I’ve always been disappointed that the City has failed to implement a walkable retail ‘downtown’ area as seen in cities like Pleasanton, Livermore, Mountain View, and many others. Instead our retail activities have gravitated towards the big-box style retail seen at Pacific Commons. Of course, this retail follows a very suburban, auto-oriented model.
While Pacific Commons is thriving retail that is good for our tax base, it makes it even harder for local retailers in the rest of Fremont. We all have basically a fixed amount of money that we will pay for food, clothes, etc. Having two good grocery stores near you won’t make you buy twice as much food. Pacific Commons is competition for other, more local retail in Fremont. This means that more and more people drive to do their shopping as there isn’t enough walkable retail.
The issue before us on 5/10 was whether Pacific Commons would be allowed to take part of the Target parking lot and convert it to another restaurant ‘pad’ and remove another 43 parking spaces. The City of Fremont’s requirement is 1,898 for the size of this parcel. The parking was already allowed to be reduced to 1,667 parking spaces. This will bring it down to 1,624 spaces, 274 less than the City’s requirement.
There was a parking study that showed this would be adequate using concept of ‘shared parking’ to justify a lower parking rate. But shared parking only works when you have two uses that have different peak times such as an office building and a church. Indeed, their analysis showed that the peak times are pretty much the same for all of the uses on this site. In short, a couple going to dinner and then a movie will require basically the same parking requirement as two couples, one going to dinner and one going to a movie.
All I know is I’m seeing more and more times trying to go somewhere in Fremont and finding no place to park. And I’m the guy who hates driving around looking for a parking space. I usually go straight to the back of the lot if it looks crowded.
I was going to vote against this but figured in the end it would be their problem and people like myself would just avoid going there as I hate driving around and around looking for parking. Like many important issues that deserve more discussion, this was simply added to the consent calendar.