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"Congestion pricing" part of plan to allow Google's growth

Original post made on Apr 29, 2014

Though Google and others expressed concerns about potential unintended consequences, on Monday City Council members supported the use of "congestion pricing" as a way to enforce proposed limits on commuter traffic into the city's growing North Bayshore office park.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Tuesday, April 29, 2014, 1:56 PM

Comments (116)

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Posted by Susan
a resident of Castro City
on Apr 29, 2014 at 2:16 pm

I have noticed a huge increase in the double-trailer earth mover trucks on most City streets. Since Construction in the new by-word, I hope the developers are being assessed a fee for the road-bed damage that these huge trucks are causing. I saw a 4 vehicle parade roaring down Rengstorff Ave yesterday, bouncing from going so fast, and causing washboarding to begin.
I am not against development but a few years from now there will be noticeable wear and tear that will cost big bucks to fix. Just saying!


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Posted by Something smells rotten
a resident of Monta Loma
on Apr 29, 2014 at 2:34 pm

This totally sounds far fetched. Just another way to charge people. Will there be a toll bridge so that people will know they are being charged if they enter such and such streets?

This is not the solution!!

NO to Toll charges on streets.


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Posted by Linda Curtis
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Apr 29, 2014 at 2:36 pm

Good point, Susan. How much road damage would a light wt. little electric car cause? And how much damage to the atmosphere would this little car make, particularly if one is making the electricity straight from the sun at great expense to oneself (as I am)? So the trucks better pay huge fees, that should be tripled, at least, for the really huge, very busy ones on city streets.
At last night's City Council Study Session of the tolls on the streets that we have already paid for with our taxes, the three "J's" (Jac Siegel, John McAlister, and John Inks) were all opposed to this and made very intelligent statements as to why, as did every public speaker who spoke last night. None of them were for it. But the other four council members, as usual, voted for it and were the majority to carry this into the precise plan.
Let's be on top of reminding them that this is only to be used if all other means of reducing the traffic congestion fail. Could no expansion or additional building be allowed until this traffic congestion has been resolved? No, of course not. It's money that matters.


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Posted by GDM
a resident of Blossom Valley
on Apr 29, 2014 at 3:15 pm

I'm so glad that Council Member Bryant cleared up my confusion by explaining that "If you have a trip cap, you have a trip cap".


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Posted by Hmmm
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Apr 29, 2014 at 3:25 pm

Linda ... Since you have a electric car, you are not paying anything for the roads you use. Roads are paid through has tax. But by all means , keep giving us your opinion on this topic even though you are not paying your fair share ..


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Posted by DEVELOPER
a resident of The Crossings
on Apr 29, 2014 at 3:28 pm

MV City Councils Thank you for Your LOVE Of TOLLS AND CONCRETE CONNECTIONS. Florida and its Tolls, and LA and its concrete connections. Time to Change The name of MV to the FLLAMV.
MV Councils Make A Developer Hard Cement Heart Very Happy!!!!!!


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Posted by Traffic nightmare avoider
a resident of Blossom Valley
on Apr 29, 2014 at 3:31 pm

If fees were charged, then would those fees go towards improving public transportation, roads, or trails? In order for people to know that fees will be charged, they could have clearly marked "red" zones that mean fees will be charged for driving there, like they do in some very busy Italian cities to keep traffic down. Of course, there would need to be a way for those that don't want to get charged to leave before that point.

The problem I see for noting license plates and then not charging those that go to Shoreline Park is that local workers could go into Shoreline, then come right back out to avoid getting charged, unless some sort of algorithm is put to use to make sure that cars stay at Shoreline for a certain time period.


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Posted by Robert
a resident of Slater
on Apr 29, 2014 at 3:41 pm

Robert is a registered user.

What a crock, charging workers to get to work. It wouldn't surprise me if Google moves to Texas, then Mr.K and his four council member Greek chorus, can enjoy their Pyrrhic Victory.


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Posted by Linda Curtis
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Apr 29, 2014 at 4:36 pm

Hmmm-

Wrong about the electric car and me not paying for roads. I installed a special roof ($87,500.00) and "stand offs' ($10,000.00) on it to support the 96 solar panels I am paying for for the next 15 years (over $130,000.00). I charge an electric "Go-Go" which is a wheel chair, not a car. I was saving for an electric car to also charge, but why should I get one? All that is left to be done is for our "representatives" to decide HOW MANY toll lanes 101 and 85 will have, not if there will be tolls there. So the advantage of an electric car, or hybrid, or car pool, or motorcycle is wrecked by those who will pay and then be hogging up what was the commuter lane. How can that lane go faster with that many more people using it? So cleaning the air with car pools and EVs takes a back seat to getting the money.

That's why I said it's money that matters. And in MV, Abe-Koga, of course, will claim tolls help everyone because the money from the tolls on our streets will go to Valley Transit Authority where her loyalty and affiliation are well known, but their record of flops is also.


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Posted by MagicPeaceLove
a resident of Shoreline West
on Apr 29, 2014 at 4:49 pm

License plate readers and the like are Orwellian surveillance-state tools that always expand beyond their original purpose. It's nobody's business when people go to and from work.

The City Council needs to come up with a remedy that doesn't involve increased tracking of residents and workers.


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Posted by Hmmm
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Apr 29, 2014 at 4:55 pm

Let's do the math. Linda's solar upgrade cost is. $227,000.00. It' costs $80/year to feed a child in Africa.

Which alternative has the moral high ground?

Option 1) Industralize the look of her neighborhood so she can point her nose up at neighbors that have attractive rooflines.

Option 2) Feed 2837 African childeren for a year and preserve the character of the neighborhood.

Web Link


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Posted by Linda Curtis
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Apr 29, 2014 at 4:59 pm

I suggest bicycle "over passes" and/or well lit tunnels to get to North of Bayshore. There could be some for pedestrians, too. Or make them three divided lanes: One for pedestrians, and one for each direct of bike travel.

I also like the concept of one or more reversible lanes in the middle of the congested streets, so the direction changes with the rush hours demands.

And how about flex time for the workers? Or maybe bring back "Day, Swing, and Graveyard" Shifts.

In the meeting last night, I propose freeway buses that run from between Gilroy and SF, stopping at the Moffet Field, Intuit, and Google areas along the freeway for loading and unloading of passengers. Google could supply some of these buses and thereby not drive through the city or the North of Bayshore Business Park for those who live far away. The response to this idea of buses on the freeways in the meeting was that such buses would require a bus stop the length of a block to blend back in. Okay. Possible. So do it. Pull off just after an exit, and build up speed until almost the next exit before blending back into traffic.

And if all else fails to reduce SOV to 45% or below, instead of charging for street usage, let the companies over there charge for parking. I paid when when I was a student for 17 years of college. If I could, these employees could also, rather than burdening all of us surveillance (video records kept for how long?), errors and late payment penalties with what recourse available for us to contest it(?) plus the cost of setting up and carrying out all of this!


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Posted by Is Linda Telling the Truth?
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Apr 29, 2014 at 5:23 pm

Linda claims to have spent $87K installing photovoltaic panels. Something smells fishy about that amount. The going rate for solar panel installation is between $3 to $5 per watt. Let's choose the middle ground at $4/watt. That works out to over 21KW! I seriously doubt Linda as 21KW of photovoltaic panels on her roof. I doubt she, or anyone else in Mountain View has a roof large enough for 21KW. Most people have between 3KW and 7KW installed on their roof.

Also, Linda is free loading on the electric grid by avoiding maintenance fees embedded in her electric bill.

So whats the real story Linda?


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Posted by FreeFalling
a resident of another community
on Apr 29, 2014 at 5:36 pm

The city of Mountain View appears to rapidly be heading into a death spiral. I feel for the residents who will have to suffer through this mess for decades to come.

Good luck.


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Posted by Linda Curtis
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Apr 29, 2014 at 5:59 pm

Hmmm-

Since when is it low moral ground to pay willingly to clean the air?

And I also donate regularly to support the needy of Africa.

I pay through KFOG Radio for providing clean water where needed in Africa. It's been found that when a mother sees that her children can actually live and grow up instead of dying off very young, it allows her to consider not having a great many children just for insurance that at least one will get to grow up.

Limiting our number of offspring is one way to stop crowding ourselves and other species out. We can clean the air this way, too.

Limiting the addition of more square feet for business offices until our infrastructure can support it is another good idea. At this point we are penalizing ourselves in every way: Towering, rent raising, new "infill housing" (ruining our privacy and the quiet enjoyment we once knew & worked so hard for with all the noisy traffic of the new buildings that wiped out the stores & shops we loved and made our homes "non-conforming" to the new zoning created for building the new infill so that our property devalues for us), a too low parking formula making our streets too over parked for us to park on any more, plus dangerous, frustrating traffic congestion requiring toll lanes and absurd BRT, etc.

These things don't matter to those making this happen so quickly and haphazardly. It's money that matters.


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Posted by Konrad M. Sosnow
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Apr 29, 2014 at 6:03 pm

This comes from the "Only Way to Fix a Problem is to Create a Bigger Problem" school of thought.

How about restricting additional offices and developing a high speed transit link between the Downtown Transit Center and North Bayshore.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Geez
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Apr 29, 2014 at 8:09 pm

Get a life, Hmmmm. That is all.


