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OMVNA Newsletter

January, 1999
Volume 11, Number 1

Comments from the Chair

Mercy-Bush Park Funded

Stevens Creek Trail Update

1999 Steering Committee Initiatives

The Downtown Committee

The Long and Winding Road: Traffic Humps on Dana Street

The Old Mountain View Neighborhood is bordered by El Camino Real, Shoreline Boulevard, Evelyn Avenue, and Highway 85. The Old Mountain View Neighborhood Association consists of residents interested in preserving the quality of life in our neighborhood. Together we can make a difference—join us!


Comments from the Chair

by Maarten Korringa, OMVNA Chair

Under construction: OMVNA Web survey—issues needed: Last month I wrote that one of this year’s goals will be to make OMVNA more proactive so we can effectively promote the welfare of the neighborhood. It is extremely important to the steering committee for our stand on issues to be one that broadly represents the neighborhood, not the opinions of a few outspoken individuals.

Previously, response to newsletter surveys has been very light. This year, the survey will be done over the internet. For those who don’t have internet access at home, it is provided free of charge by our library. The survey will be ready by the next newsletter. In the meantime, if you have any issues that are of concern to you and should be on the survey, please contact me before the end of January so they can be included.

OMVNA to review zoning and neighborhood preservation: Much of the new construction in our neighborhood does a creditable job harmonizing with the neighborhood. The reason is that most multi-unit developments are closely scrutinized by the city staff. With some single family dwellings, however, the city has little control. As a result new may seem out of place in our neighborhood, although they would look fine in another neighborhood. Or a particularly large house may overwhelm the small bungalow next door to it and rob the smaller home of privacy and sunlight.

Part of the OMVNA Steering Committee, joined by several other neighborhood residents, is now examining the neighborhood preservation and Improvement Plan and current zoning laws to see how they are being implemented. The outcome of this study will be brought before the neighborhood, along with results of our discussion with City staff and research on related matters in surrounding communities. Our eventual goal is to work with the City to promote any changes the neighborhood finds appropriate.

News briefs:The OMVNA 1999 Calendar is now available on the web site. Its URL is http://www.omvna.org/events


Mercy-Bush Park Funded!

by Maarten Korringa

On Tuesday, January 12, five members of the City Council (neighborhood residents Vice-mayor Rosemary Stasek and Councilmember Sally Lieber recused themselves) voted unanimously to provide 100% of the funds needed to develop Mercy-Bush Park.

All the funds originated as rec in lieu fees. These are fees that residential developers pay to the city to offset the burden on existing parks caused by the additional residents. The bulk of the fees are from the new apartment development just south of City Centre, 650 Castro Street.

Now that the city has the land and the funds for development, we are more that two-thirds of the way there. The last remaining hurdle is getting development of the park on the city’s calendar. OMVNA will promote putting it on next year’s calendar, so that construction could happen as early as the Summer of 2000.


Stevens Creek Update

by Ronit Bryant

You may already have walked along the segment of the Stevens Creek Trail from Landels School to Evelyn Avenue. In a couple of months, the City will open the bridge across Central Expressway, and we will be able to walk or bike all the way to the Bay. The trail will also continue in a southerly direction, but the alignment of the trail from Landels is still being discussed. If you have an opinion on the matter, this is the time to voice it.

The 1991 Stevens Creek Trail Feasibility Study Report proposed that the trail should cross the creek near Landels and continue on the east side of the creek, right along where the sound wall is today. But the creek banks eroded, and, last year, City staff recommended keeping the trail on the west side of the creek as far as the Highway 237 offramp loop. With this alignment, the trail would cross the driveway of the apartment complex at the end of Mercy Street and pass very close to several homes.

Both the Parks & Recreation Commission and City Council accepted this alignment. Neighbors who live very close to the proposed trail complained to Council that they had not been noticed about the meetings and did not, therefore, come to the meetings to voice their concerns. City staff met with these neighbors, and Council decided to reopen discussion of the trail alignment.

On January 21, staff met with residents in the most immediate vicinity of the creek. The intent, says Gail Seeds the project manager, was to hear the residents' concerns and ideas in an informal context. On Wednesday, February 3 at 7:00 p.m., the matter will be brought, before the Parks and Recreation Commission, and on Tuesday, February 23 at 7:30 p.m., Council will discuss the issue.

Come to the meetings to express your concerns and ideas. If you are unable to attend the meetings, you can call Gail Seeds at 903-6311.

