News

Housing, transportation are top issues at candidate forums

In a crowded City Council race, Mountain View's nine candidates are already busy introducing themselves and their platforms to voters at a couple of candidate forums, with several more scheduled in the coming weeks.

In a forum attended by all nine candidates Tuesday, Sept. 2, candidates Mercedes Salem and Ellen Kamei came out against zoning for a new residential neighborhood in North Bayshore, something businesses and the Chamber of Commerce have proposed as a way to deal with the city's housing crunch. Other issues the candidates discussed included the need for better bicycle and transit infrastructure in Mountain View and involving the city's immigrant population in local elections.

On Sept. 2, the Housing and Transportation Forum was held at the Rengstorff Community Center. Tuesday's event was kicked off with a questions about what sort of bike infrastructure projects candidates would support to encourage more bicycling.

"People don't (ride bikes) unless they feel safe," said candidate Ken Rosenberg. "I'm in favor of almost anything that is going to promote biking or walking."

Salem said she liked the proposal for a "road diet on California Street that creates buffers for bikes, buffers for pedestrians." She said no pedestrians or cyclists should have to die because of unsafe streets, as one of her friends had recently died after being hit by a car while crossing El Camino Real in Menlo Park in a crosswalk.

Candidate Greg Unangst, who chairs the city's Bike and Pedestrian Advisory Committee, listed some possible improvements, such as more crossings over Central Expressway and a true bike Boulevard on Latham Street that is more than just "putting up signs" directing cyclists to it. Cyclists often point to neighboring Palo Alto's bike boulevards, which discourage car traffic, as exemplary.

"I'm not a millennial, but I usually use a bike to get around town," said candidate Lenny Siegel. "Anyone on council or on staff making decisions on bicycle safety should get on a bike and see what it's like. It's not just a matter of safety, it is a matter of creating pleasant environments where people want to walk."

"Every time a development proposal comes before us I'm looking at how bike-able and walkable is it?" said candidate Lisa Matichak, who is also a Mountain View planning commissioner. "Personally I would like to see the trails expanded -- we need to have them connect throughout the entire city."

Kamei said the city's hiring of a bike and pedestrian coordinator will help, while candidate Pat Showalter said other cities needed to continue to work on the Stevens Creek trail. Candidate Margaret Capriles said bike and pedestrian mobility needed to continue to be a council priority. Candidate Jim Neal said most of the planning had already been done and "from this point we just need to get the details fine-tuned."

New neighborhood in North Bayshore?

On Tuesday candidates Salem and Kamei both came out against housing in North Bayshore for the first time. Candidates Siegel, Showalter, Neal, Unangst and Rosenberg reiterated their support for housing in North Bayshore in some form or another, while candidates Capriles and Matichak had already made their opposition known.

"The North Bayshore precise plan looks at 500 acres, I think we can devote 100 acres near 101 and North Shoreline to housing and we are not going to threaten our open space," said Siegel, who founded the Campaign for Balanced Mountain View in January to lobby for the creation of the new neighborhood. If built at a density similar to the five-story apartments at Park Place downtown, there would be enough units to support a school and services and retail. "It will take a lot of work to reverse the course the city has been on since 2012 when council rejected 4-3 the environmentally superior alternative for housing in North Bayshore." He later added that there was enough demand for extending light rail to North Bayshore from downtown that planning such an extension could start now.

Quoting language city planners used at the time, candidate Unangst said that it is "environmentally superior" to include housing in plans for office space for tens of thousands of new jobs in the area around Google headquarters.

Kamei had hedged on her answer to the North Bayshore housing question before, but this time she expressed clear opposition.

"I also at this point don't feel that housing makes sense in North Bayshore," she said, explaining fears that the housing would make it harder to reach the city's goals for traffic reduction. Proponents make the opposite argument, saying that new housing would lessen commute traffic. "It is important to reach these transportation goals, then it can be revisited," she said.

Salem said the reason why North Bayshore is so successful is because there's very little housing out there. She said that a new grocery store would fail because the residents would likely "work at big companies that already provide everything for them from soup to nuts."

She also raised fears about sea level rise and a lack of stable "bedrock" in an earthquake, though that concern has never been part of the city's extensive discussions on redevelopment in North Bayshore, where landfills have been excluded from new development plans. Earthquake dangers for development in North Bayshore were found to be "less than significant" in the 2012 general plan environmental impact report.

Showalter, a civil engineer for the Santa Clara Valley Water District, said she has "looked at flood maps and there are places that even with impacts of climate change people should be able to live (in North Bayshore). The impacts of people living close to work is just tremendous. We really have to take advantage of that. People have been concerned that there isn't shopping but Costco isn't that far. We also need to consider the reverse commute advantage those people would have."

At the Chamber-sponsored forum on Aug. 27, Matichak said the current council members she identifies with the most are the four most consistent opponents of housing development: John McAlister, Jac Siegel, Ronit Bryant and Margaret-Abe-Koga. The latter three are leaving the council this year due to term limits.

El Camino bus lanes unpopular

A few years ago, in a 4-3 vote, council members narrowly rejected a Valley Transportation Authority proposal to create an El Camino Real bus experience similar to light rail in Mountain View, with dedicated bus lane and stations along the center of El Camino Real. Citing the city's car traffic woes, candidates did not indicate they would want to change course on the Bus Rapid Transit plan, with candidates Rosenberg, Siegel and Capriles among the opponents.

