https://mv-voice.com/square/print/2021/09/13/opposition-grows-to-shoreline-traffic-improvement-project-over-loss-of-two-dozen-large-trees


Town Square

Opposition grows to Shoreline traffic improvement project over loss of two dozen large trees

Original post made on Sep 13, 2021

Plans to revamp Shoreline Boulevard and add a reversible bus lane to the median are facing growing opposition after it was revealed that a growing number of big trees would need to be cut down to make room for new traffic lanes.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Monday, September 13, 2021, 4:01 PM

Comments

Posted by Nora S.
a resident of Rex Manor
on Sep 13, 2021 at 9:07 pm

Nora S. is a registered user.

Thank you to Ronit Bryant and the other commissioners for taking a stand against these tree removals.


Posted by Mark
a resident of Monta Loma
on Sep 14, 2021 at 5:58 am

Mark is a registered user.

This was a stupid idea to begin with. I bike regularly on Middlefield past Shoreline and have never had any problems, except possibly the loss of the bike lane to residential parking on weekends.
A friend has suggested Mountain View ought to change its city logo by adding a "heritage tree removal" tag to its tree. Seems they just can't get rid of nature fast enough, around here.


Posted by SRB
a resident of St. Francis Acres
on Sep 14, 2021 at 8:31 am

SRB is a registered user.

There aren't too many ways to get to 101 or across the Caltrain tracks. So there is certainly lots of demand for making a left from Middlefield onto Shoreline. Probably more so after permanent closure of Castro. What's frustrating here is the piece meal approach. If increasing left turns flow was so intrinsic to this project, why not propose the tree removals from the get go?


Posted by A
a resident of Monta Loma
on Sep 14, 2021 at 10:26 am

A is a registered user.

Thank-you to the council members who took a stand on this one. We need to preserve our large trees, as many have been removed for condo construction. The shade that trees provide will become increasingly important as our cities heat up and become more paved/crowded.


Posted by AnelaRose
a resident of Monta Loma
on Sep 14, 2021 at 12:29 pm

AnelaRose is a registered user.

This is a total waste of money. We're talking about two blocks: Middlefield to Pear! Surely there are better uses for these millions.


Posted by Dan Waylonis
a resident of Jackson Park
on Sep 14, 2021 at 2:06 pm

Dan Waylonis is a registered user.

So dumb. I know that city planners have a sweet spot in their hearts for buses, but their ridership is dwindling and easily replaced by many other modes of transportation. Ditto for light rail. No one ever talks about the ongoing maintenance and labor costs for those as opposed to just providing needy people with extra cash for Uber, Lyft, taxi, or jitney service.


Posted by Seriously
a resident of Martens-Carmelita
on Sep 14, 2021 at 2:27 pm

Seriously is a registered user.

Finally, a good decision from the Parks and Recreation Commission - let's hope that the council pays attention. MV is too often losing heritage trees because property owners want to maximize profits or in this case, because of a poorly conceived traffic plan. Does the council understand the meaning of the term "heritage"?


Posted by tommygee10
a resident of Rex Manor
on Sep 14, 2021 at 2:47 pm

tommygee10 is a registered user.

When these Heritage trees were planted in 1965 or thereabouts is when Middlefield Road was widened to how it looks today. The median and the trees look beautiful. I still live on San Pierre Way 56 years later. This area still looks beautiful. If these Heritage trees are cut down, is that for progress, or what? Or for more concrete?


Posted by Sam Connell
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Sep 14, 2021 at 2:52 pm

Sam Connell is a registered user.

I advise all to head over to Palo Alto's California Ave to see an avenue that is BAKING HOT WITH NO TREES! More than a decade ago they mistakenly cut down their trees - the place has not recovered.


Posted by Tim
a resident of Blossom Valley
on Sep 14, 2021 at 4:22 pm

Tim is a registered user.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: think carefully when voting for council representatives. Perhaps it’s time to consider “new faces” whose ideas reflect your values.


Posted by EL
a resident of Slater
on Sep 14, 2021 at 5:01 pm

EL is a registered user.

Thank you to the council members taking a stand to protect these trees.


Posted by roaksinri
a resident of another community
on Sep 15, 2021 at 8:44 am

roaksinri is a registered user.

The only buses that have significant ridership are the Google buses. And they will be back once this pandemic is properly managed. Google cannot maintain empty buildings forever (or can they...?). If the City Staff is using the VTA system as a pretext for these "traffic improvements" they are being disingenuous at best. As someone else has mentioned, VTA ridership is down and the system has always has been a loss leader for the county, used mainly by students, seniors, the poor, and the homeless, all at heavy subsidies for reduced fares. It seems the will of the people is to not destroy the 22 heritage trees and leave well enough alone. The City needs to stop kneeling before Google whenever they beckon....


