Mountain View to brainstorm vision for San Antonio

On Saturday, October 27 and Saturday December 1, Mountain View will brainstorm ideas about the future of the San Antonio area.  The visioning sessions are the lead-in to the creation of a Precise Plan for the San Antonio Area.

The area in Mountain View bordering Los Altos and Palo Alto is the subject of very different ideas for the coming decades.  Developed in the 1950s as an auto-centric outdoor shopping mall, the area has seen intense interest from developers.  Should it continue to feature big box retailers surrounded by parking lots, or should it require stores to be pedestrian-friendly – some “big box stores” including Target are creating pedestrian-friendly formats these days.   Or should it follow the path of some revamping shopping centers and add back a street grid, with stores facing a street?

Will attractive storefronts be built facing El Camino, or will El Camino remain an unappealing place, and should new developments face inwards, with blank walls facing El Camino?

The San Antonio area is richly served by transit, with a Caltrain station at the Palo Alto border and VTA express and local bus service on El Camino. But pedestrian and bike access is challenging and stressful.  Should the area improve pedestrian and bike access, helping visitors from the neighborhoods and the region shop without driving, or should the area maintain its car-centric streets?

City Council decided in July to change the order and bump up San Antonio in the queue, following resident feedback.   Council confirmed the decision on September 11, but the agenda item had some unexpected council debate. For example, Council Member Jac Siegel expressed skepticism about doing a plan, since there is not going to be a change in the area’s land use.   (Although change is occurring already; the question is whether the change will take into account residents and stakeholders’ current needs and values).

What do you think? If you live near San Antonio, shop there – or would shop there if it had better bike and pedestrian access – come to one of these two visioning exercises and share your ideas.

Saturday October 27, and Saturday, December 1, both 9am to 12pm at the Silicon Valley Community Foundation, 2440 W. El Camino Real Mountain View, Suite 300 .

If you are unable to attend an in-person meeting or have more ideas you want to share, contribute your thoughts at the San Antonio Visioning site.

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