"I do not support taking away full traffic lanes for BRT," Siegel said, adding that there were other ways to "make buses more efficient. Maybe someday we'll have enough people in buses to take away traffic lanes."

"We need to work on frequency of buses," said Showalter, which spurred Unangst to say that there wasn't enough population density to create demand for more bus service. Unangst touted self-driving car technology and automated people-movers as solutions to transit woes.

"I do not support a (dedicated) lane, not here in Mountain View," said Rosenberg. Salem agreed, saying, "I don't see it as a viable alternative for our community."

Capriles and Kamei called for partial bike lanes to help bicyclists trying to get across town in areas where El Camino Real is the only convenient route. Kamei called for widening sidewalks and removing street parking in particular sections to make room.

Involving immigrants in local politics

Candidates Neal and Rosenberg appeared a bit baffled when asked to comment on how some cities have allowed undocumented immigrants to vote in local elections, so the questions was changed to ask how the candidates would involved undocumented immigrants in their decision making.

"It's something that can't be solved at city level," Neal said of letting the non-citizens vote, as was done in Maryland's Takoma Park 20 years ago. "It doesn't matter what the city says about that. My wife is an immigrant from Italy, I don't have a problem" with immigrants. He added that his wife volunteers at the Day Worker Center and that immigrants always have a right to speak out.

"This is why the Civility Roundtable was conceived," said Rosenberg, who created the Civility Roundtable series to provide a forum for difficult community discussions. "I'm an advocate of our Day Worker Center and a user of it as well. We had a civility roundtable on this topic." Some say immigrants need to get in line to get their citizenship, but "there is not process to get citizenship for people who are here," he said.

"We have to welcome immigrants whether they be kids form Central America or kids from Beijing," Siegel said. "It's not only right, these are the people who are going to be paying for our Social Security. Immigration is what we need in this country. I'm not sure they can vote in Congressional elections but I think there are communities who have made that happen (for local elections)." Siegel suggested Spanish translation of council meeting broadcasts. "You have to make people feel comfortable, you have to make them feel empowered. They are part of our future"

"I worked precisely on these issues (as a congressional staffer) in Washington, D.C.," said Salem. "I'm a huge proponent for the DREAM Act. I do not agree with the federal government deputizing local police" to enforce immigration law. Allowing the undocumented to vote, she said, would take a Constitutional amendment.

Capriles had previously told the Voice she would "love" to allow the undocumented to vote in local elections, but did not reiterate that on Tuesday. "I think that Mountain View has done a superb job of encouraging the undocumented residents to come forth," she said, adding that she respected the work of Congresswoman Zoe Lofgren and activist Jose Antonio Vargas.

Showalter spoke of wanting to make them feel welcome and to make sure they are not taken advantage of, while Kamei said the question touches on something that makes Mountain View really special, because her own grandparents were immigrants who cut flowers in the Mayfield Mall area and later had their own flower-growing business. She said the keys include multi-lingual translation and "talking to those in the community who we might not normally have outreach with."

Comments

 +   4 people like this
Posted by Greg Coladonato
a resident of Slater
on Sep 4, 2014 at 2:12 pm

Greg Coladonato is a registered user.

I was disappointed there was only time for two questions from the audience, one of which had nothing to do with housing or transportation. I had personally submitted three relevant questions.

Would it be worthwhile to have a way (presumably online) to publicly submit questions to all of the candidates, and have their answers publicly displayed?


 +   1 person likes this
Posted by Martin Omander
a resident of Rex Manor
on Sep 4, 2014 at 2:29 pm

I wasn't able to attend this event, so I really appreciate this write-up.

Anyone who tells you there is a hard and fast answer to Mountain View's issues is an idealogue who will not serve our city well. In my opinion, Ken Rosenberg has the right priorities (housing, transportation) and the most thoughtful approach, inviting all stakeholders to the discussion to reach the best solution. He has my vote.

I'd be interested to hear what others have to say, especially those who attended the event in person.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Voter
a resident of Rengstorff Park
on Sep 4, 2014 at 2:48 pm

@ Martin Omander

This is not very accurate i suggest you watch the video of the event !

Web Link


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Marc
a resident of Blossom Valley
on Sep 4, 2014 at 3:14 pm

DeBolt were is the article about the candidate forum at Microsoft ?

Why MKVT has not published the video on youtube for that event ?


 +   1 person likes this
Posted by GSB
a resident of Rex Manor
on Sep 4, 2014 at 3:24 pm

Why not ask KMVT directly instead of venting here?

BTW, it has been airing on their tv channel. It should be on their YouTube site later today.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Martin Omander
a resident of Rex Manor
on Sep 4, 2014 at 3:41 pm

@Voter, thanks for sharing the link to the video of the event.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Observer
a resident of Waverly Park
on Sep 4, 2014 at 4:43 pm

Rosenberg is a solid thinker and very good at bringing people together. I was there on Tuesday and agree that his performance was not his best, but to know him and his record are what tells the real story. When you compare Rosenberg to the rest of the candidates in terms of his true contributions to Mountain View and his capacity to bring people together to look at all sides of the issues, he is a standout and will most definitely get my vote.


