Town Square

Post a New Topic

An eco-dilemma: save redwoods or build bike lanes?

Original post made on Oct 25, 2016

Google's ambitious plans to build a futuristic headquarters in Mountain View's North Bayshore is hitting big snags over some of the neighborhood's deep-rooted inhabitants. About 200 trees, mostly redwoods, lining Shoreline Boulevard and nearby streets will need to be removed to make way for a slate of road improvements to accommodate the company's growing workforce.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Tuesday, October 25, 2016, 10:23 AM

Comments (51)

Posted by Lisa Baler
a resident of North Bayshore
on Oct 25, 2016 at 12:15 pm

I'd like to remove Kasperzak before we remove those beautiful trees. Who does he think he is, I'm so over his lousy decisions for the city! He's the worst! SAVE THE TREES!

Posted by resident
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Oct 25, 2016 at 12:23 pm

How about making the traffic lanes narrower and slower to make room for the bike lanes?

Posted by Long gone
a resident of another community
on Oct 25, 2016 at 12:45 pm

I will be able to hear the cry of the trees all the way up here where they are native beings, as you murder them to sacrifice to the gods of transportation.

Posted by live in mtn view
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Oct 25, 2016 at 12:48 pm

How many trees will be removed? I remember when the trees were planted in the early eighties and I am sure the landscape architects at that time knew that a coastal redwood grows well in our area. Mtn View is not that far from the coast. Now all over sudden these trees need to go because they are not native?

Posted by What
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Oct 25, 2016 at 1:18 pm

This is the worst city council. In the last 5 year we have had so much destruction of our town. I thought our council members loved mountain view. Guess stuffing one's own pockets is a greater love.

Posted by Say Wha?
a resident of Whisman Station
on Oct 25, 2016 at 2:22 pm

Seriously? That's a terrible plan. Those trees are beautiful! Surely there's another way. Shame on you, city council! Boo.

Posted by Seriously
a resident of Slater
on Oct 25, 2016 at 2:22 pm

This city council must indeed be corrupt. Kasperzak and his grungy looking Baskin and Robbins. It's an eye sore. He should go back to working there and making it look more appealing instead of helping to destroy the rest of Mountain View. Those trees are beautiful that the council is allowing to get chopped down. Redwood trees are like families...their roots intertwine and so they are connect. The council has forgetten their roots also are here in Mountain View but keep letting the greediness of Google take over. Seriously not funny anymore how Google is like a spoiled child and the council it's every wish-granting parents.

Posted by MV native
a resident of Shoreline West
on Oct 25, 2016 at 2:29 pm

No. The trees were here long before all these techies were.

Posted by Dave
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Oct 25, 2016 at 2:32 pm

I have lived here for 40 years. Forty years ago, Mountain View was awful. The "downtown" was pathetic. In fact, there really wasn't a downtown. The streets were beat up. There were few curbs and sidewalks. Property values were low. I don't want to go back to that. I like the growth. I like the investment in our infrastructure and our environment. I like the new houses, the new people, and the new businesses. If you want to see what happens when businesses leave and communities collapse, go to the Midwest.

North Bayshore is a landfill. I support the investment to make this a livable area with successful businesses, transportation, and communities. Stop worrying about a couple of hundred trees. They don't belong here anyway. We will plant more than we will chop down, and they will sequester more carbon anyway.

Posted by Konrad M. Sosnow
a resident of another community
on Oct 25, 2016 at 2:33 pm

Ode to Mountain View City Council

They paved paradise
And put up a parking lot
With a pink hotel, a boutique
And a swinging hot spot

Don't it always seem to go
That you don't know what you've got til its gone
They paved paradise
And put up a parking lot

They took all the trees
And put 'em in a tree museum
And they charged the people
A dollar and a half to seem 'em

No no no
Don't it always seem to go,
That you don't know what you've got
Til its gone
They paved paradise
And put up a parking lot

Posted by Lydia
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Oct 25, 2016 at 2:36 pm

They're replacing the trees with a native species that uses less water.
And bike lanes are important.
Seems like a win win to me.