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Posted by Linda Curtis
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Apr 29, 2014 at 8:20 pm

To Is Linda Telling the Truth?:

I am telling the truth. I have a giant roof, which I wrote cost me $87.5K to build. (It is built with natural, organic materials that breathe so it makes air conditioning unnecessary). The stand offs were $10K and the 96 photovoltaic units totaled over $130K. Yet, I personally do not have enough KW to affect my power bill much at all.

The roof is giant because under it are two quadraplexes, for which I charge approximately $1.00 per square foot. And I let each unit have free electricity. To encourage conservation of electricity, if anyone renting here conserves enough electricity to add to the grid, they get the compensation from PG&E, not me. I just am paying for the panels and for their cleaning which =$1,200/per year, and I don't really get much back. Both my husband & I must work full time to keep doing this.

And to Hmmm: These panels do not show, from the front or sides of building, or from the center courtyard. I hid them. So don't jump to conclusions. My roofline is exquisitely beautiful, as are all the underpriced, very nice, very spacious units beneath it and the beautiful, low water garden I tend all around it.

Everything I've spent the last 40 years on with this building is splendid. Too bad I can't continue to fix up my own unit. It was to be the last one to be fixed up, but now that won't make sense because infill building has killed the future of this place. As zoning is changed to "P" for the precise plan needed to remove Rose Market and the others near me, my property becomes non-conforming to the new zoning, so it now has restrictions to making changes and improvements, Therefore it loses value and will sell for less than before because of these issues. But it's now better for the big developers. They can buy it for less now and then bulldoze it completely, so there is no longer any problem with anything being non-conforming. Then they can construct more high rent "stack & pack" high density, high rises, which are what the zoning now calls for. These will have to have HVAC systems, and are not required to have solar panels. Tenants will not be encouraged to buy electric vehicles with free electricity. My work to help clean the air in MV is foiled.

The more the nice, but older, buildings get ripped down for building more housing, the less we can afford to continue to live here in MV . We are pricing ourselves out with gentrification of MV: Such as with $8000/mo. rents at Madera for a small 2 bdrm, and with tolls to be paid on streets our taxes have already paid for.


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Posted by concerned citizen
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Apr 30, 2014 at 12:04 am

Toll roads? Predictably inadequate. Just read the article and look at the numbers. What a lame idea.

Just slow down on building office space.


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Posted by lol
a resident of another community
on Apr 30, 2014 at 12:40 am

FYI, roads are neither paid for by a "has [sic]" nor gas tax. City streets in California are paid for by municipal general funds.


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Posted by likedrypavement
a resident of another community
on Apr 30, 2014 at 11:04 am

I expected more from cutting edge Google. Their real estate guy's suggestion is basically let the taxpayers pay for accommodating the extra traffic instead of Google employees (building and improving roads rather than implementing congestion pricing). I wonder why the company, with as much money as they've got, didn't build a big building in San Fran. Isn't that where their employees like to live? As long as driving and parking is cheap, people will do it. That's the principle behind congestion pricing. If the Googlies want to make their single occupant car commutes, fine. But it's not unreasonable to charge them for the privilege since their trips congest the area. And magically, the trips decrease when they're no longer cheap. We live in a car culture where cheap driving is assumed. But it has a cost: congestion, pollution, noise, unwalkable cities, unpleasant environment, etc. Congestion pricing pushes back against that. It decreases car trips and raises money for transit.


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Posted by Marc Roddin
a resident of St. Francis Acres
on Apr 30, 2014 at 11:37 am

This congestion pricing idea is pretty nutty. It would work for a central business district such as the Financial District in San Francisco, but I've never heard of it for a suburban industrial park, especially one that also has access to numerous hiking trails, a history museum and a doggie park.


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Posted by Linda Curtis
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Apr 30, 2014 at 2:01 pm

Toll streets are expensive to put in place and continues to be expensive and absurd to administer.

Google and the others can simply charge for parking that their employees can avoid by car pooling, biking, walking, using public transit or their company's shuttle buses.

Then the companies' guests don't pay, nor do deliveries or handicapped, who have no choice but to use their special cars. Then this also doesn't impact others who need to go through there for the doggie park or whatever. Easy solution.

But paid parking won't put the money into the clutches of VTA, as would toll roads, nor would it create lots more government to administer and enforce this dumb idea of tolls. And we would skip all the surveillance necessary. Looks like solving the traffic congestion apparently isn't really what is pushing the toll roads concept.


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Posted by concerned citizen
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Apr 30, 2014 at 5:56 pm

Toll roads would not provide a sufficient disincentive to employees who wish to drive to work. Let's say the toll is $20/day. That's $100/week, or $400/month, or $4800/year. Driving would still be quite affordable, at least for the better-paid North Bayshore employees. (According to this Forbes article - Web Link - the average salary for a Google software engineer is around $127,000/year.) Setting the toll at $40/day would probably have some effect, but I doubt that, even then, it would reduce traffic to a tolerable level.

The current proposal for North Bayshore is for an additional 3.4 million sf of new office space. That would mean about 19,000 new jobs. How many commute-hour car trips would that be? According to the article we are commenting on, Shoreline is already congested beyond its capacity.

We need to slow way down on approving new office space. The North Bayshore precise plan should be put on hold - until after the next Council election.


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Posted by K
a resident of another community
on Apr 30, 2014 at 7:22 pm

Linda:

Do not feed the trolls.


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Posted by dc
a resident of North Whisman
on Apr 30, 2014 at 8:37 pm

I'm still waiting for the reasoning on how solar panels pay for road work?

FYI, A rental business improvement like solar panels are also tax deductible in addition to many tax discounts.


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Posted by Amelia
a resident of Old Mountain View
on May 1, 2014 at 7:46 am

Hmmm... first the council proposes parking meters downtown and now tolls? Who are these people and what can we do to kick them out of office? Expanding the VTA could solve this problem.


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Posted by sardine in a can
a resident of Monta Loma
on May 1, 2014 at 9:08 am

I work at Google (and walk to work there, thanks to the Permanente creek trail bridge across the 101). I think that slowing down approvals for new office space might be less effective than you'd think. They keep squeezing us in tighter & tighter like sardines in a can while we wait for new buildings to open up.

In order to really make building slowdowns be effective, you'd also need to have rigorously enforced "max occupancy" regulations for office space, else I think they'd just keep stacking more people up like firewood. They don't seem to have any sense of how inefficient high-density open offices make people.

I think there are really 3 possible solutions to traffic issues:

1) Tens of thousands of units of high density housing north of the 101. Eg, "dorms" for Google.

2) Tens of thousands of high density, mixed use development just south of the 101, but close enough for workers to walk/ride.

3) Google finally wakes up, realizes that this is a horrible place for an HQ, and moves its HQ to a more business friendly city & state.

1 & 2 will never happen because voters are dead set against reducing the value of their million dollar falling down 60 year old houses, since they don't pay taxes on them thanks to prop 13. And 3 will never happen because there is some kind of magic kool aid the tech industry drinks that makes them think that Silicon Valley is magic, and Stanford is the center of the universe. So things will just keep getting worse and worse.


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Posted by Hmmm
a resident of Old Mountain View
on May 1, 2014 at 9:10 am

Oh that's how Linda can spend so much on solar panels. It's for that hideous old apt complex.

I think it's ridiculous that she probably pays less property tax than the rest of us because prop 13 didn't exclude businesses like Linda's! So once again, her neighbors are paying for the infrastructure she happily uses but contributes little too...


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Posted by Linda Curtis
a resident of Cuesta Park
on May 1, 2014 at 11:01 am

You are right K. Thanks for the good advice.

To sardines in a can: Most of us agree that high density packing of people is totally wrong, with high density infill in the neighborhood, and in workplaces. One cannot do their best thinking if jammed together.

I want housing near Google, but some council members think it ruins a "business park." What do you think? And Council member Bryant says building barracks is wrong, like those gross ones in China. I trust that Google could design great stuff for people to enjoy living in and being right by their work, without threatening the nearby wild life.

dc: Who was it that claimed solar panels pays for road work?


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Posted by myob
a resident of Old Mountain View
on May 1, 2014 at 1:35 pm

Why would Google build a barracks? Zone a couple of big blocks for high density housing, and watch developers scramble to build them, as renting or selling in that area would be very profitable. Barracks don't sell well, but nice housing sure does. Google employees are people too, and they don't want to live in barracks any more than you do. Having worked there, I can say they're more eco-minded than the average person since it's part of the corporate culture, so I bet any housing targeting them would be on the greener end of the scale.

I'm pretty sure, though, that no matter who bids for those spaces, the winner will be Classic Communities, who seem to get all the construction business in Mountain View. Does any current council member have anything to do with Classic Communities? :) (yes, this is a joke, sarcasm doesn't always carry well in text).


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Posted by Hmmm
a resident of Old Mountain View
on May 1, 2014 at 2:44 pm

Linda Curtis talks a lot, yet cannot defend her position.

The problem with building housing over in BayShore area is environmental. An office park is relatively low impact. Office workers are generally only there for the day and do not need as much emergency services as families in homes. Get enough kids living there and the parents will lobby for schools in their neighborhood. Where does that get built?

