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The Ugliest Street in Mountain View?

Original post made by Catherine on Feb 8, 2010

With all the talk of Mountain View 2030, new zoning and redevelopment, etc., I'd like to set up an informal poll...

What street in Mountain View is the most unattractive? And why? (I have my own opinion, but will wait to express it lest I skew the results)

Comments (46)

Posted by reader, a resident of Waverly Park
on Feb 8, 2010 at 12:05 pm

that's easy....El Camino Real

take a look at the enormous cracked sidewalks that have been lifted up by trees and in need of repair, between 237/Grant and about Castro Street. who needs a BMX park when you can have fun riding on the sidewalks of MV?

the long-abandoned and boarded up Foster Freeze property comes to mind.


Posted by Nick, a resident of another community
on Feb 8, 2010 at 1:35 pm

Big Burger Freeze (the old Foster Freeze) is such a mystery. Why did it close? Why did it become "Big Burger" Freeze but keep using Foster Freeze's menus and napkins? Why has it remained abandoned for over a decade...

But back to the original question - there are parts of El Camino that are pretty sad by my vote goes to San Antonio Road between El Camino and Central.

-Wide, busy street.
-Narrow sidewalks.
-Few street trees
-Trees that exist are tiny
-Medians are not landscaped
-Lined only by the parking lots of strip malls.


Posted by Voice of Reason, a resident of Blossom Valley
on Feb 8, 2010 at 4:21 pm

It's probably some street that few people ever see like Santa Rosa Road ( Web Link ) which is the back of a bunch of commercial buildings where SUVs are always parking in the red zones.


Posted by also, a resident of Blossom Valley
on Feb 8, 2010 at 4:25 pm

Another bad one is Fairchild Dr. next to 101.


Posted by Thom, a resident of Shoreline West
on Feb 8, 2010 at 5:06 pm

I agree with El Camino. Not just the deserted Foster Freeze but all the blind spots from the clustered buildings. The deserted auto dealerships near Pamela also come to mind. Eye sores on El Camino and blind spots make it a place to improve.


Posted by Margaret, a resident of Jackson Park
on Feb 8, 2010 at 9:34 pm

Hey, Voice Of Reason, pick an ugly street in your own neighborhood. I'm sure there some street with backs of buildings and SUVs closer to where you live that you could name.

Margaret-who-lives-around-the-corner-from-Santa-Rosa-Street-and-who-can-walk-downtown-in-one-minute-and-get-to-a-community-garden-and-to-Stevens-Creek-Trail.

('Willowgate' neighborhood isn't listed)


Posted by Soreeyes, a resident of Sylvan Park
on Feb 9, 2010 at 2:23 am

H....... El Camino, but the ugliness goes way beyond Mtn. View. That thing is ugly from Santa Clara all the way up the Peninsula. Ugly, inefficient, neglected, poorly zoned. And it's even named after the ugliest car ever made, or is it vice versa?


Posted by Dee, a resident of North Whisman
on Feb 9, 2010 at 9:58 am

El Camino


Posted by Cee, a resident of North Whisman
on Feb 9, 2010 at 3:00 pm

I would say Moffett Blvd. between Central Expressway and Middlefield Rd.


Posted by NeHi, a resident of Cuesta Park
on Feb 9, 2010 at 5:19 pm

I agree that El Camino is less that attractive between El Monte and Grant but...

It is a remnant of an earlier time and is an area which still has a concentration of business making it a convenient neighborhood to which many people can walk.

You can get ice cream, many kinds of ethnic food, your car repaired or smogged, hardware, paint and supplies, furniture repair, car stereos installed, gasoline, some groceries and liquors, motels, appliances, car rentals, auto parts... Go to Google maps and zero in and be amazed and the number of businesses. And we have lost so many more over the years.

There are not many areas in North County where there are so many diverse businesses in a small area.

Other cities have to drive miles to get the same things we can walk to.

Some of these businesses are there because the buildings are old and the rents are modest; many have left when rents were raised.

And yes, most are not "pretty"; perhaps that is why the businesses can exist here. We could "renew" the area and drive a lot of the businesses away so we could drive to what we now walk to or get with one trip.

This is simply a statement, not a solution to anything. Perhaps it should be a challenge to me as well as to you; how do we improve the overall appearance of the area without losing the variety that remains in the area?


Posted by Sid, a resident of Rex Manor
on Feb 9, 2010 at 5:32 pm

I'd say Castro Street downtown where all those taxpayers' dollars were spent so everyone could feel good about downtown. I never go there.


