Mountain View enjoys a near-ideal location, with easy access to both San Jose and San Francisco. Between the natural beauty, the wonderful business environment, and all the dining and recreation options in and around Mountain View, residents have many wonderful things to enjoy, however, no one enjoys sitting in traffic or dealing with overall urban sprawl. Fortunately, Mountain View residents and leaders of the city are forward thinking about two of the most significant challenges that face, not only the city, but the region: traffic congestion and a shortage of housing.
According to 2017 data from the California Department of Finance, there were approximately 35,595 housing units in Mountain View. Compare this to the approximate 51,200 jobs in Mountain View at the end of 2017 (according to the California Employment Development Department), and one can see the significant imbalance. Instead of burying its head in the sand regarding the existing imbalance and the potential exacerbation of the impeding job growth at Google once its campus has expanded, Mountain View has allowed nearly 10,000 new homes to be built in the North Bayshore neighborhood.
Mountain View’s action plan does not stop there. As Mayor Lenny Siegel stated in his January 2018 commentary in the Mountain View Voice, the plan is “…designed to enhance the quality of life by creating, for Mountain View, a new kind of vibrant, sustainable neighborhood.” Part of this is affordable housing. A minimum of 15 percent of new housing must be
affordable to low-income or moderate-income people who both reside and work in Mountain View. When there are various streets lined with people living out of recreational vehicles, there is clearly a problem and Mountain View has an action plan to make an impact, even if it will not fully resolve it.
Another part of this is improving the city-wide transportation network with the hope of neighboring cities following suit and therefore addressing this regional issue. By developing a mostly self-contained neighborhood, rather than just more houses and offices, it will reduce the number of trips people take in their car, reducing the gridlock. The city is also planning to take action in the future to improve the Transit Center, which will better connect Mountain View residents to
the rest of the region, also helping to reduce cars on US 101 and the other nearby freeways.
As these plans are put into motion, they will profoundly and irrevocably change Mountain View for the better. Just as the high-tech innovators who live in Mountain View are on the forefront of their industry, it is appropriate for their city to be on the forefront of the solutions to some of the city and region’s most important issues of today.