News

Council reverses course on North Bayshore housing

City to study possibility of allowing thousands of new homes north of Hwy. 101

In response to an apparent mandate from voters, on Tuesday night the City Council moved to take plans for North Bayshore in a completely different direction from just two months prior.

On Tuesday, City Council members unanimously supported studying the possibility of allowing development of thousands of homes in North Bayshore, the neighborhood that's home to Google, LinkedIn, Intuit, Microsoft and others.

The move was spurred by the election of three new members who made North Bayshore housing a top issue of their election campaigns last year: Pat Showalter, Ken Rosenberg and Lenny Siegel. Despite growing support for housing during the election, last year's council council continued to plan for office development only in North Bayshore, approving a precise plan for developers that excluded homes. With opponents to housing in North Bayshore all termed out of office, the council is now unanimous in its support for studying housing.

"It's a happy day for Mountain View and those of us who have been working to bring jobs and housing back into balance in Mountain View," said former city manager and resident Bruce Liedstrand.

Even Mayor John McAlister supported the study. McAlister, who has opposed significant housing growth elsewhere in the city, kept his position under wraps during the election season, when North Bayshore housing and the city's jobs-housing imbalance took center stage. As a small business owner, he expressed interest in having adequate housing to support small businesses in the area.

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"This discussion has been a long time coming," said council member and longtime community activist Lenny Siegel, who was elected on a pro-North Bayshore housing platform in November.

"I really think we have a marvelous opportunity now to address what I consider to be a long-term weakness in (city planning)," Siegel said.

Council members also expressed interest in allowing new housing in the Whisman area, to be discussed in a few months. Whether all of it will be adequate to meet the area's job growth remains to be seen.

Speaking for the company that owns nearly all of North Bayshore's property, Google's John Igoe said Google continues to support housing in North Bayshore. "We still believe that makes sense," he said.

Igoe had previously said that Google was interested in having 5,000 homes built in North Bayshore.

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"It would be wrong to designate any area in North Bayshore as residential-only," Igoe said at Tuesday's meeting, highlighting what could be a real sticking point. Faced with Google's consistently vague future development plans, council members wrestled with how to ensure that housing would actually be built.

"I don't want the entire area to be housing-optional," Siegel said. "I don't want to say, 'You can build housing or offices,' and then we have no housing." He suggested, for example, a model used in Palo Alto neighborhoods in which the city requires "a percentage of housing in terms of floor space that's built."

A slim majority of the council eventually supported at least studying "residential only" zoning, with Rosenberg, John Inks and McAlister opposed. There was a unanimous vote against imposing a moratorium on office development to preserve land for housing.

A number of residents spoke in favor of housing in North Bayshore, and a few spoke against it.

"Putting housing near jobs is the most environmentally friendly thing we can do," said one woman.

"Please don't limit the housing study to a number of units," said Google employee De Henigsen.

Resident Bruce Karney said he envisioned a city "where housing and jobs come back into balance" and has "faster growth in housing than commercial space."

Christopher Chiang, a teacher and school board member who lives with his wife and children in the large mobile home park in North Bayshore, implored the council to seek construction of smaller condos so his family could afford to buy a home one day. He said he wouldn't support the development of more luxury apartments like those recently built in Mountain View on San Antonio Road and Evelyn Avenue.

"We have always been against the idea of housing in North Bayshore for a variety of reasons," said Gita Dev, speaking for the Sierra Club. She cited impacts on traffic and wildlife habitat on the Bay's edge as main concerns, though she conceded that the area has a serious housing shortage.

Intuit's Michal Gulasch also opposed housing, as he said it would conflict with office use in the area. He said many small businesses had already been driven out by rent hikes and rising real estate prices.

Resident Louise Katz expressed concern that many of the units would be "transitional housing" for Google employees and would mean less revenue from hotel taxes for the city.

"There won't be so much pressure to build housing on El Camino Real," said Linda Curtis. "I also worry that every person we move into that area will make each of our votes count less. They will all work in the tech field. They will vote alike. Then this really will be Google-ville."

"This community is inclusive, but only if you have the privilege to have a highly paid job," said Maxim, a transgender woman who said she fled Russia's anti-queer culture to be a student at Carnegie Melon University's campus at Moffett Field. She said she had to sleep in an RV for two months before she found a room to rent in Mountain View. The cost of housing here means she reluctantly has to leave for Carnegie Melon's Philadelphia campus. "For a gender-queer person, a studio in Mountain View is much better than a large house in Oklahoma City," she said.

