Report: Minton's project would decrease traffic Around Town, posted by Editor, Mountain View Voice Online, on Jan 20, 2010 at 4:25 pm
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.
Read the full story here Web Link posted Wednesday, January 20, 2010, 4:03 PM
Posted by The Nimby's won't buy it, a resident of the Old Mountain View neighborhood, on Jan 20, 2010 at 4:25 pm
Somehow this report will not be taken as credible by the neighborhood nimby's.
In addition, Robert Cox should know better than have himself listed as the treasurer of the OMVNA Steering Committee when commenting and giving quotes on articles related to the Minton's project as the OMVNA has no official position. It should have read: "Robert Cox, member of MiRNA..."
Purposely listing himself as the treasurer of OMVNA in this case is clearly an attempt to once again have the OMVNA name used in opposition of the project. Shady at best...
Posted by Promethis on Drugs, a resident of another community, on Jan 20, 2010 at 5:30 pm
The proposed project would redevelop an area bounded by Evelyn Avenue, Bush Street and Villa Street in the City of Mountain View, from the existing hardware store and office uses, to a
213-unit residential complex. A new public street adjacent to the east of the development would also be constructed as part of the project which would provide access to the project located about mid-way along this new street. The proposed project would generate 19 fewer trips during the AM peak hour and 59 fewer trips during the PM peak hour. In view of its close proximity to public transit facilities, a 9 percent reduction was applied to the expected trips
generated by the proposed redevelopment. Since this project reduces the number of net trips in the study area, it would not have an adverse impact on the surrounding roadway network under both the Background and Cumulative conditions as determined by this study. No intersection mitigation measures are necessary with the proposed project.
and now for some Koolaid for you all
In view of its close proximity to public transit facilities, a 9 percent reduction was applied to the expected trips generated by the proposed redevelopment.
The BS rational reduction is applied as notional without facts to contain such a statement.
Then again for safety!
The proposed one entry/exit driveway into the parking garage is found to be sufficient, safe and will not result in any congestion on the new public street.The project has adequate emergency accesses for its residents and would not create an operational safety hazard environment in the area.
I cannot wait for the emergency to take place as The above is complete garbage in garbage out analysis.
Now for the kick to the soft area for a painfull effect
SIGNAL WARRANT DISCLAIMER
This peak hour signal warrant analysis should be considered solely as an "indicator" of the likelihood of an unsignalized intersection warranting a traffic signal in the future. Intersections that exceed this warrant are probably more likely to meet one or more of the other volume based signal warrant (such as the 4-hour or 8-hour warrants). The peak hour warrant analysis in this report is not intended to replace a rigorous and complete traffic signal warrant analysis by the responsible jurisdiction. Consideration of the other signal warrants, which is beyond the scope of this software, may yield different results.
Posted by MarieH, a resident of the Monta Loma neighborhood, on Jan 20, 2010 at 5:41 pm
Unless ALL the units to be built on the Minton property are studios or one bedrooms, there should be at least 2 parking spots per unit. People buy and keep multiple cars, even when they use public transit. People share their units with friends and relatives, each of whom should be expected to have at least one car. A married couple living in a one-bedroom can be expected to have two vehicles.
I am President of an HOA here in Mountain View and parking space within the complex -- and on the street -- always has been a problem. We had one owner who had one roommate. Together, they owned five vehicles. It was a constant battle to limit them to the two they were allowed to keep on the property.
Connting trips is not the same thing as counting the numbers of vehicles people choose to own and keep. The guy across the street from me shares 7 cars with his wife. (I own one small car, BTW.)
There may not be traffic problems with 1.5 parking spaces per unit, but experience tells me there will be parking and vehicle storage problems. I personally am tired of seeing high density dwellings built with inadequate accommodation for the inevitable large numbers of vehicles people bring with them.
