News

Mountain View plans seek to build bike commuter bridge into North Bayshore

Long-awaited plans for a bike and pedestrian bridge into the heart of Mountain View's North Bayshore tech campus are beginning to take shape, designed with an eye toward getting workers from the downtown transit stations to one of the most dense job centers in the North County.

Early designs for the highway overcrossing, reviewed by the City Council Tuesday, envision a large 20-foot-wide bridge along Shoreline Boulevard that would take bicyclists and pedestrians over Highway 101, creating a safer path to North Bayshore away from highway on-ramps and off-ramps.

The dedicated pathway will start on Terra Bella Avenue and reach north to Pear Avenue, and will have two 7-foot lanes for bikes traveling in both directions. Though there will be a lane available for pedestrians, city staff say the design is intended to cater to commuters biking from downtown Mountain View to companies like Google and Microsoft.

"This is definitely being planned toward commuting," said Public Works Director Dawn Cameron. "We will see pedestrians, but the bridge itself is over half a mile long. The primary users are going to be bicyclists."

The bridge should have more than enough capacity to handle the city's goal of getting 1,700 bikes and pedestrians in and out of North Bayshore during peak hours, representing a 10% shift away from solo-vehicle drivers clogging up traffic. It also pairs with the city's goal of designing a more urban area of the city with limited roadway capacity and parking.

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Current bike and pedestrian traffic into North Bayshore is pretty far off the mark. At the highest peak hour, 150 commuters are using Stevens Creek Trail, 90 are using Permanente Creek Trail and 22 are using Shoreline Boulevard.

While the planned bridge would be one of the largest bike and pedestrian bridges in the area and a significant link between the city's transit hub and thriving employment centers, the design plan is anything but ambitious. City staff say the plan is to use a "concrete box girder" design similar to the Permanente Creek Trail over Highway 101 and the Stevens Creek Trail bridge over Highway 85.

The choice was described by staff as a pragmatic approach to building bike infrastructure, a way of managing the design, construction and maintenance costs. As it stands, the project would take an estimated $2 million to design and $20 million to build. A spectacular design would also be somewhat of a waste -- due to its location, the vision of the bridge is heavily obscured in both directions from Highway 101, hidden by trees, the Shoreline Boulevard overpass and the Old Middlefield Way flyover.

The decision stands in deep contrast to Palo Alto's Highway 101 bridge plans at Adobe Creek. The city initially sought to create an iconic structure through a design contest in 2011, only to later scrap the idea when costs ballooned. A more scaled-back version of the project was finally approved in November.

Mountain View City Councilman Chris Clark said he wondered whether the Shoreline bridge could still include some type of aesthetic elements to make it more interesting. Though Caltrans has to give its blessing and generally opposes driver distractions, he suggested the bridge be designed to light up or have some kind of back-lit art that can be seen from below.

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"I think some of the most interesting bridges I've seen are actually the most interesting at night," Clark said. "I know Caltrans is a hurdle there, but I think that would be a low-cost way to make something that's a pretty standard design stand out."

Less enthusiastic was Councilwoman Alison Hicks, who said a more lightweight design would look better and better match the urban environment of North Bayshore. She cited a popular example in Copenhagen, and suggested that such a design could be cheaper and more appealing.

"I would like (the design) to be at least looked into to be part of our network, so I may not be voting for this if that puts it on staff's to-do list," she said.

Full conceptual designs will be ready by early 2021, with no specific date for when construction begins. The city will be using its Shoreline Regional Park funds to pay for the design, but has yet to decide where the $20 million construction cost will come from.

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Mountain View plans seek to build bike commuter bridge into North Bayshore

by / Mountain View Voice

Uploaded: Thu, Apr 30, 2020, 4:16 pm

Long-awaited plans for a bike and pedestrian bridge into the heart of Mountain View's North Bayshore tech campus are beginning to take shape, designed with an eye toward getting workers from the downtown transit stations to one of the most dense job centers in the North County.

Early designs for the highway overcrossing, reviewed by the City Council Tuesday, envision a large 20-foot-wide bridge along Shoreline Boulevard that would take bicyclists and pedestrians over Highway 101, creating a safer path to North Bayshore away from highway on-ramps and off-ramps.

The dedicated pathway will start on Terra Bella Avenue and reach north to Pear Avenue, and will have two 7-foot lanes for bikes traveling in both directions. Though there will be a lane available for pedestrians, city staff say the design is intended to cater to commuters biking from downtown Mountain View to companies like Google and Microsoft.

"This is definitely being planned toward commuting," said Public Works Director Dawn Cameron. "We will see pedestrians, but the bridge itself is over half a mile long. The primary users are going to be bicyclists."

