https://mv-voice.com/square/print/2022/05/13/mountain-view-looks-to-replace-safe-parking-site-with-high-density-affordable-housing


Town Square

Mountain View looks to replace safe parking site with high-density affordable housing

Original post made on May 13, 2022

A former Valley Transportation Authority (VTA) parking lot currently serving homeless residents in Mountain View could soon be replaced by as many as 220 affordable apartments.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Friday, May 13, 2022, 12:41 PM

Comments

Posted by Johnny Yuma
a resident of Blossom Valley
on May 13, 2022 at 6:28 pm

Johnny Yuma is a registered user.

Let’s be honest, “affordable housing” does NOT exist in Mountain View. NEVER WILL. When is enough enough?

Some council members are actually considering a 5 to 8 story building? That’s a joke, right? How about showing concern for gridlock and the water shortage in this town?

Should this development go through, where are the 30 oversize vehicles and 21 passenger vehicles in the safe parking lot going to go? Where Council???

I’m convinced that the current crop of council members must find another way of providing public service.


Posted by Randy Guelph
a resident of Cuernavaca
on May 13, 2022 at 8:54 pm

Randy Guelph is a registered user.

What fresh nonsense are Margaret Abe-Koga and Lisa Matichak coming up with. This is right by the Stevens Creek Trail, which leads to Landels, and only a few blocks from downtown and the transit center. Plenty of people will walk or bike from these homes.

Why are these two Councilmembers obsessed with forcing car storage on everyone else? Is it simply because they can't imagine not using a car or is it just pretext for trying to make sure fewer homes are built?


Posted by Derek
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on May 14, 2022 at 8:56 am

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Randy what since does it make to build living space without a parking space? Walking is an option. Would you want to park 3 blocks away from your home? Or would you like to come home and find that there is no parking in front of your home due to a lack of parking two blocks away? If the project is going to happen it should be done correctly with sufficient parking for each unit. Otherwise your asking for major problems in the future with cars and space.


Posted by 3rdMAW
a resident of Old Mountain View
on May 14, 2022 at 11:48 am

3rdMAW is a registered user.

False flags, posturing and rhetoric. We've been living in OMV for ~20 years, We took Cal-train twice to Sunnyvale to eat, mistake. Once, on a VTA bus to Sunnyvale for dealer car service, bigger mistake. SFO/SJC trip is a joke. We keep 2 cars on site. The cars exist to visit family, friends, road-trips, shopping and the kids to get to SCU and Foothill. The 10 year old car has 24K miles and the 20 year old car has 52K miles. The developers pencil out a building that makes money and the city caves on parking, "those renter folks don't need parking spaces." They are super commuters, masters of bus, shuttle and transit schedules" and the developer make $$$. "BMR" folks will not walk to Costco or or spend $30 on Ubers to get back and forth:) and know they don't wait for you to shop. All we see are empty employee shuttles, empty VTA buses at the train station. Now the traffic is back and parking is scarce.

In fact, public transportation is more expensive than keeping a well maintained used car or two. If the city wants to encourage BMR, etc. Then they ave an obligation to keep the required parking. If and when the underground parking is empty, the developer can turn these dusty old parking spots into $storage for tenants:)

I'm a YIMBY/NYMBY so long as you park within your own footprint and don't complain to the city you need residential parking permits. That includes homeowners, apartment dwellers, condo and PD dwellers. Please don't clog city streets. Save for visitors to Castro to shop and dine.

I remember when the folks in OMV asked for residential parking permits, 2 permanent and 2 for guests/workers and excluded folks that lived in PD's, Apartments and Condo's. The rationale was those folks had plenty of room to park. That plan was deemed discriminatory by the court and was struck down. Now imagine a 200 unit complex within waking distance of trains, downtown and ride shares asking for a max of 800 parking permits.

Include parking till until its not needed.


