Silicon Valley Renaissance Man Mark CalvanoOct 01, 2018
In a breakthrough move, the Mountain View City Council unanimously agreed last night to study a set of infrastructure improvements centered on the southern half of the Shoreline Boulevard/Bayshore Freeway intersection. After four years of studying future high density development exclusively north of Highway 101 within the 645-acre “North Bayshore Precise Plan” area, the City Council responded favorably to San Francisco developer Mark Calvano’s proposal to develop the 23 acres south of Hwy 101 at high density, in return for a comprehensive package of transit improvements spanning the length of Shoreline from Terra Bella Avenue south of the freeway to Pear Avenue in the north.
While the Council was not ready to grant Mr. Calvano’s “Gatekeeper” request for immediate analysis of higher density development south of Hwy 101, it did approve a similar staff proposal to begin analysis of the infrastructure improvements that would support both the North Bayshore and Terra Bella area redevelopment areas. The Council responded to staff’s proposal positively but methodically, noting that they wished that it had arisen earlier in the lengthy planning process for the North Bayshore area. Hampered by a current crisis in senior staff resources, the City Council directed staff to add an analysis of the “Terra Bella Alternative” to the Environmental Impact Report (“EIR”) currently underway for the North Bayshore Precise Plan.
Mr. Calvano presented a new traffic study by Hexagon Transportation Consultants showing that if the southern half of the Shoreline/Bayshore intersection was redeveloped with One Million square feet of new office space, at a floor area ratio (“FAR”) of 1.0, his proposed package of transit improvements would not only cause no significant increase in peak hour traffic congestion, but it also would create additional traffic-handling capacity, reducing the projected congestion effects of future implementation of the Bayshore Precise Plan, anticipating development of up to 3.4 Million square feet of office space.
Specific elements of Mr. Calvano’s traffic mitigation proposal include a dedicated through bus lane, from Terra Bella Avenue to Pear Avenue allowing busses to be always first in queue at each signal light, a separate bike/pedestrian flyover crossing the freeway, safe bike paths, elimination of driveways, smoother flow onto and off of Highway 101 and elimination of a roughly $20 Million “bus/bike bridge”, generally considered to be infeasible. This entire package of improvements would be paid for by the affected property owners, in return for an allocation of increased development density to the southern half of this intersection.
“We always thought our plan had merit – because in the end it is a mitigation plan for North Bayshore redevelopment,” Calvano said. If the package of Mr. Calvano’s proposed transit improvements indeed proves to be the “environmentally superior alternative”, the Council left open the next step; directing staff to modify the North Bayshore Precise Plan to include the 23-acre Terra Bella area. Validating Mr. Calvano’s new traffic analysis by means of the pending EIR would allow Mountain View either to add additional office development south of Hwy 101, or to move some of the anticipated North Bayshore office space to the Terra Bella area, within the Hwy 101 corridor.
“Adding the “Terra Bella” congestion mitigation analysis to the pending North Bayshore Precise Plan EIR will provide the City Council with better data earlier, saving perhaps 1-2 years and conserving staff resources, compared to waiting until planning for North Bayshore development is complete”, said Calvano.
In the meanwhile, Mr. Calvano is preparing to file an application to redevelop the first portion of the Terra Bella area, consistent with current land use regulations, while awaiting the results of the newly-authorized EIR analysis of his larger congestion mitigation plan.
Calvano Development is a private investment and development firm focused on office projects in select areas from Sunnyvale to Redwood City. The company website is at www.calvano.com