Mountain View Council Candidates Split on Building Housing Near Google

All nine Mountain View City Council candidates answered questions on housing and transportation issues at a community forum held September 2. Photo: Andrew Boone

A crowded field of nine candidates campaigning for three available seats on Mountain View’s City Council aired their disagreements at a community forum on Tuesday evening about whether new housing within the sprawling North Bayshore office park would be a practical solution to traffic congestion and rapidly rising rents.

Candidates Lenny Siegel, Pat Showalter, Jim Neal, Gary Unangst and Ken Rosenberg expressed support for a proposal put forth by city planners in 2011 to allow housing units to be included in future development projects along Shoreline Boulevard, as a way to reduce the need for so many North Bayshore employees to drive to work. Candidates Margaret Capriles, Lisa Matichak, Mercedes Salem, and Ellen Kamei disagreed, stating that North Bayshore lacks sufficient transit and other services that support residential neighborhoods.

The booming office district, located between Highway 101 and the Bay at Mountain View’s northern end is home to Google, LinkedIn, Intuit, and a number of smaller tech companies, bringing over 17,000 workers — one-fourth of all jobs in Mountain View — every weekday. The city’s 2012 General Plan allows an additional 3.4 million square feet of commercial development in North Bayshore, which would bring an estimated 10,500 additional weekday commuters to the area if built.

The North Bayshore Precise Plan calls for concentrating development along Shoreline Boulevard, and investing in improved transit connections to downtown Mountain View. Image: City of Mountain View

A detailed set of transportation investments for the area has been proposed to accommodate this growth, including roadway capacity increases, improvements to transit, bicycling, and walking, and a cap that would prohibit additional development if vehicle trips exceed a certain level. But the challenge of shuttling up to 27,500 people into and out of the area on a daily basis has been exacerbated by the City Council’s 4-3 vote in July 2012 to remove mixed-use development from the General Plan, thus prohibiting any new housing from being constructed amongst the offices.

“We believe that planning for a wide range of land uses — including a “critical mass” of residential uses — in North Bayshore is one of the best ways to reduce vehicle miles traveled and manage auto traffic congestion in this area,” wrote Valley Transportation Authority (VTA) Deputy Director of Planning Chris Augenstein in objection to the city council’s decision.

Since none of the four city council members who voted against mixed-use development in North Bayshore in 2012 (Jac Siegel, Margaret Abe-Koga, Ronit Bryant, and Laura Macias) will still be serving on the council in January 2015, the decision could be reversed depending on which three candidates voters elect on November 4.

Lenny Siegel, Showalter, and Unangst all touted the environmental benefits of moving away from the city’s unsustainable single-use zoning practices and towards permitting more housing near jobs. Neal and Rosenberg also spoke in support of housing in North Bayshore.

Shoreline Boulevard (facing north from Highway 101), envisioned as a medium-density, mixed-use “transit corridor”. Image: City of Mountain View

“To me it’s a no-brainer,” said Siegel, suggesting that up to 5,000 residential units be planned for the area. He proposes a “mid-rise, medium-density, compact community with a good balance of jobs, housing and local services, including cafes, shops, educational facilities, and at least one supermarket,” according to his Campaign for a Balanced Mountain View website.

“Housing near jobs is the future,” said Unangst. “It dramatically decreases the distances of commutes and therefore the emissions of carbon dioxide. We’ve got to get away from these long commutes.” Showalter agreed. “We should be adding housing in North Bayshore,” she said. “The emissions that we would save by having people live closer to their work, it’s just tremendous.”

“I say definitely put housing out there,” said Neal, who emphasized that it could be designed around the needs of the area’s large employers. Rosenberg also described the need to house more of the area’s workers locally. “Residents have been asking for it, but also our corporate residents are asking for it, and we should listen to them as well,” he said.

Google and other large employers want to provide their workers with the option of walking or bicycling to work, which would make it easier for them to recruit and retain workers who prefer living close to work and avoiding long commutes.

“Mixed-use development provides access with less impact on transportation systems,” wrote Google’s Director of Real Estate, Design, and Construction John Igoe in 2012, when the city council proposed prohibiting the construction of housing in North Bayshore. “The proposal to remove residential from the major employment center in the area will further burden the transportation system.” Igoe reiterated Google’s support for housing near its office buildings at the city’s Environmental Planning Commission meeting on Wednesday evening.

