation will be motivated to vote.
4)
Attending meetings at odd hours will no longer be a constraint.
Everyones voice will be heard via ballots.
---------


Posted by MVResident67, a resident of Cuesta Park
on Sep 7, 2013 at 9:32 am

I received this reply in response to my request to volunteer for the Corridor Advisory Group. I suppose the good news is there would appear to be a lot of community interest in participating in the process. I hope the screening of applicants, based on where the applicant lives and what one's interest in participating is, will not result in a stacking of the deck (so to speak) when it comes to selecting who will/will not be allowed to participate in this group. (Note, the response time allowed upon receipt of the email was basically one business day.)

~~~~~

Thank you for your interest in volunteering for the Corridor Advisory Group (CAG).

Due to the high number of interested applicants, the City may use alternate means to engage those who have expressed interest. To this end, we are requesting additional information. This will help us with future communications and also help determine if there are any groups that need additional targeted outreach during the El Camino Real Precise Plan process.

Please reply to this email with the following information by this Friday:
· Your phone number
· Your mailing address
· Please choose the one category that best fits your relationship to El Camino Real:

o Resident along El Camino Real (eg, within Two Worlds, Avalon Towers, etc)
o Commercial property owner along El Camino Real – please specify general location
o Business or organization - please specify general location
o Resident or property owner near the corridor – please specify general location
o Interest-based group (transportation, affordable housing, business, developer, environment, etc.) – not necessary to name your issue
o Other

Next week, we will contact interested CAG members with more information about how we will conduct the process. The first meeting will likely be in late September or early October.


Posted by Jerry, a resident of Slater
on Sep 7, 2013 at 4:09 pm

@ konrad

I'm wih you as far as preserving MV.is concerned. I live in North MV so I would like keeping the carpet baggers North of the Mason/Dixon/Hwy 101 line. :-)


Posted by Garrett, a resident of another community
on Sep 8, 2013 at 9:55 am

Just think some parts of Mountain View can support high density development and new quality built housing. I don't think El Camino will become 4 story housing or all housing for that matter. Places like Rose Market, Shell, Walgreens and dry cleaners will need space.

Urban park space is needed, shuttle bus based housing to office parks are needed. Downtown MV is adding office space so what is matter with adding apartments, condos, townhomes and single family homes within walking distance or a quick shuttle ride


Posted by village.sanantonio, a resident of another community
on Sep 8, 2013 at 3:34 pm

village.sanantonio is a registered user.


@Garrett ...

Applying your thoughts to San Antonio Shopping Center...
Perhaps there will be 1000+ new apartments in the area around San Antonio
Shopping center. Pretty sure that these apartment residents will be
using cars to get around sometime or the other...

And on top of it...
What about the shoppers that will be driving from neighboring
towns when the countless retail shops open? These people won't be
taking any shuttles. They will be driving into the shopping center
by the 1000's ... The San Antonio Phase-2 is planning to add 3000
parking spaces in addition to the ones existing today in this
TO-BE-OVERBUILT HIGH-DENSITY MASSIVE shopping center (concrete jungle).

Looking at the traffic today... expect nothing short of a grand
mess being inflicted on the surrounding neighborhoods because of
the San Antonio Shoping Center.

Basically Mountain View is saying they want to make money at the expense
of the neighboring towns and not caring a hoot about the residents
of neighboring towns. Los Altos residents are most impacted by this
callous out-of-control colossal development.


Posted by BadPlanning, a resident of Old Mountain View
on Sep 8, 2013 at 10:22 pm

City Council has been hoodwinked by city employees that increased density will not only bring more tax dollars, but will provide more ridership for trains, buses and new or alternative transit options. Sure, transit can be a really great thing, but if you think about it...why is it so great? We like it, because it turns a virtually undrivable city (like the concrete jungle of manhattan) into someplace that you can get around without a car. That's great, right? Subways area great, right?

The problem is that subways (and other transit systems) are not inherently great, but are simply a solution to a problem. In the manhattan example, the problem is 'too dense to park and drive in' and the solution is subways. So, in order to get 'the solution' for mountain view, city planners want to create a *problem*--which is to make it unpleasant for residents to use their cars...therefore, people will want transit options!

I don't think city council is aware of this. They are simply a victim of city staff that want to protect and increase their power and budgets, developers/land-owners that want to maximize profit and neighboring/regional governments that want to keep their towns beautiful to live in and turn Mtn View into a paved-over transit center.


Posted by Work Location, a resident of Cuernavaca
on Sep 8, 2013 at 11:21 pm

Sometimes the comments here lead me to believe there's a presumption that the current MV residents all work here, and can just jump on a bike (or take some new shuttle) to get to work.

I don't think that's true. Very few of my neighbors work in MV. It would be interesting to see the real data, but I'd venture a guess that if there are 35,000 (wild guess) working adults who live in MV (population 75,000), that 20,000 - 25,000+ of them work outside MV. I could be wrong, but the data would be interesting.

This is separate from the point (which I also believe to be true) that the future residents of these new developments will still own and regularly use cars, even if those new developments are in proximity to transit.


Posted by Garrett, a resident of another community
on Sep 9, 2013 at 6:40 am

@ Work Location.

You are right most people don't live one the city where they work which will not change. Just think shortage future residents who would like to live near their jobs.

How bad is traffic, is it a all day massive jam of trucks, cars buses in a 24 hour period. When everyone is going to work all at the same time and getting off work all at the same time. What about all the other times, lets 10 AM or even 8 PM, not saying there is no traffic.

Do we stop building projects that might help transit, or any kind of shuttle system. Yes we still need the parking but why not build for the option of transit, shuttles, bike or the car.

Look at the San Antonio project phase 2. Daytime week days. Office uses with retail. Evening uses are retail, entertainment and dining. Weekend uses retail, entrainment and dining. Yes people will done and see moved during the day but most people work 9 to 5. Also want to point transit, shuttles and car pools aren't just used by people going to work.


Posted by MVResident67, a resident of Cuesta Park
on Sep 9, 2013 at 9:29 am

I drive thru the intersection of El Camino and San Antonio at least 2x daily, and the traffic at that intersection has become noticeably WORSE since Phase I opened to the public. Seems like the majority of the traffic accidents I have seen related to this have been accidents where cars pulling out of the Safeway driveway on to El Camino have been involved in an accident. Boy was that driveway ill placed, dumping cars onto El Camino less that 50 yards from the stop light @ San Antonio and El Camino...talk about bad planning.

I have not felt the need to use alternate/residential streets to avoid the traffic at this intersection, yet...but I can envision the day when that might happen. I won't be riding my bike up and down the peninsula to get where I need to go, nor will I be hopping on the bus...so, despite the city's best efforts to force us out of our cars, this car will remain on the State Highway 82, aka El Camino Real.


Posted by Garrett, a resident of another community
on Sep 9, 2013 at 9:55 am

Pulling out on to El Camino has and always will be dicey, use to drive truck. If I needed to exit San Antonio Center would use San Antonio Rd, California St or Showers Dr., even in my regular car.

San Antonio Shopping Center before Phase 1 was somewhat of struggling shopping area before Wal Mart opened this was a dying center.

Vallco Fashion Park, Sunnyvale Town Center were built. Stanford Mall and Valley Fair were developed not to mention countless other retail centers. Some of those have been razed or improved once more. As for shopping coming into San Antonio I don't very many stores that would attract shoppers from surrounding places. Safeway, Wal Mart, Kohl's and Target seem to dot the landscape.


Posted by MVResident67, a resident of Cuesta Park
on Sep 9, 2013 at 11:16 am

>" As for shopping coming into San Antonio I don't very many stores that would attract shoppers from surrounding places. Safeway, Wal Mart, Kohl's and Target seem to dot the landscape." <

~~~~~

And soon a theater (yeah theaters don't generate much traffic) and how many total residential units will be on that site once, the entire REdevelopment is completed?

BTW, I have little doubt that 'political insider' will tell that any studies that have been completed show that the traffic impact will be "none" or "minimal". ;)

Perhaps concerned Mountain View and Los Altos residents would be interested in funding an independent impact & traffic study. It would be interesting to see how an independent traffic study compares to the city's traffic study.


Posted by MVResident67, a resident of Cuesta Park
on Sep 9, 2013 at 11:47 am

>" Look at the San Antonio project phase 2. Daytime week days. Office uses with retail. Evening uses are retail, entertainment and dining. Weekend uses retail, entrainment and dining." <

Have you tried to drive down El Camino Real around noontime lately? Talk about gridlock! I try to avoid El Camino Real at the noon hour because the traffic is so terrible...the road is jammed with people out running errands or grabbing a quick lunch somewhere. That noontime (11.30-1.30) traffic isn't going to go away, it is only going to get worse.

My point is, just because it's mid-day doesn't mean people are not out running errands, dining or even catching a movie. Adding 3,000 parking spaces to phase II of the San Antonio shopping center tells me we should be bracing for Valley Fair and/or Santana Row type traffic nightmares...and those areas ARE traffic nightmares, all day every day.


Posted by Max Hauser, a resident of Old Mountain View
on Sep 9, 2013 at 1:44 pm

Max Hauser is a registered user.

MVresident67:
"Political insider" is just the latest person invoking the Madera-project MND report rhetorically, as predicting no traffic or parking impact. Maybe such people even believe that assertion, which favors their ideological preconceptions. But here's what the report (January 2010) actually said:

No increase in site car traffic -- on the theoretical assumption that "existing use" was a hypothetical big-box store with 1,717 daily car visits. It was in reality a declining hardware store with maybe 50 daily visits.

No garage overflow, based on "six similar developments." All had fragmentary data (only two had known tenancy percentages; no effort was made to measure the sites' overflow street parking; these omissions were not explained or examined; only one site of the six -- the one with the least data of all -- was actually used, to predict that Madera's parking provision would be barely adequate, 97.7% filled).

No current use observed of neighborhood streets by Caltrain commuters to park cars overnight. (Naked incompetence. A local resident, on seeing this, just waited for morning commute trains, and promptly photographed 20 people coming from the station to retrieve parked cars.)

That was all in the publicly accessible report, and these defects were pointed out (including by me, in the Voice) at the time. Mere facts, though, are seldom an obstacle to true believers.

(Another political insider has since claimed that because of the gross methodological gaffes in that report, the City opted to change consultants for later traffic/parking studies.)


Posted by village.sanantonio, a resident of another community
on Sep 9, 2013 at 2:46 pm

@MVResident67 wrote:
Perhaps concerned Mountain View and Los Altos residents would be interested in funding an independent impact & traffic study. It would be interesting to see how an independent traffic study compares to the city's traffic study.

Brilliant idea!
Brilliant idea!
Hope MV & Los Altos can get this done right away.
When you understand the magnitude of Phase-2 (please see below)
it will boggle your mind!

The traffic situation on San Antonio Road is so bad,
all you need is to just watch it everyday! Any reasonable person
can see that Phase-1 was a bad idea. Phase-2 should not even be
considered until Phase-1 is entirely done.

And yes, we are heading to valley fair / Santana Row traffic. The
difference is San Antonio Road is no match for the very open and
broad roads that Stevens Creek Blvd & Winchester Blvd are. Not to
mention the fact that there are not that much residential density
there in the immediate surroundings.

Quoting from a previous post on what Phase-2 San Antonio will be:

Excerpts from Mountain View City meeting minutes:
(San Antonio Shopping Center Scoping Meeting August 28 2013
held in City Office) ---

The Phase 2 Project proposes mixed use development including
office commercial retail hotel cinema restaurant parking on a
9.9 acre site at the existing San Antonio Shopping Center.
Existing uses at the Project site to be demolished include
59,655 square feet sf of commercial and retail buildings.
The Project proposes to develop the following uses office
392,855 sf commercial and retail 82,690 sf, hotel 142,085 sf
with 167 rooms, above ground parking and building service area
504,095 sf, restaurant 35,360 sf, cinema 67,280 sf with 1710 seats.

The Project site is comprised of six blocks.
Block 1 would include underground parking and retail and
restaurants. Block 2 would include underground parking and
space for commercial and office uses. Block 3 would include
two stories of retail in the southeast corner of the block.
Block 4 would include a hotel restaurant and retail space.
Block 5 would include a surface parking lot underground
and aboveground parking and space for retail uses. Block 6
would include underground parking surface parking space for
retail use and a cinema.

Access to the proposed parking garages and surface parking
would be via Pacchetti Way, California Avenue and San Antonio
Road. The Project would include approximately 2490 parking
spaces in the parking structures and surface lots and 69
street parking spaces along proposed internal streets.
A pedestrian promenade would extend north south through
the project site.

End of excerpts from the Mountain View City meeting minutes.



Posted by MVResident67, a resident of Cuesta Park
on Sep 10, 2013 at 11:23 am

City Council is meeting tonight at 6.30 in city hall, 2nd floor. There is time set aside for oral communication from the public during each city council meeting. I encourage anyone who can, to attend this meeting and let city council know your opinion regarding development in Mountain View or any other subject you would like to address. The time limit for each speaker from the public is 3 minutes, so preparing notes inadvance might be helpful.

Hope to see a large public turnout tonight.