 +   2 people like this
Posted by Want to hear more
a resident of Shoreline West
on Sep 4, 2014 at 9:08 pm

I attended the forum and it was great to hear the candidates speaking live. There is a big difference in their communication skills. I wish the questions had been more pointed to draw out their stance on more controversial issues. It seemed like the candidates shared many of the same opinions like being pro-biking and walking but it wasn't clear who would put their money where their mouth is and do a courageous thing like vote to reduce a car lane. To be fair, Salem did say explicitly that she would support a road diet on California Street. The biggest differentiator was on the question of North Bayshore Housing.

I agree with Greg Coladonato that the non-documented immigrant question was off topic and would have liked to have heard more pointed questions from the audience on housing and transportation. But overall, a very well run event! Good job organizers!


 +   1 person likes this
Posted by Jeremy Hoffman
a resident of Rengstorff Park
on Sep 4, 2014 at 9:15 pm

"a new residential neighborhood in North Bayshore, something businesses and the Chamber of Commerce have proposed"

To be clear, it's not just businesses. Mountain View residents and employees like me and my colleagues are BEGGING for the opportunity to live near where we work, get off the roads, and build a vibrant new community. We can stop the pricing out of non-tech-worker Mountain View residents and make more single-family homes (which are often rented to tech workers) available for the families who want to live in those fine quiet neighborhoods. North Bayshore developments won't disrupt the rest of Mountain View at all. It's the environmentally superior option. The experts like Pat Showalter have examined the details and know that housing is logical and feasible in North Bayshore.

I felt Ken Rosenberg had a wide range of smart, pragmatic ideas about how to address the jobs-housing imbalance: increasing supply for all income levels, consider all designs, put housing near transit, rethink parking requirements for residents who prefer not to drive (and I know many such MV residents), and relax restrictions on in-law units.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Jeremy Hoffman
a resident of Rengstorff Park
on Sep 4, 2014 at 9:20 pm

I liked what Greg Unangst said on the subject of affordable housing. According to my notes from the event, he said that the federal and state government are backing out of affordable housing, and the city needs to step up, or we'll be stealing the future from the younger middle class generation.


 +   2 people like this
Posted by Skeptical
a resident of Shoreline West
on Sep 5, 2014 at 5:47 am

I'm coming around to the opinion that a mixed use village in NB is a good idea. However, I have serious doubts that the City can pull this off. Creating such a neighborhood requires visionary leadership and broader support. I believe the highly successful Castro St redesign into a vibrant downtown back in the late 80s was only possible with a
domineering City Manager who, frankly, overstepped his role and was later fired. Dan Rich and City Staff won't lead on this. Community Dev Department is stretched too thin now to build the development partnerships to make it happen. Where will the $$ come from to redo a multimillion dollar precise plan for NB from scratch? Too bad the Balanced MV movement didn't rise up one year earlier.

While I do support a village, I absolutely don't support company town/dorm style housing in NB as described by Jim Neal. IMHO, that would be a soul crushing blight and as many mentioned could aggravate traffic issues as residents would need to drive to services and schools.

Whats any single example of where a village was created out of an office park and was done right? What's the pragmatic path to creating something that will work?


 +   1 person likes this
Posted by Jeremy Hoffman
a resident of Rengstorff Park
on Sep 5, 2014 at 8:43 am

As a North Bayshore worker, I completely support dense, environmentally friendly dorm-like transitional housing in North Bayshore. Jim Neal had it exactly right. Anyone skeptical of this simply doesn't know as many North Bayshore employees as I do. I promise you those things would be extremely popular and lively, especially for young, childless workers. For my first six years at North Bayshore I would have lived there happily. Now I'm 29 and looking at starting a family in Mountain View. (Can I even afford a place larger than 1200 sq. ft.?!) When it's time, I would move out of the transitional housing and be immediately replaced by someone else. There is a never-ending stream of new young workers and interns in North Bayshore. And even if some residents didn't walk or bike to work in North Bayshore, they would be reverse commuting compared to the current traffic flow, utilizing unused capacity of our roads.


 +   2 people like this
Posted by Konrad M. Sosnow
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Sep 5, 2014 at 9:57 am

Martin Omander,

Ken Rosenburg has stated that he does not see any problem with four (4) or five (5) story apartments along El Camino Real. The adjacent residents, living in one (1) and two ((2) story homes don't want a massive apartment building looming over their homes. There are also concerned about apartment residents parking in fro of their homes.

I don't want ECR turned into a canyon.
ECR is already a parking lot for most of the day and evening.

A better alternative than ECR is East Whisman. Lisa Matichak has pointed out taht it has public transportation - Light Rail, and car access from 237, Middlefield Road, 101, and Central expressway, and two closed schools which can be reopened.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Konrad M. Soosnow
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Sep 5, 2014 at 10:03 am

@Jeremy Hoffman,

North Bayshore has environmental concerns and it is cut off from the main part of Mountain View by highway 101, with only a few crossovers.

Developers build in phases as they don't want to flood the market and thus drive down prices. I would expect that it if City Council voted to allow building in North Bayshore a few hundred units would be built each year. Thus, it will take several years until the 5,000 units required for a viable community are built.

