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Council OKs designs for two bridges, tunnel

Original post made on Oct 19, 2009

The City Council last week approved conceptual designs for further upgrades to the city's trail network that would extend the trails into more residential neighborhoods.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Monday, October 19, 2009, 11:51 AM

Comments (19)

Posted by James, a resident of Cuesta Park
on Oct 19, 2009 at 2:52 pm

Nice. How about some kind of bridge/tunnel from Cuesta Park to the Sleeper Ave. Stevens Creek Trail entrance?


Posted by Seer, a resident of Cuesta Park
on Oct 19, 2009 at 4:30 pm

That sounds great, but probably the neighbors won't like it. However, having a crosswalk on Grant at Sleeper would be a great start, along with a path that connects the crosswalk to the paths in Cuesta Park. A cheap solution... relatively.


Posted by John, a resident of Cuesta Park
on Oct 19, 2009 at 5:26 pm

Seer & James
There are two way to cross Grant already. You can cross at the Cuesta and Grant light or go down to Eunice and Grant Light.
Since there are already these two cross walk , we do not need to spend more money on another crosswalk. That would be the "cheap solution"


Posted by eric, a resident of another community
on Oct 20, 2009 at 10:27 am

Wow. The Shoreline district has enough money to build an Underpass to Nowhere.

If this isnt the biggest endorsement EVER for shuttering that silly tax district, I dont know what is. The Permanente Trail is barely used, and connecting it to Old Middlefield-- a bike unfriendly corridor with only a small residential population nearby-- is as close to the bottom of what I'd do with $9M bucks as you'll find. Dont get me wrong-- I LOVE that Mtn View has taken a leadership role in building the Stevens Creek Trail, and I love how bike-friendly my town has become, but this is just a dumb use of finite resources.

The city council must act NOW to pull that revenue into the general fund-- and, more importantly get the two school districts their much-needed share. Keeping green fees low at the golf course and making sure that no Google employee will never have to deal with the indignity of a withered plant in the median strip of a roadway is nice and all, but there is a whole city that would like to benefit from most of our town's commercial tax base, too!


Posted by Tristan, a resident of another community
on Oct 20, 2009 at 11:55 am

Middlefield is an eminently rideable and popular bike corridor. If you think of this project as extending the Permanente Creek trail to Middlefield rather than Old Middlefield it makes a lot more sense.

There is no question that the existing trail is very lightly used, but that is presumably because it needs this extension to actually be useful. I would expect traffic to increase significantly once the new bridge and underpass are complete. For example, a large share of the commuting traffic over 101 at Rengstorff could jog over on Middlefield and go up the extended Permanente Creek trail instead.


Posted by Wuss912, a resident of another community
on Oct 20, 2009 at 1:40 pm

if you build it we will come :)
how can anyone use a trail that goes nowhere? it needs to get under the freeway before it can be used....


Posted by eric, a resident of another community
on Oct 20, 2009 at 1:53 pm

Fine. WHO is going to use this trail? Commuters? From where? It connects from a smaller neighborhood to a business park. The bulk of the city--not to mention those coming in via public transport-- are much better served by the Stevens Creek trail. Recreational riders? Why? Again, better options. This is a redundant trail getting built by a useless tax district that is keeping needed monies out of the bulk of town and our schools.

Look, I'm all for bike trails. Given the asinine shoreline tax district, they might as well build this. But I maintain that there are countless better uses of this restricted money. Shoot, I'd bet there are better bicycle-oriented projects that could be accomplished in town that are out of the small scope of the shoreline tax district!


Posted by Jeff Segall, a resident of Old Mountain View
on Oct 20, 2009 at 2:29 pm

If I worked in North Bayshore, I would use the trail on a daily basis. As is, I'll probably use the trail occasionally for recreational riding. Given that this infrastructure will last for decades, it seems like a reasonable use of $9M special purpose funds.


Posted by mhr, a resident of another community
on Oct 20, 2009 at 2:45 pm

Rengstorff and Sierra Vista both get a lot of bike traffic, and I bet most of it is going to Shoreline Park and to the business park, probably by sending riders over the Rengstorff bridge over 101 (which I can tell you can be a hair-raising experience at times). That traffic, plus residents in the vicinity of those roads who want to go to Shoreline and who currently drive, would certainly use the Permanent Creek Trail if it had an overpass over 101; I've been looking forward to the overpass for a while.