Advocates for housing in North Bayshore had another small victory Tuesday night when Google finally revealed how many employees it has in North Bayshore: 18,760. Siegel, whose passion for the topic drove much of the discussion, put the question to Igoe. Igoe said he wasn't at liberty to reveal the number of Google jobs in North Bayshore, but pointed to Google's public documents for an "easy calculation" based on Google's worldwide employee count. "Approximately 35 percent of the total are located in North Bayshore," he said.

If housing is to balance job growth, as was advocated by several of the candidates in the City Council election, many more than 5,000 homes may have to be built. Last year the council decided to cap office development in North Bayshore at 3.4 million square feet, enough space for as many as 19,000 jobs when calculated at 178 square feet per employee.

On Tuesday city staff said recent development for Intuit and Google left 2.5 million square feet of new development remaining under the cap.

Council member Chris Clark said he was hesitant to go through another lengthy series of meetings to change North Bayshore plans. Plans to allow the 3.4 million square feet of office development, approved in December, took several years. "I don't want to discount what was done the last two to four years, and essentially start that process all over again," Clark said.

Siegel countered, saying, "The fact we've had input (favoring housing in North Bayshore) and ignored it isn't a reason to continue to ignore it."

Member Mike Kasperzak suggested a faster path: approve the zoning for the 1,100 homes the council voted against in 2012. That could happen relatively quickly, as a nine-month environmental study had already been done. He said it would send a signal to developers that the council is serious about housing in North Bayshore. Council members were initially concerned that it could slow or preclude efforts to study even more homes in the area, but seemed to eventually come around to the idea.

Council members may find it harder to veer toward adding significant housing to North Bayshore if some exciting proposals for office development from the world's hottest tech companies pour in by the end of February. That's the application deadline for projects of exceptional size in North Bayshore.

"I keep getting told by people who work in the Bayshore area that they would like to live in Bayshore," said Rosenberg. "It's almost unconscionable that companies will continue to hire more, without some accommodation for people moving to that area."

Where should housing go?

Council members voted unanimously to have city staff examine a wide range of places in North Bayshore for housing, after several different preferences were expressed. A map presented by city staff had limited housing growth to an area on North Shoreline Boulevard south of Charleston Road and north of Highway 101.

After hearing about the possibility, "I started having all these images about how great it would be to live out there," said architect Bill Maston. "I'd live out by the edge, so I could overlook Shoreline Park. Please don't just focus on the core," he said, referring to the area designated on the staff's North Bayshore map.

Vice Mayor Showalter, who stated unequivocal support for housing in North Bayshore, suggested that housing go along Rengstorff Avenue, between Highway 101 and Charleston Road, saying it would be near Costco and other stores.

Speaking for Google, Igoe said "it would be wrong" to have housing limited just to the core area.

"Keeping it to the core area only is kind of myopic," Rosenberg said.

McAlister disagreed.

"I support the core," McAlister said. "Transportation is designed to go to the core. It's more along the lines of Santana Row. Maybe spread it to the east a bit, but to start spreading it out, that defeats the purpose of the village center."

Siegel suggested that the core area be extended to La Avenida, as Microsoft is rumored to be looking to leave its offices located there (they have since denied the rumor), and the Valley Transit Authority is seeking to redevelop its bus yard property. He suggested that the city study the possibility of extending light rail across Moffett Field and Stevens Creek to La Avenida to serve the core.

Microsoft officials were compelled to respond to the rumor that the company was looking to leave its offices in North Bayshore.

"Microsoft is proud to call Mountain View home for over 15 years, and remains committed to staying in Mountain View at our site in North Bayshore," the company said in a statement on Friday.

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Council reverses course on North Bayshore housing

City to study possibility of allowing thousands of new homes north of Hwy. 101

by / Mountain View Voice

Uploaded: Wed, Feb 4, 2015, 5:49 pm

In response to an apparent mandate from voters, on Tuesday night the City Council moved to take plans for North Bayshore in a completely different direction from just two months prior.

On Tuesday, City Council members unanimously supported studying the possibility of allowing development of thousands of homes in North Bayshore, the neighborhood that's home to Google, LinkedIn, Intuit, Microsoft and others.