Posted by new resident, a resident of Old Mountain View
on Feb 9, 2010 at 5:48 pm

El Camino! Particularly the stretch that includes a gun shop, a liquor store, the Alibi (bar?), tatoo parlor, porn video shop and all sorts of other random unattractive businesses to have in the midst of town -- particularly odd that those businesses are pretty near the middle school.

I do like the smaller, older businesses like the hardware store, baskin robbins and quirky restaurants -- keep those but do something about the other places.


Posted by Dude, a resident of Whisman Station
on Feb 9, 2010 at 5:57 pm

Uh... the porn shop is there because it's a thriving business for the good people of Mountain View... particularly with V-Day coming up!


Posted by Resident, a resident of Whisman Station
on Feb 9, 2010 at 6:30 pm

1)El Camino
2) Moffett Blvd. (between Alma & Middlefield)


Posted by Catherine, a resident of Willowgate
on Feb 9, 2010 at 9:59 pm

Ha! "El Camino Real...take a look at the enormous cracked sidewalks that have been lifted up by trees and in need of repair, between 237/Grant and about Castro Street. who needs a BMX park when you can have fun riding on the sidewalks of MV?"

I had Moffett Blvd in mind between Central and Middlefield. But you're right, too!


Posted by cus, a resident of North Whisman
on Feb 9, 2010 at 10:33 pm

Dana Street, with the small house on the corner that says a door is not just a door written on the door!
Strange corner indeed


Posted by Catherine, a resident of Willowgate
on Feb 10, 2010 at 8:00 am

Oh, and let me just say that I like "quirk" - those odd little things that make Mountain View the Mountain View we know and love (as opposed to Palo Alto). I like the mural on Moffett. I like the older, weird buildings on El Camino.

What I'm not a huge fan of are burned out and/or boarded up buildings.

Although the mystery of the Foster Freeze is intriguing...


Posted by sEaN, a resident of Sylvan Park
on Feb 10, 2010 at 12:29 pm

El Camino! my friend i work with (los gatos resident) said one day "who would want to live in MV?, have you driven down el camino? looks like s*it". i took offense to it but driving home that day (El Monte to Grant) i took notice and paid a ton of attention and could do nothing except agree! MV is a great city and i take pride living here but truth be told its the ugliest! you see the sign by 85 that says historic El Camino Real.? makes me laugh.

its simple really, all the out of biz car dealerships, boarded up buildings, the black van that have been sitting in front of fatty zone with a huge joint on the side? come on! porn stores with creepy dudes always smoking outside, the gun shop, oh lets def not forget Austins! what a dump that has turned into. the graffiti, the dude with the 2 dogs that pan handles for ever at the stores < by the way i saw him kick the Labadore one day ..guy is scum! sidewalks are messed up, lots of new graffiti < the city cleans up the big stuff but neglects all the other graffiti. what ever i laughed when i read the question, i immediatley said el camino in my head as a joke, but then saw all the responses and agree 100%.nice topic!


Posted by sEaN, a resident of Sylvan Park
on Feb 10, 2010 at 12:39 pm

as far as Foster Freeze i wondered that myself, this is what i found:

Some of the company's first locations in California included Sunnyvale, Mountain View, and Palo Alto. In its humble beginnings it was bigger than McDonald's, Del Taco, and other chains. The shelf life of the ice cream made expansion challenging. The mixture only lasts 17 days and that made it difficult to transport on a regular basis. That is why the chain has been limited to California and is a contributing factor that has resulted in many store closures including some of the original locations. In 1994 El Pollo Loco enacted a master franchise contract with Foster's Freeze and owns all buildings and rights.


they must not care about that location, how long has El Pollo Loco been in sunnyvale? and for some of the more senior residents was it about in 1994 when the foster freeze began changing? this would make sense then.ive been living and working here 9 years and have always wondered.


Posted by Steve, a resident of Old Mountain View
on Feb 10, 2010 at 2:04 pm

Agreed El Camino is a blight,
Agreed San Antonio is horrible (will it still be after all the construction)

But, the one I drive down the most that I find really depressing is California St. from Escuela to Ortega. Row after row of dilapidated apartment buildings. Poor on-street parking, zero walk ability.

Oh, dare I even mention Old Middlefield Way? Yuk. I'm always amazed that this thing has it's own offramp. Maybe that's why it's so horrible.