North Bayshore is one of five plan-designated “change areas” — existing commercial or industrial zones planned for future growth. Image: City of Mountain View

“[Google] would support the eventual growth of the number of housing units there to approximately 5,000 units, whatever is needed to create a community. There’d be retail there in support of it,” Igoe said. “1,100 units of housing are equivalent to 500,000 square feet of office, from a traffic reduction standpoint,” he said, referring to a June 2012 traffic study that found that amount of housing would reduce vehicle miles traveled and greenhouse gas emissions by roughly the amount that would be generated by 500,000 square feet of new office space there.

But four candidates in November’s city council election, Margaret Capriles, Lisa Matichak, Ellen Kamei, and Mercedes Salem, disagreed on the need to pursue mixed-use development in North Bayshore, citing a “lack of services” to support a new neighborhood on the Bay side of Highway 101.

“Want I want to know is, if we put a community out there, is it sustainable over time?” asked Capriles. “We don’t have transportation out there, and we don’t have services.”

“I don’t feel that housing makes sense in North Bayshore. It lacks services and amenities currently to support housing,” said Kamei. “One goal is to reduce single occupancy vehicle trips to that area to 45 percent. Before we look at any type of housing, it’s important to reach these transportation goals.”

Salem was even more certain that a North Bayshore neighborhood would be doomed to fail. “We’re pre-supposing that the people who are going to live in the housing units there are going to work in the big companies that already provide them everything they need,” she said. “They’re not going to be at the Safeway, they’re not going to be at the restaurants. And those businesses will not thrive.”

Matichak attended the candidate forum as well but left for another meeting before the question on North Bayshore was asked. She has previously stated her opposition to housing in the area.

All candidates agreed on the need for better and more frequent transit service to North Bayshore and elsewhere in Mountain View, no matter how much office or housing development occurs. Unfortunately, they all also spoke against the concept of dedicated bus lanes on El Camino Real, which VTA says will speed up bus commutes between Palo Alto and downtown San Jose by 50 percent during rush hour, and boost transit ridership in the corridor (including Caltrain) by up to 40 percent over the next 25 years.

Specific transit expansion plans will be discussed at two meetings this week. VTA will present its North Central County Bus Improvement Plan, about improving bus service on north-south routes between the future El Camino Real and Stevens Creek Boulevard bus rapid transit lines, at a community meeting at Sunnyvale City Hall on Tuesday, September 9. TransForm and other non-profit groups are hosting a panel discussion on the El Camino Real Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) project on Thursday, September 11.

  • Mario Tanev

    I am confused. The article first says that Seigel voted against mixed use, but then is quoted supporting mixed use development. Did Siegel have a change of mind or is this an error?

  • It’s unfair to neighboring cities that Mtn View can build all this office space and then turn around and refuse to build the housing necessary for all the workers.

  • Two different Siegels — Jac Siegel is a current councilmember, and Lenny Siegel is a candidate. I’ll add another mention of Lenny’s first name to help clarify.

  • “They’re not going to be at the Safeway, they’re not going to be at the restaurants. And those businesses will not thrive.”

    What is this assertion by Mercedes Salem is rooted in?

  • 94103er

    Unfair but highly profitable–just look at Emeryville!

  • baklazhan

    As I interpret it, she’s saying “if we don’t assume that these new residents will stay on their tech-campuses 24/7, then they’ll generate too much traffic driving around, so we don’t want them. If we do assume that they will stay on campus 24/7, then they won’t benefit local businesses, so we don’t want them.”

  • YWHYKNOT

    Actually I was just telling someone the other day that Emeryville is doing it right. They have added tons of new housing in the parking lot of the Home Depot center, behind the IKEA, and all the way along 40th. They also require that the people who occupy the offices on the shore side of the highway to pay for the EmeryGoRound shuttle service to get workers to areas like the Hospital, Powell St, and MacArthur BART. On the other hand MTN VIEW has literally done nothing to attract people to live and work in their city since the start of the first big tech boom in the early 2000’s

  • RoyTT

    If we’re going to discuss the unfairness of cities that have more jobs than homes for those workers, then that discussion has to start with San Francisco because SF has the largest imbalance.

    A net 400,000 workers commute into SF every day. Compared with that, MV is an unfairness footnote.