Posted by Legal Action Required, a resident of the Old Mountain View neighborhood, on Jan 20, 2010 at 6:28 pm
new age mathamatics: when you need to outright lie you calculate density to make it appear to be a small change:
In addition to the project site, the Evelyn Avenue Corridor Precise Plan designates the properties
immediately adjacent to the site as Medium Density Residential. As shown in Figure 8, the existing
Mintonís Lane development, immediately west of the site across Bush Street, is developed at a density
of 13.8 dwelling units per acre (33 units on 2.4 acres). The Classic Communities property immediately
east of the site, although currently developed with commercial and industrial uses, is proposed for
residential uses, at a density of 16.8 dwelling units per acre (proposed 67 units on 3.98 acres). The
combined residential density of these two properties, along with development of the proposed project,
which proposes a density of 61 dwelling units per acre, would result in an average residential density
of approximately 30.5 dwelling units per acre along West Evelyn Avenue. This is an increase of 5
dwelling units per acre overall.
Then again change city code to support the project and avoid making the study a EIR and the situation cannot be mitigated.
The Cityís General Plan specifies that high density housing is appropriate in areas that are close to
transit, shopping, and public facilities. Specifically, General Plan Policy 44, Action 44.a encourages
development of high density residential projects along major transit lines and near existing transit
stations. In addition, the proposed project supports the intent of the General Plan to provide access to
alternative forms of transportation within the City, including transit, bicycle, and pedestrian routes. A
major goal of the Evelyn Avenue Corridor Precise Plan is to provide for and coordinate new residential
development at densities that support Downtown businesses and transit use. The proposed project
would develop high density housing approximately two blocks east of the Downtown Transit Station,
which is served by Caltrain and VTA. The Cityís Downtown, which provides a range of goods,
services, and employment, is located approximately three blocks west of the site.
again all notion statements and smoke and mirror tricks.
Although the proposed project would require amendments to the existing General Plan and zoning for
the site, the proposed project would generally be consistent with the intent of the General Plan and
Evelyn Avenue Corridor Precise Plan. Therefore, the project would not conflict with any land use
plan, policy, or regulation adopted for the purpose of avoiding or mitigating an environmental effect.
1+2 = 1 by the new age math the report uses.
For the folks that do not support the project reject the report on process alone as the initial study is corrupt and does not consider stakeholder inputs, the report is not factual and does not represent the population of MV. Reject and demand an EIR be generated as your input to Nancy and the EPC. Short of this the city is not required to take public inputs and address concerns unless Judical action is taking after notice of determination is filed with the county and state. The must allow time for appeal and cannot proceed until the court makes its ruling.
Posted by Robert Cox, a resident of the Old Mountain View neighborhood, on Jan 21, 2010 at 8:06 am
Minton's Development Will NOT Reduce Traffic
Building the Prometheus proposed project on the Minton's site will not reduce traffic, but reading through "Appendix D: Traffic Analysis" will tell you why the Mitigated Negative Declaration (environmental report) commissioned by the city and paid for by Prometheus says it will.
On page 3-2, we read "Average trip generation rates from the Institute of Transportation Engineers Trip Generation Manual
were used for determining the number of trips for both current and future land use". In particular, numbers of trips for a typical "Apartment" were compared to that of a typical "Building Material and Lumber Store", and "Office", and it was concluded that since a typical apartment generates fewer trips that a typical material and lumber and office together, there will be fewer trips in and out of the area once the new project is complete.
Anyone going over to Minton's can see the traffic going in and out of the proposed redevelopment site is far less than that of a bustling Home Depot or Orchard Supply Hardware store. One member of the neighborhood recently referred to it as a "ghost town".
I am disappointed that those who wrote the report used such tabular data rather than simply standing there and counting the cars that went in and out of the complex for one or two days. They actually did count cars to gather data for the parking study, so why not for the traffic study? Clearly they would not have reached the same conclusion had they done so.
-- Robert Cox (MiRNA Coordinator and OMVNA Secretary)
Posted by Political Insider, a resident of the Sylvan Park neighborhood, on Jan 21, 2010 at 9:23 am
As Mr. Cox notes above, these studies always compare one full use versus another full use, which is why housing always reduces traffic/parking when compared to other uses. The same result would have occurred if the proposed site were empty but zoned commercial. (e.g. HP/Mayfield site) What's reasonable here? The owners could always redevelop more retail/commercial under the current zoning and increase traffic. The proposed project could end up with fewer cars than expected. As to parking, the time limits are effective and were observed.
