News

Civility Roundtable on traffic, parking

In public city planning meetings, there are few issues as consistently contentious as traffic and parking, which will be the subject of the city's next Civility Roundtable on Wednesday, March 26.

The motto the "Civility Roundtable" a series of public roundtable discussions amongst key community members has been, "We can disagree, but we don't need to be disagreeable," says series organizer and council candidate Ken Rosenberg. It aims to be a demonstration of civil discourse rather than a lecture.

While the city's development patterns can be blamed for much of the city's traffic, the discussion isn't going to focus much on that, said city commissioner Lucas Ramirez, who is organizing the event. It is billed as a discussion of "the challenges residents face as the city implements its recently adopted General Plan, including bike/ped safety, parking availability, and transit accessibility."

Sitting around the table for this event will be Google's transportation manager Kevin Mathy, Jackson Park neighborhood advocate Karen Demello, Mountain View bike and pedestrian commissioner Josette Langevine, Friends of Caltrain founder Adina Levin, former Mountain View mayor Tom Means and former Santa Clara county supervisor Rod Diridon Sr.

Chris Block of the American Leadership forum of Silicon Valley will moderate.

A roundtable on development and housing will be the topic of another roundtable in October or November, Ramirez said.

The public is welcome to attend the event and will be invited to discuss the issue in break-out groups. It is set for 7 p.m. on Wednesday, March 26, in the Mountain View Senior Center at 266 Escuela Avenue.

Comments

 +   Like this comment
Posted by Konrad M. Sosnow
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Mar 25, 2014 at 2:19 pm

It is a shame that the panel is stacked with high growth - high density advocates. A balanced panel would lead to a better discussion.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by The more you build,
a resident of Monta Loma
on Mar 25, 2014 at 2:21 pm

It's simple, The more you build the more traffic there will be. The more water is used up. The more school kids need to be transport to schools. The more our infrastructure gets taxed.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Ron
a resident of Waverly Park
on Mar 25, 2014 at 2:33 pm

Funny. The article is about setting up a panel for open discourse and dealing with contention, and the VERY FIRST COMMENT is someone claiming the panel is stacked. Hilarious.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by SP Phil
a resident of Shoreline West
on Mar 25, 2014 at 2:48 pm

Konrad, I attended one previous Civility Forum--in March 2012--on immigration. The panel consisted of DA Jeff Rosen, Day Worker Center Director Maria Marroquin, journalist Jose Antonio Vargas, and YOU.

Read the causes each person represents and then repeat your claim that it is "stacked" with "high growth-high density advocates": A neighborhood advocate? A bicycle and pedestrian commissioner? Really, these are high-growth, high-density advocates?

There is time after the Civility Roundtable for you to judge whether the participants were "good" (=agree with your own positions) or not.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Steve
a resident of another community
on Mar 25, 2014 at 2:52 pm

Other than possibly the one neighborhood representative, we can presume everyone speaking will be pro growth/strangle traffic/make 'em walk proponents.
I'm sure they'll all be civil and polite, but this will be more like a brainwashing session than a "discussion". Diverging viewpoints will be heard about as well as an NRA member at Sally's anti gun rally.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Shake my head
a resident of Shoreline West
on Mar 25, 2014 at 3:01 pm

While the city's development patterns can be blamed for much of the city's traffic, the discussion isn't going to focus much on that.


What is the point?


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Jay Park
a resident of Jackson Park
on Mar 25, 2014 at 3:10 pm

I think the point is to discuss the future, and not dwell too much on the past.

There's certainly a time and place for the latter, and there will undoubtedly be other opportunities for people to do so, however the hope is not to make in a major focus at *THIS* particular event.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Lucas Ramirez
a resident of The Crossings
on Mar 25, 2014 at 3:48 pm

"Shake my head" - the intention is not to ignore the impact of development and land use on traffic. This will undoubtedly come up during the discussion, both in the roundtable and in the community dialogue afterward. That said, there are many other issues pertaining to transportation that need to be discussed: BRT/dedicated bus lanes, paid parking, bike lanes on ECR, PRT/ATN, "road diets," just to name a few. Development is inextricably linked to traffic, but it is not the only transportation issue that affects residents. I do hope it is part of the discussion, however. Moreover, another roundtable specifically about development and housing will be organized later this year.

Konrad - this is a valid concern. It is also why it's very important for residents who share your opinions and concerns to participate during the community dialogue. If you strongly disagree with one of the roundtable participants, here is an opportunity to engage them directly. This is not meant to be a call to action, nor will any policy be affected by the outcome of the roundtable (although policymakers will be in attendance). Rather, it is a chance for residents with a multitude of opinions to talk civilly about an issue that affects all of us every day.

All ideas and opinions are welcome. I hope to see you all there: Web Link


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Greg Perry
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Mar 25, 2014 at 4:54 pm

Having served on the council with Tom, I am amused to hear him described as a high-growth advocate. The label doesn't fit him.

On the other hand, if you accuse me of being pro-growth, you are at least half right. I do believe our residential growth is far below what is appropriate. On the other hand, I think our office space growth is insanely high and causes serious problems for us and the region.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by PA Resident
a resident of another community
on Mar 25, 2014 at 5:00 pm

Since the council decided not to innovate any type of POD transportation and anything else Google has attempted to bring to the discussion on the traffic problem their growth has added to, why should this civil discourse bring anything innovative either?