Posted by Rodger, a resident of Sylvan Park
on Sep 10, 2013 at 12:18 pm

I think we need to fight high density, today by writing letters to the City Council and attending the meetings, tomorrow by voting ONLY for ANTI high density City Council candidates, and it the future by never forgetting to battle against this type of destruction of life in Mountain View.


Posted by Garrett, a resident of another community
on Sep 10, 2013 at 1:37 pm

I support the idea of building for transit options which also I am not saying the present planned San Antonio Phase 2 project is a perfect fit. But I do understand the new owner of the 9 acres paid such and such for the land and needs to redevelop the old 60,000 square foot buildings.

He could go for 100,000 square feet and get a few stores, 150,000 square with a few stores and some fast food places our in the parking lot. Get over 200,000 square feet we are talking big box stores or a full blown department store which i don't see ever coming back. Unless we could build a mall bigger then Valley Fair and Santana Row combine.

Parking is still a issue, if we could get people out of their cars then need for parking will grow less. Remember I am sure some of parking lot will be for car rentals, visitors and guests to the hotel also the ballrooms, visitors to the offices not to mention families going to the movies and dinning out.

I wrote the county VTA saying they must extended the light rail line right up to the San Antonio overpass. A shuttle from Downtown Los Altos to North Bayshore. A shuttle from North Bayshore to Castro and El Camino. A shuttle from North Bayshore to El Camino Hospital. All Shuttles will meet up in one spot.

I am not saying every inch of Mountain View needs to be developed with private buildings. We do need space for parks, schools, fire stations, police substations, branch libraries, resident services.

I support a school being build for the San Antonio which the old Safeway store and the Old Mill office area will support also a park. We could even offer a land swap somewhere else, a parking the MEWs area. The busy kind of park with housing is Sylvan Park. Which at one time was a site for the 2nd Jr High School, it was called Moore.


Posted by Political Insider, a resident of Old Mountain View
on Sep 10, 2013 at 1:59 pm

Posted by Max Hauser, a resident of Old Mountain View
on Sep 9, 2013 at 1:44 pm
@Max Hauser is a registered user.


"Political insider" is just the latest person invoking the Madera-project MND report rhetorically, as predicting no traffic or parking impact. Maybe such people even believe that assertion, which favors their ideological preconceptions.

No increase in site car traffic -- on the theoretical assumption that "existing use" was a hypothetical big-box store with 1,717 daily car visits. It was in reality a declining hardware store with maybe 50 daily visits.

Bottom line is that Mintons could have been sold with no zoning change and a more intensive commercial use could have been imposed on the neighborhood w/o any council approval. All of your other complaints were noted, researched, and found wanting. Bottom line the new development has provided more parking on site, more parking spaces on Villa and no impact on the neighborhood. All of the hysterical claims from some in the neighborhood have never materialized. IN fact some in the neighborhood supported and received a lifting of parking time limits because they they are the ones parking in the streets. They are merely worried about having to compete with others for free street parking.

Most of the residents are OK with development and understand the benefits and costs to infill which is why they vote to support pro-growth candidates.


Posted by Max Hauser, a resident of Old Mountain View
on Sep 10, 2013 at 2:22 pm

Max Hauser is a registered user.

I don't use these forums to post sweeping rhetorical assertions like "Every council project undergoes an EIR to looks at traffic and parking concerns. In every case theses concerns are found to have minimal or no impact."

Defects noted upthread in the Mintons EIR are in the report itself, not subject to opinion. It "found" no traffic impact, by assuming a nonexistent 1717 current daily trips. Period. That has nothing to do with what might hypothetically have happened under alternative site development. The parking-overflow study was missing most of the essential data and the report did not explain the gaps. The explicit conclusion about Caltrain commuters parking no cars in the neighborhood was quickly disproven with actual data that the study consultants never bothered to collect. Quod erat demonstrandum.. Next question, please?

I supported other high-density projects, and collocation with transit makes obvious sense. I was concerned about parking underprovisioning in that project, coming after recent developments in Palo Alto and elswehere where parking spillover proved, in time, to be a nightmare. (Other people may have had other objections to this development, but those are different points and people.) Madera has only recently fully opened to renters, so we will see how the parking and traffic play out in future years, and meanwhile hope for the best.

But it's unconscionable and disingenuous when City officials (not just Town Square hangers-out) glibly cite that notoriously flawed EIR traffic/parking study as having authoritatively concluded that everything will be fine, when they have reason to know otherwise.


Posted by Hog wash, a resident of Old Mountain View
on Sep 10, 2013 at 2:26 pm

"Most of the residents are OK with development and understand the benefits and costs to infill which is why they vote to support pro-growth candidates."

What a bunch of hog wash!!!!

I do not recall in any of the candidates profiles where they said they were for Pro-growth and at such an outrageous rate.


Posted by konrad M. Sosnow, a resident of Blossom Valley
on Sep 10, 2013 at 2:41 pm

@Political Insider

When John Inks, who was known to favor high-growth ran head to head in 2006 with Jac Siegel, known for favoring controlled growth, Jac won.

The residents made a clear choice.

So, how can you conclude that most of the residents are OK with high growth?


Posted by Political Insider, a resident of Old Mountain View
on Sep 10, 2013 at 3:52 pm

@ konrad M. Sosnow, a resident of Blossom Valley

"When John Inks, who was known to favor high-growth ran head to head in 2006 with Jac Siegel, known for favoring controlled growth, Jac won."

Correct but he came in third to two pro-growthers both times. Inks beat McAlister the first time he ran and won the most votes the next time. Thre pro-growthers finished ahead of JM.

Siegel should be embarrassed for such a poor showing. Most residents saw through his pandering to special interest groups.

@ Max Hauser, a resident of Old Mountain View.
"I don't use these forums to post sweeping rhetorical assertions like "Every council project undergoes an EIR to looks at traffic and parking concerns. In every case theses concerns are found to have minimal or no impact."

You just did make a rhetorical assertion. My sweeping assertions are correct and have been borne out by the data. You may think the comparisons are unfair but your criticisms were duely noted in the report. You have also not countered my assertion about the Madera project. I live in that area, and have noticed no impact on my neighborhood. It shows your lack of understanding the planning process and simple economics. Stick to food discussions and you will be on safer ground.


Posted by village.sanantonio, a resident of another community
on Sep 10, 2013 at 4:06 pm

1--
Democracy, truth and reality regarding heavy traffic and pollution
getting obliterated by fallacious claims (regarding high-density
development) made by money, power and politics.
2--
Palo Alto is building single family homes on El Camino,
happily lapped up by heavy demand .. Out of the 26 homes being built,
10 are already sold... This development is pretty close to the San
Antonio intersection. Check it out! No high-density development.
3--
MountainView and other surrounding towns don't need
these eye-sore high-density developments.
No one needs a movie theater or a hotel or massive office
buildings in San Antonio Phase-2. Those 330 apartment residents
of Phase-1 don't need to walk to the movie theater or the hotel or
for that matter the office buildings proposed in Phase-2.
They can use shuttles and buses to get to the theaters and hotels on
Shoreline Blvd or wherever.
4--
Most of the people heading to 101 from Los Altos do carpools or drive
on their own. So you can forget dreaming about shuttles and claiming
that will take care of traffic.
5--
How many of you have seen the San Antonio Phase-1 mammoth apartment
structures? It simply does not belong on San Antonio Road.
Build luxury home and condos and preserve the suburbia ambiance.
Silicon Valley is a sprawling area by design -- provide good
transportation and stop destroying the environment with high-density
eyesore complexes like the San Antonio shopping center. It is
profitable for the builder and thats about it!
6--
Quoting from a previous post:
"The Phase 2 Project proposes mixed use development including
office,commercial,retail,hotel,cinema,restaurant,parking, on a
9.9 acre site at the existing San Antonio Shopping Center.
Existing uses at the Project site to be demolished include
59,655 square feet sf of commercial and retail buildings.
The Project proposes to develop the following uses office
392,855 sf commercial and retail 82,690 sf, hotel 142,085 sf
with 167 rooms, above ground parking and building service area
504,095 sf, restaurant 35,360 sf, cinema 67,280 sf with 1710 seats."
7--
Democracy, truth and reality regarding heavy traffic and pollution
getting obliterated by fallacious claims (regarding high-density
development) made by money, power and politics.
==================


Posted by Robert, a resident of another community
on Sep 10, 2013 at 6:26 pm

I find it hilarious (and somewhat sad) when in one article, people complain about "too much development", and in the next one, complain about high rents at new complexes. It doesn't take an expert economist to figure this out, you either keep supply up to meet demand, or you deal with prices going up.


Posted by Garrett, a resident of another community
on Sep 10, 2013 at 6:42 pm

Arbor Real, the old Palo Alto Bowl sit has drawn anti housing among those who live near the projects. Arbor Real replaced Rickey's which took out One Million dollars in Hotel tax. The hotel development was too big, they built nice single family homes, which by the way are viewed as high density.

The Mayfield Mall housing project that was approved was even approved as high density. Now at Mayfield Mall they will get 3000 jobs at least it is near a train station.

We aren't a suburbia paradise when we keep adding thousands and thousands of jobs already on top of the jobs we have here. We have college grads coming here, putting in resumes wanting to work and be eco-friendly. But maybe with all the student loans they have taken out, they are going to need places place to work, near everything. They are willing to pay high rent to go without a car


Posted by Garrett, a resident of another community
on Sep 10, 2013 at 6:49 pm

Oops sent out before edit, I was in a hurry

Yes it all boils downtown to market factors, we have companies created jobs in a highly desirable spot that has lots of good companies. College grads with great ideas, great education and willing to live near work. They know about green, eco ways and the cost of high student loans. A person who is 25ish would rather have fun before he or she gets bogged down in suburbia with a SUV, a large home, kids or not and a high tax bill with high house payment.


Posted by village.sanantonio, a resident of another community
on Sep 10, 2013 at 7:43 pm


If more apartments are needed, build them on El Camino.
No more than 2 to 3 stories.There is lot space on El Camino.

Let the apartment residents take shuttles to their workplace
whether it is in San Francisco or San Jose or wherever.

There was no need to cause traffic jam by building Phase-1
San Antonio 330 apartments on San Antonio Road.
There is no need for office buildings or movie theaters
or hotel as proposed by phase-2 San Antonio.

Also, there should be some rules about what one town can do
on the border of another town. It is unacceptable for Mountain View
to dump colossal building structures on the border with
Los Altos. Building on El Camino away from intersections is
one thing. Doing the phase-1 on San Antonio is something
unacceptable. Trying to do Phase-2 without showing any concern
about traffic is downright rude.

The neighboring town residents would like to see some resonable
behavior. No one is complaining about moderate development. It
is the out-of-control high-density that is totally unacceptable.
It is encroachment.


Posted by mntnmaven, a resident of another community
on Sep 10, 2013 at 8:48 pm

What you are overlooking is the blackmail used by ABAG and other regional agencies that threaten to withhold monies from the city unless it increases its housing base. Blame developers and the city council, but unless they are willing to push back against the unelected regional authorities the city will only get more congested. Or you can move way out of the area like we did.


Posted by MVResident67, a resident of Cuesta Park
on Sep 10, 2013 at 9:51 pm

So tonight I actually heard a city staffer say - on the record - (paraphrasing here) that stop signs are not an effective means of controlling and/or calming traffic because, well because sometimes people just don't stop at stop signs. (WTheck, dude...sometimes people just don't stop at red lights either, but we still use stoplights to control traffic and reduce the likelihood of accidents.) This comment was in response to questions about alternative means of increasing pedestrian safety on Castro Street, near Graham middle school. Oh, and...evidently staff chose NOT factor the 175+ apartment development proposal for the corner of Castro Street & El Camino Real when making their $850K grant application, saying in effect that uh, well, they didn't have enough information about the proposal to factor how the 1.2 cars per apartment would impact that section of Castro Street. I call bull cr@p! If that claim isn't an outright lie, then the staffer should be fired for incompetence. Seriously.

I am going to be BUSY come election time. There needs to be some serious house cleaning done down in Mountain View city hall.

That was some eye popping double speak I heard at the city council meeting tonight, mostly from the city staffer trying to sell council on his grant proposal. Just, wow.

Mountain View residents should be afraid. Seriously.


Posted by MVResident67, a resident of Cuesta Park
on Sep 10, 2013 at 10:31 pm

I should add that it was clear that the proposed "road diet" for Castro Street was going to be approved from the moment city staff found a way to grab $850K of Federal Grant money, except that...yeah, the "road diet" has not been extensively studied yet, and...no, staff did NOT factor in the 175 apartments proposed for the corner of Castro Street and El Camino Real - which currently shows the car exit for the development as being ONTO Castro Street. The city staffer was well aware of this development proposal, he chose NOT to factor it into the grant proposal because the proposal is contingent on REDUCING the number of cars on that stretch of Castro Street, and we all know that you cannot add 175 apartments with an exit onto one street with the result being a REDUCTION in amount of traffic on the street.

What a sham, and what a shame for the residents of Mountain View. We all lose when this kind of "stuff" goes on.


Posted by AC, a resident of another community
on Sep 10, 2013 at 11:23 pm

AC is a registered user.

I didn't get to stay to the end of the City Council Meeting tonight (to those of you who have made the point that we talk online without participating, your words did not fall on deaf ears).

I did, however, have a sinking feeling like the road diet issue for Castro was a done deal before the many people lined up to speak about it. I'm really going to need to attend more of these to understand better "how it works".