Lots of lots of impact--that's why the council is opposed.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Mike
a resident of Waverly Park
on May 1, 2014 at 3:31 pm

Is this the best the City Council can do? How about improving public transportation first before taxing people for driving! It takes me 8 minutes to drive to work, 18 minutes in traffic, 35 minutes to bike, and > 1 hr on bus (including walking to/from the bus stop).


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Posted by Linda Curtis
a resident of Cuesta Park
on May 1, 2014 at 4:10 pm

I read some housing ideas by Google and they were great, as are their office designs that strive to encourage people to cross paths, thereby increasing impromptu confabs-- until they overcrowd them into sardine cans when the city cannot move ahead with more office square footage. Unfortunate and wrong.

The housing I encourage would be mainly studios and one bedroom apartments, so that people working nearby that don't have children yet can enjoy living there next to their employers. When they want families, they can easily rent somewhere better for that purpose if they like.


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Posted by Garrett
a resident of another community
on May 1, 2014 at 7:02 pm

For 60 some odd years we built a world on free parking and freeways, we turned our back on mass public transit and even a decent ferry network. For transit to work it has to built for various uses, beside the 2 times a day commute that seems to be only for 5 days a week.

We just don't have the funds, the space or the time to build more and more freeways. The legal costs along will eat up time and money.

Dorms sound good but the moment when people get married, start thinking of having a family you will head some road blocks.

1. Getting out of college, having to pay huge student loads
2. Getting married is not so bad, but thinking about having a family this becomes harder
3. Combine the costs of student loans, price of housing in the area or move out of area.

Chances are if you move out of area you will have to buy a car, which means you will have to commute from some far off suburb.

Note not everyone will get a job for Google, forget the dorm housing. Not everyone will move to place that will even have mass public traffic get them to their job.

Why would someone want to have children while living in Stockton and commuting from Mountain View, not much time with the family. Children take more then money, a good school or a backyard. They do need parental guidance.


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Posted by Geek
a resident of Sylvan Park
on May 2, 2014 at 10:00 am

High density housing near Google will require schools and rest of infrastructure nearby as well, otherwise the traffic problem will not be solved. People still will have to drive their children to school before going back to work. Single people will not stay single forever.


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Posted by Geek
a resident of Sylvan Park
on May 2, 2014 at 10:08 am

And "congestion pricing" is a pretty stupid idea. Just improve the road infrastructure, probably companies north of 101 can shell out some money to improve access to their campuses. You cannot artificially force people to use underdeveloped public transportation. Same idea that city council applied to the new developments with restricting the parking spaces in them failed miserably, bringing nothing but inconvenience.


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Posted by Linda Curtis
a resident of Cuesta Park
on May 2, 2014 at 10:51 am

What about an elementary school on the south side of 101 connected by well lit tunnels for pedestrians & bicycles (with divided lanes)? Parents could walk their children to school. And a school van could drop off at non-peak times of day. If parents drove their children to school, at least they would be leaving the area instead of entering, as is the bulk of the traffic.

Or the emphasis could be on adult housing north of 101, and family housing south of 101, but still very nearby.

Who understands the challenges of ferries in this area? I read that at least one of the already existing docks on the end of what was Moffett Field is workable. The second one would be if dredged annually. Sounds feasible. And could more docks be added further westward towards Palo Alto or somewhere? Ferries would allow housing from around the Bay to assist the business park employees in finding homes of their choice. Someone I heard brainstorming even come up with a new thought: Purchase a luxury, retired cruise ship and moor it permanently in the south Bay. If not able to be along shore, as is the Queen Mary at Long Beach, then tenders could shuttle permanent residents housed there. I like the thought because it is outside the box. What else can we come up with? There must be many good and bad ideas not yet considered. It's time to consider them all.


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Posted by Garrett83
a resident of another community
on May 2, 2014 at 11:03 am

Garrett83 is a registered user.

Build transit first then tax driving for solo users. Not very many options in getting to work in a fast reliable transit system.

Don't really think congestion pricing will work well here.


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Posted by Garrett83
a resident of another community
on May 2, 2014 at 11:21 am

Garrett83 is a registered user.

San Framcisco BCDC might have a thing to say about the cruise ship idea, bay and the land around it is very protected.

Not everyelpone will work for Google, so building small high density north of 101 will help but what about all the other workers. You just can't say adults here, family here, childless couples here and senior here. Are we going to have company housing and you must work for the company, what about other small companies that employ people.

Do you lose your housing if you change jobs, laid off, fired or worse yet. Get Married to someone who works for the competition. Not everyone wants to live next to their co workers or near the watchful.eye of the boss.


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Posted by Linda Curtis
a resident of Cuesta Park
on May 2, 2014 at 11:49 am

Housing needn't be limited to any type of family, or employees of only certain employers, etc. Just build studios and one bedrooms and you will get singles and couples mostly. If one of the couple works elsewhere, at least they are exiting when the flood of traffic is entering, and visa versa. Good bus service in and out will help, as will the freeway (only) buses I suggested that drop off and load from the sides of the freeways near each large company.


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Posted by Jim Neal
a resident of Old Mountain View
on May 2, 2014 at 2:05 pm

Jim Neal is a registered user.

I wonder if there will be anywhere in the city in a few years, where we will be "allowed" to go where we will not have to pay some form of a fee, tax, call-it-whatever-you-want to get there. Is this really the type of city government that we want; one that tells us what they will allow us to do, and then charge us for everything on top of that?


Jim Neal
Candidate, Mountain View City Council
Web Link
info@electneal.org


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Posted by Shonda Ranson
a resident of Old Mountain View
on May 2, 2014 at 6:57 pm

Thank you, Daniel, for your quick coverage of this event so that the public can start talking about it.

Unfortunately, what is buried in this article is the idea of 'congestion pricing' was part of 1) a study session where staff is directed to study an issue and present those findings to Council and to the public and 2) that the mention of congestion pricing was as an absolute last resort to only be considered as an option if and only if all of the other suggestions fail.

That is to say that while this makes for a very nice headline, the reality is that the use of congestion pricing is the least likely to actually happen of the many options presented. The Council and public asked staff what other cities have done and this was just one of the ideas that they looked at. Staff made it very clear to Council that it would only be considered as a last resort failsafe if ALL OTHER suggestions failed. That message did not get captured in much of the media coverage.

At the forefront of the study session were great ideas such as bicycle network improvements, educating the public to use other routes to relieve congestion on the most used ones during peak commute times, and asking employers to come up with their own ways and work together to reduce congestion. These are all things much more likely to actually happen.

I would encourage those with concerns to read the study session memo about all of these alternatives and to keep talking about these ideas as we continue to study the issue through the end of the year. You can find a link to the items presented Web Link=

-Shonda Ranson
Communications Coordinator
City of Mountain View


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Posted by Wendy
a resident of another community
on May 3, 2014 at 12:19 pm

Interesting that the city wants to tax drivers, yet they offer no plan to put in effective public transportation. Punishment rather than alternatives. The city approved these buildings for employment.


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Posted by Garrett83
a resident of another community
on May 3, 2014 at 3:55 pm

Garrett83 is a registered user.

MV city council doesn't really have any control of transit operations, day to day or overall planning. How many transit agencies can be found in the bay area let alone what it will take to move people in the 5 day work week. 24/7, where options that are fast, cheap and not a 2 hour plus trip.

AC Transit, Contra Costa Cat, Solano, Vine, Sonoma Transit, Golden Gate Transit, MUNI, SamTrans and BART. All of tjeme little kingdoms with boards, buses and funding. Each city has some sort of control of growth in housing and jobs.

Chances are the CEO of company would ptefer growth but would not have to ride the bus to work because living in Los Altos Hills or Woodside for oblivious reason.

The bay area doesn't have a central job area or even a centralized single transit system. Port of Redwood City in one county, Google in another county, would make sense to a ferry terminal or pod car from Fremont to NBS.


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Posted by Mv
a resident of another community
on May 4, 2014 at 1:35 pm

I live in Santiago Villa and I don't want to be tracked by the surveillance police state. What happened to my rights for freedom, liberty, and the Americam Way?


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Posted by Mv
a resident of another community
on May 4, 2014 at 7:17 pm

You don't see members of the city council being tracked do you? Of course not. The rich and powerful don't get tracked. Just you.


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Posted by Sarah
a resident of Rex Manor
on May 5, 2014 at 1:12 pm

Let's make biking to work a better option within the city - more bike lanes or paths to make it more emjoyable.


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Posted by Linda Curtis
a resident of Cuesta Park
on May 5, 2014 at 2:05 pm

Whether tolls are "the last resort only," they are now part of the precise plan and can be initiated whenever. Who decides when "all" other measures have been exhausted? Not we the people.

We haven't even heard all of the ideas yet because the public comment portion is so reduced, and scheduled when working stiffs can't make it. I see this as purposely preventing us from being a part of the decisions around here.

Mayor Chris Clark is even inconvenienced by this, as he works a full time job in addition to being the mayor. He has to arrange time off to attend. Not many of us can do this, very much, or ever. So I say, hold study sessions on two or less Tuesdays per month (like second and fourth) and have one regular city council meeting per month on a regular night (like the first Tuesday of the month). And do not begin until the regular time of 6:30 PM, or even better, make that 7 PM like the EPC. This would allow regular attendance by more of us, and also would allow more predictability of when we should plan to attend.