Posted by Jamie
a resident of Shoreline West
on Oct 25, 2016 at 2:42 pm

Does everything in this town have to be bought and paid for by Google?

The trees belong right where they are. Google does not.

There is a lot of treeless land in Las Vegas. Perhaps a move by Google would make everyone happy.

Posted by Frank
a resident of another community
on Oct 25, 2016 at 2:52 pm

It's clearly too late - Google *owns* MV and there's no turning back. Anything the 800lb gorilla wants, he gets.
Oh, and "eco-friendly" and "green" as touted by Google and Apple is BS. Know how much of a footprint is taken up by the construction of these behemoths? Will the bulldozers and cranes be electric with no greenhouse emissions? Anything to be eco-friendly - as long as it doesn't impede the next Googleplex or the next gazillion Android phones to be built.
Things are going to be very different once Google and Apple run out of shiny new things to create and we go thru a tech downturn. Wait until the layoffs happen and some Google buildings start closing...

Posted by kh
a resident of Sylvan Park
on Oct 25, 2016 at 2:58 pm

Let's just pave over the entire city, save a lot of time having these discussions. What Google wants Google gets, why waste time talking about it.

Posted by Darin
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Oct 25, 2016 at 3:06 pm

Actually, coast redwoods aren't "deep-rooted". Their roots are relatively shallow. And they require a lot of irrigation, especially when they're planted away from the coastal fog that they normally depend upon.

My HOA is dealing with landscape trees that are reaching their end of life, or that have overgrown their current location. And we're replacing water-intensive trees and plants with native species that require less irrigation. This doesn't seem all that different.

Posted by James
a resident of North Bayshore
on Oct 25, 2016 at 3:26 pm


Posted by James
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Oct 25, 2016 at 3:28 pm

Forgot to mention that our glorious leaders make 35-40 M per month, and get lifetime health care...I wonder how much they get "extra".

Posted by James
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Oct 25, 2016 at 3:30 pm

whoops, that's their yearly "compensation" not monthly; sorry guys.

Posted by kgirl
a resident of Rex Manor
on Oct 25, 2016 at 3:42 pm

I am saddened and appalled by the notion of destroying 200 trees for bike lanes. Really? I guess we should get used to the idea of becoming a concrete jungle....the new moniker for Mountain View. And I am offended by the statement of the trees not being "native" to the area. Then why were they put there in the first place? Palo Alto took out a bunch of redwood trees years ago on San Antonio. Has anyone else noticed how hot that area gets now? We talk about climate change and saving the environment. How does that apply to this situation? Totally disgusted.

Posted by kw
a resident of Monta Loma
on Oct 25, 2016 at 3:59 pm

I'm surprised at how many people think they know more than the environmentalists and the Sierra Club. Yes, Redwoods are beautiful. That doesn't make them appropriate. Nor does removing them equal turning the area into a concrete jungle. It sounds to me that 300 trees will be replaced with 380 trees, and they will not only consume less water, but they will lead to higher accessibility to bike traffic, reducing the carbon footprint even further. FFS, people, you can't have it all. This sounds like a reasonable trade-off.

Posted by reality
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Oct 25, 2016 at 4:06 pm

So I guess nobody understands that the trees will be replanted with NATIVES for the area? No? Can't help you then.
These are ornamental city trees people. They are not deforesting anything. Be angry if they don't replant. There's your fight.

Posted by My. View Neighbor
a resident of North Whisman
on Oct 25, 2016 at 4:58 pm

This is no Eco-dilemma, it's an eco disaster. It took so years for us to get approval for necessary tree removal at my condo complex. Yet, NOW, Google has no problem taking out trees unnecessarily. The environmental rape continues, air quality declines and the illusion continues. A friend recently visited and politely referred to Mountain View as Stepford.

There's a massive section of open space already targeted for destruction. Without trees and plants, we have no oxygen. I guess that doesn't matter to Google though, since they're all about robots.

Posted by My. View neighbor
a resident of North Whisman
on Oct 25, 2016 at 5:10 pm

Frank, you're right. An 800lb gorilla on the rampage. Phony environmentalism. If you actually research landscaping, replacing these trees with native plants, is not cost effective, not energy efficient, nor water efficient. These existing trees as described require no watering and very little maintenance. This is just more if Google's private playground. I'm sooooo over it!

