Mountain View: City “Dump” to an Innovative and Ecological Urban Environment
-by Ashley Wong, Brisbane Baylands summer intern
For years, Mountain View was considered a “dump,” the industrial and agricultural “stepchild” of the San Francisco Peninsula, according to longtime residents. Specifically, the North Bayshore district was historically farmland and the site of the city dump, but in the 1970s, when tech first started booming, Mountain View looked to develop it into a low-density office park.
But then, came the housing crisis and over the years, the City decided to reevaluate the neighborhood and include housing for all the workers they imported at the successful office district, which includes LinkedIn and Google.
On February 3, 2015, city staff amended the North Bayshore Precise Plan to include residential land uses, and recently released an updated Environmental Impact Report (EIR) to allow up to approximately 10,000 housing units within North Bayshore. The City also released a public draft of the affordable housing administrative guidelines to implement affordable housing goals for the city. The addition of housing units, primarily condos and apartments, will increase the pedestrian and bicycle accessibility from nearby areas to the site without contributing to vehicular traffic. The major increase of net new housing and specific policies for affordable housing aims to mitigate the housing crisis that is especially being experienced in the Bay Area.
In addition to their ambitious efforts to address the housing shortage, Google aims to have a state of the art facility to augment the North Bayshore area plan. Mountain View’s City Council just approved Google’s project of a 595,000 sq. ft. office space. This two-story development will be accompanied by a public park, plaza, and retail opportunities that will invite the community to be part of the inclusive and welcoming environment that the project aims to achieve.
The 18.7 acre campus will also include a robust transit demand management program (TDM) and be environmentally friendly with bike and pedestrian walkways that are to run through the site and around the proposed building. Solar panels will also be implemented on the building’s canopy-designed roof that will produce about four megawatts of power. The efforts of this proposed development are consistent with the North Bayshore Precise Plan that has goals to include public open space, sustainability, and new pedestrian and bicycle connections to create a human-scaled environment. Construction for the site is to start within the next few months and completed by 2019. We look forward to seeing this plan being implemented, and borrowing innovative best practices for the Baylands.