And also greatly important, this more regular schedule would pull in the reins on how many projects and how fast they are getting approved. We living here do not appreciate such important decisions being made so darned fast. We cannot keep up with everything, and too many crummy decisions are slipping past us.

Let's all demand that the hours and number of sessions change!


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Posted by Jim H
a resident of Whisman Station
on May 5, 2014 at 2:56 pm

I work in the N Bayshore area, and from my standpoint, this is a pure cash grab on the part of the Mountain View city counsel. Let's see:

- No viable public transit whatsoever in the area. The CalTrain shuttle is a complete joke - rather than having a shuttle for each train that arrives, they try to "straddle" the north and southbound arrivals. As a result, you end up sitting at the station for 10 minutes waiting for the shuttle. It takes longer to get from the CalTrain station to North Bayshore than the whole train trip from San Jose.

- Mountain View has killed all suggestion of housing in North Bayshore. God forbid people live close to work.

Oh, but you can bike! Give me a break. I bike to work sometimes, but the fact is, most people aren't going to do it. Some can't ride a bike or are afraid to in traffic. Some wear high heels or dress clothes for business meetings. Some have errands to run or children to pick up after work. Some are disabled. The vast majority won't ride in the rain. Some don't want to get sweaty. Whatever the reason, biking is a NICHE option that few people will take.

Earth to Mountain View - you've decided to create a car centered, low density suburban wasteland...er...paradise. You've refused to allow ANY residential building of any substance at all, for years. You refuse to consider ANY options to improve transit and road links to North Bayshore. You refuse to consider ANY residential in North Bayshore. Yet you continue to woo businesses. The end result of an area where driving is the only option is - SURPRISE - traffic.

And now you want to tax people for getting to work the only way that is viable. It's not congestion taxing if there's no alternative - it's a cash grab plain and simple. I actually live in Mountain View, and I vote here. Anyone for this debacle has lost my vote.

I really wish Big Tech would tell these Silicon Valley towns to "Go F yourself" and move to Nevada or somewhere that has a damn clue.


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Posted by SimpleMathProblem
a resident of Old Mountain View
on May 5, 2014 at 3:17 pm

Question #1: How many housing units would need to be built in Mountain View to eliminate the growth of traffic in the area?

a) 35,000
b) 45,000
c) 55,000
d) Not possible, since over time most residents in these housing units would likely be employed elsewhere and would commute by automobile.

Question #2: How many housing units built in Mountain View would it take to destroy it's unique character that many of its residents have enjoyed for years?

a)5,000
b)10,000
c)15,000
d)Zero, because the planners have already allowed it to be destroyed so that neighboring cities like Los Altos would not have to ruin their own areas.


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Posted by Jim H
a resident of Whisman Station
on May 5, 2014 at 3:33 pm

Your first question is well taken - and is a prime example of why there isn't any single solution. Plus - more housing units in Mountain View would certainly help the cost of living situation, and reduce traffic on the highways, but those folks still need to get TO N Bayshore, and while to me at least some housing units within N Bayshore makes sense, you're never going to house the majority of employees there. So with that - those folks would still need to get to work, and that means Shoreline or Rengstorff.

The real solution has to be a combination of better transit, better road links over/under 101 (having only 2 stoplight ridden ways in or out of a major employment district is a recipe for disaster), and housing.

To your second question, my answer is that it is not possible to maintain a low rise low density character and continue to have economic growth. The city must pick. If you want no more residents, then stop wooing companies and jobs. This Peninsula "let them commute" attitude of adding jobs without adding residences - so you can have the tax money business brings with none of the costs of people living there - has to stop.

If that's the decision made - fine. Tell employers "go elsewhere, we don't want you here, maintaing our 1970 garden condo look and feel is more important than economic growth and more jobs." But don't pretend you can have your cake and eat it too.

The real question is this: will "congestion pricing" actually reduce traffic? After all, that is the point of it. I suggest the answer is NO, for two reasons. (1) There is no alternative to driving that takes a comparable amount of time for most people, and (2) Mountain View will continue to woo employers and add jobs. Thus, if congestion pricing will have no impact on traffic, then you must ask what is the point? Purely to make money of course, and that is why I object to it. The last thing CA needs is more cash grab taxes masquerading as something else.


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Posted by Linda Curtis
a resident of Cuesta Park
on May 5, 2014 at 5:04 pm

So far, the more new housing is built, the more the rent rates double or triple or even more. Look at Madera = $8,000/mo.) As older housing is demolished, the new stuff that isn't as spacious or as private, or benefiting from sufficient parking or yards, costs more and influences rents in MV to do likewise.

And Los Altos is planning to demolish their entire downtown area (Main, State, First, Second, Third Streets) plus the entire Civic Center, just because they can. All the new laws regarding zoning inspired by ABAG & the UN Agenda 21 set up everything for a huge money grab that only huge developers can benefit from, and most of them foreign so the money they make leave the country. Little shops cannot afford the new rents in the new places so over time we become franchises only.


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Posted by Linda Curtis
a resident of Cuesta Park
on May 5, 2014 at 6:49 pm

So SimpleMathProblem:

Excellent quiz!

Both answers, of course, to Question #1 & Q #2 are "D" with the one change to "D" of Q#2:

Towns all around us are being ruined: Los Altos, Los Gatos, every city in the Ass. of Bay Area Cities, because ABAG provides the funding to bribe these cities to zone for big, cheap, ugly, stack & pack housing everywhere, from Napa Valley to Pacifica.

So if you had a view of the vineyards as you drove along Highway 21, that is now being blocked by lining the roads with high rise. Why can't the building be off the noisy road, at least a little bit, where it is quieter and no views are blocked?

Or if you loved your view of the ocean from the home you worked your whole life to get to live in, get ready to live there with no view any more. High rise building along the length of a major street in Santa Crus, for example, can block the view for everyone living east of that road.

The same for suburbs in MV. You are living in a one story, but now you are being surrounded by four stories or more on three sides, so what privacy and quiet and easy parking you had, you can forget forever. And maybe your home will be seized so more new, tall stuff can be built. This is possible under the NEW laws of eminent domain. Even if it isn't seized for quite a while, your property is now of less value to you because with the new zoning, you are now non-conforming, but grandfathered in, until you add on, remodel or repair sufficiently, to knock yourself out of your grandfathered in status. No one need pay as much for property with those sorts of issues. That's part of the plan to play into the hands of the huge developers. Even though you were there first, and this was changed on you without a vote or any other input from citizens, you are the one who is "non-conforming."

Changes are now mandated by the new bosses: The appointed panel of ABAG that we can neither vote in nor vote out. They control all the cities and counties of the Bay Area.

But is all this dictatorship solving the housing or traffic problems? No. Just making them worse. And why not build new, very desirable housing in quiet areas instead of along major arterials? Not all jobs are along the main streets. Instead of kicking cars out of two thirds of the "bus lanes" on ECR, add more buses and more routes so people can actually get many places at more times of the day and night (for a change)?

Just stop killing the quality of life for so many by putting the many story buildings next to the one story buildings. Creepy looky-lous have a field day at others' expense. Instead, plan a great lay out in an area designated for a whole lot of the higher density buildings so they do not tower over anyone and are off set from each other to allow some privacy among them. Build quality for quality lives.

And then connect all with better public transit and more of it, and stop trying to punish us. Allow some free choice. After all, we were the victors of the World Wars and others, but now new rules coming from outside our country control our lives and we aren't even fighting it.


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Posted by C
a resident of Willowgate
on May 5, 2014 at 9:01 pm

Most cities like to encourage the creation of more jobs with minimal environmental impact. In fact, most cities create incentives to bring these types of jobs to their area. Most cities prefer not to penalize their constituents that work locally.

This plan is a phenomenally poor idea. As much as I dislike the traffic on Shoreline, toll roads as the ONLY access are a horrible idea.


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Posted by OMV Resident
a resident of Old Mountain View
on May 6, 2014 at 7:24 am

@Linda Curtis --
I'm not here to defend the congestion pricing proposal. I think it's way premature, and I agree with some of your points and others above about providing better alternatives to get in/out of North Bayshore before we would ever try something like congestion pricing.

But geez, your most recent messages above are so full of exaggerations, ridiculous claims, and conspiracy theories that I've got to jump in.

You write "And maybe your home will be seized so more new, tall stuff can be built. This is possible under the NEW laws of eminent domain." What new laws are you talking about, Linda? That's right, there are none. In fact, eminent domain is far less common now than 5 or 10 years ago in California because of the end of Redevelopment Agencies in our state.

Then there's the places where you contradict yourself in your own posting. Just above you write: "Just stop killing the quality of life for so many by putting the many story buildings next to the one story buildings." And in the same post you write: "And why not build new, very desirable housing in quiet areas instead of along major arterials? " Linda, the idea behind putting somewhat denser housing (3 or 4-story) along El Camino Real, near the train station, and other nodes of activity is so that it doesn't have to get sprinkled all throughout existing single-family and low-rise neighborhoods -- so we don't see developers tearing down individual single-family homes in the middle of intact neighborhoods and popping in 4-story buildings.

