In "City eyes luxury hotel off highway" reporter Oremus says that "higher and better uses of these parcels" would entail "a new full-service hotel, offices, shops and restaurants just east of Highway 101 and south of Ralston Avenue."
Caltrans 2007 report on low VMT (vehicle miles traveled) development says:
"In the past decade, frustration with increasing congestion, air pollution, and suburban sprawl has led to a resurgence of interest in land development patterns, often labeled as “smart-growth,” including: mixed land-uses, urban and suburban infill, pedestrian and bicycle-oriented design, and transit-oriented developments.
For example, clustering of services such as dry cleaning, day care, restaurants, and stores near major employment sites can provide the opportunity for workers to take care of personal errands on foot from work and possibly avoid unnecessary motor vehicle trips."
Belmont should consider a movie theater, a mix of services and housing, including studios, and SWKs (studios without kitchens) that would benefit Oracle engineers, use a means of capturing the land value in the businesses, so that the housing can be built free of the land cost, use unbundled parking, and develop a walking link to the west side of 101 on O'Neil with a prefabbed metal bridge that would arrive in the shopping area at Shoreway Place.
This is an ideal location to develop alternate parking strategies. Since its close to work at Oracle and Twin Dolphins, people can walk to work. Charge for parking. There is sufficient employment to justify services for live work arrangements. The city should use its Floor Area Transfer Policy to enable walkable and distinct neighborhoods with a 1/1.5 transfer ratio so that open space, parks, wildlife corridors, and trails can be enabled.
If Ralston from 101 to 6th was a single lane in each direction, bike lanes, and wide sidewalks with outdoor mall type shops, restaurants and seating, with housing above, this whole area could be transformed into a gateway to the Belmont Open Space with things for visitors to do and a viable link across the toxic barrier of 101 to the Bay Trail.
Why should Belmont do this? Because Jerry Brown has aggressively defended AB32. And Caltrans is now requiring MPOs to reduce VMT. Meeting the blueprint can get funding. And various guidelines are coming down on how to include green house gases in the RTP process. CEQA updated with AB32 will make it impossible for cities and Caltrans to slip though on a negative declaration such that "When approving developments, local officials have sidestepped laws meant to limit the effects on traffic." So why not set an example for what we'd like to see at Bay Meadows and RWC Downtown Specific Plan?