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Apple Campus 2 sparks some traffic, growth fears in Cupertino

post #1 of 23
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Apple's new campus expansion in its hometown of Cupertino California sparked concerns from some residents about traffic and growth at an environmental impact meeting held last night, but no worries seem likely to hold up the project's ambitious timeline.

Apple's project is the largest ever proposed in Cupertino. Around 100 people attended yesterday's planning meeting in person, while others commented while viewing the event online, according to a report by the San Jose Mercury News.

Most of the concerns voiced by attendees related to traffic, fearing that the massive new development would slow Interstate 280 and roads in the surrounding neighborhoods. Some suggested a new, dedicated freeway offramp for the campus, despite the fact that it already sits directly adjacent to the Wolfe Road exit, which has long served HP's existing Pruneridge Campus on the same land.

Cupertino resident Tom Dyer said "traffic is at the top of our list. 280 is a tragedy now, this isn't going to get any better. We're also concerned about public access to what will be Cupertino's Taj Mahal, with people from all over the world coming to visit it."

Apple Campus 2 will be one freeway exit away from Apple's existing headquarters, located off De Anza Boulevard. Despite occasional traffic snarls, 280 is one of the Bay Area's least utilized freeways, existing as a wide and modern alternative to the more frequently gridlocked highway 101 corridor that runs parallel with it north from San Jose to San Francisco.

Apple has a gift shop but no full retail store at its current headquarters, offering limited options for tourists hoping to see anything there. There does not appear to be much focus given toward accommodating tourism at the new Apple Campus 2 either.

Steve Jobs shot down the idea of building a local Apple retail store by the Cupertino board at his original appearance debuting the planned project, noting that the company builds stores only where it expects sustainable traffic. Apple already operates a variety of nearby retail locations.



Growth fears voiced

A variety of those commenting expressed misplaced fears that the new campus would result in a sudden boom of 13,000 new residents. Homer Tong, a member of the local high school's board, fearing "our schools may have to go to two stories, because we have limited room. Maybe we need some [financial] help from Apple."

In reality, Apple already has more than 12,000 employees in Cupertino who can't fit into its existing headquarters, and are therefore working from nearby temporary locations leased by Apple. The new campus simply puts these workers in closer proximity to Apple's main campus.

Resident Parth Dhebar commented, "I was at the meeting last night and majority of the concerns people shared just didn't make sense."

Massive capacity

Apple has detailed plans to build a massive parking garage along the 280 freeway, although it's not clear if much of the structure would even be visible from the highway. San Francisco Chronicle architecture columnist John King described the structure in noting that "the parking garage would signal Apple's presence to I-280 commuters with a freeway-friendly sweep."

The new garage would be four stories and 1,440 feet (about 440 meters) in length, with spaces for 4,300 cars. That's 1,715 spaces larger than San Francisco's largest parking structure, the Fifth and Mission garage adjacent to Moscone West, where Apple holds its Worldwide Developer Conference each summer.

Less emphasis has been given to the fact that Apple's new campus will incorporate a new transit hub directly adjacent to its main building, and that it already sits on main VTA bus lines that connect the site to San Jose.

King noted that the main building itself, with 2.8 million square feet of space, is larger than San Francisco's largest tower, 555 California.

That 52 story tower was built in 1969, originally as the headquarters of Bank of America, and helped to spark an anti-growth backlash that resulted in scaling back the city's iconic Transamerica Pyramid from 1,000 feet to a mere 850, making it taller than 555 California but not nearly as large inside, with just 530,000 square feet.

However, while being larger than San Francisco's tallest towers, Apple's massive ring building would not even be visible from the freeway. King referred to the structure as "a sci-fi fantasy best viewed from a helicopter."

Despite the size of the new project, Apple is already said to be planning a third campus in an undisclosed location to meet its expansion needs following the completion of Apple Campus 2, which is expected to open in 2015 after beginning construction about a year from now.



Room for events, but not WWDC

The Apple Campus 2 project incorporates an auditorium capable of seating 1,000 attendees, making it large enough to host events on the scale of its typical iPod and iPad unveilings now held in San Francisco's Yerba Buena Center for the Arts theater, a venue that seats about 750.

However, the new theater would be much smaller than the Moscone West facilities Apple currently uses to host WWDC, an event that involves more than 6,000 attendees and Apple employees, and which already sells out within hours of tickets becoming available.