As I've gathered from your many posts, it just happens that you apparently own some one-story residential buildings directly behind El Camino. Perhaps it's time to admit that you took a gamble all these years, betting that nothing would change on that prime land along El Camino (despite the fact that you could see Mountain View/Palo Alto becoming a huge tech hub and real estate values soaring). You invested in those properties, have likely seen tremendous gains in value while your taxes have been kept relatively low by Prop 13.... And now you're complaining because someone nearby wants to make better use of their property (i.e., let the free market work), and it may impact you. Who's against the free market in this situation? I wonder...


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Posted by Geek
a resident of Sylvan Park
on May 6, 2014 at 8:38 am

@Linda Curtis,
Where $8000 is coming from?
Their site shows < $5000 max:
Web Link
2 bed / 2 bath 1340 approx sq ft $4897
Still a lot, but far from $8000


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Posted by Shonda Ranson
a resident of Old Mountain View
on May 6, 2014 at 9:10 am

Hi, Linda:

I just want to be clear that none of the many ideas presented are currently part of the Precise Plan. This was part of a study session to see what options are available and staff proposed a LOT of different ideas. There has been no adoption of any of the ideas. The study of the issue will continue through the end of the year and there will be many more opportunities for the public to give feedback and voice concerns.

It's important that if you do care about this issue that you take a look at all of the information that was actually presented. Here is the link to what was presented: Web Link=

-Shonda Ranson
Communications Coordinator
City of Mountain View


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Posted by OMV Resident
a resident of Old Mountain View
on May 6, 2014 at 10:04 am

@Geek and @Linda Curtis --
I'll take a shot at that question about the $8000 rent at Madera. That is a figure that the MV Voice included in a Dec 2013 article about the approval of another Prometheus development (see Web Link), where the author noted:
"Prometheus officials say it will be similar in its level of luxury to the Madera complex at 455 West Evelyn Ave., where occupancy is near 100 percent and rents are advertised between $3,502 and $8,000 - yes, $8,000 -- for one- and two-bedroom apartments."

Since then, that $8000 figure keeps getting repeated in an echo chamber, sometimes with the qualifier "up to $8000" and often without it, as Linda Curtis did above ("Look at Madera = $8000/mo"). Often this $8000 is cited by opponents of new development as "evidence" that building new residential in Mountain View not only does not help the supply and demand situation, it somehow increases rents at existing buildings.

Now I'm sure that the Madera website did show a maximum asking rent of $8000 at some point before the Voice published that Dec 2013 article. And it's possible that someone even paid that - someone relocating from elsewhere, with no time to shop around, maybe with their rent paid for by their employer, might have signed a lease at that rate. But the fact is, Madera is now advertising maximum asking rents of $4193 for a 2-bedroom. And by the way, 3-bedroom detached single-family houses on Front Lane are currently renting for approximately $5000/month (asking price - see Web Link). While I'm not saying this is cheap, it suggests that NO ONE is likely to be paying anywhere close to $8000/month for a 2-bedroom apartment at Madera these days.

If we're going to have reasoned discussions about development and traffic issues in Mountain View, I hope people in the future will use actual facts and not just the most eye-catching, exaggerated figures they can get their hands on.


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Posted by Linda Curtis
a resident of Cuesta Park
on May 6, 2014 at 10:18 am

To OMV:

The std. had been that no more than one story higher was built next door to anything. I did not buy my place under Prop 13, and did so only after I heard the neighbors on the street had defeated a zoning change so it would remain as it was. I thought we could do that again, but, yes, the NEW definition of eminent domain precludes that. We lost our voices. Now there is "financial blight" in addition to "physical blight." The first kind is any thing any where that does not earn as much in taxes for the city as would something else. It puts pretty much everyone in jeopardy: Little shops, suburban housing, etc. And Madera charges $8000 per month in rent.


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Posted by Slumlords
a resident of Old Mountain View
on May 6, 2014 at 10:28 am

There are a few landlords in Mountain View of aging rental units that are tired of being harassed by the city for building code and safety violations. I'm sure if Linda wanted to do a significant improvement to the property, she would have to bring her building up to compliance. That would cut into her profit margin, so that's not happening. I feel concerned for the tenants in her building. I hope they know they can notify the city who will work with Linda to fix the safety problems:
General Inquiries on Code Enforcement
650-526-7713
Web Link


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Posted by wendy
a resident of another community
on May 6, 2014 at 11:12 am

I agree with Jim.

Also if Mountain View wants to charge people for coming to work, I recommend a fee to be collected by Palo Alto, Los Altos and Sunnyvale at the border to be paid by Mountain View residents who wish to drive on roads outside of Mountain View. The people of Mountain View can also be charged for getting to work.

Exactly how much should people from across the bay pay to get to work? The 4 or 5 dollar bridge toll plus 10 to get down shoreline? Times 5 days a week? 300 a month? If they don't want to pay they can live in mountain view and ride their bike...oh wait..we're also against housing...


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Posted by Linda Curtis
a resident of Cuesta Park
on May 6, 2014 at 11:45 am

I really do not need to defend myself about the care with which I've maintained my building. But I will because I'm proud of it. This is how MV should continue as they add more housing.

I live there myself and have always met the safety requirements, as I hold a degree in safety and accident prevention, by the way. And the annual safety inspection passes without fault every year.

I give too good a deal, as I have always been a renter myself and care for residents of my little complex as I would care for myself. I give free electricity plus monetary incentives if a unit uses little. I charge about one dollar per square foot, not counting the large garages, so for a big two bedroom, 1200 square foot apartment with a garage, I charge around $1200/mo. And it is beautiful: New appliances, freshly painted regularly, vaulted ceilings, one level with no one above or below, and many share no walls at all. And the gardens are beautiful. I was married in the courtyard amid the beauty. The name of the complex is "Paradise Garden Apartments" and we live up to that.

Maybe those who love to imagine and then criticize would really just envy us if they actually saw what they were commenting on. :)


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Posted by MVResident67
a resident of Cuesta Park
on May 6, 2014 at 12:20 pm

@Slumlord:s

Do you have any facts to support your intimation that Ms. Curtis' property is "not in compliance" and that there are "safety problems" with her property, or are you publicly suggesting that people call and make complaints against Ms. Curtis as part of a harassment campaign?


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Posted by Andrea Gemmet
Mountain View Voice Editor
on May 6, 2014 at 1:47 pm

Andrea Gemmet is a registered user.

@OMV resident: You're correct, Madera lowered the asking price for its leases after the Voice story ran in December. "Plan 16" apartments were still listed on Madera's website with rents ranging from $5,472 and $8,000 in January, but at some point between then and now, the highest rent advertised dropped to around $5,100.


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Posted by OMV Resident
a resident of Old Mountain View
on May 6, 2014 at 2:32 pm

Thank you, Andrea, for the acknowledgement that the Madera rents have changed over time and that the $8000 maximum is not set in stone. It was my mistake in my post above to not notice that there are some asking rents that go up to $5100 at present.


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Posted by Garrett
a resident of another community
on May 6, 2014 at 4:14 pm

Rent prices like gas prices go up and down, but overall the prices have risen. Home prices have risen since the 80's.

I drive for a living so I get to see the bay area in ways you don't get to see, got news for you which will be shocking. Most of the bay area is low rise dense suburbs, with 1 to 2 story homes, 2 to 3 story apartment buildings.

Streets like El Camino Real, strip malls, older retail built buildings, old car dealers, run down motels and blight. Businesses do move to bigger and better retail areas. We could redevelop these old outdated properties, build nice new mixed projects, attract businesses, offices and residents.

Instead we are trying to cling to an old 50's or 60's car centered development that housed a business that has moved on to bigger and better things, where most people will drive by and not notice.

You have people sitting in traffic, so much time by the time they get off work and get home. Doesn't live them lots of time to enjoy the benefit of their community and what it has to offer. I sit in that traffic, only difference I am getting paid for sitting in traffic, 2 hours one way is a lot of time to spend doing nothing.


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Posted by Linda Curtis
a resident of Cuesta Park
on May 6, 2014 at 6:04 pm

More ideas: More buses, but smaller buses for most of the time. Use the big ones at rush hours only. This makes blending in traffic easier and safer. Dedicated lanes that swap from the first lane to the third as they drive through different cities are very dangerous. We do not need dedicated lanes, just more buses, more often. And we need more routes, running at least hourly through the night so no one needs fear being stranded if they miss the last bus of the night, as it is now.

And connect the end of the line for the light rail to the business park north of shoreline.

How about a shuttle, cute like a SF trolley but electric without the wires and tracks, and run it up and down Castro Street? Make it easy to jump on and off like the SF trolleys and do it for free. If it catches on do it elsewhere as swell, taking people to the business park.

And bike tunnels under 101 and some overpasses and/or tunnels fpr pedestrians.

And why not build additional bridges over 101 in that area for general traffic? More exit ramps off of 101 and more ways in and out of the business park will only help relieve congestion.

And as for housing, match the heights of the surrounding residences to maintain the quality of life. I'm for housing North of 101. It could be quite tall if the land will support that there, and buildings could be off set with each other to allow some privacy. What beautiful views of the bay residents there could have. And make only studios and one bedrooms to encourage adults, as there is no school over there.