Posted by Leslie Bain
a resident of Cuesta Park
on May 15, 2022 at 11:48 am

Leslie Bain is a registered user.

3rdMAW, thank you for sharing your experiences. IMHO, taking away parking when acceptable alternative transportation solutions do not exist is nothing but cruel.

When inducing change, one can use carrots or one can use sticks. "Take away parking" is nothing but a stick; make driving so painful that people are forced to find other solutions. The carrot approach is to provide transportation alternatives that are so wonderful, people are more than happy to live car-free.

Why do we see so much advocacy to take away parking, and so little advocacy to improve transportation alternatives in MV? Some persons don't understand the suffering that will occur because of their "advocacy". Seeing all of the empty shuttles must be like rubbing salt into the wound.

Again, thank you for sharing your own personal story.


Posted by Randy Guelph
a resident of Cuernavaca
on May 15, 2022 at 1:29 pm

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Leslie, you're always talking about how you want more affordable housing here. This is 220 affordable homes! Instead, you are most concerned about the real victims of the housing crisis: people looking for places to store their car.


Posted by LongResident
a resident of another community
on May 15, 2022 at 4:11 pm

LongResident is a registered user.

Why stop at cutting back on garage space. Think how much MORE affordable this could be if there was a communal bathroom down the hall on each floor! I bet you could get 10% more units that way!

It's not illegal for low income people to own a car or two per household. Maybe they work as a gardener. Not really practical to take VTA to custoemrs. People sure have a lack of compassion. There's not reason low income housing should have less parking than market rate.


Posted by Randy Guelph
a resident of Cuernavaca
on May 15, 2022 at 4:29 pm

Randy Guelph is a registered user.

SROs do exist, and they're a type of home that fits the lives of some people. If someone wants to build it, I don't see why they shouldn't. What's wrong with that?


Posted by Allie Flanders
a resident of Old Mountain View
on May 16, 2022 at 11:51 am

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Agree completely with Johnny Yuma


Posted by Leslie Bain
a resident of Cuesta Park
on May 16, 2022 at 11:51 am

Leslie Bain is a registered user.

Randy, your response saddens me. To say that I am "most concerned about the real victims of the housing crisis: people looking for places to store their car" is a complete mischaracterization of my words. Its almost as if you want to move the conversation onto stale YIMBY talking points and away from the cruelty of forcing residents to use an inadequate public transportation system.

A car that only has 24K miles on it after 10 years is a car that is barely used. 3rdMAW is living the life that people like you want to impose on everyone. Why aren't you more open to their feedback?

Speaking of stale YIMBY talking points, how about the old "I like people!" canard? Can we bury that one too? It reminds me that "cats like mice", they like to torture them before they kill them. I cannot imagine being an advocate for "solutions" that will bring misery to others, and all so developers can maximize their profits.

I think in a previous article it was @LongResident who suggested that developers be required to contribute to "community transportation" funding if and when parking spots are no longer needed. GREAT IDEA!!! If cars are the system of the past, developers should be funding the system that replaces cars, not just pocketing the savings that comes from not creating parking spots.

3rdMAU summed it all up very nicely: "Include parking till until its not needed."

Not everyone has access to free company shuttles, or is able to afford an uber whenever they need to drive someplace.

ETA: Just realized that the article is about how best to use a former VTA parking lot. The irony, it burns.


Posted by Randy Guelph
a resident of Cuernavaca
on May 16, 2022 at 12:38 pm

Randy Guelph is a registered user.

Leslie, this is an affordable housing project. The end result of forcing more parking spots is fewer affordable homes. You're substituting your personal judgment of what someone living there will want for the judgment of the actual people that will live there, and saying that you'd rather have fewer affordable homes than fewer parking spots.

It's likely to be built by a nonprofit affordable housing developer, so saddling them with even more fees will just lead to fewer affordable homes being built. They're not trying to make a profit!

I think your heart is in the right place, but please don't just kneejerk react every time someone says they support more homes for people.