And @MVResident67, yes... it seemed like the new development on Castro and its traffic implications were intentionally overlooked.


Posted by Garrett, a resident of another community
on Sep 10, 2013 at 11:54 pm

They aren't going to San Francisco or San Jose, but Mountain View, Sunnyvale or Palo Alto. Every city will build something that would upset the next community or lack of doing something. Look at San Antonio Road, 4 lanes in Los Altos, 6 lanes in Mountain View, 4 lanes in Palo Alto and then a 2 lane overpass from the 60's.

Got news for you they are running stop signs everywhere, what gets to me it is on mostly little residential streets. Castro Street where Graham Jr High School has always been lower speed limit but some people treat as a private speedway. We haven't even built most of these projects and yet people are speeding.



Posted by Not going to get out of the way, a resident of Old Mountain View
on Sep 11, 2013 at 12:15 am

I have lived here for 40 years. Mountain View is the sprawl of San Jose and San Fransisco. We should be building high rises there, and rail systems that get people to work. Real high rises. But leave Mountain View low density. Just because someone else wants to build a different town here, does not mean we should stand aside and let them.
We can only vote for who runs, and all the people that run tend to belong to the same religion. This religion belives if we build more housing in Mountian view less people will be driving.

This new religion beleives they can tip the supply beyond the demand and reduce the price of houseing. I guess that is possible only when the denisty has become so bad, that high tech execs no longer want to live here and move their companies elseware eliminating the demand.
I get angry at people that beleive they have the right to purposely destroy my town, eliminate my culture, with the arrogance of 1700s Colonialist.

Find one place where your relgions theory's have panned out.... where adding density
stopped or slowed sprawl, where building housing caused people to live where they work.
Where making denisty caused mass transit to work.

The places were mass transit works is where government builds rails instead of roads, and stops sprawl by simply drawing a line and not building past it....

Cars will be the way until gas prices make it impossible...

Perhaps a toll both at North Bay shore, or at every city line for non-residents.
Sprawl and commuting will happen as long as their is better lower density life some place else, and it is most profitable to commute.

In the 40 years I have been watching, double the jobs, double the houses, double the spawl, double the crime, increase the rudeness, overpack the classrooms.... It has happened over and over... doubling things will not change how people choose.

For every 1000 new jobs in the area, there will be three more people who want to live on 5 achers of trees and are willing to communte 2 hours to work to get it. There will be 5 people that want a yard for their kids no matter if they have to give up two hours each day to give it to them.


The core of the problem is all powerful representative government.
We need to limit the power of the City Council, with rules, that would prevent them from doing what we all though no one would do. Sunnyvale plans to sell their city hall and library to a developer to build housing. They have sold park space to do the same. How many schools are now housing? We need some rules that say "No authroity can do this without the agreement of the voters in a vote." We never thought we should need it. Who would think the President would hand over fort Knox to big multi-national corporations. Bush and Obama both did! We should have had a rule....


Posted by MVResident67, a resident of Cuesta Park
on Sep 11, 2013 at 8:32 am

> "Got news for you they are running stop signs everywhere, what gets to me it is on mostly little residential streets. Castro Street where Graham Jr High School has always been lower speed limit but some people treat as a private speedway. We haven't even built most of these projects and yet people are speeding." >

~~~~~~~~~~

So, instead of simply eliminating the "free right turn" that allows on to turn from Castro Street back on to Miramonte (heading back towards El Camino) while adding embedded blinking crosswalks, eliminating street parking in front of Graham during the busy drop off & pick times of the day, having crossing guards assisting in the crosswalks during the same drop off and pick up times of day and perhaps adding an additional stop sign at Sonia & Castro....somehow - without any of the required studies yet done - when a city council member balks at the $750K price tag to change the stoplight setup at Miramonte & Castro street, a city staffer does some grant research and finds that IF he is able to come up with a way to spin the numbers so that the result of whatever "improvements" are done to Castro Street REDUCES EMISSIONS near schools and NOT SIMPLY REDUCE THE SPEED OF TRAFFIC, then the city should be able to get qualify for the $850K from the federal government. YIPPIE! Only, there's that pesky 175 unit apartment development proposal that's on the table...hmmm, best if I just don't factor the impact of the additional 1.2 cars x 2x+ daily exiting the driveway onto Castro Street because, well, that would kill the numbers that have been cooked up to show a traffic reduction on Castro Street, and in a nutshell that federal grant is contingent on vehicle emission reduction. This federal grant money does not hinge on anything to do with pedestrian safety, it hinges on proving a reduction in vehicle emissions, period. City staffer even stated that if the "road diet" were removed from the plan for Castro Street, then the city would probably lose the grant money.

Don't be fooled, there are very good alternatives to improving pedestrian safety on Castro Street, other than choking the street down to one lane in front of Graham Middle School but the change in the stop light @ Castro Street & Miramonte is key to these improved pedestrian safety enhancements, and it's the $750K price of changing the stoplight there that drove the entire "road diet" solution.

Simply bad government in action.


Posted by MVResident67, a resident of Cuesta Park
on Sep 11, 2013 at 9:05 am



Mountain View ranked 2nd on their grant application, with 63 points. The top three ranking projects were awarded large amounts of funding. If Mountain View had 57 points or less on the grant application, then they do not get the grant money. There are seven other grant applicants who received no funding, four of whom met the minimal scoring/points to qualify for the grant.

I am happy that Mountain View is looking for ways - including applying for grants - to improve pedestrian safety, but I think to deliberately leave something of off a grant application because you suspect you will not receive the grant money if that something is factored into the calculations...well, its unsavory at best.


Posted by Garrett, a resident of another community
on Sep 11, 2013 at 9:36 am

Here is a idea for crosswalks in front of Graham Jr. High which we don't have to narrow the street down to 2 lanes. Raise the crosswalk which in the middle is a safety island. Run a barrier down the median of Castro Street. It will prevent jaywalking in front of the schools. The crosswalk should be lit at night along with the safety island, no parking within such a distance of the crosswalk.


Posted by village.sanantonio, a resident of another community
on Sep 11, 2013 at 9:58 am

village.sanantonio is a registered user.


With apologies to the well-meaning-but-lacking-complete-picture
100's of employees I am referring to below. I belive it is not their
fault. They are only consumers.

Apparently 100's of Mountain view residents want to work in Mountain View.
So, power and money joins hands and build HIGH-DENSITY apartments
and 100,000s of sqft of cinema, hotel and 1000's of parking and office
buildings on San Antonio Road.

While at it add the movie theater and hotels and massive retails too!!!
what are these structures doing here? What have these structures to do
with work? Nothing.

Incoveniencing the 1000's that are already in Mountain View and Los
Altos with San Antonio Phase-1 traffic is fine... because the 100's
of employees working in Mountain View won't be driving and causing
pollution. Yeah right! 1000's are sitting at the San Antonio
intersections polluting the environment every day.

So whoever has money and power can fool the current residents and
get their HIGH-DENSITY development.
How about an amusement park on San Antonio Road... some people like
to walk there too and they like their daily fix of amusement rides.

With apologies to the well meaning people who want to really save the environment. But they are also hoodwinked by money and power... otherwise
why would they pay $3000 for 530sqft apartment, $5000 for 2 bedroom 1000sqft
apartment in the San Antonio shopping center?

We need some local TV news coverage to expose the fallacies.
But then TV is probably owned by ... oh never mind.
Democracy, truth and reality regarding heavy traffic and pollution
getting obliterated by fallacious claims (regarding high-density
development) made by money, power and politics.

This is so sad that it is happening in a first world country.


Posted by MVResident67, a resident of Cuesta Park
on Sep 11, 2013 at 10:05 am

@ Garrett,

As seems to be becoming the norm in Mountain View with numerous different project proposals, the proposed Castro Street "road diet" appears to have been fait accompli. Public input appears to be nothing more than lip service, something and allowed only because it is required by law.

Anyone want to purchase a lovely little home nestled in a nice quiet neighborhood close to good schools and downtown, I know someone who might be looking to sell.


Posted by Garrett, a resident of another community
on Sep 11, 2013 at 10:47 am

@ MVResident67

The planned El Camino Real and Castro St project is not yet approved which I don't 175 units will be built on this corner. Saw the drawings which I can think the buildings closest to Sonia Way can be reduced in height.

On Road Diets I really don't support these kind of traffic changes unless all other improvement don't work. Raised crosswalk with a no passing zone within the crossing. Maybe during school hours have no right turn on red.

Spend the money to improvement drop and pick up areas of Graham Jr High.

If all the above don't work, then go for Road Diet


Posted by MVResident67, a resident of Cuesta Park
on Sep 11, 2013 at 11:08 am

> "On Road Diets I really don't support these kind of traffic changes unless all other improvement don't work. Raised crosswalk with a no passing zone within the crossing. Maybe during school hours have no right turn on red." <

~~~~~

The majority of speakers last night did not support the proposed "road diet" either, but since said road diet was mandatory in order to get the grant funding, the road diet was, in essence approved when council voted to accept the grant funding.

To their credit, two council members did vote "No" on accepting the grant proposal at this time. Unfortunately, cooler heads did not prevail and now the residents will be left with the stretch of Castro Street between Miramonte and El Camino functioning as well as Arastradero in Palo Alto and S. El Monte in Los Altos, where "road diets" have been implemented. In case you are unfamiliar with how traffic flows thru those streets, I suggest you try driving them during the busy morning or afternoon drive times. I'll give you a hint, though...traffic no longer "flows on either of those roads, instead the "road diet" has resulted in complete gridlock during those busy travel times.


Posted by Garrett, a resident of another community
on Sep 11, 2013 at 11:30 am

I have been on both streets before and after the road diet, yes there is problems with traffic. In the morning and evening is rush hour which is always a problem. I am driver for a living so I get to see roads at their worse and best.

Rush Hour times even with the traffic and the crazy drivers I just lean to sit back and relax. I know it will take a hour. When do I see the worse drivers, during non rush hour, parking lots, residential areas. Those office parks aren't bad, when you figure most people are inside working.

I have seen the term gridlock thrown around to describe El Camino Real, any of you ever had the luck to have the gridlock experience.


Posted by AC, a resident of another community
on Sep 11, 2013 at 12:01 pm

AC is a registered user.

I think what MVResident67 is the most poignant piece for us to be aware of and to consider....

"The majority of speakers last night did not support the proposed "road diet" either, but since said road diet was mandatory in order to get the grant funding, the road diet was, in essence approved when council voted to accept the grant funding."

I think we should pay close attention to that, and to how it came to be, and to what the thought process was. We got grubby for the grant, and we didn't think it through, got all about instant gratification, and there we are. Is how it seems, anyway.

And regarding the road diet, comparative with Arastradero/El Monte..... An item for thought. If we want to road diet like Los Altos/Palo Alto... why would we build up housing in those places? That's like having your cake and trying to eat it too. Road diets like that work in quiet suburban neighborhoods that are supposed to be safe for the residents.

And why do we complain about the traffic on those roads? Because they are freeway connection roads (I-280). And there is an expectation that freeway connection roads should flow freely.

Thinking things through... that's what I'd wish we would do. Think things through. Road diet on a road that's been approved for more residence? Not thought through. Nice intentions, for sure. I heard from some concerned parents I heard last night, and I fully appreciate where they're coming from. But there is a bigger picture. There are long-term implications.

I think that those who are protesting the fast development are, for the most part, citing that specific concern. The bigger picture. The long-term effect.

This was the first City Council meeting I've gone to, but as I attend more, that's what I'll be concerned about and looking for: is our council looking at the big picture and the long term?


Posted by village.sanantonio, a resident of another community
on Sep 11, 2013 at 2:15 pm


Great news...
Web Link

We no longer need the Phase-2 400,000 sqft, TWO SEVEN story buildings
in the already OVER-BUILT San Antonio Shopping Center.

Also interesting info on road-diet:
Web Link

--------------


Posted by village.sanantonio, a resident of another community
on Sep 11, 2013 at 2:33 pm

Reposting my earlier message immediately above with some
description:

Great news...
Google set to lease former Mayfield Mall in Mountain View
www.bizjournals.com/sanfrancisco/morning_call/2013/08/google-set-to-lease-former-mayfield.html

We no longer need the Phase-2 400,000 sqft, TWO SEVEN story buildings
in the already OVER-BUILT San Antonio Shopping Center.

Also interesting info on road-diet:
Road diet From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Road_diet

----


Posted by Steve, a resident of another community
on Sep 11, 2013 at 3:55 pm

Welcome to the Mountain View city machine! It's all about raising money. Fees, fines, federal grants... whatever scheme city staff can use to generate cash to spend. More money means more projects to manage, bigger departments to supervise, better seniority, bigger salaries, greater glory! The wishes of the citizenry are irrelevant. And the rubber-stamp council says "baaaaah".
Vote them out next election? Please do! But their replacements will still be powerless over the city manager and his henchmen.


