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City looks for solution to North Bayshore traffic woes

Original post made on Apr 18, 2012

On Tuesday the City Council took a small step towards addressing the bumper to bumper traffic in and out of Mountain View's business park north of Highway 101, approving a study that will examine alternatives to car travel.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Wednesday, April 18, 2012, 1:48 PM

Comments (29)

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Posted by vfree
a resident of Waverly Park
on Apr 18, 2012 at 2:21 pm

This is an example of the council hopelessly squandering away our money.

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Posted by NoTraffic4Me
a resident of Castro City
on Apr 18, 2012 at 2:34 pm

A free or very inexpensive shuttle like Stanford's Marguerite might solve some issues.
Put them on very limited routes back and forth from downtown to the business area.

Of course what people REALLY want is to still be in their car(solo) and to not have any traffic. The problem is that with everyone else wanting the same, it'll never ever happen. If you don't want traffic, be a leader of the cause and get out of your car.
Try parking on the outskirts of the area, then riding your bike through the congested last mile or 2. You'll probably get to work faster than those cave people in their cars expecting a miraculous cure for traffic that will still let them drive wherever and whenever they want without waiting for anyone else. Time to evolve.

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Posted by Tom
a resident of Blossom Valley
on Apr 18, 2012 at 3:54 pm

Extend VTA Light Rail from its current location at 101 and Ellis Street, northeast past Hangar One, then west along Crittenden Lane, continuing through the Amphitheatre parking lot, and end across the street from Charleston Park. Riders could take Light Rail to Caltrain at Castro Street or Bart in Milpitas.

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Posted by Doug Pearson
a resident of Blossom Valley
on Apr 18, 2012 at 4:29 pm

Personal Rapid Transit (PRT) has also been suggested. I really hope the study will consider all those possibilities and more. Please note: Light rail from downtown Mountain View and/or from the Moffett LIght Rail station, and PRT all require bug bucks of infrastructure construction. Private shuttles (more than we already have), City-funded shuttles, or VTA shuttles all cost big bucks. Another big bucks option: Make Shoreline wider--a lot wider, or build a brand new 101 overcrossing for a brand new feeder street.

Folks, we have a serious traffic problem in North Bayshore and it's going to take big bucks to solve it.

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Posted by It is true
a resident of another community
on Apr 18, 2012 at 4:51 pm

This is a traffic congestion matter. Any FREE alternative transportation will exasperate the problem. Possibly a bicycle powered delivery setup with carriage (rickshaw-type bike) that could avoid the vehicle congestion, and at the same time allow entrepreneurs in the community to create a small business which in the end helps everyone. (Small businesses make the world go around, and frankly I’m tired of big corporations.) People won't/can't ride a bike so possibly they would pay someone a fee to transport them via a quick, quiet, mind-unwinding ride to/from their vehicles parked at a lot 10 minutes away, and just close enough to walk to if needed for emergency purposes?

In the 1700's when the rail system made its' way to Cali-forn-eye-a, the open land was greatly appreciated since it contrasted the close living on the east coast. So mass transportation was never a concept incorporated in developing the west. The highway system was more accepted since even back then driving was a status symbol – look at that fancy Model-T Ford. So we now face the current dilemma. How do we move people without contributing to the problem? I’ve shared my thoughts. Enjoy this excellent weather!

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Posted by Kman
a resident of Monta Loma
on Apr 18, 2012 at 4:55 pm

For one, widen Charleston back to 4 lanes. The 2 lane reduction is a joke.

Get ride of all the none essential cross lights where one car shows up and immediately the light turns red for the major cross traffic.

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Posted by A resident
a resident of Stierlin Estates
on Apr 18, 2012 at 5:18 pm

How about us, the residents of the neighborhoods around Shoreline who are impacted by all the traffic that the North Bayshore area creates. We also have to get to work, and many of us bought homes here because we had easy access to 101 and 85. Now it takes a long time to just get to the on ramps. Plus we are confronted with very impatient and rude drivers.