Posted by MVNative
a resident of Shoreline West
on Oct 25, 2016 at 6:09 pm

Did you "residents" all miss this? " naturalist groups known for preserving the redwoods, including the Sierra Club and the Audubon Society, attended the Mountain View meeting to lend their support for felling the trees." I love how a bunch of transplant residents who think they are experts on what trees should stay and which ones should go, know better than organziations who's existence is to support PROPER preservation of Redwoods. Get over yourselves. I grew-up taking my garbage to the DUMP in north bayshore. It was all underwater. Swamp. not some nature preserve. If you don't like it, YOU LEAVE!

Posted by longtime mtn view resident
a resident of North Whisman
on Oct 25, 2016 at 6:25 pm

I am old enough to remember when Shoreline Blvd was Stierlin Road, and it ended at the bay with the Mtn View Dump. As North Bayshore was envisioned by the city of Mountain View to be a business center (beginning with The Landings), it was REQUIRED to have deep setbacks of lawn and trees. It became a beautiful area where people could work and enjoy nature. With Google choosing Mountain View as their home base, they have grown at an uncontainable pace. Google took down over a 100 trees at Mayfield Mall; now they want to take down over 200 trees on Shoreline. I question how easily our city leaders simply fall into line "in the name of progress." How do the rest of us "ungooglers" benefit from Google's presence in Mountain View?

Posted by Anon
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Oct 25, 2016 at 6:47 pm

That area is completely fine to ride bikes around.....except for the Google employees who park in the bike lanes (of which Google refuses to do anything about) and the Google buses. Outside of that area, the Google bicycles litter the neighborhood and the Google employees ride the Google bikes at night, dark clothes, no lights, no helmet and blowing through stop signs. The problem is Google. Keep the trees and fix Google.

Posted by Mark
a resident of Shoreline West
on Oct 25, 2016 at 7:45 pm

How decent of Google to chop down 200+ redwood trees to better the area because the redwoods are "non-native" ... I'll go along with that as long as each and every MV council member who IS NOT NATIVE TO MOUNTAIN VIEW (in other word who was not BORN in Mountain View and has lived here all of their lives) will kindly resign their positions ... the reality is that Mountain View City Council is the bitch of Google and NEVER responds to a Google demand (I mean "request") with a "Uhhhhh, NO - that's not going to happen!" ... props to Clark, Siegel and Inks for voting NO and standing up to Google at least this once ...

Posted by Sick of this
a resident of Rex Manor
on Oct 25, 2016 at 8:39 pm

So while I am all for trees I just had to remove 3 large ash trees from my property because whoever built the tract in the 70's thought it would be a great idea to put them all within 5 feet of the chimney and foundation. My foundation was crumbling, walkways cracking, drywall cracking. I had to do it yet. Some uninformed moron felt it necessary to deface my property by basically telling my Eff you written on my fence. Sometimes when we develop an area it can't stay the same. Google is a very good neighbor to us. They give more than anybody else to our schools and are trying to solve the traffic issues, they are actually being stifled by the council.The plus to Google being here is all of our homes are going up in value, not that I am going to sell anytime soon, but yes our downtown is now a destination. If we want a good economy it means bring in business and tax revenue. If you want nature, move to Ben Lomond or something. You just can't have both. So many people have bitched about bike and pedestrian safety, well here is a plan we don't have to pay for, nope not good enough. Google had a plan to build a bridge from 880 over the bay into the campus area, well that was some colored toed frogs habitat so it couldn't be done, yet cars idling for hours I am sure con't have any effect on the species,

Posted by live in Mtn View
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Oct 25, 2016 at 9:06 pm

Sick of it: so Google is the perfect neighbor to you? And you talk about a 'southern southern' crossing, never heard of it. The southern crossing across the bay north of SF airport was voted down long long time ago. But I guess you have not live here very long. I would say it's the big bully in Mountain View. And what Google wants Google gets, that's not a way to treat the residents who have to live with the traffic at any time mornings and afternoons and all the other problems this companies puts on it's neighbors. This is a company that pays not much in taxes since they don't produce anything. Their revenue comes from adds. And now they can't work around the redwood trees with their extension. Too bad, it's time for them to expand into other areas. Mountain View did fine without them, believe me, I have lived here for 30 plus years.

