Mountain View Voice

News - January 22, 2010

Report: Minton's project would decrease traffic

by Daniel DeBolt

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 actually reduce downtown car traffic by 33 percent and provide "sufficient" parking to keep new residents from taking up the available parking on neighborhood streets.

Robert Cox, treasurer of the Old Mountain View Neighborhood Association and a member of the opposition group Minton's Redevelopment Neighborhood Alliance, said that opponents were still examining the study and had no comments at press time.

"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, "it wasn't a complete surprise."

Neighbors have repeatedly said the project, which is nearly 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 giving requiring only 1.4 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 that of six 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 only be around 85 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.

INFORMATION:

The full report is available online at the city's Web site, www.mountainview.gov, under "News Items." The city is accepting written comments on the report until Feb. 17. Send e-mails to nancy.minicucci@mountainview.gov, or write to:

Nancy Minicucci

Deputy Zoning Administrator

P.O. Box 7540, Mountain View, CA 94039

E-mail Daniel DeBolt at ddebolt@mv-voice.com

Comments

Posted by T Tierney, a resident of Whisman Station
on Jan 21, 2010 at 6:58 pm

This estimate of traffic and parking problems doesn't make sense even on the face of it.

Is there some way to look at the report? -- the article says to look under "News Items", but there is no such link on the site.


Posted by gc, a resident of Whisman Station
on Jan 21, 2010 at 10:50 pm

There in no parking at the new Dana and Calderon Town home development. What did the study think about using 2.3 as being sufficient there? People have more than ONE car because this is not the big city with great transit as everyone might think. People also have "visitors". I


Posted by Vishnu SIngh, a resident of Old Mountain View
on Jan 21, 2010 at 11:19 pm

I have several questions and am a bit suspicious of the motives for allowing this project in its current proposal, it "smells" like tax revenue may be the "carrot":

(1) Why is the city allowing a 40% decrease in parking density, because of public transit, was this compared to other similar cities with public transit nearby, e.g. Sunnyvale or Palo Alto?
(2) Why are we allowing such high density housing? Currently areound that area, there is not much landscaping, having such high density may not allow for attractive landscaping and keeping Mountain View green.
(3)What is the basis for the outbound traffic study, it sounds nonsensical that 213 apartments, with on average 1.2 people (256 occupants - assuming approx 80% single occupancy -- which is ludriculous)will only have an outbound increase of 47 outbound trips; are you suggesting that the other 209 occupants work at home, take public transit, or bike to work? Why don't you be straight forward with the Mountain View community and tell us that you want the tax dollars at the expense of creating a beautiful complex with less density?


Posted by gc, a resident of Whisman Station
on Jan 22, 2010 at 7:28 am

There in no parking at the new Dana and Calderon Town home development. What did the study think about using 2.3 as being sufficient there? People have more than ONE car because this is not the big city with great transit as everyone might think. People also have "visitors". I have been to many places without Visitor parking space.

As for Minton Lumber having 1720 trips? That would be an ave of 215 visitors per hour? Minton would not be closing if that amount of traffic came in. Some ones study needs to be looked at.


Posted by Informed Citizen, a resident of Cuesta Park
on Jan 22, 2010 at 5:36 pm

Yes, the numbers sound questionable - need to see the whole report. But as for tax implications - the city will LOSE tax revenue by adding housing and replacing a store. What's more, there are costs for providing city services to residents, so it is likely the costs will be higher.

Thus from a city finance perspective, this is a lower revenue and higher costs, so that is not the motivation. The key point is to add housing in the city at a location that has the potential (due to access to transport and downtown) to have a smaller overall effect on the community.


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