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Posted by Jeff
a resident of The Crossings
on May 6, 2014 at 8:10 pm

Here's an idea:
Tear down the movie theatre and build a residential tower. This will reduce congestion because hundreds of people will be able to walk to work.


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Posted by Konrad M. Sosnow
a resident of Cuesta Park
on May 6, 2014 at 9:42 pm

I am glad to see that Madera lowered the asking price for its leases from an exorbitant $8,000 to the Affordable Housing rate of $5,100 per month. It used to take a lot of income to afford Madera but now anyone can afford to live there. For example, if you us the recommended maximum of 30% of income for housing, it used to take very high annual income of $320,000 to afford Madera, but now it just takes a common, ordinary, $200,000 annual income.




after the Voice story ran in December. "Plan 16" apartments were still listed on Madera's website with rents ranging from $5,472 and $8,000 in January, but at some point between then and now, the highest rent advertised dropped to around $5,100.


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Posted by Linda Curtis
a resident of Cuesta Park
on May 7, 2014 at 1:51 pm

Jeff: The plans for Century 16 does include a tear down of it, and rebuilding it with less theaters; a tear down of Gold's Gym and rebuilding it with a different gym; and, building a tower: An office tower. I like your idea of a residential tower better so it would be useful for those working at the business park across 101 to walk to. Just so long as they don't go too high so that neighbor on nearby blocks have lost their privacy in their yards and homes. If this residential tower is apartments, then when one's employment location changes, it is easier to relocate closer to one's new job.

There were also ideas about a pedestrian/bike/public transit bridge that would link to this location from North of 101 near Google. I hope that can be developed.


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Posted by Whatever
a resident of Monta Loma
on May 7, 2014 at 6:03 pm

I hate this idea, because I don't work at google, intuit, microsoft, Linkedin, Siemens, or any other company off that corridor, but I DO happen to use those roads in the AM to take my dog to the Baylands. This is ridiculous, and about numbers, not road maintenance. I don't want to pay to walk my dog for crying out loud, and I don't feel like going out at 6AM to not be charged.

How about the 32k Google employees that arrive in MV daily? How about my gas taxes already go to supposed road maintenance and improvements. Google has MV in its pocket, and screw the rest of the population. This is the type of thing that makes me seriously consider selling my house and leaving the area - i.e., let's continue developement, and on top of it, charge people even MORE than what we're already paying. Oh, and let's not forget the environmental groups that accept nice donation$$$$ from Google to "relocate" species of concern.

No one really gives a damn about anything other than money and taxes.


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Posted by Konrad M. Sosnow
a resident of Cuesta Park
on May 7, 2014 at 6:29 pm

I just heard that LinkedIn plans to add 10,000 jobs in North Bayshore. That should turn North Shoreline Boulevard into a parking lot


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Posted by concerned citizen
a resident of Old Mountain View
on May 7, 2014 at 11:31 pm

Konrad - Can you give us a link to a story, or a source?

Thanks!


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Posted by concerned citizen
a resident of Old Mountain View
on May 8, 2014 at 8:03 am

Yes, apparently LinkedIn is looking to jump in before the North Bayshore precise plan. The proposal is for 2.6 million sf of new space, with possibly 13,000 employees. It's in today's Mercury News. Here's the story: Web Link


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Posted by Garrett
a resident of another community
on May 8, 2014 at 11:49 am

All this growth is the result of growing numbers of user of Linkedin services. People use Google every day along with companies that have offices in Mountain View and Silicon Valley. Only way to stop the growth, stop the users signing up, buying into and just prevent the growth of Silicon Valley.

That won't happen.


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Posted by concerned citizen
a resident of Old Mountain View
on May 8, 2014 at 12:18 pm

Garrett. Dude. For the umpteenth time, just about nobody thinks we can, or should, "stop the growth." That's a straw man. You know that, don't you?

We need thoughtful limits on development, and we are not getting that from the present city council. Their lack of foresight is really staggering.


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Posted by Greg Perry
a resident of Cuesta Park
on May 8, 2014 at 5:06 pm

The city council created this problem when they decided that we would grow like mad, but almost all growth will be office space.

If the city council wants to solve the problem, they can begin by repealing their recent precise plan and general plan.


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Posted by Garrett
a resident of another community
on May 9, 2014 at 7:50 am

I am for reasonable well planned growth for growing companies that are going to need space in the future.

We must plan to build housing, services to handle the growth of workers.

Instead we are clinging to cars, hou
sing workers in suburbs throughout the bay area. Services can only be reached by car.

I believe in having limits to let tranait systems catch, housing and services on transit corriders and reduce car trips to offices.


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Posted by Agreed
a resident of Old Mountain View
on May 9, 2014 at 12:28 pm

"I am for reasonable well planned growth for growing companies that are going to need space in the future."

I agree! However what you feel is reasonable is not what I nor many of your fellow residents feel is reasonable. Your reasonableness will lead to the concrete jungle of downtown SJ. If you want that so badly, then I encourage you to move there.


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Posted by Garrett
a resident of another community
on May 9, 2014 at 1:24 pm

Auto centered suburban sprawl took hold that destroyed many small towns and.farming based.communities with shopping center low rise buildings. Each city grew gobbling up space between the communities.

Most people were moving from cities, changing places forever. Suburb to city was central to post war planning but the rules changed when Silicon Valley started with its growth.


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Posted by Agreed
a resident of Old Mountain View
on May 9, 2014 at 1:38 pm

Garrett. "A resident of another community." So you ARE being NIMBY! You want to destroy our backyard so you don't have to have yours destroyed.

Why don't you lobby google to only hire employees that take the shuttle or another mass transit option--make it a condition of employment? That would resolve the east bayshore issue. Instead, you want to turn Mountain View into an urban jungle.


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Posted by Garrett
a resident of another community
on May 9, 2014 at 2:04 pm

I am not saying your backyard has to be paved over but we can't expect outlaying areas to get paved over.

Get a big map of the bay area showing the cities and highways. Put a pin in North Bayshore, then place yarn on another pin. That should be one Google shuttle bus.

Remember to leave out San Francisco, then remember not everyone works for Google or LinkedIn.

Homes priced are cheaper in Tracy or Frenso.


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Posted by Garrett
a resident of another community
on May 9, 2014 at 2:50 pm

I don't shuttles will work as a regional solution until some big spending on people moving transit. Not talking about Google workers, LinkedIn staff or employees of Intuit but all 3 firms and more.

The only way it will work if many people live close to their job, quick easy transit. Not more car centered development, 10, 20, 30, 40, 50, 60 miles away from a desk, a truck, counter, classroom, station, and one of the many workplaces.


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Posted by Linda Curtis
a resident of Cuesta Park
on May 9, 2014 at 3:41 pm

I agree with "Agreed" and with Greg Perry. Well stated.

A council member recently explained to me that there are 17,000 more jobs planned for the business park North of Bayshore, but no housing planned for there, as it wouldn't be enough anyway, and why ruin a good business park with housing? But isn't that idea of building housing close to jobs? That it helps relieve the gridlock and helps workers find convenient housing? But instead, all along noise ECR is being build up. This is what is towering over adjoining neighbors and is ruining what they invested their lives into. And it won't even be affordable, as it's so new with the pretentious finishes, nor will it be pleasant, right there along ECR no matter much they restrict cars in lieu for noisier buses. And there will always be trucks, etc., so why not let ECR flow as it used to without restricting the lanes for cars? And the same for California Street. It assists ECR. So why reduce it to half? One lane each way, instead of the current two? It works very well at present for both cars and bikes. Could the real reason be that restricting these main roadways will increase gridlock and when that is achieved, paying tolls will then be the "last resort" and proceed as planned all along?


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Posted by Agreed
a resident of Old Mountain View
on May 9, 2014 at 4:07 pm

Garrett, By chance are you from a strongly socialized country? When I hear this:
" I don't shuttles will work as a regional solution until some big spending on people moving transit. "

I think you may not realize the amount of cost it would take to create a massive subway and networked train system in this area. It is already built up, so there would have to be massive amounts of extremely expensive eminent domain takings of peoples homes. (have to pay at market rate) And then the added expense of all the lawsuits slowing this process down.

However, at the end of the day it's a cart & the horse problem. People will only be willing to pay the massively high up front cost of this if they can be guaranteed it to be an awesomely great transit system. Until then, they will only be willing to minimally fund it. Service will be lousy and fares will be high. Doomed from the start--see caltrans for more info!

In a socialized country or dictatorship, the government can impose their will on a population to do a massive infrastructure improvement. Future generations will likely benefit, but this and the next will suffer greatly. America is different--decisions like that are never easy and can be derailed at any time.

Since we are unlikely to have a highly socialized government or dictatorship anytime soon, I think we're out of luck. Probably easier to just go find a town that isn't built-up yet and design a city from scratch to resolve all the problems in our "car-centered culture".


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Posted by OMV Resident
a resident of Old Mountain View
on May 9, 2014 at 9:55 pm

@Agreed -
"However, at the end of the day it's a cart & the horse problem. People will only be willing to pay the massively high up front cost of this if they can be guaranteed it to be an awesomely great transit system. Until then, they will only be willing to minimally fund it. Service will be lousy and fares will be high. Doomed from the start--see caltrans for more info!"

Since you're talking about trains, I assume you mean Caltrain, not 'caltrans'.