Will be interesting to see how the no-growthers on council try to dismiss this report.
Posted by Dave, a resident of the Old Mountain View neighborhood, on Jan 21, 2010 at 10:14 am
Of course the naysayers reject this report out-of-hand. Nothing can be said that counters their objections. Their position is the only correct position. Their misinformation is the only acceptable misinformation. Their lies are truth. That's just the way it is and the rest of us logical, intelligent, free-thinkers be damned.
Posted by Mike R, a resident of the Old Mountain View neighborhood, on Jan 21, 2010 at 12:37 pm
To Political Insider -
Section 4 Conclusion of Appendex D says that the project would generate "fewer trips" than the "existing hardware store and office uses". But you're saying that it can only conclude that that the proposed project would generate fewer trips than full-use of the current zoning?
The problem is that people read the conclusion and think there would be less traffic than today. Look at the headline of this article.
p.s. Even if they do all the studies this way - the predicted traffic flow numbers (calculated from predicted traffic counts based on the percentage difference between existing and predicted trips) are not valid since the current traffic counts are not based on the current full-use trip count.
Posted by dennis, a resident of the Martens-Carmelita neighborhood, on Jan 21, 2010 at 3:39 pm
I live in a townhouse development with 17 units and 3 parking spaces per unit (2 in garage & 1 open). One of our biggest problems is parking as most homes have 2 and some 4 vehicles. The City agreement to 1.5 parking spaces per home at this development because it is near downtown and transit is misguided at best; stick to 2.5/unit.
It is very sad that MV is being turned into a high density urban environment.
My experience is that Minton's generates very little traffic and I cannot believe that the planned large number of new residents will generate less traffic.
Posted by JMiller, a resident of the Old Mountain View neighborhood, on Jan 21, 2010 at 4:16 pm
I am embarrassed for the city of Mountain View. I don't do scientific studies but I do watch and observe what is going on around my home and neighborhood. I have lived on Minton Lane, across the street from Minton Lumber and site of the proposed development for 13 years. There has never been available on street parking during the day until spring/summer 2009. At about that time, the city began its review of the parking situation in this neighborhood and amazingly, enforcement was increased resulting in many vehicles with tickets. No surprise, in a short period of time, daytime parking was available as drivers were more reticent to park where they would receive a ticket! One wonders what it will look like in a year or so when the city no longer has an agenda relative to it. I also see the Minton parking lot every single day. It typically stands empty except for a few customers and company cars/trucks. Its use does not seem to begin to be reflected in the numbers presented in this report. I understand the city's desire for the revenues that will come with the new apartment building. What I don't understand is how they can hold their heads up when they present us with "data" like this.
Posted by j.cooper, a resident of the Waverly Park neighborhood, on Jan 21, 2010 at 5:46 pm
The assumption that the future residents would have so many cars is old fashion thinking. More and more people are reducing the number of cars they have, too expensive, not green. People are buying smaller cars. Who would thought? This is the new reality. Those against the project are using "fear" to back up their arguments. They should go to SF, and then they'll see what not enough parking is all about. Housing withour enough garage space, not 1.5 per unit.
Get real people. This is a good oppotunity to build housing near downtown and transportation. It will bring much more income to our City than the "Ghost Town", Mintons. Good for local businesses.
Perhaps the City Council will reconsider their position on a downtown market when more residents live in the downtown area. Or is that too far too walk for those nay-sayers?
Posted by NeHi, a resident of the Cuesta Park neighborhood, on Jan 21, 2010 at 5:56 pm
If the proposed development would reduce traffic [where would it reduce it?] by 33%, how dense would the development need to be to reduce traffic to zero?? [just wondering].
I doubt that there would be a reduction in traffic; it would be a redistribution. The destinations would be elsewhere but still thru Mtn. View. It may be to adjoining cities; would this help tax revenues??
I used to use Evelyn to get to Central Expy but the traffic lights have discouraged me. Would the 33% reduction of traffic justify removing some of the signals?? [They can be reused.]