Jobs has noted that Apple simply can't find a larger space to accommodate its summer developer convention, although the same convention center complex is used by Oracle to host its OracleWorld attendance with more than 40,000 attendees.

Oracle's event closes down streets and redirects traffic in the South of Market neighborhood, and expands into the cavernous, original Moscone Center underground rooms that once hosted large Macworld Expos. That event once attracted crowds of up to 45,000 attendees, although the Macworld tradeshow never involved the same logistics as WWDC's tightly scheduled sessions and labs.

post #2 of 23
If Cupertino wants to complain about traffic, maybe they should reconsider their disdain for rapid transit...
post #3 of 23
That's pretty cool...I visited the original "mothership" about a year ago and the building itself is pretty boring - much like any other Silicon Valley office building. The giftshop had some unique stuff, but meh.

On the other hand, this might be its own little landmark in the South Bay!
post #4 of 23
Apple, open an Office in sunny Sarasota Florida, why put all your eggs in one basket?
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post #5 of 23
"worried about growth..."

Now there's a phrase you don't hear in many cities these days.
post #6 of 23
What a bunch of whiners. Did it ever occur to them that most of the people that would occupy the new headquarters are ALREADY working in that area?? What difference in traffic would there be if they are working at the new HQ, or at the current HQ at Infinite Loop or the other buildings being leased by Apple in the same area due to not having enough space in one building?

If anything, it may become less congested since the new HQ is very close to the freeway and would eliminate traffic going through more of the downtown areas since their current employees would not have to drive through it to get to the other office building.

Sheesh, I can understand certain reasons to complain about certain developments, but this one is a serious win-win for both locals and businesses. You want hum-drum, move to hick-town, Utah and be done with it!

There are countless of other districts that would LOVE to have Apple build there. The jobs, the taxes, the bragging rights? Come on!
post #7 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by Naboozle View Post

"worried about growth..."

Now there's a phrase you don't hear in many cities these days.

Exactly. In this economy, these politicians are idiots. Apple is willing to spend billions on this new site and the stupid local government is holding this up once again.

Hey Apple, come over to Chicago.
post #8 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by sflocal View Post

What a bunch of whiners. Did it ever occur to them that most of the people that would occupy the new headquarters are ALREADY working in that area??

They are being lead to a response due to the way the reporter phrases the questions.

Standard manipulative "reporting" practice.
post #9 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by noexpectations View Post

Exactly. In this economy, these politicians are idiots. Apple is willing to spend billions on this new site and the stupid local government is holding this up once again.

Hey Apple, come over to Chicago.

Nothing is being held up. This will be approved as quickly as possible. There is no major resistance to the project. These types of 'concerns' have been voiced with every construction project ever made.
post #10 of 23
Typical NIMBYism at work.

As a side note, Cupertino has a legendary Kaiser Permanente cement plant in the hills nearby. This plant has been there in 1939. So you could say that virtually everyone who lives in the city was preceded by the plant; they knew it was there (you can't miss it).

Now there is a movement by citizens to shut down the plant. Its environmental record is very good, considering what they do. They go to great lengths to be good neighbors. Still, that doesn't sit well with nearby citizens and their property values (1,000 square-foot homes go $1 million or more, as the school district is very coveted).

These are the same citizens who wouldn't think twice about extending their driveways on their palatial estates another 10 miles, caring less about where the aggregate comes from--as long as it comes from a place other than Cupertino.

They should suck it up. Most of the nearby complainers live right next to 280, so they wouldn't have much more traffic to contend with already.
post #11 of 23
Considering that Apple is renting space for 13,500 people now, people who will mostly end up in the new building, it seems odd to worry about traffic. Where they are now is a much worse place because as far as I can tell, parking is more of a problem. And parking is a serious problem everywhere. Apple's new campus solves this.
post #12 of 23
Quote:
A variety of those commenting expressed misplaced fears that the new campus would result in a sudden boom of 13,000 new residents. Homer Tong, a member of the local high school's board, fearing "our schools may have to go to two stories, because we have limited room. Maybe we need some [financial] help from Apple."

Gads, you have to love the government-school zombie - "Mo money, mo money, MO MONEY!"

