The Rengstorff Grade Separation Project

As the electrification of Caltrain nears completion, bringing more frequent trains, the lowering of Rengstorff Avenue to pass under the tracks became more urgent.

The long-planned project is expected to begin work in 2026, and be completed in about two years.  The project is headed by Caltrain, but other government and transportation agencies are involved.  The City of Mountain View drafted its “shovel ready” plan in 2014.  The environmental study has been completed.  Illustrations of the project are on pages 5 through 13 here with a May 2023 update here.

Other relevant websites are the Caltrain site, and two Mountain View Voice articles, January 24, 2024, and February 14, 2014.

In March 2024, one of the companies bidding to oversee the project contacted our neighborhood, seeking input from the neighborhoods most affected.  Three neighbors, including an MLNA board member, volunteered to represent Monta Loma.  They raised these questions during an online discussion with representatives of the company:

  • Traffic: How will vehicles, bicycles, and pedestrians be impacted during deconstruction and new construction?  How will traffic be restricted from driving through Monta Loma to escape the construction?
  • Neighborhood entry and exit: How will residents get into and out of the neighborhood?  Will there be additional traffic lights?
  • Safety: How will the fire station on Rengstorff at Montecito be able to function?  The MVPD?  What about access to schools?
  • Businesses and business access: Which businesses will remain at the corner of Rengstorff and Central after the Shell gas station has left?  Can customers reach them?
  • Artesian well: Might this city well in the alley behind the shopping center, which was plugged in 2022-23, cause a problem?

 

 

Garage Sale 2024 a success

Neighbors enjoyed meeting their neighbors and finding bargains on a lovely Saturday, May 11, making our fifth annual neighborhood garage sale another huge success.

The almost-fifty households that had registered to participate had their addresses, sale hours, and items listed on a printable document, and their locations marked on a map.  When other neighbors noticed all the foot (and bicycle) traffic, they also put their no-longer-needed items out in their driveways, boosting participation.

Feedback included these comments:  “We had so much fun!!!”  “Loved the grid with location, times, and types of goods!”  “What a wonderful neighborhood.  We are a multicultural group with people from all over the world.  We met, we talked …”  “It was great to see the neighbors, find new homes for useful things, and make room in the house on a pleasant day.  I feel that I had a better turnout than when the whole city is doing it.”  “It was a great way to socialize with our neighbors and feel a deep sense of community.  I look forward to doing this every year.”

Holiday happenings report

John Bianco once again ran his dad’s model trains at the Bianco home on Adele for six evenings every week between Thanksgiving and Christmas Eve.  The children of several families came every evening to see the different train sets.

Articles about Ernie’s trains appeared in the Mountain View Voice in 20102012 (pages 1 and 9); 2016; and 2018 (pages 1 and 17).  A 2015 article in the San Francisco Chronicle features photos by James Tensuan, son of neighbor Donna Tensuan.

Karla Valente once again created a page to encourage Monta Loma neighbors to donate to Second Harvest of Silicon Valley.  Our contributions provided a nutritious mix of fresh produce, protein, and pantry items so that local families could enjoy a holiday meal together.  Each dollar helped provide food for two meals.  This year’s fundraiser raised $1,050.

Thanks to everyone who participated in these events.  You helped to make our holidays special.

Ice Cream Social

The MLNA Ice Cream Social is our biggest social event of the year.  Photos of  the ICS on Sunday, August 27, 2023, are here.  The event drew over 400 people and enabled them to:

Visit the ice cream table for a free individually wrapped ice cream treat.

Ask Gizmo Gary for a balloon creation.

Make a name tag so their neighbors could meet them, and pick up a copy of the ice-breaker game.

Visit the Newcomer Welcome Team’s table for information for new residents (and their neighbors).

Meet  Mountain View Whisman School District Superintendent Ayindé Rudolph and Chief Business Officer Rebecca Westover, and examine the exhibit about the school-fence options.

Pick up copies of City information on the Parks Strategic Plan, Safe Routes to School, and Sustainability Initiatives and Programs.

Learn about the city’s new Multicultural Engagement Program that offers information in Spanish, Chinese, and Russian.

Learn more about the city’s Recycling and Zero Waste program brought recycling information.

Examine equipment and discuss information to help us stay safe during a disaster with our neighborhood’s CERT members.

See Pipevine Swallowtail butterfly chrysalises, and learn about their and Monarch butterflies‘ host plants at Alan Whitaker’s table.

Visit Tom Purcell’s display of Monta Loma history items, and  Robert Cox’s offerings of books and stationery from the Mountain View Historical Association.

Learn about and volunteer to help at our school.  The Monta Loma PTA  offered information and membership signups, as did the Crittenden Middle School’s PTA.

Visit the Mountain View Educational Foundation (MVEF), which helps our schools, and the Living Classroom displays.

Bring their tree questions and sign up for a free tree at the Canopy table.

Learn about CHAC, the Community Health Awareness Council.

Discuss whether the 9-month Leadership Mountain View program that begins each September might be right for them.

Visit with a Fire Department crew, who brought an engine and created a rainbow with the hose, and the Police Department, which sent an officer and also a K-9 team with a “very friendly” dog.

Learn about Girl Scouts at Marilyn Nourse’s table.

Taste MLN homegrown organic apples and vote for your favorite variety at Elaine Lou’s table.

