Mayor and Council Members:
I just read an article in the Mountain View Voice about traffic congestion related to Google's proposed expansion. One comment, by consultant Jim Lightbody, stood out:
"The measures will have to be unusual, as North Bayshore companies estimate that 39 percent of their employees already use alternative modes of transportation to get to work. At full build-out, and at current rates of car use, road use could jump 300 percent. And North Bayshore's roads can only be modified to accommodate 25 percent more traffic," Lightbody said.
The overall tone of the article indicates a substantial worsening of already bad traffic congestion. I am not opposed to Google's proposal, but some effective traffic solution needs to be identified and implemented BEFORE approving the Google expansion.
One major difficulty in solving the traffic congestion problem is that no one lives in North Bayshore and so everyone working there must commute in and out of the area every working day. Since NBS is isolated from the rest of the city, this lack of residential development makes the traffic congestion problem almost impossible to solve.
When evaluating the environmental consequences of the Google proposal, the City Council has an obligation to the community (and perhaps a legal obligation) to evaluate all reasonable alternatives, including the alternative of allowing people to live in NBS close to where they work.
It is common sense that fewer people commuting in and out of NBS each day will help solve the traffic congestion problem. I have heard that an early Google study of traffic congestion verified that allowing some people to live in NBS helps substantially to reduce traffic congestion.
The City Council needs to use the current traffic analysis of the Google proposal to determine whether this is true. If it is true, this choice should certainly be evaluated and discussed with the community before a final decision is made.
I realize that the city Council has indicated a policy preference against allowing people to live in NBS and that there may be important reasons for that preference. I respect those reasons and the City Council's policy preference. But the City owes the community an evaluation of the impacts of allowing people to live in NBS so we can all understand the choice and the impacts.
Don't endanger the legal validity of the traffic study by failing to evaluate the impacts of the resideal alternative.
Please direct the consultant team to include an evaluation of the traffic congestion impacts of allowing some people to live in NBS.
Thanks for listening.
Should the city council reconsider housing in North Bayshore? Is that the best way to alleviate congestion? Leave your comment below.