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Sobrato pitches North Bayshore housing project

Original post made on Jan 14, 2016

Mountain View city planners are more than a year away from figuring out how to transform the North Bayshore tech hub into a vibrant residential neighborhood, but that hasn't stopped developers from pitching new housing projects for city review.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Thursday, January 14, 2016, 11:11 AM

Comments (25)

Posted by Observer
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Jan 14, 2016 at 11:25 am

This is lining up to be bad either way. More housing tied to more office space will not relieve traffic. It will only make it worse. And I really doubt many low income housing candidates will be working in offices in North Bayshore.

Posted by Curious Observer
a resident of Jackson Park
on Jan 14, 2016 at 12:03 pm

Curious Observer is a registered user.

Isn't this the same area as the Shoreline Amphitheater? There are already loads of noise complaints from people who don't live anywhere near the amphitheater. What's going to happen when they add housing to the area? Does the city plan to shut down the amphitheater because we all know that once people move into that area they are going to complain about the noise? How is possible that this is going through without that consideration. What are they thinking?

Posted by Curious Observer
a resident of Jackson Park
on Jan 14, 2016 at 1:43 pm

Curious Observer is a registered user.

For those on the city council,who work for the city, and who have short term memory, remember the weekend raves: Web Link
I could hear the noise from this all weekend

Posted by Kathy
a resident of Sylvan Park
on Jan 14, 2016 at 2:31 pm

Would love to see the Amphitheatre razed, it is noisy, draws toublemakers from all over the bay area and the traffic jams on event days are a PITA. With that said, in 2006 MV negotiated a 15 year lease, plus a five-year option for Live Nation. After that point, city officials will be able to either tear down the amphitheater or renew the lease for another five years. So I guess that means we are stuck with Live Nation until at least 2021, and more likely 2026, another 10 years. ugh! source Web Link

Posted by GDM
a resident of Blossom Valley
on Jan 14, 2016 at 2:55 pm

The Amphitheater brings in a boatload of money for the city. Why would they end the agreement?

Posted by Noise
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Jan 14, 2016 at 2:56 pm

I don't like when other people have fun near me. It causes me consternation to hear music from the amphitheater that I knew about when I bought my house. The city council will be hearing about this! *angrily reaches for inkwell and quill*

Posted by Downtown connector?
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Jan 14, 2016 at 4:27 pm

The biggest problem I see with North Bayshore housing is there are virtually no amenities over there. It would take a living population of > 10,000 to support a grocery store. Since Shoreline is the only road in and out of that location, it seems like we will have gridlock, especially with traffic going in both directions rather than almost strictly commuters working in NBS.

So, my question is, are there plans to better connect this area to Mountain View's downtown or other areas that are fully serviced? I know a light rail stop is being evaluated but, in keeping with VTA's specialty, it would essentially connect this complex to suburbs and not a convenient entertainment/shopping/eating district. Stevens Creek Trail is a nice option for many things, but is not a complete solution.

Posted by seems logical
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Jan 14, 2016 at 4:53 pm

in my estimation a large % of the apartments will be occupied by those that work on that side of hwy 101 so it should help the congestion issue rather than contribute to it.

Posted by neighbor
a resident of Stierlin Estates
on Jan 14, 2016 at 7:19 pm

Housing next to the Amphitheatre is going to be one big problem, the noise and traffic are a problem for all the communities across from 101. I invite every councilmember to come over to the area of Middlefield all the way from Whisman to Rengstorff before a weekday concert. I don't think any one of them have ever been in our neighborhoods before or during concerts. We don't just hear the concerts for free, but the traffic noise with all those drivers who are late and very mad at the world around them. And if you think that only people that work in north bayshore will live there, I think that the times of company towns are gone.

Posted by Annoyed
a resident of The Crossings
on Jan 15, 2016 at 3:03 pm

It's the same recycled comments on new housing. If you really want to live like you're in the 1960s then stop using the Internet and use picket signs to protest. (Don't use/own a cell phone either.) People need places to live. MV is as good a place as any if one can afford it and accept the pros and cons. Noise and traffic are poor excuses to stop new housing.

Posted by @Annoyed
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Jan 15, 2016 at 4:37 pm

"MV is as good a place as any if one can afford it and accept the pros and cons."