    The suburbs have built more homes than they need for their workers, so that SF can get away with building too few. NIMBYism starts in the city..

  • RoyTT

    Emeryville is smart. They probably have more retail than all of Oakland, despite being maybe 10% of the area. And while Oakland has a very small police force relative to its population, Emeryville has the best “cop to resident” ratio in the East Bay (Piedmont aside).

    Take a look at the property values immediately north and south of 40th Street. Same location, similar properties but just being over the city line adds about 50% to your home value and takes about 50% off your property taxes per dollar valuation because of Oakland’s pesky parcel taxes.

    I hear Dogtown wants to secede to Emeryville, over Oakland’s dead body.

  • Did anyone discuss what will happen to all this development when the bubble bursts?

  • EastBayer

    Well…as someone who lives nearby and commutes daily through the area, the neighborhood north of 40th Street is also a lot less sketchy than the neighborhood south of 40th Street, and it’s not really a clean break across the line because you have a couple blocks of retail/light industry on each side (and a freeway to the south).

    It’s more than a stretch to attribute property value differences merely to the city in which they are located.

    Your point about police per capita is interesting – I hadn’t heard that before.

  • murphstahoe

    There was a bunch of development in the last bubble, in 2000. Yet here we are in 2014, with all of that excess development, with not enough housing or office space.

    What will happen? One set of developers will go broke, and the next set will pick up the pieces and make bank, and hopefully there will be enough housing for the people who live here and are more likely to disappear if the S&P goes to 3000 than if it goes to 1000.

  • 94103er

    The suburbs have built more homes than they need for their workers

    Oh, you better believe that gets a [citation needed]. Unbelievable, absurd nonsense.

  • 94103er

    Yeah, no, that’s not convincing me I’m wrong. To provide one important bit of evidence: The Emery Unified School District is performing inexcusably poorly for such a small district (very small because, as I was implying, the town’s skewed their residents-to-jobs ratio so badly). That pretty much means the town has historically had little to no investment in building communities. Sure, maybe the ‘tons of new housing’ is attracting more families but they’re clearly playing catch-up.

    MTN VIEW has literally done nothing to attract people to live and work in their city since the start of the first big tech boom in the early 2000’s

    Um…what could you possibly mean by that? So many people want to ‘live and work’ in Mountain View that the real estate is unaffordable and traffic is completely, totally insane.

  • YWHYKNOT

    That’s what that means. Mountain view has been very diligent about building office parks and doing whatever it takes to attract business and has also done very little, if anything at all, to build more homes to house those people. Many, many,many more people work in mountain view that live there.

    The traffic is bad in Mountain View because of several things of course. No one element is the sole culprit, but the lack of housing with the increase in jobs coupled with a lack of vision and implementation to incorporate a robust and reliable transportation network that can move more people more efficiently, have all contributed to the situation that the Mtn View is in.

    Now they have this opportunity to bring in smart housing development to go along with the business component, in addition to provisions for some kind of better transit (other than single occupancy vehicles) and they are balking at it.

    Mountain View seems to be focusing on one thing at a time and not everything together. To say its frustrating is an understatement.

    P.S. Mountain View is not the only city following this same blueprint, just about every city in the Peninsula does the same thing.

  • YWHYKNOT

    I don’t understand. Suburbs are generally by definition places that have lots of residential zoning and very little if any industrial zoning. The “Office Park” era mediated that a little (or a lot when we talk about Mountain View, Cupertino, and Emeryville) but as a whole you can infer that most people live in suburbs but do not work in suburbs.

    There are obviously confounding factors when it comes to the North Peninsula city and other suburbs that once had very heavy industrial zoning (and I agree I would actually love to see the numbers on this in the Bay Area because of the unique way job centers work here), but in general what RoyTT said is not “absurd nonsense”

    The basic premise the SF is a Intellectual Job center surrounded by communities with much higher residential components seems legitimate to me.

    But what do you think?

  • RoyTT

    Yes, I’m not sure what 94103 is trying to say there but it surely cannot be a credible claim that somehow more people commute out of SF than into it.

    For CalTrain and 101, I’d be willing to believe that the north and south flows are close, given that it seems crammed in both directions at rush hour.

