Thu07242014

Mountain View on the Move

'A gem in Silicon Valley': Computer History Museum traces tech innovation


Lindsay Ognoskie/Town Crier
The Computer History Museum in Mountain View documents the evolution of technology and its impact on daily living.

In the future, perhaps sooner than expected, you might not be driving your car to work – your car could be driving you.

The Computer History Museum in Mountain View has partnered with Google Inc. to showcase the advances of the self-driving car. Google’s revolutionary car, a detailed history of its development and a list of other autonomous vehicles are on display at the museum through November.

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Levi's Stadium opening prompts MV to initiate parking pass play

The opening of the 49ers stadium in Santa Clara has a rippling impact on downtown Mountain View.

The weekly Mountain View Farmers’ Market, held Sundays in the Caltrain parking lot off Evelyn Avenue, is being relocated to another lot on game days so that Caltrain can accommodate the expected increase in train traffic.

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Lively Foundation hosts dance festival


Friedman

The Lively Foundation’s International Dance Festival@Silicon Valley has scheduled its third season of dance workshops, open master classes and performances Aug. 11-17 at the Mountain View Masonic Center, 890 Church St.

The foundation launched the festival to offer the public opportunities to see professional dancers perform a variety of dance styles, participate in classes taught by professionals and gain better understanding of and appreciation for dance. Intermediate- to advanced-level dancers can study technique and learn repertory with teaching artists and perform the works with the professionals in the Festival Concert.

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Mtn. View Brief

SV Bike Coalition hosts bike safety classes

The Silicon Valley Bicycle Coalition has scheduled an Intro to Urban Bicycling Workshop 5:30-6:30 p.m. Tuesday at The Village at San Antonio Center, Suite 21, in Mountain View.

The class is part of training offered in Bay Area communities that have added Bay Area BikeShare stations.

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Canines to run free at city parks, thanks to pilot program


Photos by Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Mountain View residents and their dogs gather at Cuesta Park last week, top. As part of a pilot program approved April 22, dogs are able to run off-leash in several Mountain View parks.

A one-year pilot program invites off-leash dogs to roam in Mountain View parks. The program limits the privilege to early-morning hours in most parks, though it allows all-day access at the Dog Training Area in Cuesta Park.

“The plan is to start the pilot program for off-leash dogs approximately mid-June,” said JP de la Montaigne, community services director. “(We’re) still finalizing plans and making signs and gearing up the promotion.”

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Rec'ing Crew summer camp returns to MV

The Mountain View Recreation Division’s Rec’ing Crew camp for 12- to 16-year-olds returns this summer.

The camp includes field trips, swimming, games, sports, crafts and tournaments.

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MV startup makes it easy to hire cleaners

Adora Cheung and her brother Aaron developed the idea for Homejoy while working on other projects in Mountain View – and living with a mess. Their housecleaning company aims to make hiring a cleaner addictively easy online.

Homejoy was born in the local area based on a founder’s domestic life. But as local companies mature, they often move out of the area.

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Mtn. View Briefs

City explores gun-control law

By a majority vote, the Mountain View City Council May 27 directed City Attorney Jannie Quinn to prepare a briefing on Measure C, the gun-control ordinance passed by Sunnyvale voters last November.

The council vote followed discussion by former state Assemblywoman Sally Lieber, who referenced the recent shootings near UC Santa Barbara as a reason to act urgently rather than wait for reform at the national level.

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MV explores parking options as downtown area continues to grow

MountainViewParking 
If you think downtown Los Altos has a parking problem, drive to downtown Mountain View and you’ll find parking much harder to come by. Even on midweek nights, cars circle through the public lots behind Castro Street, waiting for spaces to open.
    But are there really too few spaces?
    According to Mountain View city officials, the answer, surprisingly, is no. They point to downtown’s two parking structures, including at least one they claim is consistently underused. City officials are trying to boost awareness of the structures that may offer more available – and free – parking.
    Mountain View’s parking problems are a direct result of a thriving downtown.
    “The growth of downtown has accelerated faster than we anticipated,” said Tiffany Chew, the city’s economic development manager. “But we’re at a standpoint where businesses are booming, so the downtown has seen an increase in overall popularity and occupancy in the existing buildings. That’s where we have challenges with parking.”
    While there are more commuters than ever making their way in and out of downtown Mountain View, the city’s parking structures are not quite overloaded.
    “While most of our lots are near the practical capacity, we still have one parking structure that’s not at that 85 percent threshold,” Chew said, referencing parking structure No. 2 at California and Bryant streets, where the CVS pharmacy is located. “We’re
encouraging people to start utilizing that parking structure.”
Increased efficiency
    The city of Mountain View has been exploring ways to optimize use of its existing parking lots.
    The first of the city’s efforts to direct downtown visitors to different parking lots came several years ago, when it implemented a downtown wayfinding signage program. Signs were posted around downtown that point to buildings like city hall and the police and fire departments, as well as downtown’s parking garages. Now, with an increasingly robust downtown scene, the city is reviewing ways to maximize the use of its existing parking structures. One such way, officials decided, is to adjust the downtown parking permit fee structure.
    “We recently made changes to the fee structure and added the quarterly permit to the program,” Chew said. “We haven’t changed the fees in over seven years, so it was time to restructure the program a little bit to look at ways to better accommodate people within the district.”
    Effective Jan. 1, annual permits rose to $300, quarterly to $100, monthly to $50 and daily permits, comprising 25 passes, to $100.
    Maintenance of the district in coming years will include the purchase of new technologies.
    “One of the things that we’re looking at is parking technology to make our system more efficient,” Chew said. “We’re in the heart of Silicon Valley – there’s a lot of technology available to make things more efficient.”
    In upcoming months, the city council and the Downtown Committee will engage in talks to determine how much it can afford and which technologies to implement.
    “The committee will have a chance to review and look at technology (such as) the wayfinding signage,” said Alex Andrade, the city’s business development specialist. “There are vehicle license plate recognition technologies that utilize the license plates as a way to determine whether there are people in violation – it’s essentially digital chalking.”
    Andrade also mentioned that cameras are affixed to a city police vehicle to track how long people have been parked in particular spaces, and sensors and loop detectors connected to parking signage allow vehicles to be counted as they enter and exit a parking garage to count how many spaces are available.
    The committee is scheduled to present its proposals to the city council Tuesday.
Paid parking?
    Andrade said the city does not intend to move forward with any kind of paid parking at the moment.
    “What we do know is that parking behavior typically changes dramatically when people have to pay for parking, so we don’t know where this is going,” he said.
    Traffic expert Donald Shoup, a renowned proponent of paid parking, visited the Mountain View staff recently to discuss his ideas.
    “We’re looking at other cities to see what they’re doing with their downtowns,” Andrade added.
    The city is also studying ways to generate more parking spaces, possibly via a third parking structure.
    “This is an issue of looking at available land, having design set aside,” Andrade said. “So clearly that would be a potential long-term strategy, but we couldn’t say when or where. But we’re definitely starting those conversations.”
    One thing is for sure – there likely won’t be any additional parking along Castro Street.
    “If you think about all the successful downtowns, you don’t want to see parking right in front of Castro Street,” Chew said. “That’s why I think downtown Mountain View has been so successful – you have connectivity to parking in the back, lending itself to nice retail frontage along Castro Street that’s continuous, which is great for pedestrians and visitors.”
    Downtown growth is showing little sign of slowing down, so parking challenges are likely to continue.

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