Prices will not be affordable for many. It has been suggested that park Place like apartments be built in North Bayshore.

Park Place Rents Monthly Rental Income to afford

Efficiency - $2,300 - $ 92,000
1BR - $3,000 - $120,000
2BR - $3,500 - $140,000
3BR - $4,000 - $160,000


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Observer
a resident of Waverly Park
on Sep 5, 2014 at 11:10 am

@Konrad Sosnow,

Rosenberg supports the basic direction of the draft Precise Plan for the El Camino Real Corridor, which is NOT 4-5 stories all along El Camino but in a few selected areas where it makes sense. And the Precise Plan was developed with extensive community outreach and input. Ken has repeatedly stated that he wants new developments to be sensitive to surrounding neighborhoods and his desire to preserve our neighborhoods. He also recognizes the critical need to add to our housing supply. The longstanding housing shortage is a major contributor to the affordable housing issue, which Ken wants to find practical local and regional solutions to address.

I would encourage you to meet with Ken Rosenberg before making broad mis-statements that seem to push your own NIMBY agenda which flies right in the face of any affordable housing solutions.


 +   7 people like this
Posted by Still Skeptical
a resident of Shoreline West
on Sep 5, 2014 at 11:16 am

@Jeremy Hoffman: I like the idea of creating efficiency micro housing in NB for young, unmarried, single folks. However, a whole neighborhood of solely this type of housing I would find unbalanced and unappealing. It would become an exclusive enclave for one type of worker (newly college graduated) that turns its back on the rest of the local population and create a psychological and geographical separation in our Mountain View community. A neighborhood which is built upon a transient and constantly replenishing supply of young single workers feels dehumanizing both to the young worker as well as the excluded not-so-young workers who should continue to be a vital force in the the success of NB companies also. The tech community are already accused of living in an echo chamber and I think that type of development would reinforce it. The appealing thing about a mixed-use neighborhood is that there is a diversity of uses (office, housing, retail) but also residents different experiences, incomes, and phases of life. I think that's really important for making it an attractive, integrated community that can grow and evolve beyond the life time of a single company or two.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Very long time MV resident
a resident of North Whisman
on Sep 5, 2014 at 11:56 am

Housing needs to be part of North Bayshore. The precise plan calls for buildings over 6 stories tall. Just imagine how many MORE people will be crawling over Shoreline, Rengstorff, and San Antonio Road to get there every morning.


 +   3 people like this
Posted by Konrad M. Sosnow
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Sep 5, 2014 at 12:28 pm

@Observer,

I have met with Ken Rosenberg on 3 separate occasions in the last few weeks. I attempted to pin him down on how much housing should be built in Mountain View. On each occasion he made an excuse not to answer.

I am concerned about 801 El Camino. It is a massive 4 story development where the renters can opt out of paying a parking fee and park on the street, presumably in front of homes in the neighborhood. I, and my neighbors, want a 3 story apartment complex.

We are not saying NIMBY. We are saying build 3 stories to protect the quality of life in our neighborhood.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Konrad M Sosnow
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Sep 5, 2014 at 12:36 pm

@Observer,


I support building housing in San Antonio. As a matter of fact, I spoke in support of housing at the EPC meeting where eh San Antonio Phase II plan was reviewed.

I support housing along Moffett Boulevard. It is another prime area for mixed use housing development. It already has public transportation with Caltrain and Light Rail. Automobile access is via Central Expressway and Moffett Boulevard.

I support housing in East Whisman. As Lisa Matichak has pointed out, it has public transportation - Light Rail, and car access from 237, Middlefield Road, 101, and Central expressway. Also, East Whisman does not have the environmental concerns that North Bayshore does. For these reasons East Whisman is a better location than North Bayshore. Let's replace the aging tilt up R&D buildings in East Whisman with modern housing!

I support some housing along El Camino Real. El Camino Real (ECR) is state highway (CA 82) which is gridlocked for much of the day and evening. Yes, mixed use housing will allow shopkeepers and their employees to walk to work. However, I see luxury apartments (think of Madera) being constructed. They will only be affordable to hi-tech employees who work in North Bayshore, Menlo Park, Sunnyvale or San Jose. Why build high density housing along ECR to add to the gridlock? In addition, four (4) and five (5) story massive buildings impact negatively on the adjacent neighborhoods. There are better places to add a lot of housing.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Konrad M. Sosnow
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Sep 5, 2014 at 12:43 pm

@Very long time MV resident,

Developers build in phases as they don't want to flood the market and thus drive down prices. I would expect that it if City Council voted to allow building in North Bayshore a few hundred units would be built each year. Thus, it will take several years until the 5,000 units required for a viable community are built.

It has been suggested to build Park Place like apartments. The following shows the rental prices and how much you need to earn to afford a Park Place apartment.

Park Place Monthly Rental Income to afford rental
Efficiency - $2,300 - $ 92,000
1BR - $3,000 - $120,000
2BR - $3,500 - $140,000
3BR - $4,000 - $160,000


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Transcriptionist
a resident of another community
on Sep 5, 2014 at 1:03 pm

Thanks for this writeup.
Greenbelt Alliance linked to a video of the forum, in this post:
Web Link
I've gone through it and taken notes on the housing-and-transportation Q&A, for those who want to delve a little more deeply. It will make for a pretty long comment though.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Observer
a resident of Waverly Park
on Sep 5, 2014 at 1:04 pm

@ Konrad Sosnow,

Rosenberg supports the general direction of draft Precise Plan for El Camino--it's that simple.