    But you cannot watch the two bridges at rsh hour, or BART at Embarcadero, without seeing the flow is mostly into the city. GG Bridge even switches to 4 lanes south-bound in the morning and north bound in the evening.

    The figures I’ve seen have 500K folks commuting into SF daily versus 100K going out. If 94103 has better numbers he should provide them.

    Not that any of this means that MV shouldn’t build more homes. Only that it’s a tad hypocritical for anyone from SF to criticize them for not doing so, given that SF is guilty at least as much.

  • If the economy were not in the next bubble, the argument would be stronger. Expanding for the sake of day dreams is not exactly commendable progress, unless of course, people presume that all future bubbles will center around Silicon Valley, making the quality of life flushing itself down the toilet worth it all.

  • OK…I guess I just don’t agree with looking at it in that manner.

    It’s extreme insofar as we have models of mixed-used trip generation and other tools that can thoughtfully answer her concern as opposed to having to address this unfounded statement.

  • 94103er

    And besides, maybe they’re not going to be at the Safeway because there are better places to shop than Safeway (how about a Milk Pail Market expansion, for example?).

  • 42apples

    I don’t think that demand for housing in the Bay Area will wane much. Unlike Detroit, the weather here is amazing year-round, so unless all of California’s economy collapses, people will want to live here.

  • baklazhan

    People on the bridges may, of course, be using the city as a thoroughfare– for instance on their way to the peninsula.

  • 94103er

    Totally agree. But your turn of phrase re MTV not ‘attracting people’ was strange and that’s all I was taking issue with. Mountain View, Emeryville, Palo Alto, Marin…they’re all trying to export the problem of people needing housing.

  • 94103er

    I never disputed there’s a net commute into SF! You are putting words into my mouth. Maybe you should clarify what a ‘suburb’ is then, because there are a lot of ‘suburbs’ around here that actually have a lot of commercial development and/or office space and, let me tell you, they are not keeping up with demand for housing there.

    Why the hell is it hypocritical for SF residents to criticize MTV for not building housing?!? We need housing everywhere–many of us acknowledge this. But we’re going to keep fanning the flames of the Google Bus protests as long as the towns tech workers commute to flatly refuse to build housing.

  • Justin

    I think it’s time and I think past time for cities like Mountain View to allow for tech companies to build new housing to accommodate their workers if these communities want them to be in their towns. Towns like Mountain View need to contribute in taking in some of the growth and not bear all of it to SF. Here are some other great ideas
    http://www.citylab.com/housing/2014/02/heres-what-it-would-look-if-all-silicon-valleys-employees-actually-lived-there/8429/

    http://www.citylab.com/housing/2013/10/facebooks-company-town-looks-lot-smart-growth/7139/

  • Richard Gardner

    I think you all may be forgetting some important points, amidst your assumptions that “Towns like Mountain View need to contribute in taking in some of the growth and not bear all of it to SF” or that “we don’t want them”.

    Speaking as a Mountain View(er?)…, I would welcome a measure… a measure…, of concomitant housing to support a measured amount of growth.

    What y’all are forgetting is that a) if people (Googlers, etc.) wanted to live in Mtn. View, they would. They clearly make enough to afford it if they can afford apartments in the city. But that’s just it, they don’t “want” to live here, they want to work here, they want to maybe browse and shop or eat here at lunch or directly after work, but sticking around in Mountain View is “not” where the attraction is… This city rolls up its carpet by 10pm, even on weekends because there are no other attractions. People want to live in the City because its vibrant, there are shows, plays, concerts/music, fine dining, attractions, etc… The nightlife for that age bracket (the major demographic of those who work at Google – young white or asian males) does not jive with the proposal to bring a community of family homes to North Mountain View.

    And in reference to b) that “we dont want them” is ludicrous… read onward…

    I do support dense housing, and would support “some” development in North Mtn. View, but to the level that is being proposed? Nah, there just won’t be a “market” for them other than for those who will benefit most from this effort – developers and those candidates that support them. The persons I am most concerned with getting more access to housing, I will bet are vastly different than the ones you are most likely thinking of…, the biggest burden is not amongst the tech workers; it is amongst those who make the very least. These folks are NEVER going to be able to afford housing in Mountain View, OR the City. These are our janitors, facilities workers, admin assistants, groundskeepers, etc. These are the people who have for at least the last 14 years been pushed out of East Palo Alto, Redwood City, East San Jose, etc… and these are the most under-served and hardest workers. Most of these persons have had to build lives for themselves in the Central Valley and commute 3-4 times a far/much as the tech workers from the City. They also have the least amount of capability to adapt when boom and bust occur. These folks, I support apartments and single family living dwellings for whom to be built in North Mountain View.

