There is not much the City of Mountain View can do to affect the price of gas, but transportation issues are vitally important to the quality of life we enjoy. There are ways the City can make public transit easier within the City, but of course it comes at a cost. Palo Alto has a community shuttle, but it costs over a million dollars a year. We have invested heavily in our transit Center.   Years ago Mountain View helped finance the light rail service that now terminates in Mountain View and we worked hard to become a stop on the Caltrain Baby Bullet.

The City must must continue to take transportation into account in its land use planning. If more commercial and office development is approved, it brings with it many more employees. Many times, the developers will provide incentives to the new employees to use public transit in exchange for being allowed to build a larger complex.  While this may indeed be a reasonable practice, the City must also take measures to ensure that those new employees are using the public transit being offered rather than driving to work because it is so easy to park. 

High Speed Rail is another area over which the City has little control, however now that the State has formally embarked on development of the system, we need to ensure that the system that is built along the Caltrain Corridor is the 2 Track Blended System and NOT a 4 track system as originally proposed.  Perhaps more important for Mountain View is how to handle the increased number of trains in an electrified Caltrain system and their impact on the Castro Street grade crossing.  It is almost impossible to build a bridge over the tracks or a tunnel under them without destroying the historic section of our wonderful downtown.  We need to fully evaluate how to best handle the increased train traffic which will cripple downtown traffic if we don't have a viable plan to deal with it.

Lastly, the City recently began a transportation study of the North Bayshore as part of the General Plan process.  There is going to be a significant amount of new development in that area and along El Camino, but the roads are already filled to capacity much of the time.  When I talk to residents about growth in the population, they are most concerned about traffic.  It is time that Mountain View lead the nation in implementing new transportation technologies, such as Personal Rapid Transit or PRT.  There has been a fair amount of media attention lately about a Pod Car system to connect Google and North Bayshore with the downtown transit center.  Much as the City did in supporting Light Rail almost 20 years ago, the City should now look to the future to solve one of our most vexing problems, transportation and connectedness.  A PRT system could connect the employment center of the North Bayshore with Downtown, and vice versa, making Caltrain and Light Rail that much more useful as commuter tools.


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Mike Kasperzak for City Council
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