As for 801 El Camino, I have been following it with interest myself, and it fits solidly within the plan with the 4 story elements in total compliance with the intent of the plan, which is quite sensitive to surrounding neighbors.

Your comment about parking fees is just fear-mongering. Why not find out how the developer proposing to address the parking concern before making wild statements?

This city is changing--this whole area is changing because of the job growth up and down the peninsula. We can either pull up the drawbridge and put our heads in the sand (to our long-term peril) or we can accept that change is coming and work together to welcome our new neighbors.


 +   3 people like this
Posted by Konrad M. Sosnow
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Sep 5, 2014 at 1:21 pm

@Observer,

We did speak with the developer's representatives. They said that the developer wanted to bifurcate the basic rental fee from the car parking space. fee.

There are two options in the ECR Precise Plan. I suggest you read it!

Base 3 stories
Tier 1 4 stories

We, the people who live near 801 ECR support the Base. We believe that would be a good compromise and would allow for additional housing while allowing us to keep our neighborhood character.The developer prefers Tier 1. City Council gets to choose.


Rosenburg doesn't care about our community because he doesn't live here. Just ask him. I did.



 +   Like this comment
Posted by Transcriptionist
a resident of another community
on Sep 5, 2014 at 2:01 pm

Housing/Transit (only) Q&A notes here, hope it's not too long:

9 candidates (one had to leave early)
Margaret Capriles
Ellen Kamei
Lisa Matichak
Jim Neal
Ken Rosenberg
Mercedes Salem
Lenny Siegel
Pat Showalter
Greg Unangst

Q: promoting biking/walking infrastructure safety
what projects/policies would you support for them.

KR - people don't do it if they don't feel safe.
It's a land use issue. Favor anything to promote increased bike/walk.

MS - safer bike /ped/grnspace. why it's not safe- want great streets proposal, road diet
bike and ped paths estrella & calif
slow roads in neighborhoods
more overpasses on central. try to make el c corridor more walkable

LS - 1978, on planning commission, stevens creek trail, realtors found out people like to live near it.
Use a bike to get around town. People making decisions on biking need to get on a bike to see what it's like.
Not just safety, Make pleasant environment, where people want to walk.
PS - Need sidewalks. Stevens Crk trail, a wonderful dream. Need places safe on streets. Doesn't want to live in another neighborhood where people don't care enough to build sidewalks to let you walk over safely to talk to your neighbor.

GU - current chair, bike/ped advisory for mtn view
City bike network has no strategy, small projects that don't necessarily connect, bike lanes that disappear etc.
Revising the bike transportation plan. Get involved, community involvement sessions coming up.
Make a bike blvd on lincoln. ? creek trail?
There are only 6 crossings on Central.
Need more staff time, and money to do this stuff.

MC - current priority is safe ped paths
how to do things better, can we separate the bike paths, can we cross diagonally etc.
Shuttles, so people who cant walk far can get around w/o cars

EK - regardless of(...?)
hiring a bike/ped mobility coordinator
a bike master plan in the works
epc takes them into account
how to create buffered bikelanes
what's connectivity to neighboring cities & to SC trail

LM - master plan will put together blueprint.
Right now - precise plans for bayshore, el c, etc
Whenever a dev proposal, asking how bikable, how walkable it is
A lot of our office parks don't have sidewalks.
Want to see trails expanded, thru entire city.

JN - city doing good. El C sidewalks, roots upheaving. annoyances.
Used to ride a bike in SF, understand need for safety.

Q: Housing - rents up 14% in past 2 yrs, MV is among cities w highest rents in nation. A challenge for its employers, a regional issue. What should mtn view do to address housing affordability?

EK: It's supply & demand. how to be proactive.
2014, there were 1136 subs apt, and 76 in construction.
pub/priv partnership?
MV is 12 sq mi.
$13m (per year?) is dedicated to affordable housing.
More rental than(? and?) ownership opportunities. Variety of pricing for variety of income
Realistic goals in housing element

LM - it's regional.
Fix(?) transportation - so people don't sit on freeway a couple hours.
Buses for employers n public
Free community shuttle, listen to users to tune it to meet their needs.
2500 units are in the pipeline.
Whisman area is already zoned for it , add housing there.

JN - The mtn view voice said, of the madera proj., that actual rents turned out to be 5-6k/mo, 2x the original estimate. (ouch)
240k/yr income shouldn't be needed, you can't call that affordable housing.
Design more realistic housing w/o these amenities. amenities cost 1% of construction, said owner, but they let the landlord charge a lot more based on them.)
(didn't mention supply and demand that I heard)

KR - no below mkt rate projects can happen w/o coordination of city & county nonprofits as a minimum.
Increase supply. Consider all designs. Build more housing near transit.
Rethink parking requirements. Secondary units, we don't have to change neighborhoods to do that.
Distinguish between Affordable vs obtainable housing.

