News

Mountain View seizes land for reversible bus lane on Shoreline Boulevard

Easing the way through traffic jams expected to lure more drivers to use transit

Mountain View will be spending $4.3 million to acquire a series of parcels along Shoreline Boulevard that are needed to build a future reversible bus lane for the North Bayshore area.

At its May 23 meeting, the Mountain View City Council voted to use the city's eminent domain powers to seize portions of several Shoreline properties mostly between Terra Bella Avenue and Middlefield Road. That land will eventually be used to widen the street for protected bike lanes on both sides of the road as well as a new traffic lane running down the center exclusively for buses and shuttles.

City staffers identified nine separate properties that they needed to seize, including the sidewalk frontage of three gas stations and a Taco Bell. The city's transit project needs just a narrow sliver of the properties, 2 to 7 feet in width, said city real estate manager Dennis Dremman. He gave assurances the structures and businesses would be unaffected.

"The practical effect of this project is the existing sidewalks are going to be moved inland a couple of feet," he said. "This doesn't affect any of the uses of the properties."

Six of the nine property owners have shown a willingness to sell the land to the city. Owners of the other three parcels reportedly disputed the offered price, and the city could push to seize their property through eminent domain. If that happens, the case would be taken to court to determine a fair market price, Dremman said.

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Widely considered to be among the most congested streets in the Mountain View, Shoreline Boulevard is often jammed with traffic from commuters heading into North Bayshore or during large events at Shoreline Amphitheatre.

For nearly five years, city engineers have recommended a reversible bus lane as a remedy for traffic jam. The transit lane would run from Middlefield Road to Plymouth Street in North Bayshore. When built, the reversible bus lane would allow buses and various shuttles to zip past traffic with a dedicated system of signals.

Similar to the daily lane transfers on the Golden Gate Bridge, the time of day will dictate the direction of the reversible bus lane. In the mornings, the bus lane would bring buses and shuttles into North Bayshore. Afternoons, the signals would be flipped, and the lane would to go in the other direction, bringing commuters out of North Bayshore. When built, the bus lane would be a traffic improvement unique to Mountain View, said Assistant Public Works Director Dawn Cameron

"I can't think of another city doing this kind of project," she said. "We're providing a special lane for getting through this congested corridor by making transit operate much more efficiently."

The reversible bus lane will be the best attempt to date by city officials to make mass transit a viable option for commuters heading into North Bayshore. For years, traffic patterns have shown that generally about half of commuters are driving solo. Barely one-third of commuters take corporate shuttles or other forms of mass transit, and about one in 50 ride a bike to work, according to the city's latest traffic analysis.

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The city is also making other large infrastructure investments to encourage more people to bike to work. In the coming months, construction is set to begin on a $20 million bike and pedestrian bridge over Highway 101.

Building the reversible bus lanes is expected to cost about $18 million, including $3 million for the design. During the construction, city Public Works officials say they will also replace the water and sewer mains along Shoreline Boulevard, leading to a higher cost for the project.

The full project is expected to take about 18 months to complete.

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Mountain View seizes land for reversible bus lane on Shoreline Boulevard

Easing the way through traffic jams expected to lure more drivers to use transit

by / Mountain View Voice

Uploaded: Wed, May 29, 2019, 9:43 am

Mountain View will be spending $4.3 million to acquire a series of parcels along Shoreline Boulevard that are needed to build a future reversible bus lane for the North Bayshore area.

At its May 23 meeting, the Mountain View City Council voted to use the city's eminent domain powers to seize portions of several Shoreline properties mostly between Terra Bella Avenue and Middlefield Road. That land will eventually be used to widen the street for protected bike lanes on both sides of the road as well as a new traffic lane running down the center exclusively for buses and shuttles.

City staffers identified nine separate properties that they needed to seize, including the sidewalk frontage of three gas stations and a Taco Bell. The city's transit project needs just a narrow sliver of the properties, 2 to 7 feet in width, said city real estate manager Dennis Dremman. He gave assurances the structures and businesses would be unaffected.

"The practical effect of this project is the existing sidewalks are going to be moved inland a couple of feet," he said. "This doesn't affect any of the uses of the properties."

Six of the nine property owners have shown a willingness to sell the land to the city. Owners of the other three parcels reportedly disputed the offered price, and the city could push to seize their property through eminent domain. If that happens, the case would be taken to court to determine a fair market price, Dremman said.

Widely considered to be among the most congested streets in the Mountain View, Shoreline Boulevard is often jammed with traffic from commuters heading into North Bayshore or during large events at Shoreline Amphitheatre.