Posted by LongResident
a resident of another community
on May 16, 2022 at 2:26 pm

LongResident is a registered user.

This location is an assemblage of a lot of perverted local factors:

(a) it only exists because VTA once had a light rail station across Evelyn. That state never got any riders and was abandoned. What a waste was light rail's design in so many ways. It's light ridership still today all over shows a lot. It could have been so much more had it not tried to be so terrific. It's a victim of its own ambitions.

(b) There is a big difference between 5 and 8 stories. 5 might fit ok, it seems to me, but no need to treat lower income people to substandard parking. The current standards are already reflecting a lot lower rate of car ownership than is found overall in Mountain View.

(c) Consider the neighboring properties. These are old 1 story low quality business construction with lots of surface parking outside. It seems like the current land values would lead to redevelopment of these too. Will they be residential or business? Hmmm. Put an 8 story low income housing project on the VTA site and it might lead to a 6 story office building or 3 built nearby.

(d) When this is called affordable housing it means BMR housing. This is housing which for 30+ years has regulated rents that depend on the income of the residents compared to the county average. So they don't pay depending on local rental rates which are higher in Mountain View. They pay based on their income compared to the median in the county. Some have to earn less than 50% of the county's median income, which is pretty rare in Mountain View. They may only make 30% of the median income. Their rent is set so they pay 30% of their actual income toward rent. Two different renters can pay different rents--one could pay 50% more than another. It's rent that may not look affordable based on your expectations for other locations, but it's set according to income.


Posted by Leslie Bain
a resident of Cuesta Park
on May 17, 2022 at 12:58 pm

Leslie Bain is a registered user.

Randy, you really have some nerve, saying that “You're substituting your personal judgement of what someone living there will want for the judgement of the actual people that will live there.” You imply that YOU know what is best for them. On what basis?

Yes, it is my personal opinion that being forced to live in an area with insufficient parking and poor transit is miserable. I hold that opinion because I have lived it. @3RdMAW has also shared their lived experiences as well. Did you hear them say, “In fact, public transportation is more expensive than keeping a well maintained used car or two”? @Derek raises important questions which you ignore: "Would you want to park 3 blocks away from your home? Or would you like to come home and find that there is no parking in front of your home due to a lack of parking two blocks away?"

@LongResident wrote, “There's not reason low income housing should have less parking than market rate.” and “It's not illegal for low income people to own a car or two per household. Maybe they work as a gardener. Not really practical to take VTA to customers.” Or what if they work as an uber or lyft driver, or as an amazon delivery person? You know, the people who do the work that makes it possible for higher-paid persons to do their online shopping and live their “car-free” lifestyle (that is not actually car-free at all).

These words from @3RdMAW especially moved me: “I remember when the folks in OMV asked for residential parking permits, 2 permanent and 2 for guests/workers and excluded folks that lived in PD's, Apartments and Condo's. The rationale was those folks had plenty of room to park. That plan was deemed discriminatory by the court and was struck down.”

Advocacy that results in hardships and increased expenses for lower income workers is classist and exploitive. No thank you very much. We need to have better transit options before taking parking spots away.


Posted by Randy Guelph
a resident of Cuernavaca
on May 17, 2022 at 1:17 pm

Randy Guelph is a registered user.

If someone would rather park 3 blocks away from their home, or doesn't want to own a car, or is happy to look for free parking, why do you want to force them to build car storage? Leslie, cars are expensive, and poor people that you claim to care about are less likely to own them. Fewer affordable homes is a specific harm that's inflicted on poor people, but you are fighting an affordable housing project to have fewer homes and more car storage.


Posted by Leslie Bain
a resident of Cuesta Park
on May 18, 2022 at 3:19 pm

Leslie Bain is a registered user.

@Randy, I would like to see substantial evidence that these mythical people whom you are apparently advocating for actually exist.