MS - We wont be able to solve the problem, but we can ease the pain.
city has 13m for aff housing, need to look for more $$.
Publ/priv partnerships to let people have a pathway to (loans to get) a home, w steady mortgage. keep families here.
Her rent has gone up 25% in last several years, neighbors have been priced out.
And build housing in the 5 change areas of the general plan.
(Didn't mention supply and demand, that I noticed)

LS -
1. expand city plans for low income housing - sec8, etc
2. invest in community land trusts to let people enter hsing market invest as owners. buy in cheap
BUT these are a drop in bucket, real problem is supply and demand.
We need to dramatically increase hs supply in parts of MV that can take it, namely san antonio and n. bayshore
Asks audience to show up at the planning meeting (3rd?), and city council mtg next week, the city's about to make situation much worse, talking about adding 3.4m sq ft of office space (~17k new jobs) and no housing. Only way to solve the jobs-housing imbalance is to put brakes on office space and build more housing.

PS - city's done good aff housing things, just not enough . we have a lot of money for low inc housing, should put it to work. Publ priv parnerships are v hard to develop. need to come up w other things, eg. mortgage assistance for teachers and public safety workers. rent subsidies.
make granny unit ordinance less strict.
Allow vacation rental by owner, can let owner get a little more money.

GU - involved with city housing element working group, housing advocacy network. how to work the below mkt rate housing problem.
Problem: the fed, state are backing out, leaving burden on cities. Need Mv to lead the way in finding solutions.
Otherwise we're stealing futures of younger generation.
Business need to coperate in finding solutions for their workers.
a huge regional problem.

MC - publ priv parnership, pursue aggressively.
48 units at (green?) /n regstorff but probably a big waiting list , have funds available and are looking at 2 sites, but it's not fast enough.
What are new ideas? to make sure nurses, police, fire fighters can live here.
?(couple issues?) have more potential than publ-priv parnership


Q - On transportation, air pollution, congestion, ghg emissions
8 years from now, after 2 council terms, how do you expect
transportation and land use to be?

PS - community shuttle, originally just 2, maybe if 20 or 30 it'll solve.
More infrastructure for bikes
Connectivity regionally.
Rail improvements, light rail doubletracked

GU - we'll have learned that we need to build housing near jobs.
Walkable/bikable communities.
On sustainability taskforce 2008, learned 50% of co2 emissions is from cars and trucks.
Elecrifying the rail line is critical.
Commuter rail lines, since people now have ridiculous 50-60mi commutes, a service worker who lives in modesto

MC - keep open space. safe ped and bike routes. city housing near transportation. 10 min shuttles near your house. We need to be diligent, make sure routes make sense & meet needs.

EK vibrant infrastructure, efficient public transit.
caltrain electrification, longer train? (extra train cars)
Have VTA more efficient(?,) direct fr mtn view to SJ?
option to be a feetfirst community -
comfortable streets and buffered bikelanes

LM bemoans no BART on peninsula, frustrates me no end.
TMA (Mountain View Transportation Management Association; formerly Google private bus) hope it'll be wildly successful
Comm shuttle likewise. 2 year trial.
key locations for better bikability.
Lightrail can do more, in whisman area
Trail expansion n completion.

JN - caltrain more efficient and effective, it (already?) has 2 bike cars/train.
Roundabouts, so no need for stop signs/signals.
ped overxings

KR - curbside composting.
San antonio Phase 2.
Housing construction on n bayshore
Mountain View will be newer. This scares people - as city leaders, we need to ease the process.
MV is poised between surburbia and urban suburbia
Things have changed so much in 2 yrs (since general plan?), need again to find what we collectively want.

MS - stoplights for ped/bike safety on trails.
Safer roads, less fatalities (example)
Shuttle expanded route, Wifi on caltrains

LS MV's big mistake has been growth w/o infrastructure to support it, all these jobs in n bayshore.
Rail to n bayshore, maybe loop throu moffit field
It might not be done by 8 yrs, if you're going to do something important, it does take a while
Housing is about more than housing near transit, it's about housing near employment, & providing reverse flows. using the unused transit capacity.

Q How to keep livability w changes coming. Projected addition of
20k jobs by 2030.

MC - whats our vision for mv to look like -
maintain open space, for hi density res?
There are never enough parks in mtn view.
Balance, overall vision. gather, move around, take care of our daily needs, does it all have to be in 1 particular place. how do you want that community to look.

EK - housing and transportation are big issues that hit on quality of life in MV.
neighborhoods are our strength.

JN - at current pace, we'll add the projected 20k jobs in 2-3 yrs?
why don't we slow down, in approving projects.
And don't redevelop those that already exist, thats not making it more livable.

KR - many development requests are in pipeline, but little built yet.
Livability means many things - community and neighborhoods.
Maintain connectivity to neighbors

MS - feel comfortable living here, financially. hard to live here. we can provide other services - for srs, families, children. thoughtful growth.

LS - 2012 had 75k jobs. by mid 2013 we should pass the 20k expected by 2030 we're already busting our general plan, already exceeding the estimate.
Slow down the growth.
Plan neighborhoods, w a school and a park, where kids can get around, don't just plan in reaction to what developers come to us with.
To avoid threatening our quality of life n diversity we need to think boldly...