Posted by Seriously
a resident of Martens-Carmelita
on Oct 25, 2016 at 10:33 pm

No doubt pushed through by Kasperzak, the council member who makes decisions without emotion (or a soul apparently). If ever there was an invasive species, it is MK - the two-term limit didn't apply to him.
By the way, he doesn't own a Baskin Robbins (that is John McAlister) - Kasperzak is a lawyer. Explains a lot.

Posted by Easyed
a resident of Sylvan Park
on Oct 25, 2016 at 10:54 pm

I wrote letters to MV Voice years ago warning against becoming a company town to google. And now we are one. Wish I had been wrong. And google is a tax dodging parasite with oligarchic tendencies. They use our land and feed us their crumbs while selling our most private data for their profit

Posted by rainbow38
a resident of Martens-Carmelita
on Oct 26, 2016 at 7:28 am

The "not-native" issue is used all too frequently to serve some groups' agendas. Many of our major crops are not native but they've been allowed to grow here for many years and are an accepted and valued part of our economy. There are other ways Google can add bike lanes without destroying the trees. Re-planting sounds fine but there's no guarantee it will actually happen and it takes a long time for most trees to mature. The Mountain View Council needs to stop giving in to Google. Google's presence here has negatively impacted housing, transportation, and small businesses locally.

Posted by Replace the Trees
a resident of Bailey Park
on Oct 26, 2016 at 7:54 am

Come on folks - those trees are dying because they are inappropriate to the soil and conditions. They have very low habitat value, are not native to that area, and use a ton of water. They are going to replace the trees with new, more appropriate species. The Sierra Club and Audubon Society lend their support for felling the trees. There will be new bike paths for the area. What more do you need!

We have become a nation of complainers forsaking reason and doing what is right for "feeling". It is just not cool. Let's all go volunteer at a park clean up and do something productive instead of complaining all the time.

Posted by Seriously
a resident of Slater
on Oct 26, 2016 at 8:55 am

I'm sorry. I mean't McAlister not Kasperzak. Got the names confused. As mayor of this city, one would think he'd protect his town from becoming what it is, so overcrowded, conjested and long-time residents being forced to move. I don't go to the Safeway on Shoreline anymore. I go to the Safeway in Sunnyvale as it takes less time to purchase my groceries there and it'll get worse with all the new apartments being built in the neighborhood. I take Easy Street to 85 to get to work as Middlefield is so much more congested and I work in Mountain View. I'm just so disappointed in the city council simply giving up our town to Google. They should just rename it as Googleview instead of Mountain View. I do like Google and the services they provide. I just don't like how they've smothered Mountain View. I do agree with the one person above that Google could easily move to Las Vegas as yes, there is plenty of land there and would cost them alot less money I'm guessing for it.

Posted by SRB
a resident of St. Francis Acres
on Oct 26, 2016 at 9:07 am

SRB is a registered user.

Two issues with the proposal:
1. gives away a piece of Charleston Park
The city should get something back in return.
2. big loss of shade for the next 10-15 years
City and Google should consider temporary shade (awnings, vine canopy...) to protect pedestrians and cyclists.

Posted by Better Headline
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Oct 26, 2016 at 1:22 pm

"Continue to support unhealthy, thirsty, non-native trees, or replace them with natives and build bike lanes?"

It's quite an easy decision when you put it that way. Why wait for them to start falling or buckle the road and sidewalk with roots?

Posted by Garrett
a resident of another community
on Oct 26, 2016 at 1:29 pm

I agree the trees look wonderful but we do need street improvements so for every tree that is cut down a tree should be planted elsewhere. When the bike lanes are done, the street is improved the more trees should be planted.