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Posted by USA
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Apr 18, 2012 at 5:47 pm

"voted in favor of funding the $325,000 study, which he noted could take 2,000 hours of work"

2,000 hour is a man-year of effort at $162 per hour. Wow. I am in the wrong business.

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Posted by commuter
a resident of another community
on Apr 18, 2012 at 7:39 pm

Closing the Adobe Creek bike path under Hwy 101 from southern Palo Alto to North Bayshore surely has not helped. Most of those Palo Alto people who used to bicycle to Google and Microsoft are not interested in dodging cars on San Antonio Road and are now driving instead. This path is normally closed for the winter, but usually reopens on April 15. Signs now say the bike path may not be open at all this year.

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Posted by Garyl
a resident of Sylvan Park
on Apr 18, 2012 at 9:30 pm

$162.00 / hr??? don't we have a traffic engineer in the city? All he/she has to do is drive around during peak commute hours and the problem becomes obvious. Too many traffic lights and no synchronization at critical areas. Most of the lights are triggered by a single vehicle usually stopping major routes for one car. Why do all of the intersections have left turn signals? Not necessary on roads like Middlefield. It is impossible to get through 2 lights in a row. This is low hanging fruit. Intelligent synchronized lights would really help. Sad that we live in such a high tech area yet the city council and the traffic engineering department can't deal with the obvious. Can't the city do anything without hiring consultants? If the city staff is too incompetent to deal with these types of problems then they should hire someone that can instead of wasting taxpayers money. $162,00/hr...really? 2000 hours...really?

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Posted by Freeway Curves
a resident of Shoreline West
on Apr 19, 2012 at 12:57 am

As a Mountain View resident, and living on the Peninsula all my life, I see the same unnecessary traffic slow down when headed north 101 at Shoreline/85 area as I do near the Coyote Point area headed north on 101. Vehicles travel too close and at a fast speed moving forward in a straight direction. As soon as the road turns and people can see extra far ahead at how close everyone is and all travelling too fast, drivers panic and hit the breaks, creating a huge slow down way too fast which sometimes results in fender benders. If people would learn to just let off the gas pedal and coast to slow down, let the car in front get a little further away before accelerating again, maybe the 101/85/Shoreline area traffic would not be so bad. It's just an interesting human nature thing I've witnessed since a child traveling back and forth between SJ and SF all my life. Going forward, no problems. Road turns, freak out.

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Posted by Ben
a resident of Monta Loma
on Apr 19, 2012 at 12:15 pm

What the power to be have not addressed is that all of Bayashore is overcrowded. You dummys are not going to slove the problem when you overpopulate an area by supporting devlopers. (I guess the devloper pay to these people's reelection funds are good.)

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Posted by John
a resident of another community
on Apr 19, 2012 at 12:18 pm

How about tax incentives for local employers to encourage telecommuting?

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Posted by Martin Omander
a resident of Rex Manor
on Apr 19, 2012 at 4:18 pm

As long as everyone lives in one part of the city and works in another, traffic will be bad. Fixing one bottleneck (more lanes for cars) will only uncover another (crossings or freeway onramps, for example). Mixing residential and office buildings will mean fewer people will need to drive to work.

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Posted by Hardin
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Apr 20, 2012 at 7:51 am

"Mixing residential and office buildings will mean fewer people will need to drive to work."


I agree. Developing more mixed zones areas, where higher density housing is located with office commercial spaces would indirectly reduce the traffic volume, while increasing the housing stock at the same time.

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Posted by Perfect world
a resident of Monta Loma
on Apr 20, 2012 at 2:39 pm

If we lived in a perfect world, then everyone would live within walking distance to there mixed residential/office/store communities. But this is hardly close to a perfect world. We are not Europe, where that is more of a reality, distances are dramatically shorter there. Should we tell all renters in Mt. View that they can only rent to Mt. View company employed people, no.

What we should do is build more and more sardine type apartments, so we can have more and more traffic and the counsel can get more money. Makes sense, not. Totally agree with Ben on this aspect.