The bridge should have more than enough capacity to handle the city's goal of getting 1,700 bikes and pedestrians in and out of North Bayshore during peak hours, representing a 10% shift away from solo-vehicle drivers clogging up traffic. It also pairs with the city's goal of designing a more urban area of the city with limited roadway capacity and parking.

Current bike and pedestrian traffic into North Bayshore is pretty far off the mark. At the highest peak hour, 150 commuters are using Stevens Creek Trail, 90 are using Permanente Creek Trail and 22 are using Shoreline Boulevard.

While the planned bridge would be one of the largest bike and pedestrian bridges in the area and a significant link between the city's transit hub and thriving employment centers, the design plan is anything but ambitious. City staff say the plan is to use a "concrete box girder" design similar to the Permanente Creek Trail over Highway 101 and the Stevens Creek Trail bridge over Highway 85.

The choice was described by staff as a pragmatic approach to building bike infrastructure, a way of managing the design, construction and maintenance costs. As it stands, the project would take an estimated $2 million to design and $20 million to build. A spectacular design would also be somewhat of a waste -- due to its location, the vision of the bridge is heavily obscured in both directions from Highway 101, hidden by trees, the Shoreline Boulevard overpass and the Old Middlefield Way flyover.

The decision stands in deep contrast to Palo Alto's Highway 101 bridge plans at Adobe Creek. The city initially sought to create an iconic structure through a design contest in 2011, only to later scrap the idea when costs ballooned. A more scaled-back version of the project was finally approved in November.

Mountain View City Councilman Chris Clark said he wondered whether the Shoreline bridge could still include some type of aesthetic elements to make it more interesting. Though Caltrans has to give its blessing and generally opposes driver distractions, he suggested the bridge be designed to light up or have some kind of back-lit art that can be seen from below.

"I think some of the most interesting bridges I've seen are actually the most interesting at night," Clark said. "I know Caltrans is a hurdle there, but I think that would be a low-cost way to make something that's a pretty standard design stand out."

Less enthusiastic was Councilwoman Alison Hicks, who said a more lightweight design would look better and better match the urban environment of North Bayshore. She cited a popular example in Copenhagen, and suggested that such a design could be cheaper and more appealing.

"I would like (the design) to be at least looked into to be part of our network, so I may not be voting for this if that puts it on staff's to-do list," she said.

Full conceptual designs will be ready by early 2021, with no specific date for when construction begins. The city will be using its Shoreline Regional Park funds to pay for the design, but has yet to decide where the $20 million construction cost will come from.

Comments

Better than busing
Rengstorff Park
on Apr 30, 2020 at 8:00 pm
Better than busing, Rengstorff Park
on Apr 30, 2020 at 8:00 pm
22 people like this

Biking is better than busing. At least you won't catch Covid-19. But don't forget about tele-commuting. Much of the time spent traveling to work (and school) is avoidable.


No thanks
Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Apr 30, 2020 at 8:53 pm
No thanks, Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Apr 30, 2020 at 8:53 pm
4 people like this

If Karen Holman offers to be an advisor , tell her “thanks, but no thanks”


Chris
Old Mountain View
on May 1, 2020 at 4:15 am
Chris, Old Mountain View
on May 1, 2020 at 4:15 am
13 people like this

"Mountain View City Councilman Chris Clark said he wondered whether the Shoreline bridge could still include some type of aesthetic elements to make it more interesting. Though Caltrans has to give its blessing and generally opposes driver distractions, he suggested the bridge be designed to light up or have some kind of back-lit art that can be seen from below."

Why don't we just use an existing, proven design... instead of something that will cost $2m to design and $20m to construct? This can also be completed sooner with a more conventional design. Happy to see this done either way; this is much needed!


We'll be looking at it for decades and decades
Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on May 1, 2020 at 6:43 am
We'll be looking at it for decades and decades, Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on May 1, 2020 at 6:43 am
21 people like this

Yes, lets built it cheap and basic without any care for aesthetics...like what they do in North Korea.


MogensLauritzen
Gemello
on May 1, 2020 at 9:07 am
MogensLauritzen, Gemello
on May 1, 2020 at 9:07 am
11 people like this

2000ft to the north there is Permanente Creek trail bridge, and 2000ft to the south there's Stevens Creek trail. What is the rationale to add a 3'rd?

What could you do to improve bike/foot traffic experience in MV with $20M, other than this bridge?


Keep it simple
Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on May 1, 2020 at 9:16 am
Keep it simple, Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on May 1, 2020 at 9:16 am
6 people like this

This will be directly adjacent to the Shoreline bridge. Why would you do anything other than adapt the same design elements as the existing bridge? I'd rather just have it blend in -- it's a small bridge over the freeway. What matters to most will be width, grade, smoothness, and ease of entry/exit. Prioritize those things and the aesthetics will follow.


