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Biking and Parking in NBS
Google's Housing Project
Google is implementing the City's plan for North Bayshore with new designs from SITELAB, Google's urban designer, and Lendlease, their residential development partner. They will be giving us an update at our next dinner meeting (free pizza!) on October 20, 2022.
See http://santiagovilla.org/rsvp to register.
Google's projects will add thousands of residences and local retailers, and the company will donate land for a school. The objective is to decrease the number of cars and busses coming into NBS daily, and to provide a walkable, bikeable space for all NBS employees and residents.
Many of us biked or walked through that shortcut to Shorebird and the Google campus, but now it is open and accessible. There are green lanes and striped pavement at that location.
Google has been making major improvements to bike paths on its campus, and we are encouraged to use them. Take a look at their video showing the vision for Charleston between Alta and Shoreline. If you ride your bike on that street, you can see that most of it is already completed.
Google, Sobrato, Microsoft, and USPS have had to adjust to the new precise plan vision too. Parking is going to be quite limited for residents of the new Sobrato buildings - they have planned an average of only .6 vehicles per apartment (some will have none, others only one). During construction, Sobrato will be using the Pear Google parking lot for their workers and staff, parking vehicles only in the areas they have already fenced off. They will be building parking lots for new residents and staff, but those will be under the new buildings.
Microsoft now has a new parking lot behind its new campus for its employees, and Google will be building a new parking lot at the current location of 1345 Shorebird, which is right outside of our park's fence, behind the mobile homes inside the park on Space Park. There will be other lots elsewhere on the campus, and construction on a new one between Huff and Alta (the "Landings" project) is nearly complete.
Since we are losing a lot of parking, SVNA and park management asked Google REWS if they might consider allowing parking for our residents in the proposed 1345 Shorebird structure on evenings and weekends. Legal Operations was tasked with the decision, but they rejected the request, citing potential liability. But since it will be years before parking would even be a possibility at that location, we will raise that issue again when the structure has been built and is finally available.
The current plan affecting us is an extension of a new greenway, which will run in front of our park, into the expanded wildlife area at the new Eco Gem at the Charleston Retention Basin, just north of the egret rookery.
The northeast corner will be restored as a natural habitat, and an Urban Ecology Center that will serve as a destination for nature hikes. Residents and employees will be also be able to use a new bike and pedestrian pathway to get into The Wilds, which is what they plan to call their nature area.
Google's urban planners are also proposing a new street north of Santiago Villa, and employee parking would be at the end of that street.
Right now there is a fence and a tree line there, and maintaining the natural habitat is desireable. Santiago Villa residents will probably want to have direct access to the new neighborhood, or perhaps have another gate into it at Oro Way and the northern end of Armand. There might also be an opportunity to restore a gate behind the park leading to the Stevens Creek Trail, since there used to be one at the end of Casa Grande.
Google Real Estate and Workplace Services (REWS) has been careful to make sure Santiago Villa residents have been involved in their plans. Some of us were involved on Charleston East, which is nearly finished, and we were present at groundbreaking. We're hoping to be invited to attend the ribbon-cutting.
When construction is done, the new NBS will be a nice place to walk, bike, dine, and shop.
By 2025, we are going to have a small city in front of our park. SVNA has been working with the Sobrato Organization since 2017 on the development of the project. The South Parcel, on the La Avenida side, is now under construction. Sobrato will start on the North Parcel, on the Space Park side, sometime in 2023.
In our meetings with Senior VP Tim Steele, we asked if Sobrato could install a gate at the end of El Centro, so we can walk, bike, dine, and shop in the new development. Mr. Steele said a gate sub-project will be added to the plan if we can get agreement from residents and park management. During our monthly meetings, many residents have spoken up in favor of the gate and opened the discussion of other potential gates.
Construction in Progress
But more important is the status of the construction. We will be working with Pear project manager Jonah Elisha going forward, and Superintendent Matt Li Marzi, but we talk to Tim Steele occasionally about the project.
Tim told us that they have placed vibration monitors in the park to record any potential disturbances to our homes. If your home has been leveled and you have the paperwork to prove it, they will restore any leveling changes or damage done by construction. But because they are using auger technology instead of jack-hammers for excavating, any such disturbances should be minimized.
Devcon Construction is the builder, and they started with the new Google office building on the corner of Inigo and La Avenida first. There will eventually be a light at that corner, and CalTrans will be reconfiguring the 101 offramp to divert traffic into that area, which should ease traffic on Shoreline.
Sobrato has a construction office in the Pear Theatre office building, but we can phone Jonah Elisha at (808) 747-3462 to talk about any concerns about their project.
Google and Sobrato Construction
We have been involved with Google planners and developers of North Bayshore since 2015. Google Real Estate and Workplace Services, Government Affairs and Public Policy, Lendlease, and Community Development experts have been helpful and responsive to Santiago Villa residents.
With Sobrato and Google's new developments, we should have a vibrant new neighborhood by 2025. We're going to continue to work with them to make sure our community remains an integrated part of the new neighborhood.
In 2014, the City of Mountain View initiated a "precise plan" for North Bayshore (NBS) that will encourage walking and biking, and discourage automobile traffic. We can't blame Google, Sobrato, or Microsoft for loss of parking, because the City's precise plan is responsible for those changes.
That's why we lost parking spaces on Space Park and La Avenida but gained bike lanes on La Avenida, and we've seen great progress - not just on La Avenida, but now there's a new bike lane on Shorebird, and it's accessible from Space Park. We used to have a break in the fence between Pickering Labs and Google (1250 and 1280 Space Park Way) that looked like this.
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