The move was spurred by the election of three new members who made North Bayshore housing a top issue of their election campaigns last year: Pat Showalter, Ken Rosenberg and Lenny Siegel. Despite growing support for housing during the election, last year's council council continued to plan for office development only in North Bayshore, approving a precise plan for developers that excluded homes. With opponents to housing in North Bayshore all termed out of office, the council is now unanimous in its support for studying housing.

"It's a happy day for Mountain View and those of us who have been working to bring jobs and housing back into balance in Mountain View," said former city manager and resident Bruce Liedstrand.

Even Mayor John McAlister supported the study. McAlister, who has opposed significant housing growth elsewhere in the city, kept his position under wraps during the election season, when North Bayshore housing and the city's jobs-housing imbalance took center stage. As a small business owner, he expressed interest in having adequate housing to support small businesses in the area.

"This discussion has been a long time coming," said council member and longtime community activist Lenny Siegel, who was elected on a pro-North Bayshore housing platform in November.

"I really think we have a marvelous opportunity now to address what I consider to be a long-term weakness in (city planning)," Siegel said.

Council members also expressed interest in allowing new housing in the Whisman area, to be discussed in a few months. Whether all of it will be adequate to meet the area's job growth remains to be seen.

Speaking for the company that owns nearly all of North Bayshore's property, Google's John Igoe said Google continues to support housing in North Bayshore. "We still believe that makes sense," he said.

Igoe had previously said that Google was interested in having 5,000 homes built in North Bayshore.

"It would be wrong to designate any area in North Bayshore as residential-only," Igoe said at Tuesday's meeting, highlighting what could be a real sticking point. Faced with Google's consistently vague future development plans, council members wrestled with how to ensure that housing would actually be built.

"I don't want the entire area to be housing-optional," Siegel said. "I don't want to say, 'You can build housing or offices,' and then we have no housing." He suggested, for example, a model used in Palo Alto neighborhoods in which the city requires "a percentage of housing in terms of floor space that's built."

A slim majority of the council eventually supported at least studying "residential only" zoning, with Rosenberg, John Inks and McAlister opposed. There was a unanimous vote against imposing a moratorium on office development to preserve land for housing.

A number of residents spoke in favor of housing in North Bayshore, and a few spoke against it.

"Putting housing near jobs is the most environmentally friendly thing we can do," said one woman.

"Please don't limit the housing study to a number of units," said Google employee De Henigsen.

Resident Bruce Karney said he envisioned a city "where housing and jobs come back into balance" and has "faster growth in housing than commercial space."

Christopher Chiang, a teacher and school board member who lives with his wife and children in the large mobile home park in North Bayshore, implored the council to seek construction of smaller condos so his family could afford to buy a home one day. He said he wouldn't support the development of more luxury apartments like those recently built in Mountain View on San Antonio Road and Evelyn Avenue.

"We have always been against the idea of housing in North Bayshore for a variety of reasons," said Gita Dev, speaking for the Sierra Club. She cited impacts on traffic and wildlife habitat on the Bay's edge as main concerns, though she conceded that the area has a serious housing shortage.

Intuit's Michal Gulasch also opposed housing, as he said it would conflict with office use in the area. He said many small businesses had already been driven out by rent hikes and rising real estate prices.

Resident Louise Katz expressed concern that many of the units would be "transitional housing" for Google employees and would mean less revenue from hotel taxes for the city.

"There won't be so much pressure to build housing on El Camino Real," said Linda Curtis. "I also worry that every person we move into that area will make each of our votes count less. They will all work in the tech field. They will vote alike. Then this really will be Google-ville."

"This community is inclusive, but only if you have the privilege to have a highly paid job," said Maxim, a transgender woman who said she fled Russia's anti-queer culture to be a student at Carnegie Melon University's campus at Moffett Field. She said she had to sleep in an RV for two months before she found a room to rent in Mountain View. The cost of housing here means she reluctantly has to leave for Carnegie Melon's Philadelphia campus. "For a gender-queer person, a studio in Mountain View is much better than a large house in Oklahoma City," she said.

Advocates for housing in North Bayshore had another small victory Tuesday night when Google finally revealed how many employees it has in North Bayshore: 18,760. Siegel, whose passion for the topic drove much of the discussion, put the question to Igoe. Igoe said he wasn't at liberty to reveal the number of Google jobs in North Bayshore, but pointed to Google's public documents for an "easy calculation" based on Google's worldwide employee count. "Approximately 35 percent of the total are located in North Bayshore," he said.