Posted by busybee6602
a resident of Jackson Park
on Sep 15, 2021 at 9:33 am

busybee6602 is a registered user.

Unfortunately these trees will die anyway. They do not do well in this part of the valley. They rely mostly on fog to get the required water, which we have some of but not enough to sustain them. Combine that with Mountain View commitment to using reclaimed water to irrigate. Again, unfortunately reclaimed water has a high salt content, which these trees do not like. The redwood trees that are being watered with reclaimed water and continuing to not do well and will eventually die. We didn't know that when the trees were first planted. So should we continue down the same path and then have irate residents when the trees die? Or worse they die and then fall on someone biking? Or take them out, use the area needed and plant more trees in other areas?


Posted by Jeff Grafton
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Sep 15, 2021 at 10:04 am

Jeff Grafton is a registered user.

The staff memo has more details, if anyone is interested: Web Link

While this work on the Shoreline/Middlefield intersection is being addressed now as part of the overall Shoreline improvements, it is actually a mitigation for traffic impacts that were identified as part of the North Bayshore Precise Plan. Traffic analysis showed that there were already notable delays affecting traffic on Middlefield, even before the new planned development has begun.

Apparently these trees were not originally identified in the project plans because staff believed they could have been protected in place. Further field review has revealed this to not be the case, unfortunately, as the work would likely damage the root structure of the trees and potentially cause them to become unstable, uproot, and fall over into traffic.


Posted by Jeff Grafton
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Sep 15, 2021 at 10:06 am

Jeff Grafton is a registered user.

Also, for everyone deriding busses and other transit, the main reason these trees are being removed is due to single-occupancy car drivers.


Posted by Leslie Bain
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Sep 15, 2021 at 3:50 pm

Leslie Bain is a registered user.

I don't know how someone can say "this work ... is actually a mitigation for traffic impacts that were identified as part of the North Bayshore Precise Plan," and then go on to say "the main reason these trees are being removed is due to single-occupancy car drivers."

The North Bayshore Precise Plan will add SEVEN THOUSAND new housing units. Of course traffic is going to go up on the streets of Mountain View as a result of new, high density construction. Blaming the proposed removal of heritage trees on "single-occupancy car drivers" is just silly.

The vision for the plan: "7,000 new homes, three complete neighborhoods, and nature everywhere" Web Link

Too bad that nature has to be killed in other parts of Mountain View in order to achieve that lovely vision.


Posted by Jeff Grafton
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Sep 15, 2021 at 4:23 pm

Jeff Grafton is a registered user.

My point was that the heritage trees are not being removed to support the bus lane project. The expansion of the left turn lanes only really helps car drivers.


Posted by Leslie Bain
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Sep 15, 2021 at 4:51 pm

Leslie Bain is a registered user.

The expansion of the left turn lanes would not be necessary if not for new, high density construction.

The North Bayshore Precise Plan does not "really help car drivers", no it really helps Google hire and house more workers who do not live in the area. Did you know that under capitalism, employers only hire workers when they will increase their profits by doing so?

So ... the North Bayshore Precise Plan will really help Google increase it's profits.


Posted by Leslie Bain
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Sep 15, 2021 at 6:17 pm

Leslie Bain is a registered user.

Jeff Grafton: You wrote, "The staff memo has more details, if anyone is interested" and provided a link. I tried it, but the document is locked and requires a password. Do you know why it is locked and/or what one needs to do in order to obtain the password?


Posted by Jeff Grafton
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Sep 16, 2021 at 9:17 am

Jeff Grafton is a registered user.

You continue to miss the point. All I am saying is that the left-turn lane changes are primarily driven by car traffic. The issue was identified through the NBPP EIR, but the traffic study seems to have concluded that the conditions were already bad enough to merit mitigations even before any real NBPP construction has started. (They were using the LOS standard, which is car-centric, of course.)

I'm not sure why you're having trouble reading the document; it's not password-protected, as best I can tell. Alternately, you could try downloading the most recent agenda from Web Link and download the memo from there. (This was item 5.3 on September 8, 2021.)


Posted by Jeff Grafton
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Sep 16, 2021 at 9:19 am

Jeff Grafton is a registered user.

(I personally don't think we should be making changes for the benefit of car drivers, but everyone always complains about traffic, so...)


Posted by SRB
a resident of St. Francis Acres
on Sep 16, 2021 at 10:23 am

SRB is a registered user.

Need for left turns on Shoreline is also increased by closure of Castro crossing (one less route to get over the tracks).


Posted by Roy Mize
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Sep 16, 2021 at 12:00 pm

Roy Mize is a registered user.