Obviously none of that traffic thinks it's worthwhile to head down to Stevens Creek (or even Shoreline Blvd) to get to Shoreline Park, and trying to get over at San Antonio is even worse. So the overpass seems worthwhile.

The Old Middlefield underpass seems desirable because of the volume of traffic at Old Middlefield at the creek; the traffic on and off 101 makes trying to cross the street there very difficult. Though hopefully the trail will be hooked up to Colony St., too.

The missing piece is that - as I recall - there's no underpass or at-grade crosswalk for the creek at Charleston Rd north of 101, which makes the Permanente Creek Trail less attractive for cyclists since you have to either awkwardly walk your bike over the street median or head down to the nearest stoplight, both of which are pretty annoying. Unless they've fixed that since the last time I rode the trail.


Posted by Walker, a resident of Rex Manor
on Oct 21, 2009 at 10:36 am

My Gawd... in the midst of this economic mess, let's add another 6 or 9 million to the public debt so that the 12 people and the 18 people that went to show support at a meeting can more easily cross the street... that is insane.
Oh yeah, our local politicos will hit the streets proudly showing that they "brought home the bacon" from Washington.
Egads, our own City Council should all be recalled for accepting this project and expense to our nation. Trust me, little cities all across the nation are saying "Oh Boy, we get more money".. From whom ?? Yes, from us.


Posted by jane, a resident of North Whisman
on Oct 21, 2009 at 2:27 pm

To Walker: In reading the article it does not sound like " adding another 6 or 9 million dollars to the public debt" is accurate. it says that the project is fully funded.

Until we continue to add biking infrastructure, people cannot use it. I bike to work daily using Hetch Hetchy and Stevens Creek Trails. Would I bike to work without the trails? No. The trails I use are becoming more and more popular and biking is increasing as trails are improved and added.

I think the City Council should be commended and applauded for their foresight in supporting and protecting cyclist and improving our quality of life here in MV.

(As for the City giving the money to the school districts --- two separate entities. Having worked long and hard to save Slater School (to no avail) I learned a lot about how the city and the schools keep funding separate. I would think twice about giving the Board any more money until they show they make the right decisions.)


Posted by sly, a resident of Shoreline West
on Oct 21, 2009 at 4:57 pm

it's about time, you cant cross freeway between rengstorff and shorline.


Posted by eric, a resident of another community
on Oct 22, 2009 at 3:11 pm

"As for the City giving the money to the school districts --- two separate entities. Having worked long and hard to save Slater School (to no avail) I learned a lot about how the city and the schools keep funding separate. I would think twice about giving the Board any more money until they show they make the right decisions.)"

No, it is actually connected in this case. To oversimlify-- Shoreline, the main center of commercial activity in Mtn View, is for all practical purposes a seperate city. The very substantial property tax collected in Shoreline (well, the portion that comes back from the state) can only be spent in Shoreline. The School Districts get nothing. Police, public works- zippo. Having Google in our town benefits the city's coffers not at all. Thats why every median strip in Shoreline is perfectly landscaped and your street and mine have potholes. Thats why class sizes are going up at the high school and middle schools. Thats why neighborhood parks have broken play structures for years before they get replaced.

And, yeah, Slater might still be open if the district had access to their share of those funds.

But, hey, enjoy that bike path. Good to know that cyclists can save 5 minutes of ride time (kinda like the people that circle the parking lot at the gym so they dont have to walk 30 paces to their workout)


Posted by Don Frances, Mountain View Voice Editor
on Oct 22, 2009 at 4:33 pm

Don Frances is a registered user.

Eric,

Lately we've been very interested in the topic of the Shoreline tax district and how that money is allocated. When it comes to contributions to local school districts, I think you may be on to something.