Too Funny
Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on May 1, 2020 at 12:10 pm
Too Funny, Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on May 1, 2020 at 12:10 pm
6 people like this

Hans ayone seen any of the plans they're being critical of, or are we at the phase where we imagine something bad is going to happen, say that we HOPE this imagined bad thing does not happen, then go on to rail about why it should not happen.
Are we there yet?
Just checking.


Darin
Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on May 1, 2020 at 2:28 pm
Darin, Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on May 1, 2020 at 2:28 pm
1 person likes this

IIRC, the Stevens Creek Trail underpass at 101 closes seasonally due to flooding. An overpass that integrates with the SCT could be useful for those who use the SCT for commuting, to allow them to bike to work when the SCT underpass is closed.


Poppadop
Willowgate
on May 1, 2020 at 2:38 pm
Poppadop, Willowgate
on May 1, 2020 at 2:38 pm
11 people like this

This strikes me as a colossal waste of money. Given the low number of bicyclists who currently use the existing freeway crossovers (or -unders), projected usage to justify the expense of $20 million (or more, most likely) seems wildly unrealistic. Why not improve North Bayshore access to the existing pathways, for far less money?


lets fix the small things
North Bayshore
on May 1, 2020 at 2:57 pm
lets fix the small things, North Bayshore
on May 1, 2020 at 2:57 pm
17 people like this

Current Permanente Creek Trail bike/walk path is great, but there's weird endpoints that make it less useful.
The first North Bayshore exit dumps you in the Google Parking lot, although Alta Ave and the Google bike paths are just 200 feet away. The next junction dumps you on Charleston Rd without a safe easy way to cross the street to resume the trail that then continues on to the waterfront.

On the Stevens Creek Trail, what if there were more exits, like onto Shorebird Way that connects with the Google paths. And when will we finally be able to cross easily over to Ames and Moffett from more parts of Stevens Creek Trail?

There are small fixes needed that seem much more timely and inexpensive than a third walk/bike bridge.





Internet old timer
Waverly Park
on May 1, 2020 at 3:36 pm
Internet old timer, Waverly Park
on May 1, 2020 at 3:36 pm
Like this comment

@Too Funny, you must be new to the internet. We're there. We've been there for years.

In fact, we're so far beyond that point that we've almost reached the spot where we take up arms to protest the imagined bad thing from happening, mostly to distract us from the horrible things that are *actually* happening.

:-)


Jeremy Hoffman
Rengstorff Park
on May 1, 2020 at 4:23 pm
Jeremy Hoffman, Rengstorff Park
on May 1, 2020 at 4:23 pm
5 people like this

I fully support a new bike bridge. Shoreline is a really good spot for it. A pragmatic, tried-and-true design seems appropriate for this spot.

As to the cost, we spend billions on car infrastructure without batting an eye. Biking is win-win -- bikes take up less space than cars, they don't pollute the air with CO2 or tire particles, the biker gets health benefits from the activity, and fewer people get seriously injured in collisions.


Rossta
Waverly Park
on May 1, 2020 at 4:48 pm
Rossta, Waverly Park
on May 1, 2020 at 4:48 pm
13 people like this

This bridge is a much needed addition. Yes, there are 2 other crossings 2000 ft on either side. That's 0.4 miles, so diverting to that and back adds almost a mile. People in cars complain about such detours from the exertion of pressing their gas pedal. Let's be a little charitable to the people out there breaking a sweat to improve traffic by not being part of it.

Also, the Stevens Creek Trail crossing of 101 is woefully inadequate. Someone mentioned that it closes in the winter. Well, pretty rarely. But, it is only about 6' wide under 101 with a blind corner at the bottom of a ramp. Lots of accidents happen there. It really needs to be rebuilt and would likely cost well over $20 million.

If you want to include some aesthetics, I say put them on the top deck where the users can see them - not for the cars passing under. And I agree with Allison Hicks that staff should learn about the Copenhagen design done 6 years ago. Steel is quite often cheaper than concrete. We have to get not just good or great, but EXCELLENT at building bike/ped bridges because we actually need quite a few of them.


J
Gemello
on May 1, 2020 at 5:10 pm
J, Gemello
on May 1, 2020 at 5:10 pm
5 people like this

I think a bike bridge that is well lit and safe for bikes 24/7 is a good idea. It should blend in with the Rengsdorff overpass when crossing 101. The most important features should be on the approaches and exits: A well lit set of dedicated bike lanes that have individual signal lights would improve safety for riders and automobile (etc) drivers.

If the existing bike overpasses could be modified to meet the standards described above, that would be good. Underpasses that flood during rainy periods are not a good choice. Fine for recreation, not for commuters.

