Editor's Note: The following story has been updated from its original version (and from the version now in print) in order to clarify the way in which the report predicted a decrease in traffic due to the Minton's development.
Despite downtown neighborhood complaints to the contrary, the 213 apartments proposed to take the place of Minton's Lumber and Supply would have no major impact on traffic or parking in the area, according to a report released this week.
The report by the firm Aecom concludes that the project would provide "sufficient" parking to keep new residents from taking up the available parking on neighborhood streets. It also says the project would reduce downtown car traffic to and from the site by 33 percent.
Using industry standards, the report based this reduction on the theoretical capacity of existing land uses there -- for 20,000 square feet of office space plus Minton's -- not the actual number of car trips observed today.
Robert Cox, secretary of the Old Mountain View Neighborhood Association and a member of the opposition group Minton's Redevelopment Neighborhood Alliance, said earlier in the week that opponents were still examining the study and did not yet have any comments. He later stated on the Voice Web site that "I am disappointed that those who wrote the report used such tabular data rather than simply standing there and counting the cars that went in and out of the complex for one or two days. They actually did count cars to gather data for the parking study, so why not for the traffic study? Clearly they would not have reached the same conclusion had they done so."
"It's hard for us to evaluate these types of complicated issues," said developer John Moss of Prometheus Real Estate Group. But based on other developments Moss has been involved with, he said the finding of no significant impacts on traffic and parking "wasn't a complete surprise."
Neighbors have repeatedly said the project, which is twice the density allowed under the site's precise plan, would add to the area's parking problems. They have taken issue with the city requiring only 1.5 parking spaces per home in the development -- less than the normal 2.3 -- because of its location near the downtown transit hub.
Comparing the project's proposed parking to comparable apartment complexes, the report finds the 313 parking spaces in the underground garage, along with spaces for 235 bicycles, to be sufficient. It estimates that when the project is 100 percent occupied, parking occupancy would be 97.7 percent.
The report notes that people usually prefer to park in the gated underground garage rather than on the street, where they might get a ticket because "most of the streets in the vicinity of the project have a parking limitation."
Parking on neighboring streets is already "horrendous," neighbors have said, but the report finds that on weekdays, neighborhood street parking is 42 percent full at 6 a.m. and peaks at 72 percent full at 1 p.m.
As for traffic, the existing businesses generate 1,720 trips per day, while the proposed apartment complex would generate 1,295 per day, the report says. The report concludes that the project has the potential to reduce traffic on nearby residential streets because some of Minton's customers may come from the neighborhood.
However, the project will generate an estimated 47 additional outbound trips during morning rush hour and three additional inbound trips during evening rush hour.
The city commissioned and managed the report, and Moss said his firm had not been in contact with Aecom until it was finished.
Prometheus has also launched a Web site for the project at www.455westevelyn.com in an effort to inform the community about it. The city's Environmental Planning Commission is set to review the project on Feb. 10, and the City Council is expected to review it in late March, Moss said.
The full report is available on the city's Web site here. The city is accepting written comments on the report until Feb. 17. Send e-mails to firstname.lastname@example.org, or write to:
Deputy Zoning Administrator
P.O. Box 7540, Mountain View, CA 94039