Posted by Jerry, a resident of Slater
on Sep 11, 2013 at 4:52 pm

I was also at the City Council Meeting last night and I thought what McAlister was asking for was the best since he said "what can we do right now to fix this problem" and he suggested several things. The City planning guy said "nothing". It was an all or nothing proposition but that means that the students are still at risk while City planners cook up some grand overwrought plan over the next year or longer. I think embedded crosswalk lights would do the trick although it appeared that no official seems to know in which crosswalk the accidents occurred. Embedded crosswalk lights are also quite reasonable and would probably cost less than half the amount of their matching funds. I felt that the council put their agenda of walk-ability and bike-ability ahead of the safety of the kids because this was an opportunity to implement something far more sweeping than what was required. It appeared to me that they were more interested in the big expensive plan that will take longer to implement because this is what their itching ears wanted to hear.


Posted by Konrad M. Sosnow, a resident of Blossom Valley
on Sep 11, 2013 at 7:40 pm

@Not going to get out of the way,


We have two City Council Members who have their heads o their shoulders instead of being in a dark place. There are several of us who are working on identifying electable heads on their shoulders candidates fro the next city Council Election. I invite you to participator in Taking Mountain View Back.



Posted by mntnmaven, a resident of another community
on Sep 11, 2013 at 7:45 pm

Is "road diet" a term pulled out of a George Orwell book? It means deliberately caused traffic jam. Any you guys are discussing it like it's cool idea? Y'all should ditch your Priuses and ride Segways. Sell your Old MV bungalow and move to a highrise. I don't even come back to visit.


Posted by Konrad M. Sosnow, a resident of Bailey Park
on Sep 11, 2013 at 8:09 pm

@Political Insider


You have correctly pointed out that we who believe in Quality of Life and Controlled Growth have not done the required job in identifying the true position of candidates for the City Council, getting out the vote for Quality of Life and Controlled Growth candidates, and marketing Quality of Life and Controlled Growth.

I suggest that we ask the following questions of all candidates:

1. How do you feel about Mountain View being the most densely populated city in Santa Clara County after adjustment for the low residency north of 101 area?

2. Where do you stand on Quality of Life and Controlled Growth?

3. Do you believe Council members should represent the residents of Mountain View or do whatever they want, once elected?

4. Do you want two (2) lanes of El Camino real turned into bus only lanes?

5. Do you believe that everyone in Mountain View should walk or bicycle to shopping and work?

If we get honest answers the election results should be interesting.


Posted by Work Location, a resident of Cuernavaca
on Sep 11, 2013 at 9:03 pm

Here's a sure bet:

As soon as the road diet in enacted in front of Graham, traffic counts will go up on Hans. (Oh, and fyi, and there's a school there too!) That will be the new outlet to/from El Camino.

PS - I've heard of at least one resident considering running in the next election to push back hard against the out-of-control growth.


Posted by Jerry, a resident of Slater
on Sep 11, 2013 at 11:13 pm

@mtnmaven

"Road diet" really does sound Orwellian doesn't it.


Posted by MVResident67, a resident of Cuesta Park
on Sep 11, 2013 at 11:46 pm

@ Jerry:

> "I felt that the council put their agenda of walk-ability and bike-ability ahead of the safety of the kids because this was an opportunity to implement something far more sweeping than what was required. It appeared to me that they were more interested in the big expensive plan that will take longer to implement because this is what their itching ears wanted to hear." <

~~~~~

Oh yeah, I totally agree with you on this point.

Was it Ms. Bryant who rambled on in her commentary, something to the effect that she liked the "road diet" idea because it promoted a "healthy lifestyle" by "encouraging" people to get out of their cars and walk or ride their bikes, and that living a healthy life is something the city should be fostering? (or words to that effect.)

I need to watch the video of the council meeting to get the exact commentary correct, but I'm pretty sure I got the gist correct -- she believes it is the city's place to force people out of their cars and instead force them walk or use their bikes because it promotes a healthy lifestyle.

Uh, I live a pretty healthy lifestyle sans any intrusion from my local city council members, thank you very much. I do not believe it is city councils place to force their personal agenda -- whatever that may be - on to the citizenry. Hey Ms. Bryant...stay the heck out of my personal life! Seriously, Ms. Bryant...STAY OUT OF MY PERSONAL LIFE!

Warmest regards,

A deeply concerned citizen who relishes the end of your term on Mountain View City Council




Posted by MVResident67, a resident of Cuesta Park
on Sep 12, 2013 at 12:10 am

@ mtnmaven:

> "Is "road diet" a term pulled out of a George Orwell book? It means deliberately caused traffic jam. Any you guys are discussing it like it's cool idea?" >

~~~~~

I have not noticed many (any?) comments in this thread talking about "road diets" like it is a cool idea. It seems to me that most of the comments regarding "road diets" reflect frustration over the fact that evidently the city is going to foist one of these "road diets" upon us, without giving serious consideration to the negative impact this "road diet" will have on traffic flow, and showing an equal lack of consideration for the numerous other alternatives - short of a "road diet" - that could be effectively implemented.

Bad government in action.


Posted by Jerry, a resident of Slater
on Sep 12, 2013 at 12:15 am

@MVResident67

Yes, I agree with you although I'm not the healthiest person in the world but it is my choice not that of some potentate in City Hall. I actually ride my bike to work a couple of days a week but again it's my choice I don't want it forced on me as if I'm some five year old who doesn't want to eat his peas. Oooh, Maybe I should not say that they might write up a regulation requiring me to eat 1 Lbs of peas a week for my health!

Now if they want to make provision for bicycles and pedestrians that's fine with me but it seems to always be connected to taking away from car lanes and the like. They always seem to be robbing Peter to pay Paul. If they want to make options available, that's one thing. It's quite another to coerce people by purposely brewing up a scheme to produce gridlock so they can ride into town on their white stallion and offer the people - er um - a monorail?


Posted by Political Insider, a resident of Old Mountain View
on Sep 12, 2013 at 10:53 am

My inside sources tell me the "road diet" for Castro is a done deal since the grant proposal is tied to doing the suggested items. Like the grants to study smoking retrictions, and banning plastic bags, the money is only offered if they do what they want.

McAlister and Inks were correct in that by accepting the grant you are committed to doing the things stated in the grant. Grant money is like cocaine to politicians. It makes them do stupid things.


Posted by Hardin, a resident of Cuesta Park
on Sep 12, 2013 at 2:45 pm

"Adding a million here, and a million there doesn't seem to faze the city council much and one has to wonder if more than a passing thought has been given as to the enormous impact these projects will have throughout the city which is already reeling from congestion before many of these projects have even broken ground. Cramming as many edifices and people into any available space as quickly as you can does not seem indicative of good planning."

----------------

Scott Haber's suggestion that current development is somehow being shoved down the throats of unsuspecting residents with little warning, consideration or feedback from the public is patently false.

I recall several years ago attending planning sessions held at 500 Castro Street that reviewed the possible revisions to the General Plan for the coming years. The public was invited (I remember getting an invitation), and many of us were there (from all ages and walks of life), along with a planning consultant the City had hired to facilitate these planning meetings with the public. This was a full-on initiative, where we were divided into groups depending on what part of the City we were interested in the planning for. We were provided questionnaires and workbooks for use at the planning meetings, and summary documents, including drawings were distributed to people who attended the planning sessions, and were also posted at 500 Castro for public access and review.

In short, there was ample planning and communication with the public, and the resulting plans that came out of those meeting are represented in the current Master Plan.

Surprise, surprise, the current developments at San Antonio and at El Monte and Castro Street are INLINE with the City's published Master plans, as drafted years before, at the planning meetings I attended. NONE OF THIS SHOULD BE A SURPRISE TO ANYONE WHO WAS/IS REMOTELY INTERESTED AND INVOLVED IN THE LONG TERM PLANS THAT THE CITY HAS OUTLINED, YEARS AGO. AND THERE WAS AMPLE OPPORTUNITY AND STILL IS OPPORTUNITY TO PARTICIPATE.

Now, this is not to say that the current designs for this redevelopment plan are of the best quality and caliber. I've got many reservations with Merlone Grier's development at San Antonio. And that's where we should be concentrating and focusing on: putting the spotlight on poor design, and not wasting energy with the high density/low density debate. That ship has sailed, and involves more external influences than just the actions of the City Council.

However, I suspect that won't stop people from opining from their armchairs that "they didn't know" about all this and how its all quite shocking

....what a shocker.


Posted by village.sanantonio, a resident of another community
on Sep 12, 2013 at 3:05 pm

@hardin said --
Now, this is not to say that the current designs for this redevelopment plan are of the best quality and caliber. I've got many reservations with Merlone Grier's development at San Antonio. And that's where we should be concentrating and focusing on: putting the spotlight on poor design, and not wasting energy with the high density/low density debate. That ship has sailed, and involves more external influences than just the actions of the City Council.

Thank you for your observation -- the traffic on San Antonio is
unbearable as it is. Phase-1's 330 apartment complex is so out of
place and too high-density. Phase-1 is not even completed. Lots of
restaurants and retail yet to be completed and yet to be occupied.

Now with this current status, here comes Phase-2 San Antionio.
Quoting from Mountain View City Council meeting minutes from 28 Aug 2013:
"The Phase 2 Project proposes mixed use development including
office,commercial,retail,hotel,cinema,restaurant,parking, on a
9.9 acre site at the existing San Antonio Shopping Center.
Existing uses at the Project site to be demolished include
59,655 square feet sf of commercial and retail buildings.
The Project proposes to develop the following uses office
392,855 sf commercial and retail 82,690 sf, hotel 142,085 sf
with 167 rooms, above ground parking and building service area
504,095 sf, restaurant 35,360 sf, cinema 67,280 sf with 1710 seats."

It would be an understatement to say that this kind of HIGH-DENSITY
is utterly unsuited for San Antonio Road.

Movie theaters and hotels and office buildings belong at the exits of freeways. They also belong on broad roads like El Camino, DE Anza Blvd,
Stevens Creek Blvd, and the like. Not on already-congested and small
roads like San Antonio Road. Especially when San Antonio Road is
the access to 101 for 1000's of commuters who do not work in Mountain
View.

Wanting to do something 5-years ago is one thing. Making the necessary
changes to suit the realities of traffic requires forethought as well.
Saying that something was planned 5 years ago and hence we must march on
regardless of current situations does not make any sense.


Posted by Steve, a resident of another community
on Sep 12, 2013 at 3:21 pm

How wonderful that the planning commission sought public input on its new general plan. And they listened so keenly too! Except they already knew what the plan would be.


Posted by Scott Lamb, a resident of Monta Loma
on Sep 12, 2013 at 3:29 pm

@Jerry

It's not robbing Peter to pay Paul. Cars and bicycles aren't interchangeable. Bicycles are smaller, used for shorter trips, need no fuel, promote health, and require much less road maintenance. (Road damage varies with the cube of axle weight; bicycles are so much lighter they're basically free.) More people cycling rather than driving means less traffic and less expense, among other things.

It's also not like the city has taken no position before and would be forcing you into cycling. The borders of Mountain View are not growing, and the land is not becoming cheaper. We have to make trade-offs: use limited road space to encourage driving or to encouraging cycling. We've overwhelmingly chosen driving so far, and I don't think it's working out. Let's try the other thing. I can (and do) cycle on roads designed for driving, but it's more pleasant to do so on ones designed for cycling. I already cycle often, but I would cycle even more if the roads were better designed for it. I have every reason to believe that focusing on cycling is an effective way to improve the quality of life for current cyclists, would-be cyclists, and dedicated drivers.

As for the specific "road diet" on Castro...I'm not too well-informed. I don't travel to/past the school at the peak hours. I'm not familiar with the circumstances of the accidents in question. I can't visualize the exact bounds being proposed. Maybe the concerns about merging are correct. Maybe improving pedestrian crossings is a better solution. But please consider that I vote in city council elections. When you say broadly that designing for cycling is "robbing Peter to pay Paul" or "forc[ing cycling] on me as if I'm some five year old who doesn't want to eat his peas", you're strengthening my resolve to vote for candidates who support road diets.


Posted by Hardin, a resident of Cuesta Park
on Sep 12, 2013 at 3:44 pm

"Wanting to do something 5-years ago is one thing. Making the necessary
changes to suit the realities of traffic requires forethought as well.
Saying that something was planned 5 years ago and hence we must march on
regardless of current situations does not make any sense."

---------------------

Agreed, but what we're talking about here is planning for something 5 years in the future with the expectation even back then, that the fruition of those plans could be within the next 10 years, hence the inclusion into the Master Plan.

This is why its called long term planning. No one (including myself) is saying "damn the rudder, full steam ahead", but there is something to "course plotted, engage the Warp Drive".

As I stated earlier, there should always be room to adapt an existing design to dynamic conditions and changing needs of the City over time. But that's not what I'm hearing debated here. What I hear being represented is an outright rejection of all development, just grind it all to a halt because Mountain View is too dense already. A valid opinion to be sure, but not a reasonable expectation, given the circumstances, needs, and wants of the community, as a whole.

Also, comparing traffic congestion due to construction to that of normal use after construction are 2 different things. Construction by nature, requires continuous, endless mobilization of materials, equipment and workers, as well as haul off of debris, with big/heavy trucks. Construction is a messy, highly disruptive activity, regardless of how its managed, just ask anyone who has had their house remodeled. You'll also find, that many of those same homeowners, regard the inconvenience of construction to be well worth the sacrifice.

Since construction is yet to be completed by Merloine Grier, only time will tell if the inconvenience we suffer now will be worth it. Anyone who thinks they can pass judgement on this project now, is just guessing with a bias.