Posted by Political Insider, a resident of the Sylvan Park neighborhood, on Jan 21, 2010 at 9:51 pm
The report is very clear on how the reduction is determined (though i think two of the table titles are switched). The comparison is based on predicted not actual use. It is a standard approach. Suppose Mintons shuts down. Should we compare zero use versus the proposed use? As I said above, housing projects generally have lower traffic projections when compared to other uses.
As noted above, when parking is free with no time limits, it gets abused by the neighborhood. For an HOA member to complain is disingenuous since the parking is private and under control of the HOA.
Posted by Luke D, a resident of the Old Mountain View neighborhood, on Jan 22, 2010 at 12:41 pm
@ Moss beach,
Your rhetoric is so typical. Concerned about "those kinds of people", yes "renters"...which by the way there are rentals in the neighborhood already... are they crime ridden with panhandlers and bums hanging out? Is the site crime ridden now with transit bums etc. panhandling? I think that is how it will look if Minton's shuts down and nothing is built.
I think the plans look great. I think this will help the downtown stay active and growing and it will be great for those that commute via train and don't want to have to own a car or use it all the time.
Posted by Don Frances, Mountain View Voice Editor, on Jan 22, 2010 at 3:40 pm Don Frances is a member (registered user) of Mountain View Online
Daniel and I thought a clarification was in order regarding the way in which Aecom arrived at its conclusions in this report, and so we updated the first few paragraphs of the online version of this story.
Specifically, the firm compared a theoretical use of the Minton's and nearby commercial properties, not the actual current use, to the predicted traffic generated by the proposed development.
Some are saying that this makes the report misleading. However, I submit that it's equally misleading to look only at the current traffic generated by Minton's, simply because there's no way the situation will stay like that for long. It is too much for neighbors to expect that they will live next to a half-dead lumber yard forever -- eventually, something else will go there. So it is arguably more reasonable to compare a thriving commercial space, even a theoretical one, to the proposed housing.
Posted by Mike R, a resident of the Old Mountain View neighborhood, on Jan 22, 2010 at 3:48 pm
Political Insider -
> The comparison is based on predicted not actual use.
The existing traffic flow numbers are generated from actual traffic counts (see Section 2.2 - quoted below), and the predicted traffic flow is computed by extrapolating from the actual traffic counts as though they were full-use traffic count numbers. That is the fault.
The result is that the existing full-use traffic counts would be higher than the actual traffic counts, thus the projected full-use traffic counts would be higher, and the generated projected traffic flows would be worse.
"Traffic counts were conducted at the 10 study intersections during the AM (7:00-9:00) and PM
(4:00-6:00) peak hours. Figure 2-1 and Figure 2-2 show the intersection geometry and existing
traffic volumes respectively. These intersections were analyzed using the TRAFFIX software
and the performance of each intersection is presented in Table 2-1."
Posted by Political Insider, a resident of the Sylvan Park neighborhood, on Jan 22, 2010 at 5:24 pm
I was only referring to the projected traffic counts generated at the project site. I would not use the term theoretical (as Mr Frances does) but prefer projected. The projected trips for both uses are based on statistical averages. You are correct that once these numbers are determined, they are added to actual traffic counts in the surrounding neighborhood.
People can disagree with the approach but as noted above it doesn't seem useful to compare a developed project with an unde-utilized piece of land.
Posted by Bob, a resident of the Old Mountain View neighborhood, on Jan 22, 2010 at 6:22 pm
It's very interesting that comments from 'Dave', 'Nimby's won't buy it' and others are labeling all who oppose the Prometheus project, as proposed, as liars, unintelligent and non-'free-thinkers' (whatever that means).
From my conversations with people in the neighborhood, most people only want the city to keep the project within the scope of the precise plan. I haven't heard anyone that is against building on the site. It's the high density that is being opposed.
Scaling the project back to meet the density level that was already determined by the city to be appropriate for the area is not that radical of an idea, and certainly not one that should cause people to accuse each other of being anti-growth, anti-business, or against the environment.
We all live in Mountain View because we love the character of our city and many of us don't want to see it jeopardized only to maximize a developers profit margin. We already have one of the highest density levels of any city on the peninsula, so perhaps those that feel that density equals responsibility can take satisfaction with that.
