- Ensure that housing in North Bayshore gets built
- Approve housing in range of styles and price points near transit and jobs
- Set policies that support strong neighborhoods
This economic engine that we call Silicon Valley has produced explosive job growth leading to unprecedented need for housing across the region. In December 2017 the Mountain View City Council took the bold step to approve the new North Bayshore Precise Plan which allows up to 9,850 units of new housing. This fulfilled my 2014 campaign promise to you. Now that this amazing zoning plan has been completed, it’s time to build the new community. In my second term, I’ll work to ensure that housing in North Bayshore actually gets built.
Fundamentally, the housing crisis in the Bay Area is a supply and demand problem. We need to build more of a range of styles and price-points. But housing needs to be in the right locations close to transit, retail services, and jobs. We need to make sure that all the components of great neighborhoods such as parks, shops and schools are included. Mountain View does have a good track record for setting policies and zoning that encourage well-balanced neighborhoods. We must continue that tradition of good planning.
Since I have been on Council, we have built almost 2,300 units of new housing which are mostly high-end apartments. I’m particularly proud of the 258 units of affordable housing that have been built. We also need more for-sale units.
While I was Mayor, Mountain View received a great deal of recognition as a leader in housing. We continue to be recognized regionally as a community that is doing things right, particularly with respect to the 9,850 units of housing that are planned for North Bayshore.
- Work to prevent homelessness
- Continue to help our homeless population get needed services and find stable housing
- Address crime, safety and health issues
- Leverage resources from Santa Clara County, Non-profits and the Faith Community
When housing gets expensive, homelessness increases. Mountain View has been working hard to prevent more people from becoming homeless and to address the challenges of an increasing homeless population.
All of us are touched by the homeless issue. We feel compassion for people in need, we are frightened of crime that may be associated, we are upset by garbage and pollution of some homeless encampments and we are irritated by the parking and traffic issues created by RVs.
As your Mayor, I led the effort to address homelessness. At the beginning, we thought it would be a simple project to open up a safe parking program for the RV’s on the streets of Mountain View. We couldn’t have been more wrong about it being simple. We convened experts from all three levels of government, non-profits like Community Services Agency (CSA), the faith community and others to brainstorm what we could do. Everyone advised that doing what we could to prevent people from becoming homeless in the first place should be our first priority, so we beefed up CSA’s ongoing program to help more people. Asking the people involved seemed like the next step, so we surveyed people living in vehicles. We learned that most Mountain View residents living in vehicles were very poor- 70% reported living on less than $1000/month. Many are not aware of existing social services that are available to them.
A multi-pronged program has been launched to help our homeless population. It includes a strong effort to provide a safety net so people don’t become homeless in the first place. There are staff at CSA, the police department and the County Housing office who work with homeless residents to help them find better housing. Access to showers and washing machines has been improved. Also, a cold weather shelter at Trinity Methodist Church opened for the 2018 winter.
I’m proud that Mountain View is acting to assist our less fortunate residents. By assisting them in finding stable housing we improve their lives as well our overall community. Since this complex program is fairly new, it will need to be improved as we learn what is effective and what has un-intended consequences. It’s our job to make a community that safeguards everyone’s rights. Many people have contacted me about this. Keep sending me your thoughts and suggestions. I appreciate them all.
- Work to reduce traffic congestion by providing realistic alternatives to people getting in their cars:
Implement innovative transportation technologies as they become available
- Encourage “active” transportation—walking and biking
- Support regional projects such as CalTrain electrification, better bus service
- Applying land use policies that support alternatives to the single occupant car
The other peril of prosperity is congested traffic. The economic boom that makes us need much more housing also clogs our roadways. Traffic congestion negatively impacts everyone’s lives. It’s a regional challenge demanding regional cooperation and local action. Our transportation system must be improved to the standards and technology of 2020’s, but on top of land use patterns and road systems established in the 1950’s. Given all the technical, governance and funding challenges of transportation, changes are very challenging to accomplish.
We are on the cusp of major changes in transportation technology. These changes provide opportunities to improve our mobility, but we don’t know how fast and how extensive they will be. The explosion of ride-sharing and the development of autonomous vehicles are examples of these transportation changes. How will they change our need for parking? How will they change the mix of vehicles on our roads? Will the decrease in car ownership continue?
Mountain View is considering constructing an Automated Guideway Transit (AGT) system to connect the job centers of North Bayshore and Moffett Field with the Caltrain Station in downtown. We want to develop a system that can get built now with technology that is available now, but will support new technologies as they become available. While this is an expensive project, fast and convenient transportation between transit and developing employment centers in time to meet increasing demand is vital to economic growth and our community well-being.
Making Mountain View into a bicycle and pedestrian-friendly city has been a community goal for many years. While important improvements towards this goal have been made, there are many still needed. In addition to making the infrastructure necessary for safe walking and biking, we also need to develop etiquette to share these facilities safely. Increasing the time we spend we walking and biking improves our individual health. It also benefits humanity by reducing our collective carbon footprint.
Because our road and transit systems are shared regionally, decision-making can be complex. Mountain View is a regional leader in transportation. Examples include:
- Leading the charge to ensure that Measure B, a transportation sales tax measure approved countywide in November 2017 included traffic solutions for the north county, not just San Jose. Measure B will result in the electrification of Caltrain increasing train frequency by 30% and allowing for grade separations at two of Mountain View’s train stations.
- Developed a master plan for updating the downtown transit center to accommodate more trains and connect better with jobs centers such as North Bayshore.
- Approved a new Bicycle and Pedestrian Plan that includes extensive improvement to neighborhood streets to improve bike safety city-wide. Projects from this plan are included in the city’s capital improvement plan every year. (Review the plan here)
- Improved bicycle routes to schools;
Designed and will construct a reversible bus lane on Shoreline Boulevard to improve commute traffic;
- Implemented an aggressive Trip Cap into North Bayshore, providing a strong incentive for reducing single-occupancy car trips and improving transit;
- Conducting a feasibility study for an automated guideway transit system to connect the downtown CalTrain station to the North Bayshore.
- Ensure that North Bayshore has a school plan
- Work with our school districts to support teacher housing
- Continue the tradition of using school grounds as parks
- Advocate for neighborhood schools
In California, school districts and city governments may be separate agencies, but the local children belong to us all. Decades ago, the City of Mountain View set up a system to maintain school grounds as parks for use by residents when school is not in session. Today, the city maintains school grounds, funds an after-school program for kids on free-or-reduced lunches, contributes funds from the Shoreline Community Fund, and more.
The addition of new housing means greater demand for local public schools. The City of Mountain View is taking a leadership role in planning ahead for this need by:
- Requiring new developments in North Bayshore to coordinate with the school districts to submit a school plan;
- Agreeing to provide $23M to the Los Altos School District to help buy a new school site in the San Antonio area which will also serve as parkland. Currently the kids that live in that area must cross El Camino to reach their schools. In addition, the City has voted to allow the school district to sell transfer of development rights (TDRs) from the new school property to other locations in the City. Estimates are that this zoning decision is worth more than $80M. The current arrangement does not require that the new school serve the neighborhood. It could become the site of the Bullis Charter School. Because I think it is crucial that the new school serve the neighborhood children, I have voted NO on these arrangements. I think it is un-wise to give this much money without clear guidance on how it must be spent. I will continue to work to get the neighborhood school included in these arrangements.