If housing is to balance job growth, as was advocated by several of the candidates in the City Council election, many more than 5,000 homes may have to be built. Last year the council decided to cap office development in North Bayshore at 3.4 million square feet, enough space for as many as 19,000 jobs when calculated at 178 square feet per employee.

On Tuesday city staff said recent development for Intuit and Google left 2.5 million square feet of new development remaining under the cap.

Council member Chris Clark said he was hesitant to go through another lengthy series of meetings to change North Bayshore plans. Plans to allow the 3.4 million square feet of office development, approved in December, took several years. "I don't want to discount what was done the last two to four years, and essentially start that process all over again," Clark said.

Siegel countered, saying, "The fact we've had input (favoring housing in North Bayshore) and ignored it isn't a reason to continue to ignore it."

Member Mike Kasperzak suggested a faster path: approve the zoning for the 1,100 homes the council voted against in 2012. That could happen relatively quickly, as a nine-month environmental study had already been done. He said it would send a signal to developers that the council is serious about housing in North Bayshore. Council members were initially concerned that it could slow or preclude efforts to study even more homes in the area, but seemed to eventually come around to the idea.

Council members may find it harder to veer toward adding significant housing to North Bayshore if some exciting proposals for office development from the world's hottest tech companies pour in by the end of February. That's the application deadline for projects of exceptional size in North Bayshore.

"I keep getting told by people who work in the Bayshore area that they would like to live in Bayshore," said Rosenberg. "It's almost unconscionable that companies will continue to hire more, without some accommodation for people moving to that area."

Where should housing go?

Council members voted unanimously to have city staff examine a wide range of places in North Bayshore for housing, after several different preferences were expressed. A map presented by city staff had limited housing growth to an area on North Shoreline Boulevard south of Charleston Road and north of Highway 101.

After hearing about the possibility, "I started having all these images about how great it would be to live out there," said architect Bill Maston. "I'd live out by the edge, so I could overlook Shoreline Park. Please don't just focus on the core," he said, referring to the area designated on the staff's North Bayshore map.

Vice Mayor Showalter, who stated unequivocal support for housing in North Bayshore, suggested that housing go along Rengstorff Avenue, between Highway 101 and Charleston Road, saying it would be near Costco and other stores.

Speaking for Google, Igoe said "it would be wrong" to have housing limited just to the core area.

"Keeping it to the core area only is kind of myopic," Rosenberg said.

McAlister disagreed.

"I support the core," McAlister said. "Transportation is designed to go to the core. It's more along the lines of Santana Row. Maybe spread it to the east a bit, but to start spreading it out, that defeats the purpose of the village center."

Siegel suggested that the core area be extended to La Avenida, as Microsoft is rumored to be looking to leave its offices located there (they have since denied the rumor), and the Valley Transit Authority is seeking to redevelop its bus yard property. He suggested that the city study the possibility of extending light rail across Moffett Field and Stevens Creek to La Avenida to serve the core.

Microsoft officials were compelled to respond to the rumor that the company was looking to leave its offices in North Bayshore.

"Microsoft is proud to call Mountain View home for over 15 years, and remains committed to staying in Mountain View at our site in North Bayshore," the company said in a statement on Friday.

Comments

Christopher Chiang
North Bayshore
on Feb 4, 2015 at 8:47 pm
Christopher Chiang, North Bayshore
on Feb 4, 2015 at 8:47 pm

I applaud the city council for its courage to innovate. When you are creating a new community, you have a rare chance to create one that looks forward into the future, rather than one that looks like the past.

I hope that is a world leading community that is small in its physical and carbon footprint, to achieve scalable economic and environmental sustainability. I hope it is free of all residential private cars, to acknowledge and foster a different way of life in harmony with the Bay that can only be achieved adjacent to large existing job centers.

To clarify Mr. DeBolt’s quote of mine, my dream for North Bayshore would never apply to my family, two teachers who both work outside the city. My dream is for the many people who work in North Bayshore, who aren’t wealthy, and are barely making it. Despite the impression many have of those who work for companies in North Bayshore (which I do not), there’s enough who barely make it to fill many eco-warrior micro-housing biking communities, even with extreme restraints on cars and house size.

In MV’s past, there always was housing to match one’s current situation in life, allowing one to save and move up in the city. Now there is only expensive and more expensive, robbing half the city of renters a chance at what many benefited in the past.