Posted by SoundThinker, a resident of the Old Mountain View neighborhood, on Jan 24, 2010 at 12:07 am
Bob is correct. The Precise Plan density figures for that area are already high-density. Prometheus project is trying to create an ultra-high density area. Do we really want to turn Mountain View into a concrete jungle?
Posted by Slim, a resident of the North Whisman neighborhood, on Jan 24, 2010 at 8:10 am
I say build it, and then build the elevated 4-track parapet for the CAHSRA, and then ask yourself you created such a mess, and then try to find that boondoggle replica of the old train station they built.
Low density housing should be built, perhaps with a mixture of retail. Why is this city always trying to think of people who don't even live here yet. And as far as I can tell, in this project they will all be renters. How does that inspire home ownership and community bonds building? This is all about corporate greed and the city trying to find a way to continue its fat retirement package scam.
Posted by Really?, a resident of the Old Mountain View neighborhood, on Jan 24, 2010 at 10:34 pm
@SoundThinker - The Precise Plan density figures for that area are already high-density, and this proposal is "ultra-high density"? Have you ever lived anywhere else? Have you ever even walked down Castro Street to see Park Place at Church & Castro? That's nearly 60 units to the acre and one of the most pleasant developments in the entire downtown area.
@Slim - Why is this city always trying to think of people who don't even live here yet? Perhaps because Google and other companies -- who are the economic lifeblood of our city -- need to be able to attract young knowledge workers, and for young knowledge workers to be able to live in Mountain View, you need to have a decent range of housing options -- including rentals. Shut off the housing supply growth completely, and eventually you may just succeed in chasing Google out of town to a place that actually provides housing for the workers in its businesses.
@Bob - I like how you object to the labeling of the opponents of the Prometheus project, yet in the same post you essentially label Prometheus as "another of those greedy developers" whose only reason for proposing a moderate increase in density from the Precise Plan could be to maximize their profit margin. I guess it never occurs to you that some developers, and some supporters of a project, might actually believe that higher housing densities are justifiable in terms of using our land resources wisely, minimizing our carbon footprint, or providing a range of housing options in our city. If you want to avoid labeling, let's avoid *all* labels of the proponents and opponents of the project.
Posted by Bob, a resident of the Old Mountain View neighborhood, on Jan 24, 2010 at 11:18 pm
'Really?' - "another Greedy Developer" is your choice of words, not mine, but if the shoe fits....
It also seems to me that Mtn. View does offer a very wide range of housing options already, does it not? And if the goal is to provide housing to Google, it seems that proximity to transit is not essential. There is a lot of land on the bay side of 101 that could be developed into ultra-high density and put thousands of Google workers within walking distance of work. Talk about reducing carbon footprints!
Posted by Thom, a resident of the Shoreline West neighborhood, on Jan 25, 2010 at 4:41 pm
This City needs Minton's. Not to mention it's been around since 1911 helping the community. Minton's has been a long time supporter of youth sports in the community. Stop catering to corporations that do not support the community.
Posted by Thom, a resident of the Shoreline West neighborhood, on Jan 25, 2010 at 4:47 pm
I've lived in Mountain View for 40+ years and active in community volunteering. I have a great education and working background. I've also had to sommute to Fremnt, then Milpitas to get to work. Local business, if that's how they want us to look at them need to hire local people. Yes, another story, but I have been out of work for 10 Month's, and applied to most of the local corporations (including Google) only to be ignored and not offered as much as an interview. That is why I have no sympathy for places like Google. Let them keep importing non loclas and let them commute.
Posted by Mike R, a resident of the Old Mountain View neighborhood, on Jan 25, 2010 at 9:59 pm
Political Insider -
The projected numbers were computed by assuming that the actual traffic counts were generated by the theoretical full-use trip-counts, and then adjusting them by the change in trip-counts due to the development. Since the assumption is incorrect, the adjusted trip-counts are incorrect and the resulting computed traffic flows are incorrect.
Posted by Political Insider, a resident of the Sylvan Park neighborhood, on Jan 28, 2010 at 11:30 pm
Since the assumption is incorrect, the adjusted trip-counts are incorrect and the resulting computed traffic flows are incorrect.