Provide evidence that low-income people WANT to routinely park 3 blocks away from their homes, and/or live car-free when their transit alternatives are terrible.

If we want to discourage the use of cars, we NEED to improve the quality of transportation alternatives. Period. Forcing people to live car-free when quality transit alternatives do not exist is cruel. Not everyone has access to a free company shuttle or can afford to hail an uber whenever they want to drive somewhere.

“It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends on his not understanding it.” - Upton Sinclair Web Link


Posted by Randy Guelph
a resident of Cuernavaca
on May 18, 2022 at 5:24 pm

Randy Guelph is a registered user.

Leslie, it's completely detached from reality to say that access to amenities and public transit at this specific location is bad. It's right by the Stevens Creek Trail, for easy, safe access to bike or walk to school or jobs. It's about a mile from Downtown Mountain View and the transit center, with Caltrain, VTA Light Rail, and buses, including the free Mountain View Shuttle. When was the last time you used any of these services?


Posted by LongResident
a resident of another community
on May 18, 2022 at 6:53 pm

LongResident is a registered user.

Light rail? Light rail is a joke. Who the heck is going to work where light rail goes, North Sunnyvale, (or Santa Clara or San Jose) and then want to live on the old VTA lot property in Mountain View? Along ECR, it's more believable that someone might take VTA bus, but that's not perfect either. Consider also the complete lack of reasonable connections between ECR in Mountain View and this unused light rail terminus at the CalTrain station. It stinks too. And then if someone wants to bike to ECR from this new housing location, they are unlikely to use the Stevens Creek Trail. That leads to where 85 intersects ECR with very dangerous traffic and not much in the way of jobs providers compared to futher north on ECR in Mountain View.


Posted by Randy Guelph
a resident of Cuernavaca
on May 18, 2022 at 7:03 pm

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[Post removed due to disrespectful comment or offensive language]


Posted by LongResident
a resident of another community
on May 18, 2022 at 7:39 pm

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Reality says that in a place like this 80% or more of residents will own at least one car. Of 20% without a lot will hitch tides to Safeway with their neighbors. We can't start forxing low income people to convert to car free.


Posted by Randy Guelph
a resident of Cuernavaca
on May 18, 2022 at 7:54 pm

Randy Guelph is a registered user.

It's not surprising that Los Altos residents aren't familiar with Mountain View and its transit options, but that's just completely untrue. When was the last time you rode the free Mountain View Shuttle? Your unfounded confidence about a city you don't live in is delightful, though.


Posted by Leslie Bain
a resident of Cuesta Park
on May 19, 2022 at 11:06 am

Leslie Bain is a registered user.

@LongResident, keep in mind that @Randy is a fierce advocate for mythical people who don't actually exist. Then he criticizes others for their "unfounded confidence". It is an amazing sight to behold.


Posted by Randy Guelph
a resident of Cuernavaca
on May 19, 2022 at 11:33 am

Randy Guelph is a registered user.

Perhaps the disconnect here is that you and LongResident are arguing that because living car-light or car-free is not the right choice for everyone, we should not build homes that are affordable for people who it is the right choice for. See also LongResident's mocking disdain for SROs.

On the other hand, I think people should be able to make those choices for themselves. My argument is that this is a great place to build that type of housing due to its proximity to amenities and transit, and that there are almost certainly at least 220 families that it makes sense for. To argue that those people don't exist is absurd. There are currently over 600 daily users of the free Mountain View Community Shuttle alone! Have you ridden it? It's really great!


Posted by LongResident
a resident of another community
on May 19, 2022 at 12:02 pm

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I'd say this comes back to the idea that we should not let perfection be the enemy of a good solution. Plenty of BMR housing has been built, and it generally has about what is reasonable in the way of parking. This is a case where the whole project has to be subsidized anyway. The cost per unit is probably going to be up toward $1 Million. Including parking is not going to make much difference even if it does cost $100K per space. Making it 0.9 spaces per units vs 0.5 spaces per unit might then cost $40K more across all units. Remember, Light Rail didn't provide great service anyway, but this is a case where the station there was actually completely eliminated after the fact. Don't let the ghost of the station make you think a project there should rely heavily on public transit.

