Guest opinion: Google gets behind new General Plan
Through the proposed General Plan update, the city has outlined a bold and transformative vision for guiding its future. As a major landowner in North Bayshore that has called Mountain View home for the last 12 years and where more than 2,000 of our employees live, Google strongly supports the draft General Plan. It reflects the shared community values that define Mountain View's unique character and is also essential to guiding its future success.
It is through the city's adoption of this plan that Google as well as countless other innovative companies in Mountain View can continue to grow here in a way that benefits the community — setting a new standard for sustainability in a city that has become a global hub of innovation.
Mixed-use "village centers"
The suburban office park model has played itself out. By clustering our growth into more dense "village centers," as called for in the plan, we can help reverse the current pattern of sprawl and avoid consuming space where other businesses could locate. This is not only essential to accommodating the growth of our business, but also helps
protect the diversity of commerce that we all value.
Furthermore, these "village centers" will allow for a more vibrant urban-style core in North Bayshore where residents, employers and businesses of all sizes can thrive. Imagine more walkable streetscapes, new residential and retail spaces, improved pedestrian and bike trails, better transit connections and more public amenities and open spaces.
We envision a diverse mix of small businesses along North Shoreline. And we believe that it's important to provide street-level spaces for these local businesses that make up our unique community fabric.
Parks & Open Spaces
One of the most promising elements of the plan, (which is not only good for Google but great for the community and environment) is the concept of transfer of development rights. That means transferring development away from sensitive ecological areas to more densely populated areas, so we can create public parks and open spaces for the community to come together — including multiple soccer/sports fields. Through our redevelopment, we expect to more than double the amount of public open space in North Bayshore.
We also want to foster a community that prioritizes pedestrians and bicycles over cars. We envision significant pathways that would allow uninterrupted travel via walking or biking through North Bayshore, with a continuous loop of connected green belts that link to improved trails along the creeks.
Regional Transit Solutions
It's clear that new investments in transportation infrastructure are needed to better serve our community — and we look forward to being an active collaborator in addressing this regional issue. We intend to partner with the city and regional governments to make significant improvements in connecting mass transit networks to North Bayshore. Creating a healthier jobs-housing balance also means less driving, and progressive mixed-use environments have long demonstrated that providing housing uses is one effective way to mitigate traffic.
We know that Mountain View is going to get bigger as it continues to develop into a major hub of innovation. We want to help ensure that it gets better, too. Google looks forward to working with the city and community to support the long-term social, environmental and economic health of Mountain View and our entire region.
David Radcliffe is vice president of real estate and workplace services for Google.