PS, the old Middlefield onramp from north 101 is a lot better now that the cheaters can't cut over. This should of been done a long time ago. Next step should be to make that one lane a permanent exit only lane.

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Posted by Ben
a resident of Monta Loma
on Apr 20, 2012 at 2:54 pm

Recent comment show people still do not get it. Overpopulation and too high a denity is the problem. Adding higgher density will run into the same probelm as people will still have cars and drive although somewhat less. (Average distance traveled by car is around 7 miles showing people stil want to go place that are not near dense complexes.) It is stupid to incrase density.

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Posted by Hardin
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Apr 20, 2012 at 4:51 pm

If we lived in a perfect world, Mountain View could remain a bedroom community, dotted with single family homes, white picket fences, and a dog in every yard. Money falling from the sky would eliminate the need to attract world class companies to locate here and consequently there wouldn't be a need to have highly educated people move here and spend money here.

As it stands, we don't live in a perfect world, but I believe we're privileged in Mountain View to still retain some of the old town charm and values, while embracing the new technologies and ideas that people bring to this area.

Best of both worlds, in my opinion. The key here is to maintain a balance. Let's have areas where low density residential housing, AND areas where higher density housing and mass transit can benefit synergistically.

North Bayshore is an area where mixed higher density housing/ commercial and mass transit makes sense.

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Posted by W-Park Dude
a resident of Waverly Park
on Apr 21, 2012 at 3:24 pm

"It is true", I'm sure your rick-shaw solution will nip this 30,000+ commuter problem in the bud. At 2 per rick-shaw we'll only need 15,000 rick-shaw trips. Brilliant. Have you ever spent any time out there during a weekday morning? There are non-stop shuttles and bumper-to-bumper cars for hours on end. There are basically 2 main roads in and out, maybe the argument can be made that there are 3. Too many vehicles + not enough surface street space + not enough egress and ingress opportunities = bad traffic. You can synchronize the lights all you want but if the vehicles can't move forward it's all for naught. This will not be an easy solution, even impossible, but let's see what suggestions the study comes up with.

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Posted by OMV Resident
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Apr 21, 2012 at 9:14 pm

Well said, Hardin! One of the most thoughtful posts I've seen on the MV Voice in a long, long time.

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Posted by Kristine
a resident of Monta Loma
on Apr 22, 2012 at 3:41 pm

I think focusing on a premium bike infrastructure over transit would be a better bang for our buck. We have such mild weather here. Take advantage of it.

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Posted by Bettina
a resident of Monta Loma
on Apr 23, 2012 at 4:08 pm

Mountain View is one of the best communities to bike around. In 15 mins you can get from the DT train station to north Bayshore on mostly bike routes and trails depending on which part of that area you need to go. When the bike/pedestrian overpass is completed near Telford Ave it will be a great option to take instead of Shoreline and Rengstorff. Check out the website and try the bike option. Its good for your health, the environment and it will make you a happier person when you don't have to sit in traffic.

Web Link

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Posted by Perfect world
a resident of Monta Loma
on Apr 25, 2012 at 4:42 pm

Hardin, your logic is flawed here. We already have massive traffic, having more high density housing will just add to the problem. Do you think everyone in a high density housing will be without a car and only rely on mass transit? I highly doubt it.

Bottom line is that we are out stripping our infrastructure with more and more people coming here. How many more people will it take before we won't have anymore available water in a drought year? Pretty soon they will be putting limitation on how much water you are allowed per day.

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Posted by Otto Maddox
a resident of Monta Loma
on Apr 26, 2012 at 7:40 am

Traffic is just part of life in urban areas. Can I get paid $325K to tell the city council this?

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Posted by Hardin
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Apr 26, 2012 at 1:09 pm

"We already have massive traffic, having more high density housing will just add to the problem."


The flaw in your logic is that it presumes that high density housing is the primary driver for traffic problems.