Posted by konrad M. Sosnow, a resident of Blossom Valley
on Sep 12, 2013 at 4:45 pm

@ Hardin

"What I hear being represented is an outright rejection of all development; just grind it all to a halt because Mountain View is too dense already."

No, we are not against all redevelopment. El Camino has many eyesores which should be bulldozed and replaced. However, the City Council should consider that Mountain View is densely populated, the impact on the Quality of Life of existing residents, including the real impact of increased traffic, the issue of inadequate parking, and the issue of high-rise neighbors looking into nearby resident's back yards and/or bedrooms.

The City Council policy is that if increased residents will result in fewer cars. Since most of us work and / or shop outside of Mountain View, we cannot walk so we need our cars. More population means more cars and thus more traffic.

A large number of one bedroom apartments will be rented by a couple. That means, for most of them, two cars. City Council says one bedroom, one parking space. The overflow will end up on neighboring streets.

How would you like someone living on the 4th or 5th floor looking into your back yard or bedroom?

Mountain View needs smart redevelopment, not unrestricted redevelopment.


Posted by konrad M. Sosnow, a resident of Blossom Valley
on Sep 12, 2013 at 4:55 pm

@Hardin,

Yes, many of participated in drafting the General Plan.
I remember phrases such as "Protect our Neighborhoods", "Controlled Growth", "Quality of Life", and "No skyscrapers."

After getting our input, City Council, in their wisdom threw out the height limits that were in their plan and replaced them with up to seven (7)stories. They have also ignored our concerns. As it turns out, drafting the General Plan was interesting theater. Five members of the City Council ignore both the spirit and letter of the plan.

It has been suggested that money is changing hands, I wish that the Voice would investigate and disprove or prove these allegations.




Posted by AC, a resident of another community
on Sep 12, 2013 at 5:03 pm

AC is a registered user.

@Hardin

Just to elaborate perhaps... I think konrad M. Sosnow has some points here, but so do you.

I think you're right to caution that the plan is already locked in, and for better or for worse we need to come to terms with that. But I'd mention two things:

- the plan may need revisiting in light of the current realities versus those at the time it was adopted
- the execution of that plan is appearing to be poor


Posted by Had enough of road diets, a resident of Monta Loma
on Sep 12, 2013 at 6:26 pm

"We've overwhelmingly chosen driving so far, and I don't think it's working out."

You know why, because there are already too many people on this peninsula. Adding more people will make it worse and worse, even one of your intelligence should be able to understand that. So the push by the govt to get everyone out of their cars and onto bikes and public transportation, since everyone lives 2-3 blocks away from where they work or the stores they visit, not. It's fine if you like to ride your bike, I did too when i was in my teens, but as you age you realize how safe and comfortable a car is. You should try driving, it's fun.

The problem here is that the bicyclist are like the dreaded lobbyist in government. The old adage the squeakiest wheel gets the most grease. Our car drivers need to get together and lobby our government more than these bikers that are like 1% of our traffic yet they get the most attention.

I for one would definitely not vote for anyone pushing road diets like that Ms Ron-it. Ronit is the same one who was in the middle of getting Chris Parkenson fired for supposedly calling her Jewish names. The more I hear of Ronit, the more I feel the guy was correct and there was a conspiracy to get rid of him with Ronit leading the pack. Ms ronit also was the one that said "

"If you're sick and you need prescription drugs, it's convenient to not get out of your car," Means said.
Council member Ronit Bryant disagreed about the necessity of a drive-through pharmacy, even for seniors.
"Seniors eventually need to get out of cars," Bryant said. "We're not all going to drive for the rest of our lives.""

Ronit is a mini-hitter in my book. What she says is a bunch of trash coming out of her mouth which she tries to force on the people. She should step down or be recalled.

I just heard on the radio where Redwood City is doing the road diets, and heard someone say it will reduce car pollution, yeah right, by making cars wait longer to get to their destination will not reduce pollution, but instead create more. Is that so difficult a concept to understand for our politicians?

Car drivers we need to unite and make our voices heard, louder then the 1% bikers.

And like someone said, the council has their plans already and no matter what the citizens say they will not be heard, UNLESS we show up in force at city hall. Just like with the cat dilemma a few weeks back. That is the only thing they seem to understand!!

Who wrote this grant saying road diet must be included. What moron was it, should be fired. There are a lot better ways to help bikers and pedestrians, which i have heard on this newspaper.


Posted by Garrett, a resident of another community
on Sep 12, 2013 at 6:49 pm

I am full time driver, don't really like traffic and road diets. I don't like road diets but I can understand the need for them and why. As a full time driver I have to learn to share the road with those nasty bike riders and haven forbid someone crosses the street. But the law, common sense and my duty as a driver. I have to share the road.

I understand the need for road diets in the day of rush here and rush there. Most of the roads we have built our car centered, meaning once you leave the safety of the sidewalk. You enter the domain of the car.

Blinking crosswalks are great but what people do are scary on a 4 to 6 lane street. Driveways can be deadly to bikes so are vehicle right hand turns. If you were to ask 20 years ago I would have said the street need to get on some sort of diet. 1993.


Posted by Roman, a resident of Old Mountain View
on Sep 12, 2013 at 7:10 pm

We are all missing the point.
If we do away with ALL the streets and parking in Mountain View and replace them with dense occupancy high rises. WE WON'T HAVE A VEHICLE TRAFFIC PROBLEM.
The city council can just see all the $$$$$$$$$$$ in this that they can spend.
This sounds absurd but is it any more absurd then the uncontroled blank check we have given the city and they have passed on to the developers.
All they have to do is want it and they got it. It doesnt have to make sense to the longtime residents of this community.
How about we end this at the next election. One council member at a time.
It's time to take back control of the city and get it the way we want.


Posted by Jerry, a resident of Slater
on Sep 13, 2013 at 12:01 am

Actually traffic in MV was usually pretty good if you stayed off the Freeways up until the last 5 years. Sure we had a traffic jam now again but it was not a regular thing ( although avoid North Shoreline when a concert occurs). I do know that between 2000 & 2010 the population has risen from 70,000 to 74,000 It wouldn't surprise me if another 4,000 were added since 2010 and the 8,000 person increase has made all the difference. Now you got developers with the fawning approval of the City adding about 1,175 Apartments to El Camino alone (that another 2000- 3000 depending on number of bedrooms etc. The population of MV between the 1960's up to 2000 stayed steady at just below 70,000 and the City prospered. All this talk of expansion being necessary is a bunch of baloney and will be our ruin.

@ Scott Lamb - I think it's great that you want to ride a bike and you do ride a bike but to take a lane away from cars and to give it to bikes is the very definition of robbing Peter to pay Paul. Especially when those paved surfaces you like to ride on were probably paid with gasoline taxes it is especially stealing from Peter to pay Paul. I don't go to the city and advocated for taking bike lanes why do bike people always advocate for taking lanes from cars? Who is the aggressor here?

I also find what you wrote (as with a lot of high density growth advocates and some on the City Council) has a under current of Mountain View has something drastically wrong with it and needs to be changed. I actually like the City I was raised in and have lived in for the last 50 years and while some minor tweaks maybe necessary from time to time. I don't see over-building and over-development as progress or improvement. I don't care how much lipstick they put on that pig.


Posted by Jerry, a resident of Slater
on Sep 13, 2013 at 12:11 am

BTW, My 90 plus year old mother was cited on Castro street in the downtown area about 6 months ago for coming too close to a pedestrian in the crosswalk. The reason the MVPD were there was because pedestrians had been hit. Really, That section of Castro is a single lane - don't single lanes prevent pedestrian hits? Need less to say she has given up driving do to her age. The important part is why the police were there.


Posted by Jerry, a resident of Slater
on Sep 13, 2013 at 12:24 am

I don't care how long they deliberated on this public General Plan for the city to commit suicide. A plan to commit suicide should be scuttled.

Sarcasm alert... No no no, we have deliberated long on our our plan to commit suicide and because you weren't there to disrupt our creation of the plan you must sit back and allow it to go through. We've spent 5 years on our suicidal plan and it's a good plan to destroy ourselves and we wish to take you along with us.

In a word "Hogwash"


Posted by Scott Lamb, a resident of Monta Loma
on Sep 13, 2013 at 10:49 am

Jerry, neither you nor I can stop Mountain View from changing in response to the overwhelming demand to live here. What we can decide is how we want it to change: become a playground for super-rich or increase density. I choose the latter. Have traffic nightmares or design for shorter trips and bicycles. Again, I choose the latter.

You say that bicycles are the aggressor...I say that you don't realize the extent to which cars have dominated your thoughts as well as city planning for 50 years or more. My generation has a different perspective. Web Link The car culture is fading, not just in Mountain View, but across the country.

By the way, gasoline taxes don't pay for building roads. They pay part of the cost for the environmental damage that must be repaired. They pay part of the cost for repairing roads over and over again after cars and trucks destroy them. By comparison, bicycles have almost no environmental impact and cause almost no road damage. Paying just once to convert a car lane to a wide bicycle lane is a terrific bargain.


Posted by village.sanantonio, a resident of another community
on Sep 13, 2013 at 12:23 pm



Google, arguably the best and most successful company in the world
can save Mountain View and Los Altos and surrounding towns.

Google has the financial might to create a new town from scratch
in the vicinity of Silicon Valley. Google can build this town with
all sorts of housing, shopping, cinema and anything one could
imagine. Everyone that wants to walk / bike would live in that newly created town. Others that don't mind driving (I can's imagine any
exceptions here!) to this worlds most innovative company would
continue to live in Mountain View or Los Altos or any surrounding
towns. If they don't like the drive, Google could always provide
the bus transportation like they do now (from San Francisco for
example) to their newly created town.

Google will earn all the goodwill of the residents of existing
neighborhoods in Mountain View and surrounding towns.
These areas are quite nice with the suburbia atmosphere which is
good for raising kids and living a peaceful life. Why not
Google make a name for itself by helping to preserve these nice
suburbia while building a new state-of-the-art town where everyone
could walk / bike to work.

I hope someone from Google is coming up with this great idea
as I post this message....


Posted by village.sanantonio, a resident of another community
on Sep 13, 2013 at 12:35 pm


Traffic on San Antonio --
There is no traffic due to construction-related trucks / vehicles.
I repeat --
There is no traffic due to construction-related trucks / vehicles.
I only see the traffic jam due to long line of regular cars
with commuters trying to get to 101 --- mostly
residents of Los Altos and Mountain View.

Who could have imagined the monstrous apartments and retail and
restaurants designed for phase-1 ? There is no doublt that the Phase-1
is the cause of unbearable traffic on San Antonio Road.

And here is what is being proposed for Phase-2 -- from the
Mountain View City Council meeting minutes from 28 Aug 2013:
"The Phase 2 Project proposes mixed use development including
office,commercial,retail,hotel,cinema,restaurant,parking, on a
9.9 acre site at the existing San Antonio Shopping Center.
Existing uses at the Project site to be demolished include
59,655 square feet sf of commercial and retail buildings.
The Project proposes to develop the following uses office
392,855 sf commercial and retail 82,690 sf, hotel 142,085 sf
with 167 rooms, above ground parking and building service area
504,095 sf, restaurant 35,360 sf, cinema 67,280 sf with 1710 seats."

Poor Mountain View and Los Altos residents will be stuck forever on the
way to 101 starting from San Antonio Road at the El Camino intersection --
I already see cars speeding at 50 miles an hour to
get through the signals, cars running redlights, irritated
drivers ... a real recipe for accidents.


Posted by konrad M. Sosnow, a resident of Blossom Valley
on Sep 13, 2013 at 12:49 pm

@village.sanantonio,


Google could buy or build large floating apartment ships. They would be permanently anchored out in the bay with shuttle service to land.


Posted by konrad M. Sosnow, a resident of Bailey Park
on Sep 13, 2013 at 12:59 pm

@Scott Lamb

The Mountain View you choose will have 50% more people, and thus will be 50% more dense. There will only be two lanes on El Camino as the 3rd will be reserved for buses. If you want to see the result go to El Camino and Grant road at 6:00 p.m. and think of a doubling of traffic.

Many of us have lived in Mountain View for many years and have worked hard to pay our mortgages. We are not super-rich, just hard working middle class folks. We believe that we have earned an environment where the quality of life is valued. We do not want to live in a quality of life environment where we can drive to work, to shop and to visit our friends.


Posted by Robert, a resident of another community
on Sep 13, 2013 at 1:21 pm

@konrad M. Sosnow

The problem is that the voices of people like Scott, who look at this from a logical and rational perspective, are drowned out by people like you who somehow think that "halting development" (aka not planning for the future) will stop the world from spinning and protect your "quality of life".


Posted by Garrett, a resident of another community
on Sep 13, 2013 at 2:18 pm

The basic of planning is to get people from home to jobs and back home again. Suburbs use to be built on the following. Train, tram, street cars and subway lines. Buses came about. Then the freeway which in the late 40's up til the 60's was the baby boom.

In planning the best way is to have housing within such a distance to housing
City center with outlaying suburbs which the pattern of development followed. Still does in the world, older areas always see redevelopment.

While cities have built giant tall buildings for workers, we here built a sea of office parks with 1 or 2 story buildings. Guess what we rode a few booms and busts only to come back again. More and more people have come seeking work. The housing proceed and those rents have gone up.