    For those who “do” want to live in Mountain View, and don’t want to commute, most are going to be full fledged families. The 30+ and older with kids, who will also want to benefit from Mtn. View schools, etc. But this proposal won’t address those issues, and the A#1 thing that these prospective homeowners will want is “Quality of Life”; but by providing that you thereby then take it away.

  • Richard Gardner

    Mostly because we don’t have, never did have, nor dont want a “City”. Mixed biz/suburban housing is ok, and per my above, we (who live in Mtn View) are not saying we shouldn’t build a “concomitant” amount of housing to support current needs. But (in so far as the proposed dense structures/high rises, etc. as seen in the links from the discussion) you should be singing the praises of The City rather than attacking Mtn View. You have built a City that rivals any on Earth (ON EARTH), and that is why there are so many people living in the City but commuting to the Peninisula, reversing what was the original “plan” if you want to call it that – though a “plan” is exactly what is missing.

    Side Bar – ABAG and the MTC are HORRIBLE. And unless “we” get off our asses and force our representatives to appoint logical, progress minded appointees to the ABAG and MTC we will forever be having this argument.

    They call us bedroom communities, or “whistle stop” towns for a reason. There never was an intention to have industry along the Bayshore, but it happened, and Mountain View as opposed to other, more tony neighborhoods (Menlo Park, Palo Alto, Burlingame, etc..) are far more accommodating and progressive than these other towns. We should be (companies should be) looking also at building where their workers live, and allow for options where like either Livermore or Tracy are afforded opportunities to host corporations, and as Mountain View always has will continue to look at sensible, logical growth with a sober view.

  • murphstahoe

    Nah, there just won’t be a “market” for them other than for those who
    will benefit most from this effort – developers and those candidates
    that support them.

    How does a developer benefit from building a bunch of houses they can’t sell?

  • murphstahoe

    Mostly because we don’t have, never did have, nor dont want a “City”.

    Interesting. In your other post you discuss the people who work at Google – 15,000 strong or so, wanting a “City”. They work in Mountain View and certainly could have the freedom to live in Mountain View, and to change the fabric of the city as well.

    You are co-opting the word “we” and “us”. How many people are in this group “we” that you discuss? You and 100 of your Facebook friends? I understand that you – and perhaps some of your friends – may like Mountain View pretty much the way it is. But don’t pretend to be speaking for everyone – you are speaking for yourself. And that’s fine – if you like the town the way it is you are absolutely free to use the political process to keep it that way. But we know nothing is encased in amber.

  • ladyfleur

    Well, if young people don’t want to live in Mountain View someone should tell the ones I’m seeing in increasing numbers all over town. In particular, the Safeway on Shoreline Blvd is crowded by 20-somethings much to the dismay of older residents who aren’t accustomed to long lines at the checkouts at 8pm on Friday night. You should see the furrowed brows. It’s almost comical.

    Seriously, some younger people will choose to live in San Francisco and take shuttle buses. Others are quite content to live in Mountain View, especially near downtown which has restaurants and dance clubs open at midnight just like it did 20 years ago when I was their age. We need more housing to accommodate this growth and not presume young people don’t want to live near workplaces like Google, LinkedIn and Intuit.

  • Richard Gardner

    You have to read the other comments (above and below) first to follow that logic thread; yes I could have “sewn” it together more eloquently… “The” original developer who builds said homes may be successful, or also they may fail, and if they do, its not like that cost/benefit is lost, the units will sit fallow until sold, and though the original developer by that time may have lost his margin and sold off, the ultimate costs/benefits still are consumed/reaped.

  • Richard Gardner

    Please, again, if you have read carefully, I did not say I am against a “concomitant” amount of development to support a “concomitant” amount of growth. (As per Bay Area current CPI trending, I’d put that at a liberal 3-5% growth per year. http://www.bls.gov/ro9/cpisanf.htm )

    But it IS true that “if you build it they will come”.

