by Cherie Walkowiak
At Mountain View's City Council meeting on September 20th , council members unanimously approved Staff's recommendation for a raised crosswalk on Escuela Avenue in front of Mistral and Castro Elementary Schools. This is part of a community benefit package being offered by Anton Development who is building a big apartment complex at 394 Ortega Avenue.
The developers originally offered to install bike lanes and bulb outs on Escuela Avenue as well, to make it safer for kids to get to school on this very busy street. Council approved staff recommendation to drop the bike lanes and bulb outs from Anton's community benefit package. Instead, the remaining funds will be given to the city to fund a project, possibly bike lanes on Escuela or something in the San Antonio area, at a future date. Though most council members would like to see bike lanes here, some are concerned the current design isn't safe enough for elementary school kids. They don't like how the bike lane on the west side of Escuela would be in the door zone. McAlister said he'd prefer to see protected bike lanes. Other council members are concerned about the parking loss bike lanes would cause, and would like staff to look for a solution that addresses safety and parking needs.
Some council members were emphatic that staff bring this back to council with further analysis. We hope they'll allocate money for the analysis during next year's Capital Improvement Program, or CIP, where staff designates which projects the city will fund. That process begins in the spring. Fingers crossed!