Even incorrect assumptions can provide useful information. (ever use a map) They are projections for comparing 2 alternatives. It doesn't make sense to compare the current under-utilized count with an assumed projected count. One could claim any assumption is incorrect and make no conclusion about the project.
Posted by Political Insider, a resident of the Sylvan Park neighborhood, on Jan 31, 2010 at 4:03 pm
From Max Hauser,
"Projected trip data for the _redevelopment_ are unavoidably, like the redevelopment itself, theoretical."
it;s not necessarily unavoidable. If the objection is the use of theoretical data, why not object to the projected trip data for the apartments? Perhaps they are also over stated and the project will be as poorly used as the current Minton site.
"I also found no clear explanation of _why_ this study employed theoretical data solely for the existing site"
A legal constraint. I am sure MV staff and the consultants will address this issue and why you have to compare 2 reasonable uses.
"Political Insider's," and some other comments, miss the whole point of my analysis. The issue is not, at all, that the Report used trip data for a hypotheticsl "Building Material & Lumber Store" of Minton's floor area. Rather, the problem is that after creating that number, the Report reuses it in various upshots, phrased as if it were actual current traffic -- employing the same language that the report uses elsewhere for numbers that ARE actual current measurements. That has clearly misled many casual readers of the report, and it led to a misleading Voice headline.
The upshots and summaries do NOT make clear that the study compared projected redevelopment traffic with projected traffic at an "alternative use" of the 455 Evelyn site. Instead they compare, for example, "number of trips from the existing uses" with "those expected to be generated by the redevelopment project." Unless you read the report very carefully, its conclusions are easily misunderstood as claiming that the proposal would generate fewer trips than the site does TODAY.
The report moreover DOES NOT spell out a specific motivation for substituting trip counts from a hypothetical tenant different from Minton's. Everywhere else, it compares the proposal to measured current data. Some readers, on discovering the situation, have suggested plausible reasons WHY a report might compare the proposal to an alternative tenant; or that it "makes sense" to do so. But they are second-guessing, and they didn't write the report. Such speculations distract from the absence of explanation in the report itself, and from the main point: the report appears to compare actual, "existing" traffic to that from a proposal. That's misleading.
Posted by Lorna, a resident of the Old Mountain View neighborhood, on Feb 1, 2010 at 3:37 pm
I make purchases at Minton's and am always amazed at how few customers they get. I would wander the aisles for 30-40 minutes and discover I am the only customer in the store. The store does not get much car traffic and nothing like the nearby Lowes or Home Depot store traffic.
The report is very misleading, since they claim traffic will reduce with housing. Even if single family homes were built, there would be an increase from the Minton traffic!
I am not against housing being developed on the property, but let's be reasonable and present the town with accurate information.
Considering the other housing projects around town which have a medium density (Including the Prometheus Park Place off Castro), the plans for a higher number of units is impractical at this location.
We do need more affordable housing and nicer apartment living, but packing them in at the Minton lot seems unreasonable. The original number of units permitted at that site was fair and reasonable. More would be foolish.
Evelyn can be very busy with the train traffic and the weekend market, but not Minton's customers. Anotehr twist, has anyone considered how the new tenants will manage with the high speed rail train?
Posted by Anybody Else, a resident of the North Whisman neighborhood, on Feb 1, 2010 at 3:52 pm
Ya ok, it's misleading! So what! Don't you think you've pretty well cleared it up by now, Max Hauser?
Nobody commented on your "analysis" because it's so dull, but we didnt need it: everybody gets by now that the report used theortical numbers of "alternative use" at mintons, bla bla bla. At least, everybody who gives a damn about this issue.
I mean what do you want, a parade or something?
By the way, Political Insider is welcome to post under any name he wants, "Max Hauser." So can anybody else.
Posted by Political Insider, a resident of the Sylvan Park neighborhood, on Feb 1, 2010 at 8:45 pm
I read the report and was not confused. The Voice article also stated the basis of the reduction. The headline is just that, a headline and the details are provided in the article. Seems to me the headline fulfilled its purpose, a provocative title that led people to read the article.