Category Archives: Transportation

More Stores, Less Parking at Pacific Commons (5/10)

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.

parking (more…)

Development Approved by Stevenson & Mission (5/10)

This came to the Council a while back as a General Plan amendment. I voted against this since I didn’t feel this was the right place for more residential. While it was touted as being a more walkable neighborhood, the fact is there is no retail within a reasonable walkable range.

The project is 46 homes in your typical suburban fashion that we see in Fremont – three story townhomes/duets packed in tight, thin streets with no on-street parking, and a roadway that is dominated by two car garages. I must admit the front part of the homes along Stevenson Place will look fairly nice. The interior roadway will be only 29 feet wide from garage door to garage door (22 feet for the roadway itself). The homes will be about 31 feet high. It will definitely have the ‘canyon’ look that these developments have.

Council Backtracks on Tandem Parking Requirements

This is kind of a wonky planning issue but it revealed a lot about how the City has worked to accommodate developers and their desire to develop as densely as possible in residential areas.

‘Tandem’ parking is where two cars will be parked one behind the other. Of course, the issue is that it’s not at all as convenient to use as two side-by-side parking spaces in a garage. Given that, people living in houses with two tandem parking spaces will tend to use them as only one parking space and use on-street parking for a second vehicle if needed.

Developers like this to use tandem parking as it allows them to increase density and lessen the frontage on their homes that is garages. (There are many dense developments where a large stretch of the streetscape is mainly garages as seen in this photo.) From the City’s perspective, they’re really not providing the same amount of parking spaces if they use tandem parking which, again, can put a burden on the public streets.

Staff had recommended an ordinance be drafted allowing for no more than 30% of a project’s parking needs handled by tandem parking. The Planning Commission had recommended a more restricted use of tandem parking by allowing it only in R-3 (a higher density residential zoning) and in TOD (Transit-Oriented Development) areas.


How Much Parking is Enough at Warm Springs?

Lennar gave an update on their project at the future Warm Springs BART station. There isn’t a lot to report as they mainly just showed some specifics of where the building footprints would actually be. They did present some specifics on parking requirements and I questioned whether these would be adequate. (I will defer the similar discussion about Walnut / Guardino since we have a study session on that tomorrow.)

For the Lennar development, the rental units would all have a requirement of only 1.0 spaces per unit. This seems woefully inadequate. It’s also unclear how guests would park at the facility. Some of the Warm Springs developers talked to me early on saying that they wanted to see the parking requirements raised to 2.0 spaces per unit for part of their development. They noted that it would be hard to sell a unit in that location with less than two parking spaces given there is no ‘there’ there yet in Warm Springs and there likely won’t be for several years. (more…)

Restriping Streets Into Safer Bike Lanes

People have asked me about the re-striping being done on a number of Fremont’s roads. I was biking last weekend and greatly appreciated these changes. It makes a biker feel much safer.

Below is a photo from the Civic Center just south of Walnut. Note that the three foot buffer is built into the striping itself. The travel lane is still wide enough for a standard vehicle, even a wide one such as a bus.

One issue with this location, and that I noticed on Friday at Capitol Avenue, is that bike lanes do not go well with diagonal parking. Cars backing out of their spaces can’t always see an approaching bicycle. Cyclists need to be very cautious while driving next to diagonally parked cars.