Apple Spaceship - One Thing Silicon Valley Can’t Seem to Fix

Discussion in 'Apple, Inc and Tech Industry' started by HDFan, Jul 9, 2017.

  1. HDFan macrumors 6502

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    #1
  2. ApfelKuchen macrumors 68020

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    #2
    In fairness, Apple originally proposed far fewer parking spaces, but was overruled. The article recognizes the role that Cupertino's zoning laws played in this:

    Yes, perhaps Apple could have pushed harder. Considering the cost of those parking structures (I believe the original plan called for all parking to be under the ring), they had financial incentive to do so. I can only speculate that the time they might have spent fighting the good fight could have delayed the project for several years. Another possibility is that the city planners were being pragmatic; "Most of your workers are or will be living in neighborhoods where mass transit is impractical. Like it or not, you'll need more parking."

    If you look at mass transit maps of the Lower Bay area, it seems very hard to locate more than 5% of the jobs near conventional mass transit - the housing density can't support many rail lines. This means fewer true mass transit choices, with lots of feeder service by bus, a bit of light rail, and someday, maybe lots of small, driverless electric jitneys. Back when I had family in San Jose (not all that far from Apple Park) I tried to walk to the local Taca, Taca, Taco Bell and supermarket... hike would be the better term. Not a lot of fun in August.

    The best "sell" for mass transit is when it's truly more convenient and far less expensive than driving. In places like Silicon Valley, that's rarely the case. I've always thought you have to be crazy to drive to work in high-density cities like New York and San Francisco (I commuted into Manhattan for decades). Parking alone can cost hundreds per month. There's the time and stress of rush hour traffic (the bus may not move any faster, but at least you can relax and read), tolls (much worse in NY than San Fran), the cost of owning an extra vehicle... Yet tens of thousands of Manhattan-bound commuters drive anyway. Maybe it's that American "freedom" thing, or perhaps they don't like having to transfer from train or bus to bus or subway... It's second nature to me, but to a whole lot of suburbanites, it's a totally foreign concept. If mass transit can be a hard sell in areas where it's a relative no-brainer, how tough must it be somewhere like Silicon Valley?

    Yes, Apple could have built the equivalent of Rockefeller Center somewhere in downtown San Francisco - something far more space and transit efficient (read: tall, with lots of elevators). It would have been difficult, if not impossible, to create the kind of relaxing, contemplative atmosphere (or accommodate the acres of solar cells and passive ventilation system) possible in the Apple Park design, but you can't have everything, right? It might have even over-stressed local transit lines and contributed to additional traffic congestion on the 101 and Junipero Serra, pushed apartment rental rates even higher (the locals aren't all that happy with what's already happened to Downtown). 11,000 workers has an impact on the neighborhood, regardless of where that neighborhood may be.

    As a fan of mass transit (both during the decades when I was commuting to Manhattan and whenever I travel for work and pleasure), I was pleased to see that Apple Park does have a centrally located shuttle/bus station, closer to the Spaceship than the parking structures, with service to nearby mass transit facilities, but it's dwarfed by the parking structures - it looks like perhaps a dozen buses or shuttles can load at a time. Apple will continue to run private bus service to San Francisco, for those workers who prefer life in mass transit-friendly cities to auto-centric suburbs. However, we can't ignore the fact that The Valley epitomizes post-WWII urban sprawl, that Ozzie and Harriet/Leave it to Beaver/Miracle on 34th St. dream of a one-family home surrounded by a verdant lawn, a shrubbery, and one mature tree in the yard for a swing or treehouse. The nation is blanketed with this kind of "development," a by-product of having more wide open space than anyone believed we could desecrate.

    It doesn't mean that people like the author of the NY Times article should stop fighting the good fight; we'd have even worse mass transit than we have. But in the end, all the employers in Silicon Valley wouldn't be able to force the kind of change necessary - people have to aspire to a completely different style of living - higher-density residential neighborhoods where walking is more convenient than driving, shared open space rather than private mini-estates where the reward for success is distance from the madding crowd. Good luck with that!
     
  3. Zirel Suspended

    Zirel

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  4. C DM macrumors Westmere

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    Something like that is not really an issue of a company not planning something or planning something poorly, as much as it is an issue related to the overall area, which is well beyond/outside any one company or anything like that.
     
  5. AidenShaw macrumors P6

    AidenShaw

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    However, Cupertino could have considered the impact on people living near the doughnut and said "no f#cking way" and blocked the project unless it were made more transit-friendly.

    Instead, we have a nightmare in progress.
     
  6. ApfelKuchen macrumors 68020

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    Really? It was an HP campus prior to Apple. It's adjacent to the Interstate, served by major boulevards, adjacent to a major medical center and existing office development... They couldn't have said "no f#cking way" without re-zoning the property - it's already zoned for its current use, the site had already been in active use for that purpose for decades prior to Apple's arrival. The neighbors know exactly what's up, and chose to be there.

