Today’s Headlines

  • Tonight: FDR Dems Club Hosts Ped Safety Forum With Supes Chiu and Kim, Sen. Leno, More (Weekly)
  • Coming Up: Sunday Streets, Walk to Work Day, Walk SF Events (SFGate)
  • “Street Fight” Author Jason Henderson: To Reduce Droughts, Bay Area Must Reduce Driving (SFBG)
  • SF Examiner: SFMTA Must Stop “Handshakes” in Deals Like Shuttle Stop Policies, Bus Purchases
  • Over 500 Bikes Registered in “SAFE Bikes” Anti-Theft Program (SFBG)
  • Reminder: Protected Bike Lanes Are Really Cheap Compared to Other Transport Infrastructure (SFBC)
  • Why Mandatory Bike Licensing and Taxing Wouldn’t Work (D10 Watch)
  • 20 Apartments, No Car Parking Planned for Parking Lot at Sutter and Jones (Curbed)
  • Rush-Hour BART Meltdown Caused by Police Search for Theft Suspect at 24th St. (M Local, SF Appeal)
  • BAAQMD Brings Back Regional Competition for Employers to Reduce Solo Car Commuting (SF Appeal)
  • Stanley Roberts Rails (Again) on AC Transit Drivers Not Making Full Stops at Railroad Crossing
  • More on the Vulnerable Road User Law Proposed in the State Assembly (Cyclelicious)

More headlines at Streetsblog USA

  • gneiss

    If you want to know why Google employees who live in San Francisco wouldn’t flock to Mountain View or any other of the surrounding suburbs if the shuttle buses stopped running, this article provides some arguments http://www.theverge.com/2014/2/26/5444030/company-town-how-google-is-taking-over-mountain-view

    The council members complain that they get little tax benefit from Google because people don’t spend money in Mountain View and the property tax revenue they get is minimal. Well – if they actually were willing to allow dense housing for people (a mix of rental and condos rather than just rentals or just condos) and walkable commercial districts, they might actually get people to live there and pay sales and property taxes.

    Sheesh – the answers are staring them in the face, but they refuse to believe that people can live differently then they do now by not driving all over the place and not needing to live in single family detached homes.

  • aslevin

    People who live in Mountain View should pay attention to City Council race and vote. There are multiple perspectives in MV.

  • gneiss

    What’s also galling to me is the perspective voiced by Jac Siegel that people who live in denser housing development are not invested in the community. Yes, if you imagine the only way to build dense housing is rental apartment buildings with no connecting commercial and transportation infrastructure, sure.

    But if that’s your only criteria, I suggestion to ask San Franciscans who live in apartments whether they are invested in their community and want to leave their homes. I’m quite sure you’d get a very different answer.

  • aslevin

    That is actually a big problem and opportunity on the Peninsula. There are lots of renters – a majority in Mountain View, about 45% in Palo Alto – but renters vote at a lower rate. If turnout changed, election results would change.

  • Gezellig

    I often work in Mountain View and live in SF, but find MV et al. so soul-crushing and unhealthy I cannot fathom living there in its current state (especially since for what it is its almost-SF prices make no sense to me).

    It’s not anti-suburb snobbery, per se–I don’t require Manhattan-style density. But the South Bay as a whole needs to really step it up with retrofitting its current spatial organization. Even low-density 1950s neighborhoods can be retrofitted to improve walkability, bikeability, transitability, etc.

    If Mountain View and environs had a pervasive network of cycletracks and infrastructure like this:

    I’d move there in a heartbeat. There are people supporting such things there:

    https://neighborland.com/ideas/mtv-more-designated-bike-lane

    But MV and its other South Bay brethren seem mostly content so far to just to build Class II aka Second-Class aka Doorzone aka Double Parking lanes. There are people who brave it out on Castro but imagine if, say, the roundabout at Castro and California were more in this grain:

    http://youtu.be/wEXD0guLQY0

    Or if El Monte or Cuesta looked like this:

    http://youtu.be/6imqI8VfwNo

    or this:

    http://youtu.be/xh3iSOh5kYY

    Or if Central Expwy looked a little more like this (sans skyscrapers):

    http://youtu.be/s7WoLYfS_9E?t=2m22s

    Honestly, the whole area comes across as an expensive yet backwards place still really stuck on 1950s-60s infrastructure and ideas (pretty ironic for an area known for producing cutting-edge tech). I was chatting with an Australian recently who, after seeing the area for the first time, concluded “Silicon Valley’s a dump. I don’t get it.” Neither do I. Its long-term and perhaps even more near-term future is absolutely being hurt by perceptions such as these and the fact that talented workers are increasingly eschewing it for more livable/walkable/bikeable places.

    It has a lot of potential for improvement, though, if the will could be harnessed.

  • murphstahoe

    Mountain View is no Santa Clara. And it’s a hell of a lot nicer than it was in 1997 when I moved here – the downtown is much more walkable, the two US-101 bike crossing paths have been constructed, Evelyn, a major bike/commute artery was put on a road diet that involved bike lanes with no door zone. El Monte is calmed and very pleasant to ride on. The only portions that gives me the heebee-jeebies are El Camino, Shoreline, and Rengstorff. Maybe Old Middlefield.

    What’s disappointing is that some nice, quiet, “walkable” residential areas have zero retail, so while you can walk to the park, that’s about it.

    There’s a lot of potential but only 50% of the will it takes to get there.

  • Gezellig

    It’d be interesting to see some pics of downtown MV from back then!

    Yeah, I can tell that they have made some improvements from what it used to be, but of course there’s so much work left to be done.

    The funny thing to me is that area has some amazing natural advantages over SF in terms of becoming a bike mecca:

    –> it’s much flatter than SF

    –> has generally more pleasant weather

    –> has capacious rights-of-way with space for protected infrastructure as-is (think Shoreline near California) without having to have the contentious road-diet/parking-removal fights in many cases

    –> VTA light-rail allows bikes (Muni Metro doesn’t)

    It also has an existing grid in the central areas that’d be great for a bike-boulevard system to supplement a system of protected infrastructure which should be along busier roads (Central Expwy, Shoreline, California, Rengstorff, Middlefield, etc.).

    Even if Mountain View spatially stayed the same as it is today with its postwar shopping centers, low-density separated zone uses, etc. but had that bike infra like I said I’d move in a heartbeat.

    Mountain View (and environs) could totally retrofit from stuff like this:

    http://bikeportland.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/09/intersection-before.png

    to this:

    http://bikeportland.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/09/intersection-after.png

    Now *that* would truly be an example to the nation of progressive Silicon Valley thinking! Not to the world, per se, as the Dutch have already done it. But someone in the US needs to prove that it can work here.

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