Posted by old MV neighbor, a resident of Old Mountain View
on Feb 10, 2010 at 2:19 pm

regarding:

"Dana Street, with the small house on the corner that says a door is not just a door written on the door!
Strange corner indeed"

this is the mayor's house - her husband painted the door


Posted by Frances, a resident of Old Mountain View
on Feb 10, 2010 at 4:44 pm

Definitely El Camino. In about a mile you have...

- a porn shop
- a smoke shop
- a tattoo parlor
- a bartending/casino dealing school
- a gun shop
- a "massage parlor"
- a boarded up lot sometimes full of new cars (they razed Harry's Hofbrau for THAT?)
- empty used car lots
- the boarded up Foster's Freeze (closed in 2000!)
- the site at El Camino/Castro where the dry cleaners burned down
- the strange house near FJ&Ls that used to have elaborate fountains in front
- the abandoned Austin's
- at least 10 or 15 abandoned store fronts...

and more, I could go on and on. Honestly, it leaves a bad impression of the city. I'd love to see the whole thing razed and rebuilt.


Posted by @ Sid, a resident of Rex Manor
on Feb 10, 2010 at 5:13 pm

The downtown is lovely...you should at least go there and try it. There are lots of great things! And it is definitely not unattractive


Posted by sEaN, a resident of Sylvan Park
on Feb 10, 2010 at 5:27 pm

Frances, where is the massage parlor? you also forgot to mention the crappy buildings next to Domino's and the ones by Togo also. and that sleezy motel by taco bell is disgusting.


Posted by Frances, a resident of Old Mountain View
on Feb 10, 2010 at 5:36 pm

sEaN, the one by Western Appliance, where Jerry Rice was arrested with a hooker. At the time I lived a block away. Bleh. I am sure there are more, a few years ago there was one on El Camino in Los Altos that was busted as well (near Jordan Ave).

And you're right, the buildings by Domino's are particularly ugly and run down. And since you mentioned Togo's, there is also the abandoned construction site there where Adobe Animal Hospital was supposed to be building a new site. I now see they are moving into the old Elephant Pharm in Los Altos instead. The construction site is now just a fenced up hole in the ground.


Posted by rad, a resident of Cuesta Park
on Feb 10, 2010 at 5:47 pm

I agree that El Camino is an eyesore. It is embarrassing to take out of town relatives down this street. As to Sean's comment about the guy who panhandles with his two dogs, our family saw him running across El Camino Real one morning with both his hands carrying full plastic bags of food. This man is not disabled and he makes a good living off of well intentioned Mtn View citizens.


Posted by DCS, a resident of Old Mountain View
on Feb 10, 2010 at 10:28 pm

I agree with Steve:

But, the one I drive down the most that I find really depressing is California St. from Escuela to Ortega. Row after row of dilapidated apartment buildings. Poor on-street parking, zero walk ability.


Posted by Pretty, a resident of Sylvan Park
on Feb 11, 2010 at 4:01 am

Ok we heard about the worst, now I'd like to hear the most beautiful streets in Mountain View. What streets can be an example for the ugly ones to look to for inspiration?


Posted by sEaN, a resident of Sylvan Park
on Feb 11, 2010 at 12:06 pm

no bias, but imo the sylvan park area is the nicest, all the way to Landels. Mountain View is a great community/city and finding this website makes me appreciate the city more. it would be nice see a little more attention and projects going on, but like previously stated down town castro street looks amazing! and maybe all this other stuff is next!


Posted by DC, a resident of Monta Loma
on Feb 11, 2010 at 2:43 pm

My vote for ugliest street would have to be Old Middlefield Way, followed by Independence


Posted by GG, a resident of Willowgate
on Feb 11, 2010 at 3:14 pm

Wow! So much ugliness to choose from. I guess it has to be a toss up between the four corners at San Antonio & El Camino ( an embarassment), followed by Moffett between Central and Middlfield(a doggone shame)


Posted by jane, a resident of North Whisman
on Feb 11, 2010 at 3:40 pm

I love the Dana Street Corner house and am glad to live in a town where we can paint our homes the color we want and add art and quirky things - but everyone is entitled to their definition of ugly :)


Posted by Yonatan, a resident of Old Mountain View
on Feb 12, 2010 at 8:23 am

"Dana Street, with the small house on the corner that says a door is not just a door written on the door!"

That was done because that door is not used and we were sick of people coming by and knocking on it expecting someone to answer.


Posted by Jack, a resident of Old Mountain View
on Feb 12, 2010 at 8:23 am

I would have to say Moffett Blvd.