For nearly five years, city engineers have recommended a reversible bus lane as a remedy for traffic jam. The transit lane would run from Middlefield Road to Plymouth Street in North Bayshore. When built, the reversible bus lane would allow buses and various shuttles to zip past traffic with a dedicated system of signals.

Similar to the daily lane transfers on the Golden Gate Bridge, the time of day will dictate the direction of the reversible bus lane. In the mornings, the bus lane would bring buses and shuttles into North Bayshore. Afternoons, the signals would be flipped, and the lane would to go in the other direction, bringing commuters out of North Bayshore. When built, the bus lane would be a traffic improvement unique to Mountain View, said Assistant Public Works Director Dawn Cameron

"I can't think of another city doing this kind of project," she said. "We're providing a special lane for getting through this congested corridor by making transit operate much more efficiently."

The reversible bus lane will be the best attempt to date by city officials to make mass transit a viable option for commuters heading into North Bayshore. For years, traffic patterns have shown that generally about half of commuters are driving solo. Barely one-third of commuters take corporate shuttles or other forms of mass transit, and about one in 50 ride a bike to work, according to the city's latest traffic analysis.

The city is also making other large infrastructure investments to encourage more people to bike to work. In the coming months, construction is set to begin on a $20 million bike and pedestrian bridge over Highway 101.

Building the reversible bus lanes is expected to cost about $18 million, including $3 million for the design. During the construction, city Public Works officials say they will also replace the water and sewer mains along Shoreline Boulevard, leading to a higher cost for the project.

The full project is expected to take about 18 months to complete.

Comments

Bruce Karney
Registered user
Old Mountain View
on May 29, 2019 at 2:47 pm
Bruce Karney, Old Mountain View
Registered user
on May 29, 2019 at 2:47 pm

Thumbs up for this innovative approach to dealing with the Shoreline Boulevard bottleneck!


JJ
Rex Manor
on May 29, 2019 at 8:23 pm
JJ, Rex Manor
on May 29, 2019 at 8:23 pm

Doesn't Santa Clara have reversable lanes near their downtown?


Old Fart
Sylvan Park
on May 30, 2019 at 1:11 am
Old Fart, Sylvan Park
on May 30, 2019 at 1:11 am

@JJ
Yes, Santa Clara does. But those are for all traffic. Mountain View will be the first city to build them only for busses; so they can sit idle and unused outside of commute times.


Dan Waylonis
Registered user
Jackson Park
on May 30, 2019 at 9:05 am
Dan Waylonis, Jackson Park
Registered user
on May 30, 2019 at 9:05 am

The dreams of city planners everywhere. People are reluctant to use public transport. Busses are by far the least desirable.

Instead of this, a toll lane with congestion pricing would allow for both increased efficiency and revenue generation.

Regardless, I will miss the center divide over 101 when the star jasmine is blooming.


PA Resident
another community
on May 30, 2019 at 12:48 pm
PA Resident, another community
on May 30, 2019 at 12:48 pm

This is definitely worth investigating in my opinion.

It should be worth thinking about giving those who reside East of 101 access to these bus lanes too, as well as increasing bus/shuttle services to those who don't work for Google.

The other question is about what happens when there is an event at Shoreline Amphitheatre?


Fedup
Sylvan Park
on May 30, 2019 at 3:12 pm
Fedup, Sylvan Park
on May 30, 2019 at 3:12 pm

Most people don’t like public transit, the solution is to stop building offices and apartments. And for those of us who are fed up with the crowding to just get out of Mountain View


Kling-Kling Bird
Registered user
Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on May 30, 2019 at 6:40 pm
Kling-Kling Bird, Another Mountain View Neighborhood
Registered user
on May 30, 2019 at 6:40 pm

$4.3 million to acquire 7343 square feet of property? That works out to $25.5 million per acre. Enough to make you want to violate Town Square's "TERMS OF USE." And it won't remedy the traffic jams. Not even close.


Excellent project
Rex Manor
on Jun 2, 2019 at 3:03 pm
Excellent project, Rex Manor
on Jun 2, 2019 at 3:03 pm

This will make sitting in the traffic jam optional. The bus and bike alternatives will reduce the requirement to drive into north bayshore.

Traffic will still be congested but that is not the goal of this project. The goal of this project is to provide alternatives for those who rather not be part of the problem and still get to their north bayshore job.

I am sure that more people will shift to the shuttles as they discover that they can save time and stress.


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