The new location for another BMR project over on Montecito Avenue is right by the Safeway there. At least those folks can walk to a full service grocery store vs a longer walk to what's in downtown--mainly entertainment places and expensive restaurants.


Posted by Randy Guelph
a resident of Cuernavaca
on May 19, 2022 at 12:34 pm

Randy Guelph is a registered user.

Given that council directed staff to have reduced parking minimums on this site (between 0.5 and 0.75 per unit), I'll take your response of "not let perfection be the enemy of a good solution" to mean that you and Leslie won't be opposing this on the basis of parking anymore and we can end the tedious discussion of how much the two of you dislike public transit that you've never used.


Posted by Leslie Bain
a resident of Cuesta Park
on May 19, 2022 at 12:48 pm

Leslie Bain is a registered user.

Randy, once again you are twisting words, I was very clear:

"Provide evidence that low-income people WANT to routinely park 3 blocks away from their homes, and/or live car-free when their transit alternatives are terrible."

You wrote:
"Perhaps the disconnect here is that you and LongResident are arguing that because living car-light or car-free is not the right choice for everyone, we should not build homes that are affordable for people who it is the right choice for."

Again, you imply that there are significant numbers of persons for whom such a situation is their preferred choice. Where is your evidence for this? Who are these people? I'd really love to hear from these people, to better understand their perspectives.

If these people do not actually exist, they are mythical! Why should we force low-income people who do exist, and who already face many challenges in making ends meet, to have to face additional hardships?


Posted by Randy Guelph
a resident of Cuernavaca
on May 19, 2022 at 12:59 pm

Randy Guelph is a registered user.

Lower income people are already much less likely to own a car. Cars are expensive! Your proposal is to build fewer affordable homes so people with cars (already more likely to be wealthy) will have more options for car storage. It's absurd that you're trying to spin your fighting for fewer affordable homes and more car storage as a triumph for poor people.


Posted by 3rdMAW
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on May 19, 2022 at 3:11 pm

3rdMAW is a registered user.

I know a newly minted public school teacher that has a BMR Unit at Madera and owns a car to get to her school and visit folks not served by public transportation, her boyfriend has a car too and is constantly looking for a place to park. A job "close" today, does not mean a job "close" tomorrow. Almost every one in the service industry has a car and could use a BMR apartment, most would be qualified.
Bartenders
Servers
Nail Technicians
Barbers
Baby Sitters
Maids
Companions for the elderly
Handymen and Handy-women
Landscapers
Gardeners
Plumbers
Window Cleaners
Retail Workers
etc. etc. etc.

The only people that don't need a car are the idle rich (not likely looking for affordable apartments) and those that live off a stipend from the government and unable to drive/work.

Forcing people to choose jobs only near poor public transportation (fewer opportunities) because they have no place to park safely is a very poor decision on the part of our council. Perhaps safe, "off street" parking for non-Rv's will be considered made available.

Giving Developers a "break" on parking requirements solves nothing.

My point is Developers need to provide required parking as if it was meant for everybody and until cars are no longer needed. Let the parking be available on-site for an additional fee to residents. No car, no problem, no extra cost. It's only a ROI problem, let the developer/operator monetize the space if unused.



Posted by Randy Guelph
a resident of Cuernavaca
on May 19, 2022 at 3:22 pm

Randy Guelph is a registered user.

If someone does not own a car, they are much more likely to be poor than wealthy. That's a simple fact, different from what your gut tells you, but a fact.

Again, just because a car-free or car-light life does not make sense for some people is not a reason to prevent us from building affordable homes for people that it does make sense for.