In my neighborhood, I can cross El Camino at the signals/pedestrian crossings. The bigger issues are bikes disregarding signal lights, stop signs, and pedestrians in the cross walks. The same issues for cars and other motor vehicles. A “culture change” would support commuters using all forms of transportation. “Jaywalking” across El Camino, etc. is another issue.


MP
Old Mountain View
on May 1, 2020 at 6:41 pm
MP, Old Mountain View
on May 1, 2020 at 6:41 pm
2 people like this

Google should pay for it


Dan Waylonis
Jackson Park
on May 1, 2020 at 7:21 pm
Dan Waylonis, Jackson Park
on May 1, 2020 at 7:21 pm
6 people like this

How about just reconfiguring Shoreline? Put pedestrians on one side, narrow the median, and then a dedicated bike lanes in place of the other sidewalk. Use the same bridge. It seems like the city is full of expensive unnecessary ideas.


As a biker in the area -- No thanks
Old Mountain View
on May 1, 2020 at 8:08 pm
As a biker in the area -- No thanks, Old Mountain View
on May 1, 2020 at 8:08 pm
13 people like this

As someone who does walk across 101 at shoreline, and bikes via the Stevens Creek and Permanente Creek trail:

WHAT A WASTE OF MONEY.

Walking across the bridge is fine in the current state.

Adding a bridge in the middle of an unsafe path does not help.
Until Shoreline has a physically separate biking lane, it isn't safe. Drivers forget about the painted lines (e.g. while texting). Riding on Shoreline is Russian Roulette.


Awesome!
Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on May 2, 2020 at 6:04 am
Awesome!, Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on May 2, 2020 at 6:04 am
10 people like this

Getting a bike over the Shoreline overpass area is very sketchy. The is GREAT and WELCOME news. People complaining have only imagined the issues.


JR
another community
on May 2, 2020 at 11:26 am
JR, another community
on May 2, 2020 at 11:26 am
4 people like this

Based on the current map, I expect that very few people would use this proposed bridge. Biking on Shoreline, one would need to take a detour to reach it. I think most would opt to bike on Shoreline instead to save time.

While MV is pandering to billion dollar employers and building bike bridges every .5 miles over 101, bike access across Central and the tracks is awful. A bike bridge near Rengstorff is badly needed, it should be prioritized over this needless and redundant bridge.


Regular Bike Commuter
Jackson Park
on May 2, 2020 at 11:27 am
Regular Bike Commuter, Jackson Park
on May 2, 2020 at 11:27 am
13 people like this

I commute to North Bayshore on a daily basis - walking or biking, never driving.

I use both existing commuter trails (SCT under 101, Permanente bridge over 101). They both have some blind spots and missing exits/crossings, but those can be fixed for I hope far less than $20M.

New bridge would take in commuters from Shoreline blvd. which is dangerous to ride on. Until there is a clear bike path separation on it, it's going to stay like that.

City should spend money on Central Expy underpass (from train station), and better connection from transit center to SCT and Permanente crossing.


DC
Sylvan Park
on May 2, 2020 at 12:34 pm
DC, Sylvan Park
on May 2, 2020 at 12:34 pm
8 people like this

Stevens creek trail is used already, Safer and closer to any destination a bike would go. Seems any money should be spent to improve the existing path rather than to to design in a expensive fluff item that in total goes nowhere.


Google a map
Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on May 2, 2020 at 7:06 pm
Google a map, Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on May 2, 2020 at 7:06 pm
Like this comment

The density of office workers is not concentrated just at the two end of North Bayshore. This new bridge proposal allows crossing right in the middle of the work-zone. The Stevens Creak crossing and the Permanent crossing will need to be supplemented IN THE FUTURE if fossil-fuel (carbon rich) transportation is to be mitigated.

Biking - corn-based energy (I know fertilizer/transport etc). Not exactly Co2 free, but biking is one of the most energy-efficient human transport systems available!


Oh yah
Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on May 3, 2020 at 5:53 am
Oh yah, Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on May 3, 2020 at 5:53 am
8 people like this

SCR has become very impacted during commute hours creating some dangerous situations due to it's hemmed in nature. I can't wait to see the plans. Hurry!


So, see ya in 2030?
Cuesta Park
on May 4, 2020 at 7:54 am
So, see ya in 2030?, Cuesta Park
on May 4, 2020 at 7:54 am
Like this comment

Ya'll will likely have a decade to whine and complain about all the aspects of this.
Pace yourselves.


ronewolf
Old Mountain View
on May 4, 2020 at 5:06 pm
ronewolf, Old Mountain View
on May 4, 2020 at 5:06 pm
Like this comment

This is great! Would appreciate the designers commenting on the access to the bridge from the West of 101. For instance, where will the access be & what would be the suggested bike routes to get to/from the access point?


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