Funny coming from the Crossings where it's impossible to find a parking spot when visiting friends there at night or on weekends. Cars are crammed into every inch of curb and stacked up and sticking into and out of driveways. Many houses crammed together needing paint and yards that look awful. Most are rented out to take advantage of the soaring rental market. It's a perfect example of what was sold as a great planned and model community gone bad.

Posted by bjd
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Jan 16, 2016 at 9:13 am

Here is a fly-by video, shared by Ken Rosenberg:

Web Link

Posted by bjd
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Jan 16, 2016 at 9:52 am

I think the plan is very attractive. I am happy to see attention to creating a nice space (unlike, in my opinion, San Antonio Phase 1)

My questions are:

(1) Surely not everyone will work in North Bayshore. If (for example) 20% of people commute outside of NBS, does the left-hand turn across Shoreline do more harm than good for traffic?

(2) I've heard a grocery store requires ~10,000 people to sustain itself. Assuming not every meal is eaten at Google, where will the residents shop for groceries? And what school serves the area?

Posted by I G
a resident of Rex Manor
on Jan 17, 2016 at 8:25 am

That's a good point about the amphitheater. It may end up being torn down (and, if I have my druthers, replaced with housing).

As the article says, City Council wants to build ~9000 housing units (earlier, it was 10 000). This would be enough to support a grocery store as well as elementary and middle schools (high school students might need to be bussed).

Traffic will need to be addressed. I think a traffic solution will require all or most of the following:
* Expanding Shoreline Blvd north of 101 to three lanes each way
* Expanding the traffic intake for the amphitheater (if it's still around). Show traffic is so bad because all the cars have to go through a single left-turn lane onto a single lane entering the parking lot.
* Shuttle bus service to downtown, including evening hours and especially show days
* Parking agreements with area businesses. There are already lots of people parking south of 101, probably in company lots where they don't belong, and walking to the amphitheater.

Extending light rail (i.e., the trolley) sounds nice, but it would probably be a huge boondoggle, like the rest of the trolley system, with insufficent ridership to justify the huge capital cost and right-of-way acquisition. The only really efficient public transit system in this area is Caltrain, so let's make sure NBS can use it.

Posted by Kelly
a resident of North Bayshore
on Jan 20, 2016 at 11:46 am

I reside in Santiago Villa Mobile Home Park. I'm curious what this means for us resident's here. Yes I agree that the traffic is horrible during concert time but I knew about this before I took ownership of my home but with the increased housing and other businesses coupled with having concert traffic, I'm curious how this will effect getting in and out of our area. Or are their plans of selling the mobile home park???? I can't see the Tech industry leaving this portion of land untouched.

Posted by Amused
a resident of another community
on Jan 20, 2016 at 5:43 pm

Thank you BJD for posting the fly by video of the proposed project. The design seemed blah and uninspiring to me. But the truth is I have a hard time really telling what the final project will look like until I see it in person. Maybe I'll be blown away.

But what struck me the most when watching the video is that the depictions of the people in the animated fly by were spot on. All I saw were young adults. There were no families or elderly. They obviously didn't intend to send the message that this project was directed at a narrow segment of the population, but that's what I got when I watched it. And I think when all is said and done, it is a pretty accurate depiction of who will be living and working at this development.

Posted by MV resident
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Jan 20, 2016 at 10:46 pm

@Amused - Yes, it's a very amusing video! The project is apparently going to be very sparsely populated. I counted just 25 cars in the entire tour. Just one bus, and just one bike, ridden by the only child in the video. And such clean streets!

Architect software is pretty cool these days - a great tool for selling a project. Thanks, Ken Rosenberg!

The reality will not be as pretty as the video.

Posted by Why grocery stores?
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Jan 21, 2016 at 2:45 pm

This is a serious question. Why the fixation on where these people go for groceries? On the number of people it takes to support a grocery store? This topic comes up again and again, that North Bayshore isn't a real neighborhood until it gets enough people to support a grocery store, therefore we must have 10,000 people there. Santiago Villa isn't a real neighborhood? Old Mountain View wasn't a real neighborhood until Ava's opened? I'm happy to be enlightened by this fixation on having enough people to support a grocery store. And, personally, I do my grocery shopping either as part of my commute (and therefore I'm not adding a trip, just a slight diversion) or outside of commute hours. I don't see how people going to get groceries creates a traffic problem.