This is likely going to be built by a nonprofit affordable housing developer, the only "return" being calculated here is how many affordable homes we get. Building more onsite parking *necessarily* reduces the number of affordable homes we get, regardless of whether you charge an additional fee to residents.


Posted by LongResident
a resident of another community
on May 19, 2022 at 6:36 pm

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If someone owns more than 1 car then I agree there are likely to be wealthy more than to be poor. If the household owns cars for their teenagers I agree they're more likely to be well off then low income. I agree with the premise that Residence of BMR may not own cars but not the idea that more do not than do. Also some units will park 2 cars. Just look at the low-income housing over by the police station. There are quite a few car owned in there.


Posted by Leslie Bain
a resident of Cuesta Park
on May 20, 2022 at 7:18 pm

Leslie Bain is a registered user.

Randy, if you could stop "spinning", maybe you could actually hear what everyone else is telling you.

I have asked you to provide evidence that low-income people WANT to routinely park 3 blocks away from their homes, and/or live car-free when their transit alternatives are terrible. Another way of saying this is: provide evidence that after working long hours at a low paying job, these persons actually WANT to walk multiple blocks both ways to get to and from that job, or get groceries, or go shopping, and/or spend multiple hours each day taking public transit. You have avoided answering the question, I think because such persons do not actually exist. It would be a miserable experience. Sane people, even poor ones, want to use their free time more productively.

Then you say, "cars are expensive, and poor people that you claim to care about are less likely to own them". You clearly missed the part where 3rdMAW said, "In fact, public transportation is more expensive than keeping a well maintained used car or two." Denying people the ability to own such a car is equivalent to forcing them to use MORE EXPENSIVE public transportation, and also denying them of job opportunities that require them to own their own car.

To say that I am fighting "to have fewer homes and more car storage." is ridiculously tone deaf. You also wrote, "I think people should be able to make those choices for themselves." However, if sufficient parking spots are not available in a housing project, the ability to own and park a car at one's residence becomes an impossibility. You are not fighting for "choice" for low-income persons, you are TAKING AWAY their choice.

It baffles me that you seem to loathe the idea of advocacy for alternative transit solutions that would make both higher density and an anti-car lifestyle more feasible.


Posted by Randy Guelph
a resident of Cuernavaca
on May 20, 2022 at 7:42 pm

Randy Guelph is a registered user.

Leslie, the assertion that purchasing, maintaining, fueling, and insuring two cars is cheaper than the free Mountain View Community Shuttle, other public transit, and a bicycle here is insane. That and the other scenarios you're making up are frankly just really strange.

Honestly, you, LongResident, and 3rdMAW are just making it clear that you're rich people who can't conceive not using a car and haven't used any of the public transit in Mountain View. When was the last time you rode the Community Shuttle? You speculate about how bad you think transit is here, but it's from a detached view of it being something others use having clearly not used something as great as the free Community Shuttle.


Posted by LongResident
a resident of another community
on May 20, 2022 at 10:24 pm

LongResident is a registered user.

Build the project with 190 units and 180 parking spaces. So, would the available parking TRICK a low income family into having a car even though it's cheaper not to? A parking space does not force anyone to have car. Conversely if the project only has 120 parking spaces for 190 units, and there end up being 195 cars, this causes the low income people quite a handicap with the extra 65 cars in that industrial area with limited street parking.


Posted by Randy Guelph
a resident of Cuernavaca
on May 20, 2022 at 11:31 pm

Randy Guelph is a registered user.

People that don't have cars already exist, as incomprehensible it is to you and Leslie, and your hypothetical is false. A more reality-based hypothetical would be a choice between 190 affordable homes and 120 parking spaces vs 160 affordable homes and 160 parking spaces. When you add more car storage, you get fewer affordable homes. I know 30 fewer low income families being able to live in Mountain View doesn't really matter to either of you, but it matters to people that actually care about getting more homes for people and not just yelling about YIMBYs.