I've lived in Silicon Valley for 42 years and in Mountain View for 18, and often have wondered: Where is the "mountain" in Mountain View? And more importantly, where is the "view" in Mountain View?
I'm proposing we change that with a stunning landmark tower at the intersection of Castro Street and the Caltrain tracks and Central Expressway. A tower with a platform to see the architecture of our city set against the Santa Cruz Mountains in one direction and the Bay and the Diablo Range beyond in the other direction. Imagine the sunrises, sunsets, and the drama of night above Castro Street. It could actually be romantic.
The accompanying photograph shows a concept of the tower, although it is not conceived as a design that could actually work. But in this concept the arches of the base would support a 360-degree viewing platform and tower structure. The arches also would be high enough to allow for regular and high-speed rail trains and any grade separations at the intersection.
The design should be elegant and classic, one that would be a visual joy forever. It would be lighted at night much like the "necklace" of the Bay Bridge. It could become a symbol for the valley and our city that could provide viewers with a "sense of place" that is now lacking.
In addition, I envision "people pods," sliding along the arches much like ski trams, that would whisk pedestrians between Castro Street to Moffett Boulevard. It would also lift patrons to the viewing platform. No more "death walks" or delays for pedestrians attempting to cross Central Expressway and the railroad tracks.
The pods would be large enough to accommodate strollers and bikes, and would conveniently link the neighborhoods around Central Expressway and Middlefield Road to the downtown. More downtown customers would mean a healthier downtown.
The operation of the pods should display world-class engineering that is the hallmark of our valley. People should be awed by how simply and efficiently they work. Its display of pods should say, "This is a city that knows how." The surprising fact is, Mountain View has been on the world stage for some time and we really do know how.
By now you must be asking, "And just who would pay for this little jewel?" I believe there is only one realistic answer — private funding, corporate and private. Everything else appears to be pie in the sky. With the energy in this town, this tower could really happen. Our livelihoods have been built by the same creative drive that could light this tower up on a warm summer night. See for yourself. Go down to that spot, look up in the sky ... and just imagine.
See the Web site: evmedia.com/tower for more information.