PS - built environment - make it comfortable for people to move around, and balanced neighborhoods.
Parks and recreation contribute, continue to support them

GU - transition. will keep adding jobs.
Protect neighborhoods that are there, they're single family homes on 1/4 acre lots. Need to protect that.
But also need to figure out how to make denser housing in other areas. In light industrial, do urban villages there, with small parks and trails.
Do it smartly, take advantage of opportunities b4 us.
Even really small parks are heavily used, thats what we need.

Audience question
Q - Do you support more housing in n bayshore, why/not?

LS - yes. Its specific plan is 500ac, Can devote to 100 acrs of housing at 101/shoreline, at a density like that of park place&castro st to support a school & resources - but needs effort to change the course that the city set in 2012 when they rejected (by 4-3 vote) the environmentally superior alternative of putting housing in n bayshore.
If we care about the environment, & about the diversity in our community, its a no-brainer, we've got to do it.

PS - maybe not 100 acres, but shoud have housing in n bayshore. Even w floodmaps, there are places(?)
Just the ems we'd save w people closer to work...
school? shopping? Their reverse commute advantage

GU - environmentally superior option was the housing option, shoud do it. 5000/1000? what's the sweet spot, need to analyze.
Housing near jobs is the way of the future, we need to get away from these long commutes.

MC - how much do we keep building in MV to accommodate the present need, is it sustainable over time. (case of silicon graphics, once was located at what's now Computer history museum) . We dont have transp or services there (n bayshore?), need to consider that.

EK - housing doesn't fit with goals for that area.
N bayshore plan is (already?) talking about congestion pricing.


JN - 1 way or other, it'll be housing or office. School? no, better it be transitional housing for employees of the businesses there.
Businesses have 30 yr lease, they're not going anywhere.

KR - likes n bayshore housing - corp residents are asking for it.

MS - n. bayshore is good as office park since there's no housing. no real draw, for services, since big companies provide all that stuff for employees.
Concerns: Sea level rise. Earthquakes: n. bayshore is not bedrock, remember sf's marina district?

Audience Q - Effective transit on El camino to connect?

MS - hybrid BRT is possible, full BRT(dedicated lane?) not feasible, palo alto has already said no, so we'd be the endpoint

LS - dont support taking traffic lanes for buses yet, but some things can be done. busy corridor +
we have SFH neighborhoods that don't feed well into el c, the last mile is our problem.

PS - speed traffic flow. not dedicated bus lane unless we can have them be frequent, every 5 min

GU - no frequency of bus svc on el c, not enough population density. We should look at upcoming technologies - people movers, self driving cars, might take advantage of.
But in meantime, we have to deal with cars.

MC - need some partial bike lanes to go N-S on el c.
(but not all the way down unless you have a death wish)
We need to resolve city's other transportation issues before we ever consider a dedicated bus lane.

EK - wider sidewalks. Move some parking off el C. Secure bike parking.

JN - against BRT, says Santa Clara BRT needed to remove 135 redwoods, to put it in. Time the lights, more overcrossings, let cars and bikes travel faster.
I Wrote an Affordable housing article in Jan 2014 MV voice, read it for my views.
(Here? mv-voice.com/square/2014/01/26/first-candidate-for-2014-city-council-election-steps-forward )

KR - EK said a lot of what I would.
VTA routes 22 and 522 have some of heaviest ridership for whole system,
Riding BRT is interesting, they control the lights.
Don't support the single lane though, it doesn't make sense here.


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Posted by Transcriptionist
a resident of another community
on Sep 5, 2014 at 2:03 pm

(The above Qs&As don't include the first Q, on background & relationships, since my notes there are substandard)


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Posted by JANE
a resident of North Whisman
on Sep 5, 2014 at 2:23 pm

I have lived on Whisman Road in MV since 1975, when I bought my home. There are things I like about the precise plan, but the jobs/housing imbalance is very disturbing to me.

I work in the North Bayshore area, and have been a bicycle commuter for 6 years. I see the traffic and congestion every day and cannot imagine how the area can accommodate more traffic without providing a place for people to live where they work. In other communities there are many places where retail is on a bottom floor and housing is above it…this would work so well, especially if jobs/groceries/entertainment/retail are all in the same area. Mountain View has the ability to be an innovative and creative leader in solving for the jobs/housing imbalance, instead of cramming more businesses and cars into an already-congested area.

If housing is added to the mix and the commute impact is therefore somewhat lessened, then this will become a neighborhood. Building upward with the housing is one easy solution, and Google has stated they are supportive of up to 5,000 units.

"Whisman East" has been referenced as an alternative location for housing. I know that with the TCE vapor intrusion issues that developers would need to build vapor intrusion mitigation etc. in most of the area – not very attractive to many buyers. Also the area is referenced as having transportation and schools. The schools are under the school district – the city does not have the say in their usage. Former Slater is leased for $300K a year and was extensively remodeled to become Google's Daycare… saying that it can easily convert is not realistic. Whisman School is also leased and has been remodeled and many portables added…again not realistic to say that a neighborhood school is available. And the reference to transportation? A light rail station at Middlefield and a bus stop on Middlefield don't exactly sound like a great transportation hub.

More homes in the Whisman neighborhood would probably raise the values of current homes, but overtax our currently congested streets. Google buses already own Whisman Road, and there is only parking on one side of the street. I don't see how more housing in this neighborhood is a solution unless shopping and schools would also be added here.

