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Thread: High-density, mixed-use developments

  1. #1
    Cyburbian
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    High-density, mixed-use developments

    Folks-

    The municipality in which I live has begun approving high-density, mixed-use developments (as have most of the surrounding municipalities). All of these follow a similar pattern--retail commercial on the ground floors, residential (condos) above. I understand the rationale behind this--I even agree with the goals. However, it seems to me that there is a fundamental flaw here.

    The people who work in the retail shops will not be able to afford to live in the developments. The people who can afford to live in the developments all work in the high-tech campuses that are out in the "industrial" areas. This means that everybody still has to get up each morning and go somewhere else, and then return each evening! These developments seem to do nothing to reduce traffic.

    It seems to me that, if mixed-use development is to have any impact, the mix must of place of residence and place of work. People go shopping much less often than they go to work.

    So, what do you folks think? Am I missing something obvious? Any response is most welcome.

    --don

  2. #2
    Cyburbian Cardinal's avatar
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    I can't see that you are missing anything too substantive in your analysis. The thoery does not fit the reality.
    Anyone want to adopt a dog?

  3. #3
    Commuting to work makes up only about 25% of all trips. Many more are for shopping, dining, entertainment, etc. Also, about 50% of all trips are 1 mile or less. So a mixed use development, where people substitute a lot of their car trips for walking trips makes sense. Plus you have to start someplace. We can keep on building as we used to - big seperate developments that make everyone have to drive every time they leave the house, or we can build mix use places. Sure many people prefer the former, but many prefer the later as well. In a capitalist economy, we should be providing choice. Its not as if 51% of the population prefers Pepsi, we can't have a company selling Coca Cola.

  4. #4
    Cyburbian CJC's avatar
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    Are not many of the mixed use developments located on transit lines? Also, are not many of the job locations located on transit lines? I assume by your comments you're probably referring to developments in the South Bay, where transit is generally worse, but as the other posters said - you gotta start somewhere.

    I'm from the area, so any examples that you are referring to I would probably know.

  5. #5
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    I agree. What if there was a way to include shopowners in the apartments earmarked for affordable housing (required for many new developments)?

  6. #6
    Even in the South Bay (I am familiar with the area because I grew up there), one could cut down on the number of auto trips depending on where one lives. For example there are walkable neighborhoods in Campbell, Willow Glen, etc. These areas are also accessible to the light rail system.

    Again, the pont is to begin to lesson the need for cars. To get people to give them up altogether is going to take a lot more effort.

  7. #7
    Cyburbian
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    Thanks for all of the responses!
    [quote ="Gotta Speakup"]Commuting to work makes up only about 25% of all trips.[/quote]Do you know the breakdown of the other types of trips--how does that distribution change if one counts miles, rather than trips?
    you have to start someplace
    I appreciate that--I'm just wondering if this is the best place to start.
    Quote Originally posted by CJC
    any examples that you are referring to I would probably know.
    I didn't want to make this discussion about the worth of specific projects, but two examples of what I am thinking about are Santana Row, and a 490-unit project called "Santa Clara Square," which is still in the early planning stages.
    Although these two developments are on transit lines, they are not on the same transit lines as the high-tech campuses in which these people tend to work. A 20-minute car trip turns into a 2-hour-and-3-bus transit trip.

    The Rivermark development seems more-appropriately located--its at least out in the "industrial" area.

    --don

  8. #8
    Cyburbian CJC's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by darnoldy View post
    I didn't want to make this discussion about the worth of specific projects, but two examples of what I am thinking about are Santana Row, and a 490-unit project called "Santa Clara Square," which is still in the early planning stages.
    Although these two developments are on transit lines, they are not on the same transit lines as the high-tech campuses in which these people tend to work. A 20-minute car trip turns into a 2-hour-and-3-bus transit trip.

    The Rivermark development seems more-appropriately located--its at least out in the "industrial" area.

    --don
    I really can't see how adding more density to El Camino Real and Stevens Creek Boulevard can be considered bad things...both are already relatively dense - and there is close proximity to services just about anywhere along those streets, and especially in the areas where those two developments exist.

    Let's compare the Rivermark to Santana Row - you may get a shorter trip to work at the Rivermark, but Santana Row is a two minute walk to one of the largest malls on the West Coast, a Safeway, a Longs Drugs, a Borders bookstore, a two multi screen theaters, 50 restaurants, several banks, a 24 hour every 12 minute bus line, and just about every other neighborhood service that a person would need. If you live there, it's quite possible that the only time a car would be needed would be for commuting to work. Price points there are high, sure - but they're also high just about everywhere in Santa Clara County. It makes sense that a place with as many close by amenities would be pricey.

    Taking a look at Santa Clara Square - yes, it may not be right next to Silicon Valley job sites, but again it's right smack dab in the middle of all sorts of shops, restaurants, a 24 hour every 5 minute bus line, etc. Also - it shouldn't be ignored that it's right next to Lawrence Expressway, a direct shot by car or (potentially in the future) bus to industrial sites.

  9. #9
    As I am on vacation visiting my mother which included a trip to Santana Row...

    One could not move one's car for weeks except for work trips if one lived there. Eventually the entire El Camino at least from San Jose to Palo Alto, if not to San Francisco should be the same way - or else get ready to pave over the Central Valley.

    The transportation statistics come from the National Household Transportation Survey (or whatever its official title is now). I think I may have misquoted it. I think the 25% number refers to the total miles driven, not the percent of total trips.

    It is all available on the web.

  10. #10
    Cyburbian
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    Quote Originally posted by Gotta Speakup View post
    Eventually the entire El Camino at least from San Jose to Palo Alto, if not to San Francisco should be the same way
    That's what the "Grand Boulevards Initiative" envisions--Daly City to San Jose, 1/4 mile on either side of El Camino.

    --don

  11. #11
    Cyburbian CJC's avatar
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    One other note on the two developments you mentioned - they are both on heavily used transit lines that happen to connect to areas where many of the retail employees would likely live - further helping to reduce auto trips.

  12. #12
    Cyburbian TexanOkie's avatar
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    Perhaps with a bit (well, a lot, actually...) of irony: the planners who both push for and design these sorts of developments most often also can't afford to live there.

  13. #13
    Cyburbian Seabishop's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by TexanOkie View post
    Perhaps with a bit (well, a lot, actually...) of irony: the planners who both push for and design these sorts of developments most often also can't afford to live there.
    That's true, but planners usually can't afford McMansions on 2-acre lots either. I think as these types of developments become more common the prices will become more reasonable - they seem to happen in the priciest areas and trickle down.

  14. #14
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    Our City is in the infant stages of "true" mixed use development. I can understand the original question and concern as we have yet to be presented with an actual mixed use development and typically traffic impacts and parking are always very controversial. It seems no matter what mitigation strategy or concept is suggested or recommended someone always finds fault. We are not laid out in a grid and have a very limited City transit and are a tourist town so parking demands vary depending on the time of year as does traffic. In one area I believe we will have the same scenario as described by darnoldy as the area is within the tourism core. I think the trade off that you might be overlooking is that some of those that can afford to purchase the units described are probably retired and if not, the trips for necessity items as well as dining, etc., should offset or reduce the amount of overall trips.

    How do most of you handle parking for Condo and/or timeshare units within a mixed use project? Is the development required to reserve parking for each unit which can only be utilized by said unit? Also, how do you handle employee and guest parking (if any) for the privatively owned units? Most importantly, are there any suggestions based on your experience regarding parking standards for the residential component,


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