Google is not the only company hiring, growing, expanding and needing to build office for workers. We just can't run out and build a whole another Silicon Valley with schools, businesses, offices, theaters, freeways and extra infrastructure in a state that can't even get a bridge done on time.


Posted by konrad M. Sosnow, a resident of Blossom Valley
on Sep 13, 2013 at 2:34 pm

@Robert,

No, we understand the need for redevelopment. El Camino has many eyesores which need to be replaced.

Mountain Views population will increase as local companies expand. There will be more traffic as not everyone can walk or bicycle to work and shopping.

What we are opposed to is thoughtless, unregulated, growth at any price. Have you thought about the effects of a 50% population growth? Have you thought about neighbors in high-rise apartment buildings looking into your backyard and / or bedroom? Have you thought about neighbors in high-rise apartment buildings parking in front o=f your home so your visitors and family cannot park there?

The problem is that you want to replace the single family homes that we have worked and sweated for with apartments for yuppie transients.


Posted by village.sanantonio, a resident of another community
on Sep 13, 2013 at 3:28 pm


@Garrett,

I predict given the success of Google and its unparalelled
management, employees and technologies, Google can hire
another 30,000+ employees for their Mountain View offices
alone. Google is the best and will be wildly successful
decades into the future.

For this kind of growth, high-density apartments will be needed
more and more.

Think skyscrapers...
Perhaps Google could build HIGH-DENSITY offices, HIGH-DENSITY
apartments within walking distance, HIGH-DENSITY luxury homes
within walking distance, all in San Francisco. As far as I know,
most young employees love it in San Francisco. For the ones
that would love to live in suburban atmosphere of Mountain View,
Los Altos and neighboring towns, Google could run buses so that
we could all get to work in Google's San Francisco offices.

It is better to add more density to San Francisco.
Turning Mountain View, Los Altos and neighboring towns into
traffic grid-locks is not serving anybody any good.

I never suggested that Google start everything from scratch.
San Francisco is a much better location for hyper-growth -- I
envision Google employing 100000+ employees between San Jose
and San Francisco. Since HIGH-DENSITY is needed to work
within walking distance, Google could expand more in San Francisco
and build apartments for employees there as well.
I can envision Google Towers that houses their offices as well
as apartments. I can envision Google capable of building the
most technologically advanced building in this universe.

The main point is that it is pointless to take Mountain View
and build HIGH-DENSITY and cause traffic gridlock. At some point
it begins to feel like the developers will simply bulldoze
all of Mountain View and build high-density apartments if they
can have their way. It is out of control. San Antonio shopping
center Phase-1 apartments, the phase-2 proposal are monuments
to this disastrous trend.


Posted by the_punnisher, a resident of Whisman Station
on Sep 13, 2013 at 3:57 pm

The big picture shows that everybody who can make changes also WORSHIPS AT THE FEET OF MAMMON when it comes to Mountain View. I have a news flash: NOT ALL WHO LIVE IN MOUNTAIN VIEW WORSHIP MAMMON! Many just keep wanting the community Mountain View WAS and not the change that is NOW!
Mountain View newbies want to rip out the heart & soul of Mountain View saying " ALL change is good " . Well, a certain dictator in the 1930s Germany and the person occupying OUR White House have said the same thing. Both those people are NATIONAL SOCIALISTS by definition!
So does the leaders who occupy Mountain View's seats of power feel the same way....or is it just the lust for change and damaging Mountain View for a way to worship the almighty dollar ( AKA MAMMON ).
Look at how long " Dog City " stayed empty. It is starting to look like you progressives want many more Dog Cities that will block the Mountain Views.....so I think a name change will be appropriate.

I'm glad I moved from my parent's MV house. I get a REAL Mountain View when I step anywhere out of the house. No high rises allowed here!


Posted by Janet Lafleur, a resident of Rex Manor
on Sep 13, 2013 at 4:05 pm

Janet Lafleur is a registered user.

@Jerry Scott Lamb was right. Gasoline taxes don't pay for building roads. In fact, if you add up all user-based fees (gas tax, vehicle registration, etc) California drivers pay only 35% of the cost of building and maintaining roads. That's third from the bottom when compared to other US states. The data is here: Web Link

That doesn't include ancillary costs to society from collision injuries and deaths to air and noise pollution either. More cars on the road is bad for us all around. We need other ways for people to get around that don't take up so much space, pollute so much and don't make our streets noisy and dangerous for people on foot and on bikes.

In contrast BART achieves 64.5% farebox recovery and Caltrain achieves 51.3%. People complain that transit doesn't pay for itself when in fact it does much better than our freeways with less pollution and a far better safety record even when suicides are included.


Posted by Scott Lamb, a resident of Monta Loma
on Sep 13, 2013 at 4:20 pm

konrad: Try putting yourself in my generation's shoes. Imagine you don't already own a house with the mortgage paid off. How are you ever going to afford to live here if you aren't super-rich? I managed to buy a house thanks to a great job, some luck, and good timing. It wouldn't be so easy if I were looking now, or next year, or the one after that. What about the generation after mine? Are you asking us to sacrifice our future so you don't have to change? We're unwilling, and we outnumber you in elections. Name-calling ("yuppie transients") won't help. If you want us to consider your interests, show you at least understand ours. Otherwise, sell your house, leave, and cry into your giant pile of money.

As for driving through El Camino and Grant at 6pm, no thanks. I'd rather be cycling or relaxing on that bus in the 3rd lane.


Posted by Jerry, a resident of Slater
on Sep 13, 2013 at 4:29 pm

I've heard this argument that growth is inevitable all my life and I've never seen housing prices go down as a result of increased development in this City or even outside this City. Supply and demand is an economic law but you just can't build enough housing to meet demand and in my experience prices will inevitably climb. This is tantamount to thinking you can raise the level of the ocean by tossing in a 1000 rocks or even 20,000 rocks. Manhattan by logical extension should be dirt cheap because it is extremely dense. Manhattan is not cheap - Do you see how well this philosophy worked for Manhattan - I expect similar results here if we adhere to the same model.

As for your contention that your generation is so different than mine the daily traffic jams heading back and forth over 101 testify against your supposition. Although, I will say there are more bike riders on the road these days but the current ratio's I see represents a trickle compared to the number of people who choose cars. As I said before, I bike to work a couple of days a week but I'm not a zealot - and I'm fairly sure I'm not part of your generation. I make no apologies for biking but I make no apologies for driving either. Also, having anticipated this type of hubris filled attack, I sat outside Google's child care facility and counted the number of cars Vs bikes going into the place in a 20 minute period one afternoon. I counted 29 cars and 1 bicycle - That's quite a avalanche of 20 something year olds that choose to drive a car. I'm sure they picked the from of transportation that best suits their needs. What I advocate for is people making their own decisions. What I dislike is those who want to make the decision for me or force me into the mold that they have made up for me. If bike enthusiasts want transportation that's fine, lets add a bike lane but I reject this notion that we must take road space from cars in order to make space for bikes. It seems it is mostly bicyclists who have this us vs them mentality and think that resources have to be taken from cars in order for biking to prosper.


Posted by @scott, a resident of Monta Loma
on Sep 13, 2013 at 4:40 pm

If you and your so called generation want higher density, move to SF or NYC. From SF you can take the train down here and bike around. And when you go to a restaurant with your family, do you all ride bikes to the restaurant or take the bus? How about when you do your shopping? The anti car logic is greatly flawed.

If you believe that silly yahoo drama article you posted and it's silly conclusions by Joan, then I know of a nice bridge I could easily sell you. Does your family own a car? Your vision of no cars with everyone on bikes does not work well in a car centered society we have.

Also do you see a lot of young families moving into palo alto or los altos? I don't think they can afford that either. This is not about class warfare, but about being able to live in a place that does not have a lot of room to grow. And stupid road diets doesn't solve anything, especially when we are adding more and more people, just makes the matter worse. This is not rocket science i'm talking about, just plain common sense, that it seems like the younger folks still need to learn about.


Posted by @janet, a resident of Monta Loma
on Sep 13, 2013 at 4:56 pm

With all the taxes the state and Feds take in we could build roads around the earth many a times. Only problem that the abuse and waste of that money leaves nothing for the roads.

"We need other ways for people to get around that don't take up so much space, pollute so much and don't make our streets noisy and dangerous for people on foot and on bikes."

I'll ask the same question of you that I did of Scott, do you and your family go to an evening dinner riding your bikes to the restaurant? How about when you go grocery shopping, to the movies, to the dmv, to the apple store, do you take your bike or bus? Lot of people talk one way yet do the exact opposite.

Yes pollution is a problem, but with the hybrids and electric cars all that may solve a lot. Plus there are cars out there that give 80 miles per gallon, yet our government won't let them in.


Posted by Janet Lafleur, a resident of Rex Manor
on Sep 13, 2013 at 5:16 pm

Janet Lafleur is a registered user.

@Anon from Monta Loma As a matter of fact, in a few minutes I'll ride my bike from my workplace in San Jose to meet my husband at San Jose Caltrain station and ride to dinner at San Pedro Square. We go out by bike every Friday and we usually are dressed up.

Tomorrow morning, I'll ride my bike 2 miles to Trader Joe's like I do every Saturday and buy about $80-$100 of groceries. I'm not sure what we'll do tomorrow night. Last week we rode down the Stevens Creek Trail to Century 16 and saw "The Butler." It was very good.

A few months ago my iPad was broken so we rode to the Apple Store in Palo Alto. It's a very nice ride across Palo Alto on the Bryant Street Bike Boulevard. I shop in Palo Alto a lot because it's fun getting there.

I've also taken the VTA 22 home from San Jose before when Caltrain's late night service is hourly and I was a few minutes late for the train. It's slower but I got home sooner.

The DMV? Haven't been there in years. Even though I own a car, they only make you come in every decade or so to make sure you can still see to drive.

By the way, I'm not saying that everyone needs to ride a bike or the bus everywhere. Far from it. What I'm saying is that if we had safer, more pleasant streets for biking and walking, people wouldn't have to get in their car for every single trip they make, even if it's a mile from home.


Posted by Janet Lafleur, a resident of Rex Manor
on Sep 13, 2013 at 5:21 pm

Janet Lafleur is a registered user.

P.S. My husband and I are not young. He's an early Baby Boomer and I'm a late Boomer. Riding a bike is isn't hard, even 5 year olds can ride for miles.


Posted by Jerry, a resident of Slater
on Sep 13, 2013 at 5:28 pm

Gee, I always heard that there were plenty of gasoline taxes so much so that the legislature couldn't keep there hands off the money and would redirect it for their pet projects and not maintain the roads. Californians in 2002 passed proposition 42 that stated the Legislature couldn't redirect Gas Tax funds. Passing the proposition doesn't make sense if their wasn't enough money to go around. There's something fishy going on here.


Posted by Scott Lamb, a resident of Monta Loma
on Sep 13, 2013 at 6:10 pm

Yes, my wife and I regularly bike to work, out to dinner (or to get takeout), to events downtown, and to grocery stores (Fresh & Easy, Piazza's, Safeway). Most days we don't drive at all. And I know several people who'd love to bike more except that cars and poorly designed stretches of road make them feel unsafe when they do. I've certainly encountered rude and dangerous drivers. So I think there's a lot to be gained by more bike-centric road design.

Jerry: I think your short sample at the Google daycare doesn't accurately reflect how my generation gets around or wants to get around. Or even how Googlers do. Did you know that about 5,000 people ride Google's employee shuttle system every day? Web Link That's a great demonstration that people will happily use alternate transportation if we make it practical.

I think it's great you're willing to add bike lanes...how do you propose to add one to Camino without giving up a car lane or sidewalk?


Posted by Garrett, a resident of another community
on Sep 13, 2013 at 7:10 pm

Worked in San Francisco for a firm called Shearson Lehman Brothers which we had people commute via ferry, train and MUNI not to mention BART. The difference is my coworkers could come in from Marin, San Mateo and the East Bay not to the mention the rest of San Francisco.

Silicon Valley is different, most of those offices are scattered all over the place, large parking lots and working nights is a no go. Plus people aren't going to take a bus, then transfer to BART, the transfer to bus and expect to work late in a office.

I would imagine the really smart tech worker who wants to do well, work late, become productive will chose to live in Mountain View. I would imagine living close to work he will get the best options for shuttles, buses, the bike, the taxi, the car or get driven by a co-worker.

Our car commute times will cut into productively, not everyone will work for Google, tech related but might end up some other businesses. So why would some young college grad who wants to be successful want to drive long hours because transit is terrible here in the Silicon Valley area.


Posted by village.sanantonio, a resident of another community
on Sep 13, 2013 at 7:56 pm


Here is the situation.
Companies started out in Mountain View. Intially the number of employees
in these coompanies were in the 100s and then became 1000s.

Let us say a majority of them want to live near their companies in
Mountain View. As one of the suburbia, Mountain View is able to absorb
some of these 1000s of employees as residents by building typical
2-story apartment complexes.

Some of the companies become astoundingly successful like Google
and the number of employees grow to 10000s. Most of these 10000s of
employees prefer living in Mountain View and surrounding towns.
Does this mean Mountain View should keep adding HIGH-DENSITY apartments?