Seems that Mountain View is heading towards becoming a non-diverse and high-income-only place. Is that what we want? Let's add housing to the North Bayshore plan and facilitate people living near where they work!


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Posted by Summary of Forum
a resident of Shoreline West
on Sep 5, 2014 at 3:19 pm

Great Streets Mountain View website has a live tweet summary of the candidate responses during the forum:
Web Link


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Posted by Elna Tymes
a resident of Monta Loma
on Sep 5, 2014 at 3:30 pm

I've been working with Census-level statistics for Mountain View for about 20 years now and believe that, in response to the current and projected growth of the senior population and the population as a whole, residential development of both North Bayshore AND Whisman East is essential. American Community Survey estimates (related to the Census), which now can be considered conservative in view of the recent explosive growth of jobs in Mountain View, suggest a doubling of Mt. View's senior population from just under 10,000 in 2010 to about 20,000 in 2030, and a total population growth from about 75,000 in 2014 to 88,000 in 2030. That's not counting the thousands of people who work in North Bayshore who would love to live in Mt. View. Where are we going to put them? Or, by restricting development of residential units, are we going to drive up prices of homes and rental costs till we reach the elitist levels of those in towns to our north? I don't want Mt. View becoming another Palo Alto, Menlo Park, or (lord help us!) Atherton.

Granted, we have some (I believe 3400?) housing units in the pipeline. That's a drop in the bucket compared to what's needed. The environmental concerns for both North Bayshore and East Whisman are mostly engineering problems that can be solved. While residential development in those areas won't solve the housing problem we now have, it will help alleviate the problems created by the success of the thiriving businesses that have located here.

I have a real problem with those City Council candidates who advocate a "go slow" or "more research" approach on this issue. There has been plenty of evidence presented that our residential/jobs problem isn't going to go away, and in fact is exacerbated by our very success. To not make housing and related transportation a priority issue is to bury their heads in the sand and hope the problem will go away. I don't want people like them on our City Council.


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Posted by Johnathan
a resident of Monta Loma
on Sep 5, 2014 at 5:00 pm

@Martin Omander-

You started off this thread with a comment that K. Rosenberg was inviting shareholders for discussion. Which of the remaining 8 candidates isn't approachable for discussion of the issues? I have found them all to be, with all but two, very approachable. Can you guess who wasn't very open?


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Posted by Linda Curtis
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Sep 5, 2014 at 5:58 pm

How about those of us that love giant urban masses of people, move to one and enjoy it, and leave MV to develop naturally as it always had. Why must we accommodate every single corp. that wants to come here and every housing project to support that? It's just the money, isn't it? How many pockets are being lined for those developers to get the go ahead with overwhelming our infrastructure beyond the point of safety? Emergency response is gridlocked, rolling brown outs take their toll, water shortages are the norm, getting anywhere conveniently or in a hurry is impossible. You who accept this sound like sheep. Are you just trying to up your property value before you move to where it will still be fit to live enjoyably?


 +   2 people like this
Posted by Konrad M Sosnow
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Sep 5, 2014 at 6:26 pm

@Linda Curtis.

It's all about quality of life.

Some prefer a crowded environment for themselves and others (crowded - a space full of people,leaving little or no room for movement; packed.

Then again, some of us are interested in our quality of life (quality of life is used by politicians and economists to measure the livability of a given city).


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Posted by Very long time MV resident
a resident of North Whisman
on Sep 5, 2014 at 6:49 pm

@konrad sosnow -
Large corporate construction requires an environmental impact statement (eis). EISs generally have a requirement of a certain number of square feet of housing for every square foot of commercial. If this was truly well planned, you would expect schools, housing, and retail(grocery, etc) to be included.

Where is the EIS for all the north bayshore development? Have the requirements for Google been waived?

And by the way, I haven't attended a Shoreline concert in years, but it has to be murder getting in and out these days. Has anyone addressed how 8 story buildings with the increased occupancy is going to affect those events?


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Posted by mtn resident
a resident of Stierlin Estates
on Sep 5, 2014 at 10:57 pm

Very interesting that nobody talks about all the people who live near Shoreline north of the tracks. We are the ones who can't leave our homes at certain times of the day. For years it has been the concert traffic, and now it's everyday gridlock. Where is a real EIR that addresses every proplem with all this poposed development?
And please no dormatory type housing anywhere in Mountain View. The very same who want that type of housing now don't look into there own future.


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Posted by Transcriptionist
a resident of another community
on Sep 6, 2014 at 8:42 am

Folks, I have a request - if my long "notes" comment above, giving the questions and the candidates' answers, is visible to you, could someone say so, please? I'm not sure if my web posts actually go anywhere but my own laptop, sometimes.
I'd be very grateful, thanks.


 +   1 person likes this
Posted by Lilly
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Sep 6, 2014 at 9:28 am

@ Transcriptionist

The comment is visible , thanks for the accurate job you did!


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Posted by Garrett
a resident of another community
on Sep 6, 2014 at 11:14 am

All this are in various stages of planning and most likely will not be built omorrow. 2 empty schools sit in Whisman close to both NB and Whisman Middlefield area.

Light rail extension to Shoreline would help ease the commute. Transportation planning works best when as many riders get onboard not just 5 days a week for 2 trips a day


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