Tonight in Mountain View starting at 5pm, City Council will be giving critical direction for the San Antonio Precise Plan, and feedback the Shoreline Corridor.
At 5pm, Council will review plans for the Shoreline connection to North Bayshore where Google is. Good proposals include protected bike lanes on Shoreline for the especially for the 1/3 of employees who live within 5 miles of work, and a dedicated lane for shuttles, which would speed the route to the transit center by up to 45% in the AM Peak and 67% in the PM peak. Making the connection from the Caltrain station faster for shuttle users and safer people with bikes will make Caltrain and transit a more attractive option.
Mountain View staff expect that these changes will help the shuttle use grow fourfold, from 800- 900 shuttle riders in the morning peak today, to 3,200 riders.
Update: City Council gave direction to staff and consultants to move forward with the recommendations for a dedicated transit lane and cycle tracks on Shoreline, and longer term plan for a bicycle/pedestrian bridge. In the interim before the larger projects are constructed, Council leaned toward improving the Permanente Creek Trail route with signage and protected bicycle lanes on Middlefield.
Plans for bicycle facilities on Stierlin are in doubt due to concerns about the removal of parking; adding protected bike lanes would cause the removal of over 100 car parking spots, and unprotected bike lanes would also cause the removal of some car parking. Staff and consultants had not yet done any study about the amount of available parking on neighborhood streets, and how the removal would affect the availability of parking.
San Antonio Precise Plan
Starting at about 8pm, Mountain View City Council will be reviewing the precise plan for the San Antonio area. Council will set important direction tonight for how successfully the area will evolve from a car-dominant regional shopping center to an area with retail, homes and offices, and a lower share of driving.
While Mountain View has stong transportation goals for the North Bayshore area,to reduce the drivealone rate to 45%, the San Antonio area does not have such goals. (Although individual developments are expected to have individually negotiated transportation plans to reduce driving.) Strong overall goals would help the area successfully transition to a more compact and less car-centered place. It would help the Council make pro-active decisions about topics like whether and when to start charging for parking, the role of bus and shuttle service in reducing driving, and how aggressively to support better Caltrain service and area-based GoPass programs.
Mountain View has a widening jobs housing imbalance contributing to spiking housing prices and long commutes. The plan proposes 1575 housing units (including the Merlone Geier Phase 1 project already built) and 3700 to 5000 office jobs (depending on the amount of office space per worker, and not counting retail jobs). On the one hand, it’s good to have jobs near Caltrain and El Camino bus service; having a job close to transit is the biggest factor in using transit. But Mountain View overall has a worsening jobs/housing balance; the San Antonio area could shift the balance more toward housing.
A key goal of the plan is to improve bicycle and pedestrian access. The area, which is currently a sea of parking lots, will evolve a much more bike and ped friendly connected street grid.
Important questions for consideration at tonight’s City Council meeting include bike lanes on San Antonio, the quality of pedestrian and bicycle connections to and from Caltrain, and the safety of bicycle and pedestrian connections across El Camino Real to Los Altos, particularly important for schoolchildren who live in Mountain View and go to school in the Los Altos school district.
One idea that has been discussed and rejected to date has been building a school in the San Antonio Precise Plan area. It’s complicated because the school district is separate from the cities, and because area landowners have been reluctant to provide land for a school. Enabling kids to get to school without crossing El Camino would improve safety and reduce area traffic. Are there opportunities to come up with compromise solutions for a school?
The San Antonio discussion might start late. If you want to come but don’t want to sit for hours in Council chambers, watch the web video and come over when the previous item is finishing up.