Notable Fact
another community
on Feb 5, 2015 at 9:58 am
Notable Fact, another community
on Feb 5, 2015 at 9:58 am

There are already 750 people living in that census tract as of 2010, down about 300 from 2000. It has always been a community and still is.


Canela
Rex Manor
on Feb 5, 2015 at 11:00 am
Canela, Rex Manor
on Feb 5, 2015 at 11:00 am

Many years ago the city needed more affordable housing for it's young, mostly single workforce, so they approved massive development of primarily one and two-bedroom apartments along California Ave. Since this was planned for young workers with no families, they didn't plan for school space or park space accordingly.

Now those apartments are filled with families, cramming sometimes 3-4 children per bedroom, with way less park or outdoor space than any child deserves and an overcrowded school (so much so that children must be bused to other MV schools).

I'm not necessarily against building housing in the North Bay, but I've seen this story play out before, and it hasn't had a great ending. I'd like to think we are smarter this time around and will plan better, but I have my doubts.


Garrett
another community
on Feb 5, 2015 at 12:48 pm
Garrett, another community
on Feb 5, 2015 at 12:48 pm

Housing provided by employers is a good idea but you will still need to build housing elsewhere. Google builds housing for workers, workers live in that housing.

Houusing on El Camino Real would be good to provide housing for those who don't work for Google. Not all compaines, busineses have the means to provide housing but yet add workers.


Other notable facts
another community
on Feb 5, 2015 at 1:47 pm
Other notable facts, another community
on Feb 5, 2015 at 1:47 pm

The article quotes Christopher Chiang, a current North Bayshore resident who expresses his views frequently in public. But the article didn't mention that most voting residents in North Bayshore disagree with him. In the recent City-Council election, that precinct voted foremost for Lisa Matichak, whose platform emphasized neighborhood preservation (in opposition to the three elected candidates who advocate housing construction, specifically in North Bayshore).

However, many people in MV agree it's desirable to make home ownership more available (it can free residents from the uncertainty and long-term sunk costs of renting). You're seeing that from Council in a trend toward supporting small owner-occupied housing construction. Much of the developer interest and investment in recent years, though, has been by firms like Prometheus that build for rental.


James Hall
Old Mountain View
on Feb 5, 2015 at 2:07 pm
James Hall, Old Mountain View
on Feb 5, 2015 at 2:07 pm

I for one wonder how much this reversal cost.
Of course those living out there on the "ground" floor will be able to go fishing through the windows in just a few more years. Another Mountain View Fantasy.


Christopher Chiang
North Bayshore
on Feb 5, 2015 at 3:33 pm
Christopher Chiang, North Bayshore
on Feb 5, 2015 at 3:33 pm

I agree that not all current North Bayshore residents agree with more development. It is worth noting that the only two residents who spoke at the council meeting were in favor. Also Ms. Matichak carried North Bayshore by 3 votes over Pat Showalter Link Web Link (who supports NB housing), so the election results support the view that the current residents in North Bayshore have diverse opinions, as does the rest of the city.

The earlier comment on more traditional rental housing is spot on that it will perpetuate the wealth gap in the Silicon Valley. I hope we stop doing more of the same, and try something innovative like micro-housing, which is the only way to achieve affordability on scale when land is so expensive, and it also happens to be most ecological as well.


Concerned parent
Shoreline West
on Feb 5, 2015 at 3:56 pm
Concerned parent, Shoreline West
on Feb 5, 2015 at 3:56 pm

Does anyone know what the plan is to accommodate the presumably growing number of children that will reside in Mountain View? There are already overcrowded classrooms in the current schools in MVWSD (as highlighted in recent Voice articles), so particularly in areas where large multi-family developments are planned, has the council made any comment on whether there needs to be a plan to build more schools, allocate more funding to prevent ongoing ballooning of class sizes, or hire larger staffs of qualified teachers??


CopperC
Cuesta Park
on Feb 5, 2015 at 7:50 pm
CopperC, Cuesta Park
on Feb 5, 2015 at 7:50 pm

As long as there are Safeways and Starbucks and schools, housing there would be good. Or make living there contingent on being single and employed in the area.


Other notable facts
another community
on Feb 6, 2015 at 4:10 am
Other notable facts, another community
on Feb 6, 2015 at 4:10 am

Missing from the spin comment above that Matichak "carried North Bayshore by 3 votes over Pat Showalter" is both that the margin was much higher over the other two new Council members (thus, NBS voters chose Matichak over Lenny Siegel by a 4:3 ratio), and that in the small NBS precinct, a few votes is decisive.