Posted by Hope
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Oct 26, 2016 at 2:56 pm

We need to get rid of the 2 city council incumbents who only see more and more development. Mountain View is fast becoming unlivable because of the traffic alone

Posted by MV Homeowner
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Oct 26, 2016 at 10:51 pm

What a terrible idea! I just biked there. The redwoods are the only thing in the area making the ride a pleasure... otherwise it's merely a series of hideous offices surrounded by parking lots and minimal landscaping. No other kind of tree can make up for the shade and feeling of a gradually more natural and appealing entry to Shoreline Park. This was a study session, so I assume the decision isn't final. I urge the council to reconsider the alternative proposal involving recycled water. And what is the area of the tree removal? Is it only along Shoreline in the N Bayshore or does it include trees further south on Shoreline, nearer to the downtown?

Posted by Old Techie
a resident of another community
on Oct 26, 2016 at 11:34 pm

I worked in Shoreline in the Good Old Days of Sun and SGI and Shoreline was one of the most beautiful tech parks in the whole Bay Area. It is a gem. Now they are trying to cut all the trees down and it is heart-breaking. Why do we always have to cut down the trees? Redwood trees are native to the Bay Area (Duh!) and they grow well when
planted near each other as they lock roots when they are mature. I cannot fathom why anyone in their right mind would sacrifice the redwoods on Shoreline Avenue as it is also the entrance to Shoreline Park. Tech companies come and go. The trees remain. They will probably be there long after Google has sunk into the mists of Tech Memory
if they are left alone. The life span of a redwood is far longer than a tech company's lifespan. Look at Twitter flittering off into oblivion.... Leave teh Shoreline Redwoods be. They belong to the peopel of Mountain View, not Google.

Posted by I_Got_Mine
a resident of North Whisman
on Oct 27, 2016 at 3:47 am

FYI:Google is building a campus in Boulder, CO. As long as their buildings meet Boulder height requirements, they will have no problem building around in Boulder. You just might get what you wish for..and regret it. OTTO + Google Cars = a transportation solution. But you rocket scientists knew that..

Posted by The Understander
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Oct 27, 2016 at 5:19 am

RR trees are really not suited to the sandy bay soils around shoreline. They were not the right choice years ago and they will only be money pits going fwd. Replanting with trees that will thrive instead of sickly trees is the right fix for the long term. If we get some improved bike lanes with it, even better.

Posted by Darin
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Oct 27, 2016 at 3:01 pm

Darin is a registered user.

@Old Techie
Sure, redwood trees are native to the Bay Area, but they are not native to the North Bayshore area. They're native to the foggy coastal areas. The replacement trees will be local natives that will require much less irrigation, and will be healthier in the long term.

Posted by Greg David
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Oct 27, 2016 at 4:20 pm

Greg David is a registered user.

When the tree-huggers advocate cutting down the trees, it must be a reasonable plan.

What I can't understand is the arbitrary designation of "heritage tree" automatically given to any tree over a certain size. What part of our "heritage" is a redwood tree PLANTED in what was marshland? This discussion is simply asinine.

As to those who don't want trees cut down at all, I hope you don't live in a wood house, because then you fall into the same category of people who fly commercial and complain about airplanes flying over their house. Or don't forget those that buy houses next to train tracks and complain about the horns....

Posted by DC
a resident of Sylvan Park
on Oct 28, 2016 at 9:47 am

What was native to that part of Mtn View? Sea weed.

Posted by DC
a resident of Sylvan Park
on Oct 28, 2016 at 9:55 am

Photo of area pre Google, Shoreline, land fill, fruit frees etc....

Web Link

Posted by Scott L
a resident of another community
on Oct 28, 2016 at 12:11 pm

Scott L is a registered user.

There must be a way to find a "win-win" to save the trees and make this work!
We need creativity here. In the epicenter of "crowd sourcing" ideas I can't believe that we can't find a "win-win" solution here.

This is not hypocrisy from someone that lives in a wood house.Rather it is an invitation to have the city and Google and others to reach out to the community and find a way to keep those gorgeous Redwood trees.