Ride in the robot-horse-drawn buggy that Wouter Suverkropp brought again this year.

Pick up free COVID test kits brought by the Community Action Team (CAT).

Taste cotton-candy from Gloria Jackson’s  machine.

As in past years, plants remaining at the plant-exchange table during the latter part of the afternoon were given away with no exchange required.

The city manager, members of the City Council, and the members of the boards of trustees of the Mountain View Whisman School District and the Mountain View Los Altos High School District were invited.  Five city council members attended, as well as the city manager and the assistant city manager.

Photos of past years’ ice cream socials and other neighborhood events are here.

Garage Sale 2023 a success

Neighbors and strangers enjoyed finding bargains on a cool and showery Saturday, making our fourth annual neighborhood garage sale another huge success.

Perhaps because our neighborhood had the most dots on the city’s citywide garage-sale map, shopper traffic was heavy.

A total of 46 Monta Loma households had registered to participate. Some registered on the Monta Loma list and map, others on the citywide site, and some on both lists.  Other neighbors posted their addresses and offerings on the neighborhood email list on the day of the sale, bringing the total participants well above 50.

Many neighbors contributed items to Joan’s sale that benefited the Community Health Awareness Council (CHAC).  Others donated the profits of their sales, making the total raised for CHAC the highest ever.

Holiday Happenings Report

John Bianco ran his dad’s model trains at the Bianco home on Adele for six evenings every week between Thanksgiving and Christmas Eve.  Articles about Ernie’s trains appeared in the Mountain View Voice in 20102012 (pages 1 and 9); 2016; and 2018 (pages 1 and 17).  A 2015 article in the San Francisco Chronicle features photos by James Tensuan, son of neighbor Donna Tensuan.

Karla Valente once again created a page to encourage Monta Loma neighbors to donate to Second Harvest of Silicon ValleyOur contributions provided a nutritious mix of fresh produce, protein, and pantry items so that local families could enjoy a holiday meal together.  Each dollar helped provide food for two meals.  This year’s fundraiser raised $2,466.

Thanks to everyone who participated in these events.  You helped to make our holidays special.

2022 Ice Cream Social — better than ever

Our annual Ice Cream Social was held at Monta Loma Park on Sunday, August 28, and was a huge success.  Photos are here.

With the exhibits and the crowd spread out along the trees on the south side of the park all the way to Thompson Avenue, we didn’t realize until later how many came to meet their neighbors, visit the exhibits, and enjoy a selection of packaged ice cream treats.  The welcome-table volunteers signed in over 300 attendees, but many more did not sign in, so we estimate that attendance was at least 350.

Neighborhood participants included our CERT members (safety information), Gary  Heyman (balloons), Bill Lambert (Friends of Mountain View Parks), Tom Purcell (Monta Loma history), Alan Whitaker (Monarch and Pipevine Swallowtail butterfly info plus the plants they require), Joan MacDonald (CHAC), and Jill Rakestraw, Ann McMillan, and Grant Grundler (plant exchange).

Wouter Suverkropp gave rides to kids in a buggy drawn by robot horses, Gloria Jackson and John Ari Stepp offered cotton candy, and neighborhood band On the Edge provided music.  Marty Pulvers staffed the tee-shirt and logo-items sales table, Jim Cochran took photos, and Bill Cranston provided the A-frame signs that reminded us to attend.

Other participants were representatives of the Monta Loma Elementary School PTA, Mountain View Educational Foundation, Living Classroom, Canopy, Recology Zero Waste, the city’s Recreation Division, and Mountain View Historical Association. A crew from the Fire Department brought an engine.

Invited attendees who came included Mayor Lucas Ramirez and City Council members Alison Hicks, Ellen Kamei, Lisa Matichak, and Pat Showalter, plus MVWSD Board of Trustees members Laura Ramirez Berman and Ellen Wheeler.  They all appreciated the opportunity to meet Monta Loma residents, and their appreciation was echoed by the neighbors.

Thanks to everyone who helped make this year’s event a success.

Annual Meeting & Board Election Report

Approximately 40 neighbors attended the meeting on June 15, many coming early to meet new neighbors and greet long-time ones before the meeting.

Outgoing President Tricia DelGaudio began the meeting with a review of MLNA activities (Email listnewsletterCERTNeighborhood Watchblock parties, garage sale, and the Ice Cream Social).  She thanked the volunteers who make these possible, plus retiring newsletter editor Heather Schoell and retiring Traffic/Parking Liaison John Canata.

Tricia then introduced the board candidates.  Because the election was uncontested, the slate was ratified by voice vote.  The 2022-2023 board members are listed here.

Guest speaker Vice Mayor Alison Hicks gave an illustrated presentation about how residents can engage with the City as it updates its plans relating to parks and open space, urban forestry, walk- and bike-ability, and biodiversity.

May 7 garage sale another success

Everyone enjoyed sharing smiles and finding bargains on a warm sunny Saturday, making our third annual neighborhood garage sale another huge success.  More than 30 households participated, some registering on the Monta Loma list and map, others on the citywide site, and still others on both lists.

A multi-family sale raised over $740 for a local scout troop, and a set-your-own-price sale to benefit CHAC (Community Health Awareness Council) raised $727.

Perhaps because our neighborhood had the most dots on the city’s citywide garage-sale map, a TV film crew visited Monta Loma. You can see the footage here.