Instead of being a leader in public transportation, MV has remained in the 20th century when it comes to public transportation, traffic and parking. Just like Palo Alto.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Old Coot
a resident of Rex Manor
on Mar 26, 2014 at 6:53 am

Unless the future of personal jet packs is examined, it just won't be "far-reaching" and visionary enough...


 +   Like this comment
Posted by @pa resident
a resident of Monta Loma
on Mar 26, 2014 at 10:01 am

@pa resident, the pod cars belong where they have always been, in disneyland.

Nothing new about them, it's not innovative at all and won't help in the traffic issue, instead it would make for an ugly eye sore. Have you seen the subways that are above NYC. Butt ugly, with their graffiti and high platforms.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Linda Curtis
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Mar 26, 2014 at 10:48 am

I agree with Konrad that this is off to a stacked start, as even bike folks want huge changes to be accommodated, such as road diets everywhere and major modifications of ECR, etc. The more you know each of these people, the more you will see what Konrad & I see about this panel being out of balance. And then the public input will be limited to "break out groups." After the meeting, it will be claimed that the public agreed with stuff they did not, etc., just like other similar meetings I've attended. Disagreement is not being uncivil.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by OA
a resident of Shoreline West
on Mar 26, 2014 at 1:11 pm

One thing that is needed is a ballot measure to require developers to have at a minimum of 1.5 parking spaces per bedroom. Anyone know what's required to this? This is especially important for mixed zoned neighborhoods. The Promethus project at El Camino & Mariposa will have inadequate parking the spill over to the surround neighborhood will be more than losing the street parking in front of your house. There will be no room to put your garbage containers and street sweepers will only get the middle of the street. There are many neighborhoods that already have these problems from apartments with inadequate parking built in the 60's. On my street (mixed zoned) there's an apartment building (built in the 1960's) with 0.6 parking spaces per bedroom. Even with adequate parking there are some people who live in apartments who will only park on the street. Legally you can have 2 people per bedroom in an apartment so requiring 1.5 parking spaces per bedroom is not unreasonable.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Jim Neal
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Mar 27, 2014 at 1:11 pm

Jim Neal is a registered user.

@OA - We would not need a ballot measure to require developers to have 1.5 spaces per bedroom, we just need a Council that is willing require that. There are 5 different development projects happening within two blocks of my house, and as I predicted, they are already causing problems with parking before they are even finished. I can only imagine what the problems will be like afterward. I agree with you that many apartments, condos and even houses now are being shared by multiple families or unrelated persons because rents have skyrocketed in the last two years, and despite the claims that young people are not driving as much, I see many of them doing exactly that Thursday through Saturday when it's time to party on Castro St.

I attended the Civility Roundtable and the premise in my opinion appeared to be focused on "How do we get people out of their cars?". As someone who has rarely driven in the last 18 months, I can tell you I can't wait to get back into mine! Even with all the delays and traffic jams, it is still twice as fast as public transportation most of the time and I can decide when and where I want to go without being constrained by highly inconvenient public transportation schedules and routes.

Now, do I think the answer is to flood the streets with cars? Of course not. But I also don't want my representatives telling me where to go and how to get there! That is none of their business. What their business is, is to figure out the best way to accommodate all modes of transportation, so that no matter which one I choose, I will have a good experience. If they want to incentivize me to use public transportation, there are two things they can do: 1) lower the price and 2) give me routes to places I want to go to with schedules to get me there quickly and when I want to be there.

Private industry is already stepping up and finding ways to resolve at least some of these issues for their employees. In most cases, private industry seems to be well ahead of the government in being able to resolve problems efficiently because they are accountable to shareholders and must be responsive to their customers.

I think the best answer in this case is for the City to slow down it's headlong rush to cram a San Francisco amount of office space, into a city the size of Mountain View. We might be able to build enough office space for 1 million people to work here and enough housing for 1 million people to live here, but if we did, who would want to?

Jim Neal
Candidate, Mountain View City Council
Web Link -- Campaign Website
info@electneal.org


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Linda Curtis
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Mar 27, 2014 at 4:35 pm

I agree with you, Jim. And I do not see why we keep adding more and more jobs here in MV that then mean we need ever more and more housing. Must MV be a glutton for all corporations that want in? Can't some other areas share some employment opportunities, like Livermore, Tracy, Stockton, etc., so this will reverse the commune for most? Instead I keep hearing lots of ideas that are far fetched "solutions" to a problem intentionally being made worse to force people out of their cars. Force, not entice. Even VTA (Valley Transit Authority) had one of their own managers study the BRT (Bus Rapid Transit) who then honestly revealed that for the BRT to have the entire fast lane of ECR dedicated to it, the BRT bus could come from the City Santa Clara to the City of Mountain View exactly one minute faster. And guess how much slower all the other traffic on ECR would be making it, to allow this? The slow bus would hog up the whole slow lane and the "fast" bus would kill the fast lane, widened sidewalks would curtail businesses by removing the curb parking they require to stay in business, and bikers still want to somehow make this heavily traveled ECR safe for them. Not possible. Do not combine bikes with trucks, buses, and cars or deaths are the outcome. Instead, develop really great bike freeways, exclusive to only them, with maybe drinking fountains, parks, public rest areas/restrooms, etc., along the way. Insure the safety of the bike riders, and be sure to make plenty of access points down to the busy roads like ECR, but just NOT along them.


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