Posted by Tony, a resident of The Crossings
on Feb 12, 2010 at 8:49 am

i don't think there's a problem with fatty zone and the gun vault or anything just the amazing amount of pot holes you have to drive over on El Camino. Fix the street not the shops around it.


Posted by Thom, a resident of Shoreline West
on Feb 12, 2010 at 3:32 pm

"the abandoned Austin's"

Side note on this one. KFC was looking to remodel their current location on El Camino near Castro and MV city council denied them the right. KFC looked into buying the property where the old Wagon Wheel restaurant used to be at Middlefield and Whisman...again KFC was turned down because KFC wanted to install a drive through, but the city told them it would cause traffic problems. Then KFC made a bid to move into the old Austin place. Again, they were turned away ny the city because again, they might cause traffic issues and wouldn't allow KFC a drive through convienance.

Moffett Blvd was just redone twice. Please don't let the contractor try a third time. :)


Posted by ss, a resident of Cuernavaca
on Feb 13, 2010 at 10:01 am

In terms of visual appeal I vote Old Middlefield, Moffett Blvd and then El Camino.

However for the most important investment with the most impact then definitely El Camino. We need to improve El Camino first since that's the artery through our city, the first impression of the city, the most used street by residents and guests.

Wasn't there a Grand Boulevard Initiative for El Camino? What happened to that? There was a Voice article where Mtn View signed this initiative in 2007 so has anything been done for Mtn View's section of El Camino since?


Posted by Dave, a resident of North Whisman
on Feb 13, 2010 at 3:12 pm

National Ave., hands down. This one-block street has some truly ugly examples of '50s/'60s era "architecture", much of which has been been abandoned, and fenced off, for years.

Its only virtue is that it's so out of the way that it's easy to avoid (unlike ECR).


Posted by MV Resident, a resident of Jackson Park
on Feb 13, 2010 at 3:49 pm

I actually live right off of Moffett Blvd and I say that it's a tossup between Moffett (between Central Expwy and Middlefield) and El Camino Real.

Moffett (east of Jackson Park) isn't a bad neighborhood, but there is zero charm on that short stretch. The abandoned bar (the pink building) and the former A&W (the last incarnation was a Pilipino restaurant). Heck, the old St. James Infirmary had more local charm than the corporate Hampton Inn that took its place.


Posted by Old Mtn View resident, a resident of Old Mountain View
on Feb 14, 2010 at 12:45 pm

The rotting cardboard and rotting straw bales on the Loreto Street lawn.


Posted by JP, a resident of North Whisman
on Feb 15, 2010 at 1:47 pm

Evandale, Leong, Walker Drive


Posted by mom, a resident of Old Mountain View
on Feb 15, 2010 at 3:12 pm

hands down leong in front of the old Denney"s


Posted by D Perman, a resident of Willowgate
on Feb 16, 2010 at 2:29 pm

Moffett Blvd between Middlefield and Central takes that honor.

There is a burnt-out fast food joint, a derelict dive bar/dumping ground, weeds, junked cars, numerous signage and code violations that the city can't be bothered with, all in two blocks.

And this on one of the main approaches to lovely downtown Castro. Pity there is one law for downtown and another for the rest of us.


Posted by Voice of Reason, a resident of Blossom Valley
on Feb 21, 2010 at 2:00 pm

I did have a walk on National and it is pretty awful right now. No sidewalks even. But the major building project at the corner of Fairchild will probably help a lot.


Posted by Carlos, a resident of Castro City
on Mar 16, 2010 at 5:12 pm

The old abandoned Fosters freeze is weird and indeed an intriguing mystery. It's not really boarded up and you can still see all the ice cream and soda machines in there. Even the neon open signs are still hanging on the windows. To think that it's been like this for ten years is amazing!


Posted by CS/Stierlin Rd, a resident of Jackson Park
on Sep 23, 2011 at 11:17 am

I don't have any complaints around the Jackson Park area. There are a lot of area's to walk a dog, a cool mixture of older homes mixed I with newer developments. Between Central and Moffett isn't even "that" bad. There is an old abandoned Philipino restaurant surrounded by a chain link fence; that could be torn down/rebuilt into something but the rest is just auto repair shops and maybe 1 or 2 abandoned buildings. It's not the urban wasteland that some commenter's above mention. I would vote for the stretch of el camino starting at Fatty's and ending around San Antonio. Even that's not as bad as certain stretches of southern Cal el camino.


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