As the Los Altos School District trustees are expected to finalize purchase of the 10-acre Federal Realty property in The Village at San Antonio Center for a new campus, and to decide on which school will be housed there, we want to correct the record on some misinformation that is being spread as the topic is being debated.
Whichever school is placed on the new site, we look forward to it serving the Mountain View neighborhood students in the Los Altos School District along with other students. As the city of Mountain View is contributing significant resources to the site, with up to $23 million in park fees and the allowance of close to $100 million in the sale of development rights, which has never been down before, we are committed to helping the school be successful.
Those who are concerned with cannabis stores should rest assured that the Mountain View City Council recently removed The Village at San Antonio Center as a permitted location. There will also be a 600-foot buffer from sensitive uses, including schools, and that buffer may be increased to 1,000 feet.
Others concerned about bike and pedestrian safety, particularly when crossing El Camino Real, should know that thousands of students from Mountain View have made the crossing safely over the years, as they’ve had to commute to schools located in Los Altos. The city recently implemented a “road diet” at Graham Middle School, which is also near El Camino Real, to make the area safer for cyclists and pedestrians. The city is focused on making the San Antonio neighborhood similarly more pedestrian and bike friendly and supporting Safe Routes to Schools as new development occurs. For example, completed improvements include: Bike lanes at San Antonio Road, between California Avenue and El Camino; a lighted pedestrian crossing at Miller Avenue and San Antonio; and green and buffered bike lanes on the south side of California between San Antonio and Pacchetti Way. With the old Safeway site redevelopment, plans include a new signal across California Avenue between San Antonio and Pacchetti; improvements to bike lanes on the north side of California between San Antonio and Pacchetti; and a raised crosswalk across Pacchetti north of California. Phase II of the Village at San Antonio Center development calls for a pedestrian paseo, and the city also is studying bike lanes on El Camino.
Some have turned to crime statistics. While there has been a higher than average number of calls for service, mostly associated with retail theft and car break-ins at the shopping center, the area is still safe overall. Numerous families live in the immediate vicinity, and the amount of violent crime is relatively low. In comparison, calls for service in the San Antonio area have been less than half the number of calls in the Mountain View downtown area and the adjacent residential neighborhood.
To be able to acquire a 10-acre site for a school in this real estate climate is a major feat. The Mountain View City Council was the only city within the Los Altos School District boundaries to answer the school district’s call for assistance in the acquisition of a new school site. We, and our colleagues, recognize that new housing development in the San Antonio area is contributing to an increase in the Los Altos School District student population, and this area will be the concentration of future student population growth. It therefore makes sense to have a school in this area that will serve the neighborhood students and also provide much-needed amenities to residents in the vicinity.
Margaret Abe-Koga is a member of the Mountain View City Council and Lisa Matichak is mayor.