Commission wants to track jobs-housing ratio
Original post made
on Apr 23, 2014
Mountain View's plans to sharply widen the gap between job growth and housing growth, even while in the midst of a housing crisis, has spurred quite a bit of media coverage and public discussion in recent days.
Read the full story here Web Link
posted Wednesday, April 23, 2014, 10:12 PM
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Posted by Aaron
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Apr 26, 2014 at 12:41 am
Hey Desmond. Sorry to pick on you
:) but in all the time I've lived in Mountain View, nobody has ever mentioned Bellevue. (Certainly not to hold it up as a shining example of what Mountain View should aspire to.) It really got me to think about the parallels between the two cities and I think you for that.
"But your central thesis seems to be that density comes at the cost of walkability."
I don't mean that universally. I would call Manhattan "walkable", but not necessarily a place I nor many MV residents would care to live. Having lived in Bellevue for a long time and also worked downtown, I can tell you that there are only a handful of blocks that are well connected. (Co-workers and I used to laugh when the sidewalk would just end and leave us in traffic!) The ones closer to the Bellevue Square Mall had a lot of focus by Kemper Freeman (developer and owner of the Mall). As you get closer to I-90, the walk is less pleasant (more accurately, more unpleasant) and in some places not well connected. Regardless, you will note a lack of any greenery, parks or culture. (What is there is in or near "Old Bellevue" and is probably under pressure to vacate!) It really is just a lot of concrete, glass and steel.
"Are you really suggesting that height-restricted suburbs encourage more trips to be taken by foot instead of in cars?"
No, I don't think that cities that restrict the height of their buildings to single digits are necessarily going to either encourage nor discourage more foot trips vs car. If someone *needs* to get from point A to point B, then they will tend to do it using the most efficient means available and there are practical variables that will affect that decision (parking, transit, safety, etc..). On the other hand, if the walk is actually *pleasant*, then they are more likely to leave their homes for a pleasure walk (no particular errand to run). If they have to take an elevator down 20 stories, walk out on a sterile paved walkway and have nothing around them but crass commercialism, I truly believe they will tend to stay inside.
I hear what you are saying: "My primary complaint with Mountain View is the balkanization of different uses of land. The areas closest to downtown are mostly zoned for single family houses. That's wonderful for the lucky few that occupy those houses."
And to summarize the rest of what you wrote, you would like to see an aggressive implementation of "Smart Growth" in downtown Mountain View.
Now, by "lucky few", I assume you mean the "lucky thousands". Web Link shows in 2011 there to be 6,041 Houses and Condos PLUS 3600 Renter-occupied apartments.
Now, I think it would be absolutely wonderful if everyone that wants to live near downtown Mountain View (94041 zipcode) could. (Frankly, I would love to live across the street from an ocean beach!) My concern is that if everyone does that, then it will turn this place into something that I won't want to live in anymore. A true Smart Growther would call that attitude "NIMBY" or "Not in my backyard!" and I guess in this one instance I am! I have a nice walk to downtown through quiet neighborhoods with pretty landscaping into a vibrant urban downtown setting. (I love the "whistlestop" towns here in the Bay Area.) If I wanted to live in a massive paved glass & steel environment, then I would move to downtown SJ, San Francisco or even back to Bellevue.
Regarding the pictures you posted
I also ran into those while trying to find a representative image of downtown Bellevue. The one I chose I felt was the most accurate rendering of downtown Bellevue. Let me explain why I skipped over a couple of the ones you published :
This one is actually not so bad, but I felt that it conveyed an experience that most will not have. All of the services in downtown Bellevue are around the high rise buildings. When walking around in downtown, it is pretty reminiscent of walking around the financial district of SF. Pretty dull at best. One might notice the trees around the (gasp) single family houses on the left. Yes, very nice! But there really isn't much use for downtown dweller to go over there, except to escape the pavement, steel and glass.
The larger issue I find with photographs like these is the existence of the large 1-3 story buildings (in this picture, the lower right hand corner). It gives the impression that this town has a variety of densities. Actually, those buildings are scheduled for demolition (if not already demolished) and will be replaced with very tall buildings.
This one I ran across and is a misleading image. Look how beautiful bellevue is! The lake, the tress and a bustling urban center! Well, guess what? The only part of Bellevue being shown is the paved glass & steel jungle. "Behind" the urban jungle are a lot of beautiful trees and homes, but most of that is the city of Medina that has chosen to preserve the beauty of their city. The lake in the picture is in no way adjoining Bellevue and beyond that is, of course, Seattle.
This one is my favorite:
Set aside any the fact this picture is published on a mortgage broker's website that is trying to sell the area to potential buyers
To get this beautiful view, the camera had to be outside of bellevue some miles in the middle of Lake Washington. At least 1/2 the tree-lined waterfront land is NOT Bellevue, but is Medina. The spit of land on the right looks nice, although it is interesting to note that it was annexed into Bellevue only 20-30 years ago. The steel and glass pictured in the center IS Bellevue. Now, the beautiful background is both interesting and beautiful. Presuming it was not a photoshop job, it is amazing what the right lens and angle can do to perspective. Having grown up within a few miles of downtown Bellevue, I can tell you with absolute certainty that this is not a view you will get in the city. In fact, it is probably only available to people who take their helicopter over lake Washington and use a long lens to make it appear the mountains are very close and being in downtown Bellevue is like being at a ski resort. (trust meit's not) (Actually, the more I look at this image, the more fake it looks. Will have to run it by my family that is still living there..)
Anyway, Mountain View is in a tough position, or rather, as I believe, it has chosen to place itself there