    The article isn't talking about a traffic nightmare, it's addressing the overall dependence on private vehicles vs. mass transit.

    The approvals process included traffic studies. Remember, it was Cupertino that required the amount of parking, Apple already had plans in place to use substantially more mass transit and carpooling than the city required. For all we know, those parking structures may end up being half-empty.
     
  7. C DM macrumors Westmere

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    More transit-friendly as in putting in some sort of new transit options (which would generally involve way more than the city of Cupertino and probably take quite a bit longer in terms of time to get implemented, if it ever really would, compared to even the construction of this project)? Look at how long something that has been promised way longer ago and has been fairly straightforward in implementation--speaking about BART extension into San Jose--has been taking.

    All those things would certainly be nice and good, it's just that there's way more involved in them than there really should be, and even with (and because of) all that they take forever and either never really get done or get done in some fashion that doesn't really end up helping much as it doesn't even really live up to what was envisioned at some point initially.
     
  8. TechZeke, Jul 28, 2017
    Last edited: Jul 28, 2017

    TechZeke macrumors 68020

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    #7
    So Cal is a continuous single family suburb for 60+ miles heading east from downtown LA.

    Ultimately, this is an issue that plagues the relatively new cities of the west. Here in So Cal, unless you live/work DIRECTLY on the Metro and Commuter Rail lines or your work provides a shuttle to the commuter train (El Monte being a big example) then transit is going to 2-3x as long as driving, even with traffic. I used to rely 100% on transit until 23 years old when I finally got my license.

    Living in suburb called Rialto, it was horrible. 20 minute walk just to get to the nearest bus stop. I had to use the commuter train station in the next city, Fontana, instead of my own city because I'd have to take 2 buses to go 2 miles just to get to my 'home' station versus a single-seat ride to Fontana. Overall, even though the commuter train itself competed very well to Automobile, I was blowing 40 minutes to an hour each way just getting from the train station to my house and vice versa.
     
  9. BornAgainMac macrumors 603

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  10. Phonephreak macrumors regular

    Phonephreak

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    #10
    Take a deep breath. It’s only a post on the internet
    --- Post Merged, Aug 24, 2017 ---
    Maybe they don’t want to sell
     
  11. ApfelKuchen macrumors 68020

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    #11
    This kind of story is a staple of news reporting. An assignment editor can be confident that the reporter will always find people who dislike whatever the situation happens to be. Some part of the population will dislike change of any sort, but once change comes, people adapt. The 'Good Old Days' were once the bad new days.

    The Comments section left me nostalgic for the knowledgable, reasoned, sedate discourse here at MacRumors. I love the person who said (roughly), 'They should have put solar cells on the roof!'
     
  12. AidenShaw, Aug 24, 2017
    Last edited: Aug 24, 2017

    AidenShaw macrumors P6

    AidenShaw

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    #12
    If you want to move to small town Arizona, no problem.

    I you want to move someplace nearby, however, you'll probably find that proximity to the Apple campus has probably depressed the value of your home - and you'll have to increase your principal to find a place. (As well as the big issue of trying to sell your home before buying a new one.)

    Not just an opinion - look at this Zillow chart:

    birdland.jpg

    Home prices are going up faster in average for Sunnyvale and for Raynor Park (an area that includes Birdland but goes further north to El Camino Real) than for this home near the campus.

    Compare this to my home 9 km away in Mountain View:

    12.jpg
     
  13. MacGizmo macrumors 6502a

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    #13
    Then they'll have to live with some noise and construction vehicles a little while longer, and increased traffic for the foreseeable future. It's simple, really.
     
  14. AidenShaw, Sep 24, 2017
    Last edited: Sep 24, 2017

    AidenShaw macrumors P6

    AidenShaw

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    #14
    The Apple Doughnut can't be fixed, but San Jose and Google seem to agree on avoiding the mistake that Cupertino and Apple made.

    Google, San Jose agree downtown village can't be a spaceship

    So, imagine that "Google is planning a transit-oriented development" close to heavy rail, light rail, and bus hubs. Imagine that it will be open to the community, with light commercial (shops, restaurants) and open space.

    The antithesis of the "closed garden" of the Apple Doughnut that the Cupertino City Council made the mistake of approving.
     
  15. AidenShaw, Sep 24, 2017
    Last edited: Sep 24, 2017

    AidenShaw macrumors P6

    AidenShaw

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    #15
    It's simple, really. The Apple Doughnut will have a daily negative impact on them and their quality of life.

    And many of them live in the neighboring towns of Sunnyvale and Santa Clara - so they had zero input into the Cupertino City Council's mistake of approving the Apple Doughnut. (The street to the north of the Doughnut campus is the boundary between Sunnyvale and Cupertino. Just to the east of the Doughnut is the boundary with Santa Clara.)

    As the OP said - bad urban planning.
     
  16. MacGizmo macrumors 6502a

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    #16
    I don't deny that the situation sucks... but it is what it is, and they have the options of dealing with it or moving.
     

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