That election result constitutes the only recent data we have that _objectively_ measured views among North Bayshore residents. Whereas at Council meetings, tiny groups of self-selected agenda-driven speakers are the familiar norm. For instance, in the Voice's report on Council's recent Bus Rapid Transit discussion (which prompted an endless comments thread here), two of the three speakers quoted favoring removal of car lanes from El Camino in MV didn't, themselves, live in MV, or even in adjacent towns.


Precinct watcher
Cuernavaca
on Feb 6, 2015 at 6:58 am
Precinct watcher, Cuernavaca
on Feb 6, 2015 at 6:58 am

Who cares what one precinct thinks. Not everyone gets to vote, but it sure is surprising that the three pro housing candidates won and not one of the EPC council candidates did. The whole non housing vote for NBS was silly. Take a look at the excuses some former council members used to explain their votes.

Not every landowner will want to build housing but I bet google will build some rental housing . As to the alleged problems, potential renters will be fully aware of them and some will still choose it live there. Amazing.


Schools
another community
on Feb 6, 2015 at 12:46 pm
Schools, another community
on Feb 6, 2015 at 12:46 pm

Maybe if they get a few more kids living in North Bayshore, the school district will be able to reopen the closed and leased-out Whisman School on Easy Street (Near Moffett Blvd and Highway 85, just south of 101.). Those kids are currently bused to schools that are farther away than the trip would be to north Bayshore.


Christopher Chiang
North Bayshore
on Feb 6, 2015 at 6:46 pm
Christopher Chiang, North Bayshore
on Feb 6, 2015 at 6:46 pm

This was circulated in the community Balanced MV discussions, and is relevant to the discussion in our city.

In Menlo Park:
"Facebook executives say they are open to new land-use approaches with the latest purchase. Most significantly: Publicly accessible mixed-use housing, retail, even a hotel are all on the table, thanks to a city-led "visioning" process for the area that Facebook says it fully supports and helped develop.

"We feel you just can't build a corporate campus, it has to be integrated into the community," Facebook real estate chief John Tenanes said in an exclusive interview this week.

"Facebook now controls roughly 200 acres on the edge of the San Francisco Bay, and executives say they want to think beyond their buildings' walls to take advantage of trails, a railway easement and a tunnel to better connect their campuses and the neighborhood."

Full Article Web Link


Observer
Old Mountain View
on Feb 6, 2015 at 8:09 pm
Observer, Old Mountain View
on Feb 6, 2015 at 8:09 pm

The city should solve the campground and homeless problem in the old Safeway parking lot on California before solving housing problems for Googlers. That would be the morally correct thing to do. Or just ignore it...

What say you Christopher Chiang?


DC
Sylvan Park
on Feb 7, 2015 at 11:05 am
DC, Sylvan Park
on Feb 7, 2015 at 11:05 am

Is their any land left since Google bought up most of the open land in Mtn View and now moved into Sunnyvale? IS'n the cost in the area 11 million an acre? those houses / condo will be small or $$.


Christopher Chiang
North Bayshore
on Feb 8, 2015 at 10:25 am
Christopher Chiang, North Bayshore
on Feb 8, 2015 at 10:25 am

If you are building a new community in North Bayshore, why not aim for a new standard and go car free? If people can't meet that standard, there's other places to live. Below is a relevant recent article.

7 Cities That Are Starting To Go Car-Free
EXCERPTS:
Urban planners are finally recognizing that streets should be designed for people, not careening hunks of deadly metal.

A new satellite city planned in Southwest China could serve as a model for a modern suburb: Instead of a layout that makes it necessary to drive, the streets are designed so any location can be reached by 15 minutes on foot. The plans, designed by Chicago-based architects Adrian Smith and Gordon Gill, don't call for completely banning cars, but only half of the road area will allow motorized vehicles. Out of an expected population of 80,000 people, most will be able to walk to work in local neighborhoods.

Copenhagen started introducing pedestrian zones in the 1960s in the city center, and car-free zones slowly spread over the next few decades. The city now has over 200 miles of bike lanes, with new bike superhighways under development to reach surrounding suburbs. The city has one of the lowest rates of car ownership in Europe.