This is not the case. Housing is not the primary reason people come to this area. Who wants to shell out a million bucks just to live in a 40 year old ranch home?

The primary driver for people deciding to live and work here is jobs, not housing. Silicon Valley is thriving and attracting people not primarily because of our overpriced housing, or consistently moderate weather, but because it is an innovation engine that cranks out jobs and opportunities for people to work in the future technologies and industries that will make America prosperous.

That being the case, denying people housing only exacerbates the traffic problem because now you are forcing people to live farther away and drive to work. We've already seen this dynamic at work with how many folks drive into Silicon Valley from neighboring counties.

Yes, its true that not every person who lives in North Bayshore will walk/bike to work, but that's infinitely better than forcing them all to have to drive to work.

Those who bemoan the loss of the orchards and the halcyon days when Silicon Valley was a farming community, and refuse to see the changes that have occurred over the last 40 years, are just digging their heads in the sand.

I've lived here long enough to remember when Highway 237 was still a 2 way, single lane road, patch-worked with signal lights. If we had not changed the infrastructure then, to accommodate the developing challenges to growing traffic, what would the quality of life look like now for folks utilizing this transportation corridor?

You can't stop change, the best we can do is adapt to it, and be proactive in making changes ourselves, so that we can achieve the goals we want as a community. If that's to retain Mountain View's historic charm, and progressive reputation as a high technology hub, we need to strategically plan our infrastructure to allow both to flourish.

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Posted by Bikes
a resident of Waverly Park
on Apr 26, 2012 at 10:50 pm

I love how the bike riders just assume everyone should/could do it.

Here's a dose of reality. First, many drivers are not in physical condition to bike to and from work. Second, many workers are coming from 10+ (even up to 35+) miles away...they're not biking, nor is it likely that multiple waits and transfers while schlepping their bikes on a bus is efficient for them. Third, many drivers have to make other stops coming or going, many of which involve picking up kids. Fourth, even an ambitious person open to the comcept of biking most likely won't do it in the rain, or on cold days (or mornings when it's 35 degrees). Nor would those folks want to bike in the dark during Winter, when darkness hits at 5:00pm. I could go on, but this probably captures why 95%+ of those not biking today will not become bikers in the future.

It would be good to find answers, but they should probably be focused on other solutions (shuttles, efficient flow, working w/ companies to reduce daily commutes...via telecommuting, carpool, etc). Congrats to the current bikers...I admire you, but most of the rest can't / won't be joining you.

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Posted by bearcub
a resident of Shoreline West
on Apr 27, 2012 at 2:39 pm

I agree with "Bikes" comment. The North bayshore Precise Plan does not really allow for comments like yours. It is frustrating because you either agree that everyone must take a bike or get berated for having another point of view. This is now posted as the majority opinion. I have also read numerous places that the biggest complaint at the office these days is body odor. Yes I am a solo driver by the time I get there but I don't start off that way. On the few days I don't I am carrying way too much stuff to be allowed 3 seats on a bus which does not take me door to door anyway.

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Posted by DriveBusBike
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Apr 28, 2012 at 5:56 am

People, bikes are a part of the solution, improved traffic flow for those who must drive are another part, shuttles still another...see where we're going here? Its going to take a multi-pronged approach; there is no "One fix" to this problem, but I guarantee, if EVERYONE thinks they must drive their own car, and does, the problem will never be fixed. If you insist on driving in a congested area, don't complain too much about the traffic, because you're part of the problem(no blame pointed, but that's the reality of it)

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Posted by Catherine
a resident of Willowgate
on May 1, 2012 at 12:07 pm

I live in Mountain View specifically because I *can* walk/bike almost everywhere I need to go. I have also turned down jobs that require a long commute. All of that being said, I agree with Otto - as we get bigger and become more of a "city", you're going to see more traffic. We need to continue to encourage more revitalization of Mtn View on both sides of 101 so that these will be attractive places to live for those who work nearby. This includes a mix of single family homes (attractive to families) as well as apartments/condos for singles.

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