Mountain View is not as sprawling as San Jose or as suited for HIGH-DENSITY
as San Francisco to absorb these many new residents. So the option
for companies that are growing by leaps and bounds is to add offices
in other areas such as San Jose and San Francisco. While adding these
offices, these fast growing companies can find the space to build
HIGH-DESNSITY apartments there (nearest possible locations).

The problem I see is that no one is looking at the long-term implications.
Mountain View will not be able to absorb 10000s of new residents without
limit. Google, linkedin and other companies will be employing 100,000+
employees in Mountain View in the future. How would it be possible
to keep accommodating this kind of growth (residents) in Mountain View?

Therefore it is important for companies to plan their future growth
locations accordingly.

Building concrete jungles and causing traffic gridlocks are easily
done. Preserving the calm and peaceful atmosphere of Mountain View,
Los Altos, etc. takes careful planning, forethought and high level of
sensitivity. This is the job of the governing bodies of respective
towns. Is Mountain View hurtling down the irreversible path of
high-density development and traffic gridlock?

We should not be blaming the new residents for the plight of Mountain View.
The developers and the city adminisitration are willing to create the
concrete jungle. The new residents are just consumers -- it is not their
fault whatsoever. So the focus should be on the city administration.


Posted by MTC, a resident of another community
on Sep 13, 2013 at 7:56 pm

Scott Lamb, "I think it's great you're willing to add bike lanes...how do you propose to add one to Camino without giving up a car lane or sidewalk?"

Perhaps the city will require that the developers give the city the land that would be required to expand El Camino enough so that bike lanes can be added to each side. It could be the developers contribution to removing congestion from the roads, road congestion that they exacerbate when erecting their high density developments. Part of what is now sidewalk would become bike lanes, and the new sidewalks would be created beside the bike lanes.

Why not?


Posted by Scott, a resident of Rengstorff Park
on Sep 14, 2013 at 12:58 am

Few folks pay any attention to who is running for City Council. Not enough good people run. You get the politicians you tolerate.


Posted by Garrett, a resident of another community
on Sep 14, 2013 at 7:13 am

As San Jose and San Francisco both deal with their growth of jobs, offices, service industry or traffic issues. Just saying the workers of Mountain View can live in those cities. A few places in the bay area love kicking the housing can and expect other cities to deal with the growth. So while a hamburger flipper, retail clerk, someone in the medical field and a new tech worker all want a place to rent. See MV Voice about that someone in the medical field.

I don't expect Mountain View to house 100,000's of workers and turn every square mile into blocks and blocks of units.


Posted by Janet Lafleur, a resident of Rex Manor
on Sep 14, 2013 at 9:40 pm

Janet Lafleur is a registered user.

@MTC El Camino in Mountain View has roadside parking that is underutilized. This is another potential source of road space for bike or bus lanes.

Also, the whole of El Camino is not being redeveloped. Adding bike or bus lanes in front of new developments only would result in useless, fragmented bike or bus lanes.


Posted by Observer, a resident of Old Mountain View
on Sep 15, 2013 at 6:07 am

What am I missing here? Nearly every professional I know here in Mountain View who doesn't own a home is focused mostly on how to buy a home given the high costs and limited supply. You can have all the bikes and bike riders you want, but unless people are given the opportunity to buy homes/apartments rather than rent them, the Utopian vision the city council is pushing is really just allowing developers to shake down high paid tech employees of their salaries. The whole bike and walkability thing is just window dressing.


Posted by Janet Lafleur, a resident of Rex Manor
on Sep 15, 2013 at 9:40 am

Janet Lafleur is a registered user.

@Observer Building condos vs apartments is easy because it's the same zoning. It's not uncommon for older apartment buildings to be renovated for condos and there's a relatively new apartment development near the Tamien Station in San Jose that's being converted now.

I haven't tracked to see how the newer developments are being sold as condos vs apartments, but having the city pressure developers to offer a balance seems like the way to go.


Posted by Janet Lafleur, a resident of Rex Manor
on Sep 15, 2013 at 9:40 am

Janet Lafleur is a registered user.

@Observer Building condos vs apartments is easy because it's the same zoning. It's not uncommon for older apartment buildings to be renovated for condos and there's a relatively new apartment development near the Tamien Station in San Jose that's being converted now.

I haven't tracked to see how the newer developments are being sold as condos vs apartments, but having the city pressure developers to offer a balance seems like the way to go.


Posted by Garrett, a resident of another community
on Sep 15, 2013 at 11:43 am

I wouldn't expect all of El Camino Real to be developed into rental housing. We do need space for businesses, offices even fast food places. Would like to see more mixed uses and other kind of design for those larger sites. Flats on top of the shops, shopkeeper units townhouses in the rear. I am one who would rather preserve the backyard from being built out of existence.


Posted by Garrett, a resident of another community
on Sep 15, 2013 at 12:13 pm

The city doesn't have anything to do with real estate market trends or the private free market. As a liberal I don't want the government telling me where or how I should live. Yes I understand planning and zoning is to keep uncontrolled building and growth in check. I know one if we keep building outward we are going to need more state funding for far off places that 20 years ago were farms. We can't run shuttles, bike lanes or public tra
nsit to Mountain House.

We would need to build a freeway and bridge from 680 to 85. Not everyone you work with or live next too serving the same area as you. Not everyone keeps the same hours or even spend the day working and driving to work.. I would say better planning, being closer to work might give people free time. Instead of spending time in a really long traffic jam on a real long drive home.


Posted by village.sanantonio, a resident of another community
on Sep 15, 2013 at 3:02 pm


@Garret
1--
Mountain View has Google -- the best and the most successful company
that will be around for decades to come.
Just don't allow anymore **major** companies into Mountain View because
there simply is no way to build more apartments without destroying
the suburban atmosphere and turning Mountain View into another
concrete jungle with unbearable traffic.
2--
It is wonderful to have Google headquartered here in Mountain View.
However since Google will grow by 10000's of employees in the
near future, since Google cares about the environment,
they could add/build more offices and apartments in another location
in the silicon valley. These new Google buildings and new apartments
can be within walking biking distance, etc. Google can run buses for
those who live away from their offices.
3--
Los Altos has been preserving the suburban atmosphere by not allowing
big businesses. There is no doubt that in the concrete jungle, such
preservation of neighborhoods is important for the environment. I
appalud the Los Altos city council for their work.
4--
Once upon a time Pleasanton was a place on the outer ring. Many
smart companies located there because it was economical. Many new
homes and apartments were built there. Several employees live there
close to their work in Pleasanton. Real estate there went up quite
a bit and made many residents rich...
There is a lot to be learned from the Pleasanton story.
5--
City administration will always want to increase revenue and they
will want to invite companies into their town. However, if the
growth comes at the expense of quality of life, then the city
administration needs to look for moderation. There is a
lot to be learned from Los Altos.
6--
For businesses that are already in Mountain View, the city needs
to build affordable housing along El Camino Real every mile or so.
These affordable housing should be no more than 3 stories high.
Free shuttles managed by the city will allow individuals to
navigate the city. But you can't require everyone to take the
shuttle. So don't make plans based on this assumption.
7--
1000s live in Mountain View and work elsewhere in the valley.
Carpooling or driving to caltrain station etc. will mean there
will always be traffic. So, road-diet, lane conversion etc.
without proper planning is asking for disastrous stalled traffic
everywhere.
8--
If someone hasn't already, it will eye-opening to look at the Phase-1
apartment buildings in the San Antonio shopping center. The rents for
these 330 apartments range from $3000(studio) to $5000 (2bedroom).
Are you sure you want this type of concrete jungles with exhorbitant
rents in Mountain View on narrow already-congested roads?
9--
Growth in moderation should be the mantra for traffic sanity.


Posted by Garrett, a resident of another community
on Sep 15, 2013 at 3:45 pm

Mountain View is not Los Altos and I don't expect it to become one. For all their wisdom Los Altos were smart to become more suburban then Mountain View which Mountain View was more business friendly.

The Los Altos school district benefits more from the redevelopment of the San Antonio area and yes I support a school being built in the area or at least a site purchased for the future.

I don't expect Mountain View to be filled with 4 story buildings but then again a 3 story office built is 50 fee tall. What is the height of some of these 4 story buildings.

Pleasanton has some tall buildings around the BART station, freeway and Stoneridge Mall. Really nice hotels, they kept growth controlled early on. Pleasanton also has to build housing.

We do have people who live in the Tri Valley which do commute back and forth. Don't how we can run shuttles for all the non Google employees


Posted by Jerry, a resident of Slater
on Sep 15, 2013 at 10:56 pm

@ Garret

My under standing of the City's General Plan and ABAG's "Plan Bay Area" is that the vast majority of El Camino is slated for mixed use development along its entire length to the height of 4-6 stories. Thus turning El Camino into a Concrete Canyon adding potentially 20,000 Apartments and the 1-3 persons per apartment. If 3 persons average per apartment then 60,000 which approximately doubles the current population.


Posted by Jerry, a resident of Slater
on Sep 15, 2013 at 11:24 pm

@ Scott Lamb and Janet Lafleur

As far as adding bike lanes to El Camino goes that depends as it is a complicated answer. I as a boy in the 70's used the alley systems that stretch in a broken series between Grant Road and Miramonte for a good portion of a bike lane. Even in the 70's El Camino was a high risk almost freeway and personally I would find riding a bike on it a very unpleasant experience (Then or now). However, any bike lane added directly to El Camino would have the advantage of Speed. I myself would like a bike lane away from all the automobile traffic and noise. I would much rather see the city spend a million dollars on a bike lane down this series of alleys and connect them to each other or on side streets that parallel El Camino when necessary. Rather then spending the near million on a Road Diet for a short section of Castro Street.

In the Mountain View Ave area these back alleys dry up and you would either have to add bike lanes directly to El Camino by taking land from businesses on El Camino or taking parking as Janet suggested. Although, there are a few businesses that depend on street parking so some sort of provision would have to be made for them. I think she is essential correct that parking is under utilized - I certainly don't want to get out on the drivers side of my car on El Camino. I've done it when I've had to but I don't like doing it.


Posted by Jerry, a resident of Slater
on Sep 15, 2013 at 11:39 pm

@ Janet Lafleur & observer,

It's probably unstated but I think part of the goal of stack and pack is for people to rent so they can move to the location of their new job thus eliminating long commutes. Owning tends to result in one putting down roots and not moving because your growing attached to your home is contrary to a short commute. At least this is what I infer as I've only heard of mixed use apartments being built I've not heard the word Condo used about any new developments on El Camino or the rest of MV for that matter.


Posted by village.sanantonio, a resident of another community
on Sep 15, 2013 at 11:39 pm


Quoting from the original article above --
"For anybody even remotely interested in the excessive quantity and scale
of proposed and approved developments, both residential and commercial,
visit is.gd/LPmhtr and you will be shocked. Sixty-eight projects, including
Google's 1- million-square-foot campus (technically on federal property)
for a yet-to-be specified number of workers and residents and an additional
1-million-square-foot development at the (soon to be former) Synopsis site"

Wow... I had a chance to visit the link mentioned above (is.gd/LPmhtr) .
I am speechless.

I hope all of you visit the link and look at the 68+ projects. Indeed
this pace of development in Mountain View is beyond out-of-control.
Every resident of Mountain View and surrounding towns should learn more
about these 68+ projects.


Posted by Janet Lafleur, a resident of Rex Manor
on Sep 16, 2013 at 12:33 am

Janet Lafleur is a registered user.

@Jerry Yes, parking on El Camino and exiting your car is unpleasant enough, and it's far more unpleasant to ride a bike for any length of the road. As for the alleys, I've used what's left of them to access Frankie, Johnny and Luigis and Le Petit Bistro. There are far too many disconnects to be useful. I had a hell of a time crossing Miramonte with its impenetrable median.

Adding to the insult were the fact that there were no bike racks and the sidewalks were buckled. I'd hate to use a walker or be in a wheelchair and try to use the sidewalk. On El Camino, it's obvious that the only people that matter are those arriving by car. And we wonder why there's so much traffic?


Posted by Scott Lamb, a resident of Monta Loma
on Sep 16, 2013 at 8:35 am

In fairness, I don't know how to make El Camino Real a great place to bike, either, even with reducing the car lanes. There are so many driveways with so many cars entering and exiting the road that they'd still be crossing the bicycle lane all the time:

Web Link
Web Link

But I'd love to find some way to be able to bike more safely to the many businesses on Camino. Even when just going for a block or so, it's the most uncomfortable area of town for me. Sometimes it's avoidable: yesterday I went to the El Camino Walgreens by the Stevens Creek Trail then walking my bike on a very short stretch of El Camino's sidewalk between the trailhead and the Sahara Village parking lot which connects to the Walgreens lot. Sometimes I can't: Amber India's in the middle of a long block, and while on the satellite image it looks like there's an alleyway to Latham right there, I think it's blocked.


Posted by AC, a resident of another community
on Sep 16, 2013 at 9:17 am

AC is a registered user.

Just chiming in on this point:

I do think that parallel bike roads/alleys is indeed the ticket. It has always felt safer, and been a much more pleasant ride. Similar to the Palo Alto bike boulevards.