Posted by Cheesy
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Jan 22, 2016 at 3:39 pm

The fly-by animation is interesting and helpful, but of course renderings are never definitive in terms of actual rendition. On the other hand, with its clumsy concatenation of cliches and cheesy execution, San Antonio Phase I actually looks like a huge architect's model. As done by a promising but unsure student.

Observing the animation in question, MV Resident's reported count of some things (e.g. kids and bikes) is off. I stopped counting bikes at a dozen. There are at least two kids, not counting any bike riders. And maybe some of the 25 cars were depictions counted twice from different angles.

Posted by North Bayshore Parent
a resident of North Bayshore
on Jan 22, 2016 at 11:13 pm

As far as schools go, both my kids went to Monta Loma Elementary and Crittenden Middle School which is only a few blocks away. They can
either go to Mountain View or Los Altos High, but the neighborhood
school is Mountain View High.

As far as grocery shopping goes, there is a Safeway right down
Shoreline only a few minutes away.

I am under the impression that these new apartments will be for
young techie singles or couples without kids. But under the law
they cannot discriminate who winds up living there.

Posted by North Bayshore Parent
a resident of North Bayshore
on Jan 22, 2016 at 11:23 pm

For elementary schools they can also go to Theuerkauf or Stevenson PACT school.

Posted by MV resident
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Jan 23, 2016 at 8:06 pm

@Cheesy - Thanks, I stand corrected. I looked at the video again, and counted 11 bikes and 3 or 4 kids. You may also be right that I overcounted the cars. The point, of course, is that the video presents a picture that is a lot prettier than the reality is certain to be - hardly any people, hardly any cars, spotless streets, perfect trees grown to optimum cosmetic height. The developers' architects use these videos all the time now, when making a pitch to the city. By the way, what did you think about the architecture in the video? Pretty cold, I thought.

@Why grocery stores? - The need for a local grocery store is because without one, residents of North Bayshore will have to use Shoreline, Rengstorff, or San Antonio to get to a food source. Those streets are already at a miserable level of service, even without the recently-approved 2.2 million sf of new office space, and the projected 9100 high-density apartments that the city council wants to put in there. Residents will need to go to any number of other off-site services as well (dentist, hardware store, gym, restaurants, whatever), but going for groceries is the example that will generate the most trips. I don't think Santiago Villa generates anywhere the number of trips that thousands more apartment units will. Please note that 9100 new units will probably mean 15,000 new residents of NB, as many people will double up to afford the rents.

A couple of years ago, the "10,000" figure was being cited to demonstrate that building new housing in North Bayshore would be a poor idea (the position of the previous council). Now it seems that the figure is being used to argue that housing must be built more densely than was ever contemplated in the past, in order to reach the density that would support a grocery store and other neighborhood businesses.

I'm resigned to the fact that the present city council will serve the interests of the large corporations and large developers in any way it can, and is heedless of the effects on our quality of life. I can't see how any ride-sharing program, extension of light rail, or other "mitigation" program will be sufficient to offset the increased congestion that will come with 2.2 million sf of new office space and 9100 new apartment units in NB.

Posted by Reality
a resident of another community
on Jan 25, 2016 at 10:44 pm

It looks sterile enough so I have a hard time telling what's the office and what's the housing - the whole thing pretty much looks like an office to me. In fact, modern offices often look more interesting than this. Sad.

Posted by Albert J
a resident of Stierlin Estates
on Jan 26, 2016 at 5:16 pm

I was just down in Thousand Oaks and my friends there said their city has an explicit growth cap (population, number and size of businesses) to avoid the kind of unsustainable growth which our current city council seems to be pursuing. I've never heard of any kind of growth cap in Mountain View, but I think its time has come.

Posted by Frustrated
a resident of North Bayshore
on Feb 1, 2016 at 2:02 pm

I live in Santiago Villa and already feel like a prisoner here sometimes due to Google traffic. We keep a concert schedule here so we know when to not leave the house, or make sure to come home early before the traffic starts. I'm not convinced that anyone can come up with a plan to ease the already bad traffic on Shoreline while adding 9,000 apartments. Stupid is a word that comes to mind. I've lived here for 10 years and now feel that my family and I will be forced out in the next few years by the tech companies. I think this is a horrible idea.

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