In summer and fall 2011, the Planning Commission and City Council provided detailed recommendations and direction to improve and refine the Draft Specific Plan. The consolidated City Council direction is available for review in a summary list and an annotated matrix, the latter of which includes preliminary notes from city staff.
In preparation for the revisions to the Final Specific Plan, the consultant team and staff conducted more analysis on a number of topics. The memorandums on this page summarize these analyses and point towards aspects of the Final Specific Plan. However, the memos are broader discussions and include some recommendations that aren't necessarily mirrored exactly in the Final Specific Plan. Regardless, the memos may be of interest to community members, and reviewing them now may help focus review of the Final Specific Plan (to be released Thursday, April 19).
Preferred sidewalk widths can be achieved through increasing building setbacks, although this would be incremental.
Six-lane cross-section would improve intersection operations slightly, but would create a worse retail and pedestrian environment.
The existing curb-to-curb width on downtown section of ECR can accommodate 6 auto travel lanes, or 4 auto travel lanes with on-street parking and bicycle lanes, with some minor curb and median adjustments.
The four-lane alternative with on-street parking, and bicycle lanes is the preferred alternative, subject to consideration in relation to the overall ECR bicycle route/lane analysis and future detailed design, in order to establish its physical feasibility.
Tasks B & C: Station Area & ECR SE Facade Height, Building Height & Bulk Control Revisions
Task E: Building Height Revisions (ECR NE and ECR NE-R)
A parking structure can be accommodated on Parking Plaza 2 providing from 250 parking spaces to 310 parking spaces, depending on whether a pocket park is developed.
A parking structure would displace 95 existing parking spaces on the existing lot.
The overall layout of the garage does not achieve the highest efficiency given that the site creates parking on only 1 side of the ramp. This will create higher cost per space for the garage compared to garages that provide parking on both sides of the ramp.
Task G: Public Benefit Financial Feasibility Analysis
Development costs generally go up as density increases.
Mixed-use office projects at the proposed base and bonus FARs appear not to be feasible.
Mixed-use residential development with the proposed Draft Specific Plan base FARs is feasible given current land values.
Residential development with the proposed Draft Specific Plan bonus FARs appear to be more feasible than the base FAR scenarios, given current market values.
The financial performance of office development does not improve with projected growth in rents, largely due to the difficulty of building larger-scale office buildings on smaller infill sites.
The proposed bonus density residential development generates a higher residual land value than base density, which suggests that there is potential for the city to pursue strategies to negotiate public benefits.
The purpose of the analysis is to generally test how allowed intensities are likely to affect the feasibility of new development. Because market conditions and development costs fluctuate over time, and because development opportunities vary from property to property, the results of this analysis are not necessarily directly applicable to a specific project.
Concentration of corridor retail and restaurants in nodes will allow for better competitive positioning while other corridor locations are freed for better-positioned uses.
Ground floor retail must be designed well in order to be successful.
Recommend requiring retail/restaurant uses at the east side of El Camino Real at Middle Avenue.
The Specific Plan supports a long-term economic shift away from the historic pattern of auto-oriented convenience retail along El Camino Real to a mixed-use neighborhood with pedestrian-friendly supportive retail.
A pedestrian scramble phase would cause vehicle operations to degrade to an unacceptable level with projected traffic volumes and the existing four-lane cross section.
Measures that were considered and rejected include a pedestrian overcrossing/bridge, trenching (or tunneling) through lanes on El Camino Real, and a pedestrian scramble phase at the intersection of Santa Cruz Avenue and El Camino Real.
Other signal timing and phasing changes were tested but none resulted in improved pedestrian east-west connectivity and acceptable intersection vehicular operations.
A separated bikeway for the segment of El Camino Real from Roble Avenue to Cambridge Avenue was analyzed and is not recommended. Instead, bicycle lanes on El Camino Real along this segment and connecting to the planned Middle Avenue grade-separated crossing are recommended.
Recommend establishing a new "Future Class II/Minimum Class III" category to address locations where bicycle lanes are desirable but where existing constraints, such as on-street parking and insufficient right-of-way may currently prevent the striping of bicycle lanes.