Full Article
Web Link


IG
Rex Manor
on Feb 8, 2015 at 6:47 pm
IG, Rex Manor
on Feb 8, 2015 at 6:47 pm

High housing costs are simply a matter of supply and demand. There are only two ways to make housing cheaper: either increase supply (as this article discusses), or reduce demand (i.e., get out the pitchforks and drive Google out of town). @DC: high prices are a reason for building more housing, not against.

At the same time, Mountain View is a not-very-big town with limited influence on the regional market. With this in mind, I applaud the intention of one of our new councilmembers to bring together heads of neighboring cities to work out the housing issue together. Every city has to pull its weight.


Living in Mtn View
Stierlin Estates
on Feb 8, 2015 at 11:02 pm
Living in Mtn View, Stierlin Estates
on Feb 8, 2015 at 11:02 pm

Comparing Mtn View with the Danish capital Copenhagen, now that is a new one. So you want 1800 plus people to live in one square mile in Mtn View. Now that would be on 5 story building everywere, specialy in downtown and that would include all of the surounding area. Ready to redevelop most of Mtn View and not just North Bayshore. If you want to live in a big city, maybe you need to move there. Mtn View is still a rather small city and most residents like it that way.


IG
Rex Manor
on Feb 9, 2015 at 10:00 pm
IG, Rex Manor
on Feb 9, 2015 at 10:00 pm

I'm sorry, but 1800 people per square mile is not a lot. Mountain View already has 75000 people on 12 square miles. You can do the math yourself.

You may like a "rather small city", but this kind of community is not sustainable under current market forces (i.e., a growing economy). If we stopped building, in 20 years Mountain View would be an exclusive enclave that your children would most likely never be able to afford.


Living in Mtn View
Stierlin Estates
on Feb 9, 2015 at 10:20 pm
Living in Mtn View, Stierlin Estates
on Feb 9, 2015 at 10:20 pm

Right now we have about 62000 per square miles, so think of it three times as much. Maybe it's time for some of you to take a trip to Denmark to see what the downtown of a major European city looks like. Or may be just travel to Chicago or New York.


IG
Rex Manor
on Feb 10, 2015 at 7:55 am
IG, Rex Manor
on Feb 10, 2015 at 7:55 am

I think your numbers are each off by a decimal place.

I agree that tripling Mountain View's population density would be a big shock that most residents wouldn't like. But no need to travel to Europe to see how it would look -- Copenhagen is only slightly denser than San Francisco. I wouldn't live there, or at least not in most neighborhoods, but there are some fine models of medium-density, walkable/bikeable development elsewhere in the Bay Area, such as MLK Way in Berkeley or Rockridge in Oakland.

Adding 5000 units of housing in North Bayshore and another 5000 along El Camino would increase the population by about 30%. Even if that were spread out over ten years (3% per year), the rate of growth would not be sustainable for much longer, either politically or economically (there isn't much more land available for redevelopment). But in the 2000s, our growth rate averaged 0.5% per year. Increasing that to 1%--2% in the long term, cooperatively with neighboring cities, would do a lot to keep housing prices down.


Colin Creitz
another community
on Feb 10, 2015 at 10:49 am
Colin Creitz, another community
on Feb 10, 2015 at 10:49 am

Carnegie Mellon is in Pittsburgh, not Philadelphia. By confusing the two, you are certain to offend expats from both.


The only constant
Whisman Station
on Feb 13, 2015 at 8:57 am
The only constant, Whisman Station
on Feb 13, 2015 at 8:57 am

is change. Earlier poster is correct in saying that voters gave a mandate. People don't attend meetings not necessarily because they don't want to, but because they have jobs and busy lives. Voting is the main tool they have, and obviously they spoke to a pro-housing position. I'd like more civic engagement too, but I haven't been to a meeting since forever. I hear all this grouchy, anti-housing about "let the market decide" well, voters are the market. The voters elected people to decide based on a pro-housing decision. If people don't think adding housing is acceptable, or that there's not enough schooling -- as they would say, let the market decide. If it's important enough, it will get incorporated. Parents also move to where there kids will supposedly have better schools. If not MV or LA then nouveau riche will send their kids to Harker or something. It will be figured out.


IG
Rex Manor
on Feb 15, 2015 at 11:55 am
IG, Rex Manor
on Feb 15, 2015 at 11:55 am

Zoning laws and restrictive permitting policies are a huge market distortion. Rents being what they are, a truly free market would build scads of apartment/condo towers. It's specious for opponents of growth to justify their position by appealing to market forces.


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