Posted by Jerry, a resident of Slater
on Sep 16, 2013 at 10:23 am

I always thought the alleys if tied together with some purchasing or easements on private property would be the best solution since El Camino is such an hostile Environment for bikes. BTW, in the 70's El Camino was only two lanes and it was still a dangerous place that had no sidewalks in most area's. It was in a word a "highway". These Alley's could fairly well be connected to each other to get one from Grant Road to a little past Miramonte - as far as Le Petit Bistro -as you seem to already know. However, the City would have to put their money where there bike-abilty mouth is in order to accomplish this. The Alley that goes behind Los Charros could be extended through the back of the current empty lot on at
111 West El Camino and connect this path to Phyllis. Obviously something would have to be done to aid crossing major cross streets.


Posted by Scott Lamb, a resident of Monta Loma
on Sep 16, 2013 at 12:11 pm

Jerry: I think that could work if done right. Ideally it'd mean working toward:

* A parallel route that allows you to get near any business on Camino in Mountain View then go through a nearby alley to reach the front. It wouldn't be easy to route the path around all those existing businesses, but I guess it's similar to what the city has done with the Stevens Creek Trail and Permanente Creek Trail.

* Something that is usable and safe at night. (In contrast, the Stevens Creek Trail is officially only open during the day.)

* A requirement for new development to make their part of the route great: visible, as scenic as practical. (At least some trees rather than just the concrete walls and loading docks you commonly find at the backside of commercial buildings.)

* Access to both sides of Camino, including the Los Altos part. I'm not sure what this would mean. Inter-city cooperation for trails on both sides? regular crossings?

* Some thought about what bicycles do when reaching the streets intersecting Camino.

* Good signs and such, so that people know about it and can use it to get where they're going. You shouldn't have to find and navigate a secret maze.


Posted by Fou du vélo, a resident of another community
on Sep 16, 2013 at 12:40 pm

@Scott Lamb, that's a good list. I'd like to suggest adding:

* wider sidewalks along El Camino - 7 ft is insufficient if you consider that is has to be shared with traffic signs, street lights, VTA stops, newspaper stands, utilities/traffic boxes and bicycles that can not safely be ridden on El Camino.

* safer crosswalks on El Camino: wider and with cars stopping further from pedestrians. Use some of the newer crosswalks on Shoreline as examples; put school signs on any crosswalk potentially used by our kids.

* Establish more North/South bike routes across El Camino: Miramonte/Shoreline, El Monte/Escuela, San Antonio (MV and LA), Rengstorff/El Monte.....?


Posted by Garrett, a resident of another community
on Sep 16, 2013 at 1:04 pm

El Camino Real as I remember in the time before 1983 which was a nightmare for all users. Remember cars backing up into the suicide lane and hope you didn't get hit. As for riding ones bike up and down El Camino Real your weren't a gamble with your life.

Today is much better but far from perfect expect you don't have cars backing out across lanes of lanes of traffic.

Alleys, shortcut to Latham and those other nearby streets an better bike mapping for bike riders.


Posted by Just wondering?, a resident of Old Mountain View
on Sep 16, 2013 at 3:51 pm

Who is paying Political Insider?


Posted by Kman, a resident of Monta Loma
on Sep 16, 2013 at 4:30 pm

Biking on El Caminos in the late 70s sucked and in the 80s and still. With more and more people coming in with cars, you can forget about the bike ideas.

The new increase in cars will also make alleys and side streets all the more congested.

@Janet, not everyone can spend 2 hrs riding a bike just to go get some groceries or to wherever they are going. Also the seats on some bikes are hell on the private parts.


Posted by Garrett, a resident of another community
on Sep 17, 2013 at 1:29 pm

As for biking riding and a person who chooses to ride a bike. That person shall decided on how far he or she wants to ride of course to where. Not everyone wants to spend 2 hours riding a bike a day let along spending 2 or more hours in their car.

Do we plan to get people to walk, ride, commute less, get out of their cars and take public transit. Or do we just keeping adding car center developments, build stuff further away from people and their jobs, plan to build more freeway that might never ever get built.

Do we plan to preserve open space, farm lands or just allow more cites to get built on farmland, grazing land, water shed land, natural space. Nothing so natural about Mountain View, the San Antonio Center or El Camino Real. But something natural about the Sacramento Valley open space, drive up Highway 5 or 99 north of Yuba City


Posted by John, a resident of Monta Loma
on Sep 17, 2013 at 8:55 pm

What I don't understand is how city council rubber stamps:
In June 2012, Prometheus received Council approval to rezone the Northpark
Apartments, demolish 50 existing units and construct new 134 units in the
southwest corner of the complex.
131 apartments on the corner of Central and Rengstorff!

August 2013 – Planning Division Update
Web Link

And In December 2011, Council authorized a Gatekeeper request by Prometheus to study rezoning of 2.9 acres for 190 apartments.

What's a "gatekeeper request" and why do these guys get rezoning?

What a nightmare!


Posted by Chris, a resident of Cuesta Park
on Sep 18, 2013 at 8:58 am

Why all this development? If you want to know the answer, read on...

MV General Plan is coordinated with ABAGs Plan Bay Area which comes from California AB32 and SB375 and these two are based on the Presidents Council on Sustainability which comes from UN Agenda 21 signed in Rio by George H. W. Bush in the early 90's but not approved by the US Senate.

For more info see...

See Web Link

The reason it looks like all this development is a fait accompli is to a certain extent it is. It doesn't mean we have to go down quietly.


Posted by Garrett, a resident of another community
on Sep 18, 2013 at 10:39 am

25,000 homes have been approved in Rancho Cordorva and something like thousands of homes have been approved for El Dorado Hills, why is this important because people from the bay area. 30 years ago this was pretty much open space.


Posted by Robert, a resident of another community
on Sep 18, 2013 at 11:34 am

@Chris

I can't tell if you're joking or really believe that the push for new housing is somehow coming from the United Nations? Which is more likely: building housing because more people want to move to the bay area as is has one of the best performing economies in the country, as evidenced by the extremely low rental vacancy rate, or there is some kind of massive conspiracy being orchestrated by George H.W. Bush?


Posted by Garrett, a resident of another community
on Sep 18, 2013 at 12:03 pm

@ Robert

Your comment hits the nail on the head. Some person in the U.N. wouldn't even know where Castro or El Camino Real and the San Antonio Shopping Center is let alone even care.

But a person in Africa, Europe, South America, Asia or Australia will buy, search for or use a service which mostly like will be on a mobile device, tablet, computer or all the above. The person using these products, services or even the devices by themselves which resulted in someone having a job in Mountain View.


Posted by Wendy, a resident of another community
on Sep 18, 2013 at 12:20 pm

Where do you suggest people live? Do you figure that cities and towns around the country are emptying out and everyone is coming to live in Mountain View? Why do you suppose there has been so much growth in and around Sacramento? What if they didn't allow housing to be built, where would people live?

People have to live some place. Maybe you should put a cap on how many people can be employed? Or maybe just realize that Mountain View has been growing and evolving since its inception, probably someone had a problem with your residence being built.


Posted by Garrett, a resident of another community
on Sep 18, 2013 at 1:34 pm

I prefer housing to be built inside what is called the 9 counties better know as the Bay Area. I don't expect everyone to make a beeline to live in Mountain View but as we have jobs that are here and being created here. I would expect people would chose to live within a reasonable distance from their living space to their work space. People want to have reasonable commute times which means not spending a good part of the day in cars, buses trains or ride a bike.

Sacramento has their own issues with growth, transit and their economy which one way is to provide us with services in the Bay Area. Was talking to a lady who drives to and from Pleasanton because she can't afford a home, space for her business and the cost of having workers. It is cheaper to pay for gas then wages.


Posted by konrad M. Sosnow, a resident of Blossom Valley
on Sep 18, 2013 at 3:21 pm

@Garrett,

There is lots of space in Santa Clara County, just not in our city. Mountain View's population density is 4 times that of Santa Clara County.

What will Mountain View look like with 20,000 additional apartments, 30,000 additional cars, and two less lanes on El Camino Real?


Posted by Chris, a resident of Cuesta Park
on Sep 18, 2013 at 5:15 pm

@ Robert At what point does it loose credibility for you?

ABAG? Bay Area Plan? What you think, they don't exists?

SB375? You think this Law doesn't exist?

Or the UN? Maybe you think the UN doesn't exist? or is that UN Agenda 21 doesn't exist.

Have you looked into it or do you just discount things out-of-hand.

Again the website democrats against UN agenda 21 is a very interesting site and it explains a lot that I see going on but I don't think this is the primary reason we're seeing development here but what I see seems to be functioning in accordance with UN Agenda 21. Economic forces play a role as well but that doesn't explain the coordination I see. Hey just because your skeptical doesn't mean I'm wrong.

www.democratsagainstunagenda21.com
Web Link

Mountain View has always been a City with significant housing pressure on it from the 1970's onward. One of the reasons prop 13 passed but no previous city gov't has released the hounds to the extent that the current collection of city officials has.


Posted by Garrett, a resident of another community
on Sep 18, 2013 at 5:44 pm

GGRNA, The Land Trusts of West Marin, Marin, Sonoma, Napa, Mid Peninsula OSD, Santa Clara County OSD, Sierra Club, Save the Bay, Committee for Green Foothills, Greenbelt Alliance San Francisco Bay Conservation and Development Commission and Costal Commission, East Bay Park and the East Bay OSD.

UN Agenda 21 small potatoes compared to the list above which I am kind of glad they saved bit and pieces of the Bay Area. Over the 30 to 50 years the idea of stopping sprawl is part of the Bay Area culture and pushing it into the urban areas. Look at the above list and some of their mission statement.


Posted by Robert, a resident of another community
on Sep 19, 2013 at 8:00 am

@Chris

Yes I've looked into it, and you would either have to be extremely gullible or already be coming to the table with some sort of agenda to believe any of the nonsense on that website. Somehow good planning (and "coordination") as you mentioned, are part of the plot? Do you not believe growth and transportation planning should be coordinated? Do you think you can add more housing to a built out location without increasing density? How would YOU plan and accommodate population and economic growth?


Posted by Jerry, a resident of Cuesta Park
on Sep 23, 2013 at 9:22 am

"The effort to ban Agenda 21 in Missouri, widely celebrated by activists from across the political spectrum, comes in the wake of similar moves to stop the UN plan across America. In Alabama, for example, lawmakers in both houses unanimously approved a law last year prohibiting the international "sustainable development" agenda within the state. Numerous other states are working to do the same, and multiple legislatures have adopted strongly worded resolutions blasting the program."

But of course it all make believe according to Robert.


Posted by MVResident67, a resident of Cuesta Park
on Sep 26, 2013 at 9:27 am

Agenda 21 is very real, just as ABAG is very real. ABAG came in to being in response to the UN's Agenda 21 policy guidelines. Both both weigh heavily in terms of what has been driving the development frenzy in Mountain View as well as other cities along the peninsula "transit corridor". It's not some secret conspiracy...just the opposite, in fact. It seems that as ABAG's plans are beginning to be foisted upon the residents, these residents are beginning to wake up. Hopefully, it's not too late.


Web Link

Web Link


Posted by MVResident67, a resident of Cuesta Park
on Oct 11, 2013 at 5:50 pm

I hope everyone will take a few minutes to review the October 13th - 'Planning Division Update' memo that was recently posted on the City of mountain View's website, and I have linked below. This update lists the SEVENTY EIGHT projects in various stages of planning and review with the city, as well as notes important changes/request for changes to these projects.

As residents of Mountain View, I think it is important that we try to stay informed and engaged with the city, as well as provide feedback and suggestions with regard to the dozens and dozens of development projects currently on the table. These projects, as currently proposed, will transform the landscape and quality of life for the residents of Mountain View, forever. There is no undoing the impact of these projects - increased noise, increased traffic congestion, lack of pedestrian safety, lack of parking, encroachment of developments on quiet residential neighborhoods, lack of CURRENTLY viable transit options, and lack of general infrastructure support - once they are done.

Please, take a few minutes to review the attached memo from the city planner...it is eye popping!

There will be an Environmental Planning Committee meeting on Wednesday October 16th

Web Link


Posted by MVResident67, a resident of Cuesta Park
on Oct 11, 2013 at 7:51 pm

For anyone who thinks the VTA's Bus Rapid Transit project is dead...think again.

Web Link

If this project is approved, the result will be the loss of one lane of automobile traffic on each direction of El Camino Real, from Eastridge Transit Center in San Jose to the Palo Transit Center near University Ave. in Palo Alto.

So, in addition to adding literally thousands of residential units adjacent to El Camino Real (in Mountain View alone) as well as potentially de-coupling parking from these developments(!) we are looking at only TWO lanes of El Camino Real being available for automobile travel, and the right lane of El Camino Real will still have the regular bus service making stops, so essentially El Camino Real will have NO thru lane - no lane will be free of traffic making turns on to, or off of, El Camino Real. The right lane will be hobbled by busses pulling over and then pulling back into traffic, and the left lane will be hobbled by cars darting over from the right lane into the left lane so they do not get stuck behind the busses and only to be backed up at every stop light while cars try to maneuver into left turn lanes or move back over to make a right turn on pull into a driveway. This BRT project will necessitate NUMEROUS additional stop light along El Camino Real.

Now, let's add pedestrians in to this "Grand Boulevard" equation...


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