From the Editor ...
While we have heard informally from many neighbors who are happy with the segment of the Stevens Creek Trail from Landels School to Evelyn, we have also received a letter from a resident of Mercy Street who expresses dissatisfaction with the current proposed alignment of the trail near Mercy and McCarty Streets. We cannot publish the entire letter because of lack of space. In brief, the writer worries that it is not safe for the trail to cross the driveway of the apartments at the end of Mercy Street. She is also concerned that the trail is very close to homes, and she hopes the City will go back to the earlier east-of-the-creek trail alignment.


1999 Steering Committee Initiatives

by Jean McCloskey

The OMVNA Steering Committee has been planning for 1999 and will focus on two key"priorities related to preserving and enhancing Old Mountain View. These will entail:

  1. Gathering input from residents to identify and address their concerns, and becoming more proactive in responding to City planning matters impacting the neighborhood.
  2. Reviewing the Old Mountain View Neighborhood Preservation Plan and zoning laws to see how they are being implemented and working with City staff and officials to get any needed improvements made.

Residents of Old Mountain View will have several formal opportunities to present their feedback concerns to the OMVNA Steering Committee over the next few months. You are always welcome to attend our regularly scheduled Monthly meetings or call or e-mail anyone in OMVNA via the web site.


The Downtown Committee

by Julie Lovins

The Downtown Committee, a citizen advisory body set up last year by the City Council, has begun work that could significantly affect portions of Old Mountain View. Who is this group, and what are they doing?

The Committee, which replaces the now-dissolved Downtown Revitalization and Parking committees, has 15 Council-appointed members. They include 11 downtown property or business owners or representatives of local business organizations; one Councilmember; one representative each of schools and cultural arts; and one OMVNA representative. (I am currently serving the remainder of Councilmember Sally Lieber's term, which runs through 1999.)

One of the Committee's most significant undertakings will be to propose changes to the Downtown Plan, last revised in 1988, to reflect an updated "vision" of the area. The revised documents will go to the Environmental Planning Commission and then to City Council.

Committee planning will include serious consideration of the next phase of local downtown development. In addition to the Light Rail and new Transit Center, there are several approved or pending proposals for residential construction on Bryant Street: the western border of the Downtown Precise Plan extends past Bryant to Franklin Street, and there are signficant patches of vacant or "underused" land in that part of Old Mountain View, as well as a number of existing dwellings. We can expect continuing proposals for both commercial and residential additions to this portion of our neighborhood and they are likely to involve higher density than we have seen in most of the area east of Castro. I have urged the Committee to include a neighborhood workshop in the planning process, as well as taking a careful look at the Old Mountain View Preservation and Improvement Plan.

In future issues of this newsletter, I will keep you informed and ask for feedback on specific issues. I would very much like to hear from OMVN residents on any downtown topic, so that I can provide appropriate input. Please e-mail me at lovins@concentric.net or call me at 964-0368.


The Long and Winding Road: Traffic Humps on Dana Street

by Len Migliore

On December 2 1, a paving crew applied three gently-contoured strips of tar across Dana Street between Bush and Calderon. This was a significant event, quite long in coming, that will help improve the quality of life in Old Mountain View.

The strips of tar are speed humps. They make it unpleasant to go down Dana at more than 25 miles per hour, but are not an obstacle at lower speeds.

It took considerable effort from concerned residents to create this result. Dana has a substantial amount of traffic; studies by the City showed that over 4,000 cars daily traverse the block between Bush and Calderon. In fact, when the City tested the traffic, a significant percentage of the westbound vehicles - the ones from the 237 exit - exceeded 50 miles per hour. Several parked cars on Dana had been hit, and parents worried about their children's safety.

Dana Street residents submitted a petition to the City, asking for traffic mitigation. The Public Works Department then conducted the studies noted above, and in July, Traffic Engineer Dennis Belluomini met with residents to outline his findings and present possible solutions.

Two traffic control measures were suggested: speed humps and median strips. Since these measures require a two-thirds majority approval from the residents, the City sent ballots to people on Dana and Houghton. The returns were overwhelmingly in favor of these traffic mitigation measures. This, however, was not the final step. We still needed the approvals of the Council Transportation Committee (CTC) and City Council.

CTC approved the traffic mitigation measures, and they were placed on the October 27 City Council consent calendar. After considerable public input, the Council voted unanimously to implement the measures on a temporary basis. As a resident of the Dana Street, I am extremely happy with the speed humps. There are still plenty of cars on the street, but they don't go by at 50 mph anymore. It's easier to pull my car out of my garage or cross the street on foot. Beyond the tangible effects, it makes the street feel better. The street is no longer an expressway; it's a street where people live.


The Old Mountain View Neighborhood Association Newsletter
is published by a volunteer editorial committee & distributed to some 2000 homes and businesses by volunteers.

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The opinions printed in this newsletter are not necessarily those of the OMVNA Steering Committee.

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Last updated: 6/23/99