However, I'd like to clarify on your point about Google contributing to city coffers. It isn't zippo -- land leases bring millions into the city's general fund. Here's an excerpt on the subject from a Voice story from two years ago (Web Link):

This fiscal year, the city expects to receive $3.8 million from its leases with Google. Many of the company's buildings are on city-owned land, including its headquarters, the Googleplex and its buildings on Crittenden Lane. Google is also expected to pay the city another $5.2 million in property taxes, said Helen Ansted, an analyst for the city. The large tax bill may be because of huge swaths of property Google owns in the city but does not occupy.

Property taxes, however, go into a fund for projects in the North Bayshore area or to projects that benefit the area, such as the Highway 101 overpasses at Shoreline and Rengstorff avenues.

The city also believes Google employees contribute significantly to sales tax revenues.


Posted by eric, a resident of another community
on Oct 22, 2009 at 8:32 pm

Don-

Point taken on the land leases (are you certain, though, that this revenue isnt also part of the Shoreline district?). I was using Google as the generic Shoreline company (Google has nothing to do with this problem and I assume they dont really benefit from it). The sales tax arguement rings a bit thin to me. Neither revenue streams benefit the schools.

I stand by my statement on the property tax portion. The freeway work is certainly legit and shoreline-related, but that work is done-- a part of the long term development of Shoreline. If the same property tax revenue was in the city general fund, it could have still been directed to the overpasses. The property taxes are locked up in Shoreline, and are restricted monies not used for the most urgent needs of the city or its residents.

I am very glad to hear that you are interested in this topic!


Posted by Tristan, a resident of another community
on Oct 26, 2009 at 9:26 am

I agree, there may be a valid question about how the restrictions on Shoreline tax revenue may lead to priority inversions.

I do however take exception to your implied assertion that while freeway work to benefit car commuters is "legit" a much more modest project to benefit bicycle commuters is not. If this project makes bicycle commuting faster, more convenient, and safer it is in fact every bit as legitimate a public works project.


Posted by Steve Nelson, a resident of Cuesta Park
on Oct 27, 2009 at 8:37 am

Tristan, Eric and Don,
The Shoreline Community district is an interesting redevelopment district. It is "perpetual" and will never go away under current (state) law. Over 5 million dollars a year are redirected away from the school districts into this special district. (it gives back a little over a million). This tax district DOES DISTORT community investment. Money that also might be seamlessly incorporated into the general fund, instead is viewed as a gift or special allocation. If millions are spent on a bond for a Google hotel/conference center - it will tie up future property tax revenue from THIS district.

Contact the school boards AND ESPECIALLY our new Assemblyman - Paul Fong, who supposedly is a champion of education funding (3rd district - Foothill-DeAnza also looses property tax funds!)


Posted by eric, a resident of another community
on Oct 27, 2009 at 7:57 pm

Tristan, its a matter of the impact of public dollars. If you expand a business district, you need to improve the ability for cars to move in and out. An added bike underpass is certainly a nice thing (I may well use it). Consider, though, how many commuters it would serve. The Stevens Creek trail is an excellent corridor for bike commuters. It connects public transportation AND the bulk of the residents of MV easily with Shoreline. Public transport users wont take the new underpass- its harder to get to from Caltrain (ironically, their access would be better served by spending the money on fixing the pathetic bike path over Central at Shoreline!). Only a small corner of residential MV would have improved access. How much money per added bike commuter is reasonable? How much do you spend to shave a few miles off of the ride for cyclists that live in that corner of MV. How much would have to be spent to make Old Middlefield an even halfway reasonable bike corridor to make the new underpass viable?


Posted by dfb, a resident of Shoreline West
on Oct 30, 2009 at 12:33 am

I half agree with a lot of the comments about the Permanente Trail. Next, the city will need to focus on how to get more people to the trails. I would like to see bicycle boulevards and grade separation from autos. One reason I do not bike more is that it is dangerous along the major roads and too often drivers just do not pay attention.

I crossed the 101 using Rengstorff once -- insane. The 101 overcrossing tied to the Permanente trail should help a lot. Shoreline would be a good place for grade separation. A good place for a bicycle boulevard is Latham / Church. In which case, you can go from San Antonio Shopping Center to the Sunnyvale border. Another, to get people to use the Permanente trail is Sierra Vista. Davis provides many good examples about how to get encourage people to use bicycles. I hope Mountain View continues down the path to a bike friendly city.


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