That's the same Caltrain that has seen ridership increase by 54% over the past 4 years (from about 34,000 in 2010 to 52,000 in 2014). The same Caltrain whose ridership has more than doubled (+119%) in the past 10 years, from under 24,000 in 2004 to over 52,000 in 2014. Web Link

"Service will be lousy and fares will be high?"... well you might think so, but apparently many thousands of people find it an attractive choice... increasingly so every year.

"Doomed from the start?"... I don't think so.


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Posted by DisAgreed
a resident of Old Mountain View
on May 9, 2014 at 11:55 pm

OMV Resident.. It sounds like you feel that CalTrain is sufficient in servicing the entire Bay Area's transportation needs.

Did you not know that it only runs North-South from San Francisco to Gilroy?
Did you not know that most people commute into the southbay by car?
Did you not know that most people commute into the southbay from other areas that are not serviced by Caltrain?
Did you not know that really the only reason why CalTrain has significant ridership at all, and then only at rush hour, is that many high-tech companies PAY for their employees to ride it???
Did you not know that in cities that have excellent transit systems, one can go stand at a station and within 5-10 minutes get picked up...almost all day long?

It sounds like you need to get out of California more often...


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Posted by concerned citizen
a resident of Old Mountain View
on May 9, 2014 at 11:56 pm

@Shonda Ranson - Thanks very much for your part in this discussion, and thanks for the link to the city council study session material for the North Bayshore Precise Plan.

It's a very good thing for the city to make these documents as public as possible, and much appreciated. The link you provided wasn't quite direct; here is a more direct one for anyone who is interested: Web Link=. The memo (first attachment) is the most important, but all 4 documents should be viewed.

There are in fact some good ideas in there for reducing traffic. However, there are some larger, worrisome aspects to this material.

The first and biggest problem is the assumption that adding 3.4 million sf of new office space is a done deal. This does not have to be the case. In fact, it seems like a foolhardy idea.

Second, if Shoreline is already - at present - "over capacity" during peak hours (page 6), it's a fantasy that traffic could be reduced to an "acceptable level" with the addition of 3.4 million sf of new office space. If Planning and council insist on this much new office space, we'll be at the "congestion pricing" option in short order. And I seriously doubt that even with that, traffic would be reduced to an acceptable level.

Third, the policy as stated on page 8 seems to be to purposely make vehicle use extremely unpleasant. Here's the quote:

"Where there is a tension between transit and other motor vehicles, design and manage the roadway to improve pedestrian, bicycle, and transit movement through the corridor without regard to vehicle delay."

I suggest that everybody should read these documents. Again, thanks to Shonda for the link.



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Posted by CaltrainStats
a resident of Old Mountain View
on May 10, 2014 at 2:48 am

Here is the direct link to the year over year ridership stats provided by CalTrain:
Web Link

Here is a direct link to the Nasdaq stock market chart over the same period:
Web Link=;

Notice how closely they track together.

MVResident ----- are you saying that our entire national economy revolves around Caltrain????

I would suggest that perhaps the economy is the primary factor in Caltrain's "surge" in ridership...


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Posted by Garrett
a resident of another community
on May 10, 2014 at 6:13 am

Where I am from will shock you, Mountain Virw amd lived around the bay area.

Caltrain is a small north south piece of a puzzle that again I will say get a big bay area wall map.

When some of our freeways were built they went in torn down thousands of peoples homes, businesses and ways of life.

We just can't keep building outward and not spend the money on mass transit or worse yet. We aren't adding new freeways.

We don't want to build upward or close together and not talking high density.


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Posted by Jackson Park Resident
a resident of Jackson Park
on May 10, 2014 at 7:03 am

I have lived in Mountain View for 53 years. I have owned my home in the Jackson Park area since 1993. I use 101 to get to my job in Palo Alto every day and do not want to be charged to access to use Shoreline Blvd., Rengstorff or San Antonio to access 101.

Residents shouldn't have to shell out more money just because large companies want to expand north of Bayshore.

If companies want to expand, let them go somewhere else where they have enough resources such as water, land and lower priced housing.






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Posted by Linda Curtis
a resident of Cuesta Park
on May 12, 2014 at 2:04 pm

Concerned citizen said something so important and on point when referring to the North Bayshore Precise Plan, it bears repeating:

"If Shoreline is already - at present - 'over capacity' during peak hours (page 6), it's a fantasy that traffic could be reduced to an 'acceptable level' with the addition of 3.4 million sf of new office space. If Planning and council insist on this much new office space, we'll be at the 'congestion pricing' option in short order. And I seriously doubt that even with that, traffic would be reduced to an acceptable level."

The other thing concerned citizen mentioned about the North Bayshore Precise Plan was the tell all quote straight from it (page 8):

"Where there is a tension between transit and other motor vehicles, design and manage the roadway to improve pedestrian, bicycle, and transit movement through the corridor without regard to vehicle delay."

When the government uses the Bicycle Coalition, for just one example, as their pawns to charge us tolls and grab big money for VTA that will raise rates as they wish, especially once our alternatives have be drastically narrowed, etc., we must realize that the Bicycle Coalition's level of organization is helping to get us into this, so we must raise our level of organization to counteract this.

I will start a website opposing stupid choices in the name of growth, and when I get it up, I'll pass the web link on to all of you.


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Posted by ForWhomTheBellTolls
a resident of North Whisman
on May 12, 2014 at 2:17 pm

I'm in favor for putting a congestion toll on roads and providing exemptions for Mountain View residents. That would encourage people from other communities that tie up our roads to carpool or use alternative means without impacting our own residents.


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Posted by wendy
a resident of another community
on May 12, 2014 at 3:46 pm

"I'm in favor for putting a congestion toll on roads and providing exemptions for Mountain View residents. That would encourage people from other communities that tie up our roads to carpool or use alternative means without impacting our own residents."

I'm sure the neighboring city councils will likely turn around and do the same, impacting Mountain View residents.

Remember when they tore out all the houses that used to inhabit Shoreline BLVD to create Shoreline BLVD?

There is an answer to this problem, we just haven't come up with it yet. Punishing one group or the other isn't the answer, however.


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Posted by nah
a resident of Old Mountain View
on May 13, 2014 at 9:56 am

wendy..if you are concerned with neighboring cities blocking us, try to go visit Foothills Park.

Palo Alto does not allow Mountain View residents to enter Foothills Park. When I was a PA resident, I went often and it was beautiful! Camping, a lake/pond for fishing, gorgeous meadow and lots of hiking.

Web Link

So, I don't see why we shouldn't give preference to the city's residents, since our neighbors are doing the same thing.

Likewise, Los Altos, another neighbor, does not provide any jobs and fights to preserve their beautiful neighborhood. However, they come to Mountain View City Council meetings to demand expanded sports fields in our city, because theirs won't provide them. So, yet another neighbor that doesn't play well with us.

Sunnyvale is cool though... :)


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Posted by Garrett
a resident of another community
on May 13, 2014 at 7:31 pm

For congestion pricing to work, you would have to have a Grade AAA transit system to serve the North Bayshore but personally I don't see the city, county, state of the fed spending millions to improve transit for a group or workers spend out over a large area.

If Palo Alto wants to have a park for their residents that is fine.


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Posted by wendy
a resident of another community
on May 14, 2014 at 12:13 pm

Hello Nah--It's not the same thing by a long shot. Having a private park is one thing. Creating an added cost for someone to get to work to collect their paycheck is another. One is a leisure activity, the other is a necessity. A better comparison would be for roads. So go ahead and start charging us to use your roads, and you can bet I will be lined up to charge you for every time you want to leave mountain view and travel on our roads.

You really should consider the residents who can not afford to live on the peninsula and live in the east bay, not only do they pay for the gas, but also tolls. Why do you want to punish the people who are already hurting? Not everyone who works out there is making a million dollars a year.

Here's an idea. How about Mt. View finds a way to fund their own projects (instead of this blatant cash grab, note Palo Alto's park isn't charging others to use, they aren't letting people use it) and denies anymore expansion for business in the areas on Shoreline? If they don't want any more traffic that is the simple solution, but I think we all know that that isn't what Mountain View wants. Mountain View wants MONEY.


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Posted by @wendy
a resident of Old Mountain View
on May 14, 2014 at 12:44 pm

wendy,wendy,wendy...what are you talking about?

Ever take the golden gate bridge? Dumbarton? It's a toll bridge silly! Some roads do get charged to cross. Did you not know that?!

Foothills Park is PUBLIC!!! It's just restricted to Palo Alto residents only. Is it the right thing to do? I don't think so, but it irks me to hear people say that we should be kind to our neighboring cities, when they aren't to us. Did you know that Los Alto residents can come to Mountain View's library that we pay for and get a library card....FOR FREE? But if we get a library card from their library, it's $80!!!!! Again, another neighbor that discriminates against Mountain View.

What cash grab? The whole idea is to regulate traffic in that area without having to blast through a whole lot of more roads. MV doesn't *need* the money..the whole point is that the charge would reduce the traffic as people are given incentive to find alternatives. Worst case, the money collected could be used to bolster transit ALTERNATIVES to that area. Of course, this is a worst case scenario, which many on this thread fail to acknowledge.