The Council should have tossed this at the start and continued the vision of the councils that have gone before. Middlefield and Shoreline redwooods have become a defining feature of Mountain View. Staff has neglected Shoreline redwoods for years to the point of losing them all. Excuse? Salt in recycled water is killing them as I was told 10 years ago. 10 years to find a mitigation? MV has great staff, but they don't set the City's vision. The Council does. I'm a 57 year MV resident and lack of vision almost lost Cuesta Park Annex until residents forced the City to buy the property. The redwoods are the same lack of vision. Let's do a petition!!!


Posted by Randy Guelph
a resident of Cuernavaca
on Sep 16, 2021 at 1:08 pm

Randy Guelph is a registered user.

It sounds like a fair compromise would be to keep the trees and disallow single-occupancy vehicles. Repurpose the existing lanes for buses and carpools only.


Posted by Leslie Bain
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Sep 16, 2021 at 9:20 pm

Leslie Bain is a registered user.

Jeff, thanks for your help accessing the Staff report. On page 2 it says:

"The addition of a second left-turn lane in both directions on West Middlefield Road at Shoreline Boulevard was identified as a traffic impact mitigation for the adoption of the North Bayshore Precise Plan (NBPP) ... The left-turn lanes are needed to address the traffic patterns expected to return and the future development growth identified."

I think it is factually incorrect for you to say: "but the traffic study seems to have concluded that the conditions were already bad enough to merit mitigations even before any real NBPP construction has started."

The traffic analysis was conducted FOR the NBPP, apparently before the COVID-19 pandemic. The conditions were not so bad at that time that an analysis had already been performed and mitigations were already known to be required. No, that is simply not true. Analysis did show that existing, pre-covid traffic was already very heavy, however.

"The left-turn lanes are needed to address the traffic patterns expected to return" AND THE FUTURE DEVELOPMENT GROWTH identified."

In other words, expected traffic from NBPP (for the benefit of Google) was the straw that broke the camel's back. Don't pretend this traffic was not a factor.

You also wrote: "(I personally don't think we should be making changes for the benefit of car drivers, but everyone always complains about traffic, so...)"

I wonder where all of these car-drivers travelling to and from Middlefield onto Shoreline are going, eh? Could a lot of them possibly be workers driving to/from Google HQ? If so, isn't the entity driving the destruction of these heritage trees really Google, not "car-drivers" per se?

I think these old Redwood trees are being cut down for the benefit of Google. If only they grew more jobs elsewhere, Mountain View could probably keep them, or at least keep them longer.


Posted by Steven Nelson
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Sep 18, 2021 at 5:38 pm

Steven Nelson is a registered user.

@Jeff and @Lesley, thanks for your close reading of the administrtive history of this "civic" direction. Former Councilwoman Bryant is very very good at recognizing an opportunity to use a City Council permanent advisory board vote to 'formally inform the Council' of this perceved error. I think the record makes it clear (as Lesley explained) this is Driven by Google/NorthbayShore GROWTH and the Past Dependence of single occupancy cars to commute into NorthbayShore.

If you change the parameters of the "traffic problem" you have a wider range of solutions.

Like burnt to the crisp Sequoia redwoods, chopped down Coarst Redwoods on Middlefield cannot be replaced in less than half a centuary (Sequoisa take half a millenium). WAIT AND SEE! Something like that should be the policy. If traffice backs up? Put up signage and More Public Transit options and better schedules. Let the private cars backup - and the public/commercial busses RUN FREE.

Are we really serious about atmospheric Carbon reduction? Chopping down Coast Redwoods and encouraging more car use is - counterproductive? Yes?

-The Council is seperate from the Commission - You need to contact the Council now! if you care


Posted by Leslie Bain
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Sep 19, 2021 at 7:20 pm

Leslie Bain is a registered user.

Love your comments, @Steven.

Agree with you 100% ... let's not be "pro-active" resolving a "potential" traffic problem when it means chopping down old Redwoods that take DECADES to replace.

"Let the private cars backup - and the public/commercial busses RUN FREE." Agree!

Why is there an eagerness by some to "save the planet" by reducing parking spaces (to reduce car usage) but a willingness to cut down old Redwoods to "mitigate traffic" increases re NBPP? The logic seems highly inconsistent.

But my main point remains: high density has DOWNSIDES, not the least of which are parking issues and increased traffic congestion ON MV CITY STREETS. Those who try to deny this deny reality, most likely because they want high-density regardless of the downsides. Staff recommendations re the intersection of Middlefield and Shoreline provides EVIDENCE that higher density housing will in fact increase traffic congestion on MV city streets. Big Tech will be able to hire and house more workers, thus increase their profits, while ordinary residents will suffer the pangs of high density.