Affordable housing and pedestrian safety improvements are among the projects in Mountain View that will receive funding from the 2023 federal appropriations bills, which were finalized in late June.
Rep. Anna Eshoo (D-Santa Clara) secured $21.4 million for her district through the appropriations process, during which members of Congress request funds for specific projects in their districts. Out of that sum, more than $3 million is slated for projects in Mountain View, and other projects will benefit the whole region.
“The projects have to be sponsored by a state or local government or nonprofits, and they have to demonstrate community support,” Eshoo told the Voice in an interview. “Letters from elected officials, newspaper editorials that are calling for something to be addressed, city council resolutions — all the requests are posted online for transparency.”
Eshoo secured funding for 15 projects in her district, which covers portions of Santa Clara, San Mateo and Santa Cruz counties. Here’s what’s in the pipeline for Mountain View:
Crestview Hotel conversion ($750,000)
The city of Mountain View’s plan to convert the 67-room Crestview Hotel, located at 901 E. El Camino Real in Mountain View, into 49 affordable housing units is among the projects receiving federal funding.
“That was a request by the city of Mountain View,” Eshoo said. “The city’s going to use the funds to acquire and renovate that hotel to convert it to permanent housing for extremely low-income people experiencing homelessness. It’s a highly worthwhile project.”
Eshoo said the idea to convert hotels into affordable housing is an approach that’s seeing success across the nation.
“There really is a demand on this issue to address homelessness in different ways,” she said. “I think the purchasing of some of these older hotels or motels is a smart way to go at it. The land is already there, the building is already there, the hookups for utilities. With these dollars, it really helps with the conversion and it doesn’t take that long.”
Mountain View Caltrain undercrossing ($2.5 million)
This funding will go toward a bicycle/pedestrian undercrossing at the Caltrain tracks at the intersection of Evelyn and Bernardo avenues in Mountain View, at the Sunnyvale border. Eshoo said the crossing will go beneath the tracks, improving safety.
“It’s going to connect workers and a mobile home park to the north of the tracks with affordable housing, there will be light industrial uses and there’s an elementary school south of this,” Eshoo said. “It really is a good project.”
Caltrain grade separation projects ($2 million)
Two million dollars will support the planning and design for eight Caltrain grade separation projects in Santa Clara County north of San Jose's Diridon Station: four in Palo Alto, two in Mountain View and two in Sunnyvale. In Mountain View, the projects will be where Caltrain crosses Rengstorff Avenue and Castro Street.
“Right now, as you go down the Peninsula, you cross railroad tracks,” Eshoo said. “When the gates come down, all the traffic has to stop. There are some places on the Peninsula where there is a grade separation. It’s raised so that people go under the tracks and do not have to stop for the train.”
Grade separations are not only good for vehicles, but also cyclists and pedestrians. The Rengstorff Avenue Grade Separation Project, for example, will not only separate the railroad tracks from the road by lowering Rengstorff Avenue to cross under the tracks, but will also construct a new overcrossing to maintain east-west pedestrian and bicycle connectivity.
Safety fencing ($800,000)
Safety fencing will be installed along different sections of the entire region’s Caltrain corridor to prevent deaths by suicide.
“Congresswoman (Jackie) Speier and I have been really concerned about the number of suicides in the Caltrain corridor,” Eshoo said. “... It is going to address a real need, because one of these tragedies is one too many.”
Click here for a list of all 15 projects that Rep. Eshoo secured funding for.