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Group: City's parking policy impedes progress

Original post made on Jul 23, 2009

As Mountain View continues to reevaluate its development options for the next 20 years as part of its General Plan update, one Bay Area environmental group believes it has some sensible ideas for the city to consider.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Thursday, July 23, 2009, 10:13 AM

Comments (8)

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Posted by Patio Bear
a resident of Blossom Valley
on Jul 23, 2009 at 5:14 pm

What does Greenbelt Alliance have to say about where the water will come from for all these people they want to cram into our city?

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Posted by Palo Alto Resident
a resident of another community
on Jul 24, 2009 at 1:05 am

<<Mountain View...requires an unusually large number of parking spaces for its new developments....This policy, the [Greenbelt Alliance] say[s], hurts Mountain View's ability to create an urban environment of the type that more and more people are seeking....Such ideas are a hard sell to current residents, however....Greenbelt Alliance explains the sentiment this way: "People don't really like change very much.">>

As someone who also reads Palo Alto Online, I find this the height of irony. One very "urban" high-density housing development has just been built in Palo Alto (Arbor Real) with such narrow streets and inadequate parking that both residents and neighbors (whose streets fill up with parked cars) are complaining. (Although buyers, presumably, could have seen what they were getting into and purchased homes there anyway.) The result is a move afoot to have Palo Alto adopt regulations requiring streets wide enough to allow on-street parking (and easy emergency-vehicle passage) in all new communities.

I think that when Greenbelt Alliance says that "more and more people are seeking" a more "urban environment", the "people" they refer to aren't the residents of the town as it is, who they admit in their next utterance really don't like this variety of change. Otherwise, the people lobbying City Hall for denser developments with less parking would be the potential buyers of those homes clamoring for their construction. Is that actually the case? If not, just who are the "more and more people" wanting these developments?

Those of you in Mountain View who really want LESS parking in your housing developments — look at the town to your north and Be Careful What You Wish For.

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Posted by One of the 'more and more'
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Jul 24, 2009 at 9:35 am

"I think that when Greenbelt Alliance says that "more and more people are seeking" a more "urban environment", the "people" they refer to aren't the residents of the town as it is... If not, just who are the "more and more people" wanting these developments?"

As a Mountain View resident, I'll speak up as one of the "more and more people" who are looking for smarter developments. My wife and I rent right now, but would like to own if we could afford to. We live happily with one car in our household and get where we need to go by walking, biking, and taking VTA and Caltrain in addition to driving.

Even with the recession and the national housing bust, home prices have not come down nearly enough in Mountain View to allow us to buy. We would love it if some of the new developments that were built "unbundled" the parking from the cost of the units, to make things more affordable for us. For those who want to have 2 parking spaces, fine - let them pay the extra. We'll take a single space and save money. It'll go nicely with the money we're saving on car payments, maintenance, gas, etc.

I'm not saying that all developments should be built with less parking, but at least allow the flexibility to let the market decide, so some (near transit, shops, etc.) can be built with less parking.

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Posted by Ben
a resident of Monta Loma
on Jul 24, 2009 at 2:10 pm

The leaders the Greenbelt Alliance must be taking hallucinogenic drugs when they compare the California lifestyle with Paris. In Paris, you cannot go to the wonderful California coast, Lake Tahoe and the Sierras, the Redwoods of the Pacific Coast Range, and the deserts of southern California. I have heard that some people in Paris have not been ever been more that fifteen miles away from their homes.

In California and the Bay area, you cannot go to all the above places with out a car and you cannot go by foot or public transit to all the local and regional parks of the area.

The following statements made by the greenbelt alliance made in the above article and similar statements by the Sierra club are ridiculous:
Greenbelt Alliance advocates centralized "smart growth" ---. ( M.V.) ---has plenty of buildings and parcels ripe for redevelopment ---. ----more and more people are seeking, - walking, bicycling and mass transit --- alternatives to driving.

Elizabeth Stampe, communications director for Greenbelt Alliance, explains the sentiment this way: "People don't really like change very much."
People on the Peninsula like to say their cities are already "built out," Stampe said. "We hear that a lot. But, think about Paris.

He are my comments:
The wishful and delusional thinking by these people is that congestion reduction will result with public transit and people walking. Prove it! Transit districts are cutting back on service and although they are these highly subsidized, they are running short of taxpayer-supported funds.

Our history has not proven that transit and walking is a solution to overdevelopment and it does not look like a solution for the future. The transit claim was made when the Santa Clara Valley Transit District was formed. (Now the new buzzword of is “Smart Growth.” which means overdevelopment due to overpopulation that they and the City Councils of the Bay Area fail to address and have not solution to cure as long as developer are in control.)

No one wants to put out the “no vacancy” sign and halt growth. Growth is what they worship. They have not come to realize that growth will only create the next bubble and crash that will surely follow. They don’t realize that it is not that we have too few jobs; it is that we have too many people.


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Posted by Gargamel
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Jul 25, 2009 at 10:17 pm

Um, WTF does the Greenbelt Alliance have to do with Mountain View?

Mind your own business. Make some money and go build your own city. Don't mettle in other people's business.

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Posted by Nice attitude
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Jul 25, 2009 at 10:59 pm

Nice attitude, Gargamel.

What does the Greenbelt Alliance have to do with Mountain View? How about fighting to protect open space across the Bay Area, and helping to establish the Mid-Peninsula Open Space District, which established and protects many of the most popular open space preserves near us?

Before you ignorantly trash them, you might try reading about them here:
Web Link

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Posted by Gargamel
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Jul 26, 2009 at 10:49 am

Greenbelt should get out of Mountain View. Residents pay taxes. Residents shall decide how the town develops. Residents know how they want to live.

Special interest groups need to get out of town; their agendas drag down government and impede forward progress.

A-B-C-ya GBA!

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Posted by AC
a resident of another community
on Jul 28, 2009 at 7:34 pm

AC is a registered user.

Well said, Ben.

One of the greatest parts of living in Mountain View is access to transit to go places. Between Caltrain and VTA, we've got it pretty good.

But as Ben says, there is more to our great location than the Mountain View Station. Certainly let's encourage public transit, and let's keep a good eye on what services the transit authorities propose to cut back in order to get by in the recession.

Lots of the greatest places we have access to from Mountain View cannot be reached without a car.

And to his additional point, I too would like to take better care of our residents, all who are my neighbors, instead of trying to court influxes of population to put greater strain on the city (and my money).

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