Today’s Headlines

  • Muni Drivers Calling in Sick Today to Protest Labor Contract (KQED, SF Weekly, KTVU, SFGate)
  • Limo Driver Hits Taxi Driver On Foot Outside Hilton Union Square (SF Examiner)
  • DUI Driver Who Pinned Car on Man at Geary Gas Station to Appear in Court (SF Examiner)
  • Bay Area Council Rep: Google Bus Protestors “Fail to Grapple” With Housing Shortage (Exam)
  • Mountain View Doesn’t Get the Need to Build Walkable, Transit-Accessible Housing Either (SFGate)
  • “No on Prop B”: Urban Life Signs, Architect Mark Hogan Argue Against Waterfront Development Measure
  • Noe Valley Town Square, a Parking Lot Conversion Project, Recommended for $559,000 State Grant
  • SFBC Profiles Pro-Bike Church Leaders for “Bike to Worship” Week (1, 2)
  • “My City Bikes” App Provides Info on Biking in SF, Connecting it to Public Health (SF Weekly)
  • Person Killed Walking on BART Tracks at West Oakland Station (SF Appeal)
  • Pleasanton Teen Driver Cody Hall Gets 9 Years for Killing Woman on Bike (CBS, Mercury News)
  • How Google Got States to Legalize Self-Driving Cars: Asking for Regulation (SM Daily Journal)

More headlines at Streetsblog USA

  • Bruce

    We should just schedule a second Bike To Work Day for whenever Muni operators have a contract about to expire.

  • murphstahoe

    or for every day…

  • Gezellig

    Places like Mountain View have such potential to be great biking/walking/transit cities…awesome weather, flat land, grid layouts (at least downtown), lightrail, long straightaways for BRT. Yet the problem is that MV doesn’t seem to have the vision or will to do *any* of this kinda stuff:
    Or this:
    Or this:

    –> The Octavia “Before” looks like “MV Currently” in many places.
    –> And what Temple City did with Rosemead could be done in *tons* of places in MV! That street could easily pass for many a postwar street in MV.
    –> Similarly, in spatial terms the postwar suburban San Fernando Valley looks practically identical to MV in many places–they were developed in the same era. Yet the San Fernando Valley has a lengthy well-used BRT line along with a 14-mile dedicated bikeway next to it.

    That’s the problem with MV et al.—you don’t even have to look at “exotic” European locales anymore to see how it’s falling behind. It’s not even up to emerging better practices by California standards! It’s like everyone is still desperately clinging to 1985…or often 1965 here.

    But, that being said, imagine if MV had loftier ambitions not only to catch up to places like Octavia and Rosemead Blvds and the Orange Line in LA but actually aspired to really be something special in terms of public space.

    Let’s compare two churches of about the same size and era (circa 1900) surrounded by roughly similar-size street grids:
    Saint Joseph’s Parish in Mountain View, built 1905
    Parròquia de Sant Joan Baptista de Gràcia in Barcelona, built 1888

    Both churches are roughly the same size and era. Both have a fair amount of open rectangular space in front of them. Both have some ugly buildings nearby, some ok ones, and some interesting ones. Yet compare them from the street:

  • Justin

    The articles that talk about prop B so far seem at most pretty spot on, they do make pretty good points about the ballot measure and the waterfront and it’s history both about the waterfront and ballot measures in the past similar to prop B that they could produce un intended consequences and fallout.

  • Sprague

    Excellent comment and photos. Our love of the automobile perpetuates urban and suburban blight in addition to the poisoning of our planet… Many European cities learned the merits of removing and restricting automobiles from central streets, squares, and plazas and have been doing so over the past 40+ years – with wonderful results for both residents and visitors.

  • Gezellig

    Thanks! Yeah, I think a big part of the issue is people in places like MV perhaps understandably aren’t aware of what it *could* be. Though of course my point of showing how even other California cities are showing places like MV up means it’s perhaps increasingly willful ignorance.

    Especially downtown MV has the underpinnings for ped/bike greatness. For example, take the half-hearted roundabout at California and Castro with its doorzone and nonexistent bike lanes, aggressive drivers, etc. Imagine if it were redone like this:

    Or let’s take just one block behind it, at Blossom St, a nice old narrow little street:

    That currently rewards the wandering pedestrian with a….parking lot.

    Using the very sophisticated tools of Paintbrush I took that aerial view and building upon the already nice little streets replaced the parking lot with a square surrounded by mixed-use buildings. The pedestrian wandering in from the existing walkways from Castro and the other streets would be rewarded with a “find” of a “hidden” little square.

    Again, the underpinnings for this kind of thing abound. And would really result in some highly desirable public spaces. But the will and imagination needs to get there.

    (apologies in advance for any out-of-order pics…Disqus doesn’t always seem to post pictures in the order and position you attach them in…hopefully what I’m talking about is clear regardless)

  • Gezellig

    Hmmm…looks like the pictures above may not’ve attached. Let’s try again…

  • Gezellig

    In my Paintbrush re-do of the pic above:

    Sq = square
    MU = Mixed-use
    Green = bike/pedway

  • 94103er

    Thanks for that photoessay. It used to be that we were convinced Mountain View ‘got it’ as opposed to Palo Alto or other surrounding towns. That is to say, in 2000 it seemed to recognize that it’s not ‘the suburbs’ anymore but a job and transit hub in its own right. New transit-oriented housing was going up as the new VTA light-rail station was being built.

    But obviously since the rise of Google the city (town, really) has fallen further and further behind, presumably as a direct result of Prop-13-enriched NIMBYs having enough of progress and getting themselves voted into city council.

    And here we are with thousands of tech workers needing a place to live and nowhere to house them nearby. Yep, John King is exactly right–if you think the bus riders are the problem, you don’t have a damn clue.

  • Gezellig

    Glad you enjoyed. And, yup, it’s absolutely a mentality thing.
    Too many people in MV currently see it as a postwar suburb that should stick to 1950s-60s postwar development norms.

    Having also lived in various parts of Los Angeles–famous for its 50s-60s postwar development–I have to say that even in the generally unglamorous places I pictured above like the San Fernando Valley and Temple City there’s a lot more open-minded-ness towards new patterns of development. I used to live a couple blocks from the Orange Line (BRT) in LA and saw how people there love it. The bike and especially transit networks in LA are expanding rapidly.

    It’s no coincidence, then, that only 3.3% of people in Santa Clara County take transit to work while over 7% do in Los Angeles County:

    There’s no (good) excuse for this–cities in Santa Clara County in general are just really doing a bad job at preparing for the future (or doing a really good job at sticking their heads in the sand, depending on how you look at it).

    I think it’s one major factor in the creeping northward migration of tech companies to and towards SF. I wonder if the cities in the Santa Clara Valley realize it before it gets too late for them. Even if none of the current Valley behemoths like Google/Facebook ever decide to relocate north, more worrying to Valley communities should be that their successors-to-tech-behemothery are currently startups who’ve decided to locate in places like SoMa and Emeryville. When those guys get big they’re not relocating down to Mountain View in its current state, I can pretty much guarantee that.