As far as bike advocates and environmentalists supporting this. This is what happens when both of these groups rarely get wins, they're willing to accept peanuts instead of a healthy meal if I can use this analogy.

So let the brainstorming commence!

Posted by Darin
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Oct 28, 2016 at 3:46 pm

Darin is a registered user.

If a "win-win" can only be achieved by saving trees that are going to die regardless (according to the vice-chair of the Sierra Club Loma Prieta chapter), then I guess there won't be a "win-win".

Posted by True
a resident of Blossom Valley
on Oct 30, 2016 at 11:04 am

I treasure the apparently endless supply of entertainment provided by observing the cognitive dissonance employed by some of my neighbors in their unhinged anti-Google screeds on these boards. I'm convinced that there is nothing Google can do, no matter how beneficial to MV or the environment, that some nutter wouldn't complain about.

Saving water is a good thing right?

Well, removing these trees and replacing them with species more suited to the environment saves water....about 40%.

Removing non-native ornamental landscaping in favor of native species is a good thing right?

Well, these trees are non-native and they will be replaced with a greater number of trees that actually belong in the near-riparian environment that is N. Bayshore providing more habitat for other species.

Reducing traffic is a good thing right?

Increasing the scope of the bike lane network will facilitate less use of vehicles for intra-campus movement and make it easier for Mountain View residents to use bicycles to get to the Amphitheater and other recreational locations in N. Bayshore and Shoreline Park which will reduce traffic on Shoreline and tributary streets....fewer emissions to boot.

Those trees are not native. They are ornamental landscaping planted on a landfill that was once a swamp. At no time were there coastal redwoods growing where those now do. They were planted (irresponsibly) by the original developer (not Google) without regard to sustainability or to impact on other species. The Sierra Club agrees that they should be replaced.

So what's the problem?

Posted by resident
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Nov 1, 2016 at 10:33 pm

These trees were planted by the city of Mountain View in the early eighties during widening of Shoreline Blvd into the new Shoreline Park. So what the city gave us (very nice trees) they will take away and we the taxpayers pay twice for it.
Any new trees will take a lot of years to be of any size and newly planted trees need a lot more water than established ones.

Posted by water water not a drop to drink
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Nov 5, 2016 at 10:46 am

In the past the Voice has reported on the status of the redwood trees along Shoreline in North Bayshore. The trees were using recycled water / landscape-only water for many years. Seems to me a good use of recycled sewer water. However - there is high salt content in recycled sewer water - more than redwood trees can tolerate.
(we California natives do tolerate some of the non-native-to-California humanoid species who show up here! even if they do require a lot of pure drinkable water)
The city fixed this problem, which was killing the trees, by diluting the salt content by mixing in some drinkable (no-salt) water.

I wish this had a simple solution. (salt in solution :) but it does not. Redwood trees are not a real 'root problem' they have shallow roots that seem to avoid tearing up streets or concrete sidewalks. But, is the Sierra Club local official an arborist? Probably not. So we don't really have to follow his lead - if we find the current shade and ambience of the redwoods a great community benefit. Do we water grass in city parklands? Usually. Is this particular stretch of roadway/heavy-use sidewalks "A PARKWAY"? I kinda-think it is.

Don't miss out on the discussion!
Sign up to be notified of new comments on this topic.


Post a comment

Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

Stay informed.

Get the day's top headlines from Mountain View Online sent to your inbox in the Express newsletter.

Backhaus in Burlingame finally opens for the holiday rush
By The Peninsula Foodist | 0 comments | 2,817 views

Burning just one "old style" light bulb can cost $150 or more per year
By Sherry Listgarten | 11 comments | 2,596 views

Fun Things to Do Around the Bay This Holiday – Peninsula Edition
By Laura Stec | 8 comments | 2,415 views

Banning the public from PA City Hall
By Diana Diamond | 25 comments | 1,955 views

Premiere! “I Do I Don’t: How to build a better marriage” – Here, a page/weekday
By Chandrama Anderson | 2 comments | 1,081 views


Support local families in need

Your contribution to the Holiday Fund will go directly to nonprofits supporting local families and children in need. Last year, Voice readers and foundations contributed a total of $84,000.