    AND, If growth is to come to MV, it must come in a “measured” fashion, not as a “reaction” to a “perceived” lack of housing. I am not doubting there IS a lack of housing… but…

    Just how much housing is needed? exactly? What type? Single family ranch homes? Dense apartment complexes? A mixture of both? What demographics? What tax structures? What perks will MV city hold out for in recompense? How much park and non-housing land is committed? Will Google repay the developers or the City of MV if it all goes bust? What if Google implodes and goes bankrupt (LOL, yeah, I know…), but this is what is known as a Risk Assessment… about as crude of one as can be, but a formal one “should be done”.

    I don’t see any specifics, just more Chicken Littles being spurred on by Google’s fat wallet… (not directed at you, ladyfleur).

    The representative push against adding more housing is borne of a notion that many of us “already DID move close to our jobs”.

    We already live here and staked out our lives in our neighborhoods; however, it’s not just a “NIMBY” attitude. We based moving here on the quality of life of MV, knowing it was a quiet, sleepy, whistle stop town. Had I wanted to live in a densely populated town-center, located next to XYZ-work-type of job; I would have either gotten a job near where I used to live, near Lake Merritt (circa 2000), or had moved to S.F. or San Jose downtown. Instead, I “chose” to move to MV because it ISN’T zoned for dense population centers.

    Again, I am not against that notion entirely, though. You want to place more and more affordable, dense, ~4 story apartment complexes near CalTrain and VTA? Perfect!

    But building a vast number of housing units, in what is essentially an island of concrete on the far side of the freeway, will not a) reduce congestion on local or state roads and highways; the theoretical proposals seen so far would increase it, nor will it b) dissuade the larger number of young workers there who will STILL want to live in “The City”, precisely because it is A CITY! (*and it is here ladyfleur that I will point out an argument against your reply…, I don’t think an anecdote about the ShoreLine Safeway is enough to convince me, there would be no need for Shuttle buses if there weren’t a critical mass enough of workers who will primarily want to live in SF. What I believe your anecdote is illuminating is the mass of young persons from all around the bay, (not necessarily even Googlers) who are getting beverages, etc. before heading to a show at ShoreLine theater. If you live in Mtn View, that’s nothing new, not sure where the scrunchy faces comes from…/shrug, cuz we’ve been dealing with that “it’s 8pm on a Friday, don’t take North ShoreLine” thing since I moved here.)

    What it “sounds like” <– note that I am not accusing anyone, but the prevailing notions in favor I have seen, align along a sentiment of "Yes, we know MV isn't The City, but we want to make it more like The City."

    IF that's the case, and IF it is stated above the board and honestly, then let's have that conversation instead… (Recall my statement about ABAG and MTC…) but keep in mind, I do not think you would find a majority of MV voters who would support either abruptly nor gradually turning MV into a "City".

    **If so, then I will say right now, "Ok, fine by me… but first thing's first", I want far more Live Music venues, especially on/near Castro with all genres and more akin to 6th street in Austin, than SF or SJ music scenes. How about an "Alamo Theatre" where you can get posh-pub food while sitting in leisure watching both classic movie’s for “Quote along” or new releases…

  • Richard Gardner

    Granted, I’ll take your parsing, and eloquent answer in its spirit, including your conclusion. However, I think you might want to measure the temp of the 75,000 peeps who already call MV home. Because other than just them, I’m also wondering just how many of those 15,000 Google workers who already may live in MV, and whether they feel the same as you… or as I do? and moved here precisely because it isn’t “the City”. /shrug, but your comment is well taken /salute.

  • ladyfleur

    “We based moving here on the quality of life of MV, knowing it was a quiet, sleepy, whistle stop town.”
    Actually, I moved to Mountain View in 1986 because I had a job in Palo Alto, *despite* the fact that it was a quiet sleepy town. I didn’t necessarily want to live in San Francisco, but would have preferred a place with more night life, like Mountain View is now.

    I don’t fear having more people living here in 4-6 story buildings in parts of town where there is transit or the density and walkability to support new transit. In fact, I want it.

    I’d love for there to be enough demand for transit that I wouldn’t have to wait an hour between trains on the weekend, and maybe the bus might go past my house more that its current 6x a day, M-Sa only schedule. I’ll need that when I’m 85 or so and may have trouble riding my bike and certainly won’t want to be driving.

