I am looking for a new apartment in Mountain View. High on my requirements are walking, biking and transit. I kept noticing how many places could greatly increase walking, biking and transit access by removing a fence. Big gains at a small cost. I will give three examples below.

Palmetto - MV Gardens

palmetto mv gardens
Routes that could be possible if the fence between the apartments were permeable

This was a lovely apartment with a huge balcony. Unfortunately the only entrance is on California St. California is too dangerous for me to bike with my daughter to school. It is also a very unpleasant street to walk.

palmetto mv fence
fences separate four large apartment complexes, killing walkability

If the fence between the apartments were removed there would be access to Latham. I have biked with my daughter there before and I feel it is much safer. Also it would provide access to El Camino and bus 22.

South Chiquita

chiquita to el camino
Walking to El Camino from the south terminus of Chiquita

Chiquita is one of the only streets in the area that does not continue to connect to El Camino. Presumably because of Permanente Creek. Both the townhomes on Chiquita and the nearby apartment complex on El Camino have lovely walking paths. The paths are separated only by a fence.

chiquita path fence
Existing walking paths could easily be connected

This fence should be removed. It would keep the low traffic benefit of the existing configuration while creating walkability for both to Chiquita and the apartments on El Camino.

Rengstorff - California

tennis walk
All apartment parking lots are connected, but still no access to the park behind them

The block of Californa St between Esquela and Rengstorff has 12 apartment buildings with connected parking. Four of them border Rengstorff park, but there is a wall preventing access.

tennis wall
This wall could have a gate, allowing easy access to all the park facilities

Again it would be very easy to have convenient access to a public park. It is needed, none of these apartments have much open green space.


Mountain View has precise plans that encourage small blocks and walkable development, but there are many many example like these already existing. I would like to hear ideas about policies that could encourage creating pedestrian and bike access.

When viewing the properties I let the management know I would be more likely to rent if the walls were removed, but I don’t think it will be so effective.

Wondering if other cities have managed to increase walkability without full-scale redevelopment.