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Posted by Clarity
a resident of Cuesta Park
on May 14, 2014 at 3:11 pm

Mountain View is the poster child for municipal greed, corruption, and stupidity. I shall enjoy watching this town drown in its own excesses enormously. You so deserve it.

Got TCE?


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Posted by Garrett
a resident of another community
on May 14, 2014 at 3:33 pm

We should even be talking about charging drives until transit needs are met, we have a long way to go on this issue. Maybe do a way with free parking.


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Posted by wendy
a resident of another community
on May 14, 2014 at 6:18 pm

The money collected from bridge tolls doesn't go to one city. Most of the money goes to seismic retrofitting. The tolls are voted on for most bay area bridges (by several districts not one city council) the Golden Gate tolls are determined by a board of directors from various cities.

People can be irked all they want about Palo Alto and Los Altos, the facts are that this cost isn't going to hurt those residents. It will hurt the people who already have to pay 5 dollars to cross the bridge to get to work on top of other transportation costs, who can not afford to live over here.

No, this is a cash grab because if the city of Mountain View was concerned about the traffic they would not have approved all of the buildings there and the bodies in them. Which other bay area town that hosts many companies charges commuters to drive on their roads? They should just say no to anymore expansion.

More importantly, why did Santa Clara and San Mateo counties not opt in to BART? So on the one they say come here to work, on the other hand they so no to putting in the infrastructure. If they had approved BART years ago we would not be facing our nightmares now and we would have a normal transit system.

If the City of Mountain View goes forward with this they will be setting a precedent for all of the cities around them, so go ahead and support it if you envision paying tolls on all of the roads you use everyday.


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Posted by ahhhh
a resident of Old Mountain View
on May 14, 2014 at 10:20 pm

"It will hurt the people who already have to pay 5 dollars to cross the bridge to get to work on top of other transportation costs, who can not afford to live over here. "

Ah, so it is OK to charge these poor drivers a fee to use the bridge! But you said it was to make improvements to the bridges like seismic retrofitting. That's exactly what was said earlier when the money could go to do transit improvements in that area.

Most commuters into east bayshore do not choose to live here, because they have a better quality of life elsewhere. Nothing to do with money.

Finally, most of the traffic in east bayshore is headed to google . If you think that this (imaginary) $5/day would significantly "hurt" these relatively wealthy googlers, then you have not researched this very well.

And again, harp on all you want about this congestion toll, if you had read any farther than the headline, you would have known that this was a last chance option. There are plenty of other options that would be considered first!


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Posted by Jim Neal
a resident of Old Mountain View
on May 15, 2014 at 9:45 am

Jim Neal is a registered user.

@ahhh -- They always say it is a "last chance" option and then somehow wind up doing these things anyway. Wendy is right, this is nothing more than a cash grab and an attempt to set a precedent that will eventually lead to more toll roads within the city. If they get away with this, it will eventually lead to Mountain View being a city that only the very rich can afford to live in. This city is being sold off piece by piece to the highest bidders while the rest of us are being kicked to the curb.


Jim Neal
Candidate, Mountain View City Council
Web Link (Campaign Website)
info@electnal.org


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Posted by ahhh
a resident of Old Mountain View
on May 15, 2014 at 10:28 am

Jim, with respect I don't understand how adding a road tax to out of town residents to reduce congestion and improve the transit infrastructure will somehow make it less affordable to live here.

Look, if you really, really want to bring prices down, then there are two choices:

1) Do massive TCE testing throughout the city and find evidence of the carcinogenic plumes. Then put down an apartment complex there and broadly advertise it as dangerous as per the EPA. The units will can then be rented inexpensively--a true market rate.

2) More seriously, build very tiny, miserable little units. Make sure there is little parking, nowhere to walk to. Maybe right against 101. Few will want to live there, so that will bring prices down.

Congestion tolls are an idea that are used effectively in places where additional roads are difficult to add, but lots of people want to get through. What are YOUR ideas for that area so that all of the automobiles with single drivers going back and forth can do so without gridlocking the area?


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Posted by Jim Neal
a resident of Old Mountain View
on May 15, 2014 at 11:00 am

Jim Neal is a registered user.

@ahhh -- Thanks for those great questions!

First, I was at the study session and the Council meeting where this was discussed and NOBODY mentioned anything about this applying only to "out of town" residents, so I don't know where you got that information.

Second, I haven't seen any cities where congestion tolls are used on city streets. I have seen them used on highways and freeways in Florida and more recently here in the South Bay. Even if there are a few cities doing it, just because a few cities run with a bad idea doesn't mean that we have to.

Third, I am very happy to repeat my ideas for you in case you missed the dozen or so articles and commentaries I have already written. I would allow the existing companies that are in the North Bayshore to continue to address the problem themselves. They have already shown great initiative in developing alternative methods for bringing their people to work before the City got involved and I feel confident they can continue to make progress without incentives (interference) from the city. I also think that providing housing rather than more gridlock producing office space would be another step in the right direction. And lastly, people could emulate my example and not drive their car for 2 years. However, you will note that I don't try to force my personal choices on others.


Jim Neal
Candidate, Mountain View City Council
Web Link (Campaign Website)
info@electneal.org


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Posted by Garrett
a resident of another community
on May 15, 2014 at 11:06 am

Do we charge driver who have the options to take public or private transit? Remember not every commuter will leave with in reach of either public or private transit.

Also want to point out that drivers might park in the neighborhoods to avoid the charges.


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Posted by what?
a resident of Old Mountain View
on May 15, 2014 at 1:56 pm

Garrett..it is clear that english is not your first language, but it has gotten to the point that your postings are extremely unclear. I know that you no longer are a mv resident and are just trolling here, but it would be nice if you would spend a bit more time and post in english.

All the best,

Mountain View


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Posted by ahhh
a resident of Old Mountain View
on May 15, 2014 at 2:08 pm

"I would allow the existing companies that are in the North Bayshore to continue to address the problem themselves."

Jim..that is not working. Traffic is getting increasingly bad over there...and now they want to add thousands of more commuters. Let's say they get half the new commuters to take mass transit/shuttle, that will still make the situation worse than it is today.

"Second, I haven't seen any cities where congestion tolls are used on city streets. "

It might be helpful to read up on this. A fairly new concept, but it has had some good results. You can read about an example in London here: Web Link.

Definitely not popular to the general populace, but if you think about it--it makes sense. The commuters are the ones that are forcing us to widen our roadways and increase routes, so shouldn't they pay a bit more for this? The non-commuters tend to go when the streets are freer, so they are not contributing to this increased expense, yet are on the hook to pay for it. In London, for example, the increased revenues are paid to improve transit options, which helps reduce load on these roads.

MV raised this as a last-ditch option and it will be very unlikely to come to be, but the more I read about it, the more it makes sense. I know that many of MV's "right"-leaning residents aren't opened minded enough to consider it and the advantages. That's very unfortunate.


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Posted by Garrett
a resident of another community
on May 15, 2014 at 2:56 pm

I am typing on a small moblie device with one finger typing and trying to keep up with still checking.

In the case of drives do we charge drivers that have no acess to public or private transit.

Drivers will pick in neighborhoods to avoid the charges. This does happen near BART stations, San Francisco or anywhere that paid parking exists.

How much are the charges, 5 dollars? 10 dollars? 15 dollars?


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Posted by Garrett
a resident of another community
on May 15, 2014 at 3:02 pm

Spell Checker.


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Posted by what?
a resident of Old Mountain View
on May 15, 2014 at 3:11 pm

What is "still checking"?

What is "acess"? I am not familiar with that word.

"Drivers will pick in neighborhoods to avoid the charges." What does "pick in neighborhoods" mean?

Dasvidaniya Garrett.


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Posted by Garrett
a resident of another community
on May 15, 2014 at 3:25 pm

Pick is park, I lived in Oakland, parking was a pain. People parking in the neighborhood and then catching the bus or BART. The towing company was on all my phones because people would park on my property. Would come home find 2 to 3 cars, people will get pissed off with me.

They didn't want to pay 6 dollars.


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Posted by Better roads are needed
a resident of Monta Loma
on May 15, 2014 at 4:56 pm

If people are going to commute into and out of Mt. View, then we need better bigger road to support more cars. Especially if the google self driving cars come out. I know that's in the future, but best make accommodations now.

And no toll lanes. Our govt wants to pick more money from us by including toll lanes on our busiest highways instead of widening them. Unbelievable!!


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Posted by Garrett
a resident of another community
on May 15, 2014 at 7:19 pm

Don't know how long these cars become the norm for our highways, but still we are going to need road space, redesign our entire highway network. Housing will be needed, offices will be built and not everyone will be able to afford a new self driving or spend the money to change out the old person control car.

Not everyone who looking forward to this new system, just like people have knot reacted well to the post office closings. Personally I know people who don't use bill pay, really don't know the in or outs of a cell phone let alone have time to use a computer.


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Posted by IAmSmart
a resident of Gemello
on May 15, 2014 at 11:32 pm

Supply And Demand rules over everything. There are more cars on the road, so Demand for roads is high. Price for using roads should go Up. That is the law of Supply and Demand. If we increase the Supply of the roads to meet Demand, then why should I pay for it? I am not Demanding the increased supply of roads. The users should pay for the expansion.

Supply and Demand is everything. I am smart.


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