    As for the Friday night story, that was an example. But neighbor commented to me that he noticed the Safeway is far more crowded than it used to be too, and that old-timers were complaining to him.

  • EastBayer

    This doesn’t make any sense. If there were, as you claim no “market” for development in Mountain View, then developers would not be able to sell or lease the units, and the prices would come down to a level that might be affordable to the people you claim would “NEVER afford housing in Mountain View.”

  • Richard Gardner

    “I don’t fear having more people living here in 4-6 story buildings in parts of town where there is transit or the density and walkability to support new transit.”
    Then we agree; I guess you chose not to focus on the re-iterations where I said I am not against “concomitant” growth. That plan, above our comments; has nothing to do with making sure that the points on which both you and I agree, are guaranteed.

    And in reference to: “I’d love for there to be enough demand for transit”
    You just nailed it on the head without realizing it; you’ve pointed out the reality vs. the “hopes” and “desires” that are being “advertised” if you are in support of the North Shoreline plan, if it goes forward unaltered. How many millions of units have been brokered over the last 30-40 years on the argument that “these projects will bring increases in service in mass transit to support them”, and yet, that has not been the case because Caltrain, and VTA are not beholding to developers’ marketing catch-phrases that lure people into supporting them.

    Again… I AM NOT AGAINST developing further housing strategies to accommodate “concomitant” growth (primarily due to Google), but we cannot “accommodate” growth every single instance a developer wants to make buttloads of money.

    And again, I am not the kind of person to just be a nay-sayer without proposing solutions…, and this is the few points and times that “WE” the people, get to have a say in the process. Building more units makes sense, especially upwards vertically when its built around transit hubs; I know this because I have lived in the East Bay for good chunks of my years and love BART/AC Transit there. But building an s-ton of housing with limited egress/ingress where there is already an s-ton of overloads of traffic every day, not just weekdays because that area IS multi-use. If it were originally zoned for housing growth, which we are talking about now, then they have to show how they are going to address the increase in car traffic because there simply is not enough good transit options in that area compared to building in the Castro/Downtown/Old Town areas.

    It’s just common sense. We, in the North Whisman/WagonWheel area have already said, it would be a MUCH better choice to build in our area (see, I am not against growth EVEN in my OWN neighborhood) because our area is already zoned for such growth, and has accessibility to VTA, and short walk/bikes to Caltrain. Will I dislike the uptick in traffic, sure, but I will weigh that against the increase in services that may come (increased Police patrolling which right now is a bit lacking, upgrades to the shopping area at Whisman/Middlefield, etc…).

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Today’s Headlines

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Chinatown Residents Demand Pedestrian Scramble at Kearny and Clay Streets (SF Exam) SFMTA Floats New Restrictions to Keep Private Buses Off Residential Streets (SF Exam) Oakland City Council Approves Road Diet on Grand Avenue (ABC) Photos from Fourth Annual Berkeley Sunday Streets on Shattuck Avenue (Berkeleyside) Unlicensed Hit-And-Run Driver Injures Bicyclist on Embarcadero (SF Exam, Hoodline) Caltrans […]
STREETSBLOG USA

It’s OK to Build Transit-Oriented Development Before Transit

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Which should come first: transit or transit-oriented development? Streetsblog San Francisco reported Monday that residents of Mountain View, California, are trying to figure out how to accommodate thousands of tech employees without overwhelming local transportation infrastructure. One-fourth of all workers in Mountain View travel to and from an office district that houses Google, LinkedIn, and […]

Caltrain Electrification and Changes in Mountain View

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From Green Caltrain: Caltrain electrification is moving ahead and is expected to be implemented by 2019. What does this mean for upcoming decisions, environmental sustainability, quality of life, housing and jobs in Mountain View? Speakers and Panelists from Mountain View sustainability and neighborhood leaders, employers and developers, and Friends of Caltrain will help you understand […]

Today’s Headlines

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Sup. Yee Moves Forward With Legislation to Ban Tour Bus Drivers From Narrating (SF Examiner) Mission SFPD Sergeant to Walkers: “Don’t Rely on the Motorists to Obey the Law” (Mission Local) Ocean Avenue Streetscape Improvements Get Detailed Design, Set to Come This Year (SocketSite) ABAG to Pay City $1.3M in Development Streetscape Funds Allegedly Embezzled By Official […]