Hey Homer, mull on this: the Cupertino school district ALREADY gets funded for any "new" residents (I know, the residents are already there, play along for now) via this thing called the "property tax". Maybe you've heard of it? And the property tax on a newly bought property in hyper-expensive Cupertino means a lot of money being deposited into the school district already.

But Homer and Cupertino actually *do* have something to legitimately worry about, and it's a problem the people in the article are 180° wrong on: this could represent LESS residents for Cupertino.

How? Simple: the employees for this campus are ALREADY in the area, meanwhile, HP is moving out. The landlords of those properties Apple leased better find new companies to lease them, at least in number to equal the HP jobs leaving Cupertino. And in California's anti-business, high tax & regulation environment, that's going to be a hard thing to do.

(Note: Mitigating factor - where are those HP employees going to? If they stay local, especially if they move into the buildings Apple will no longer lease, then it's a wash. )
post #13 of 23
The SFBA needs public transit.

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post #14 of 23
Apple should move all California operations to another state. This would alleviate any fears Cupertino residents might have regarding Apple's growth.
post #15 of 23
If Cupertino needs additional executive skills for their NIMBY brigade please be aware that many folks in Santa Fe would be pleased to export some of our leading members in that specialty [back] to California.
post #16 of 23
Anyone concerned with traffic off of 280 should have relocated two decades ago.
post #17 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by jr_b View Post

Apple should move all California operations to another state. This would alleviate any fears Cupertino residents might have regarding Apple's growth.

Yes, because the Founder of Apple would think that just makes so much sense.

Let residents complain. Worry about projects that have NO COMPLAINTS.
post #18 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by jr_b View Post

Apple should move all California operations to another state. This would alleviate any fears Cupertino residents might have regarding Apple's growth.

Apple can just fire up the engines and move the space ship to whatever state it wants too!
post #19 of 23
Maybe Apple should get its own ramps on and off 280 into the underground parking.

They also could meter the traffic when people leave the office. The traffic is murder coming out of Infinite Loop at 6 pm.

People could enter a virtual queue with their iPhones and get a unique ticket they could use to exit through an express lane. They could keep working in the office until they reach the front of the queue.

They could be a great neighbor and adjust this to live traffic conditions. Everybody has to travel more slowly when everybody tries to go at once. They could coordinate with other employers.

These problems can be solved with some ingenuity. Apple has a bit of this.
post #20 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by albeit View Post

Maybe Apple should get its own ramps on and off 280 into the underground parking.

They also could meter the traffic when people leave the office. The traffic is murder coming out of Infinite Loop at 6 pm.

People could enter a virtual queue with their iPhones and get a unique ticket they could use to exit through an express lane. They could keep working in the office until they reach the front of the queue.

They could be a great neighbor and adjust this to live traffic conditions. Everybody has to travel more slowly when everybody tries to go at once. They could coordinate with other employers.

These problems can be solved with some ingenuity. Apple has a bit of this.

A constructive first post. How refreshing.

The idea sounds like an app to me. Hive orchestrating via iPhone . . .
post #21 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by Aizmov View Post

The SFBA needs public transit.

I think there are plenty of transportation options using combinations of rail, buses, shuttles, carpooling, walking, and biking, etc., but highly paid white collar workers who own expensive automobiles generally prefer not to use them.

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post #22 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by mstone View Post

I think there are plenty of transportation options using combinations of rail, buses, shuttles, carpooling, walking, and biking, etc., but highly paid white collar workers who own expensive automobiles generally prefer not to use them.

That's true, but Apple can "encourage" their workers to do so by providing them with some benefit if they carpool, bike, etc. Maybe if you commit to carpool every day, you get a closer parking space or something. They could also do what amusement parks do: have remote parking (doesn't Apple also own the land south of 280 as well?) somewhere and have shuttles (as you mention) to the main building. While this would still result in the same total number of cars entering the general area, you wouldn't have as many cars converging on the new Apple campus all at once and ideally, the remote parking would be at a different exit.

And for those who posted that complaints about over-populated schools is silly, it's not silly, because generally, the cost of building new schools, hiring more teachers, etc., is not made up for by the increased property taxes of new people moving in. So in some respects, I think "tough", because people with kids should be able to live wherever they want and still be able to send their kids to public school, but in other respects, I understand the concern, because local/State government will never build new schools fast enough when needed. However, all this might be moot because at least at first, it doesn't seem like Apple is increasing the total number of employees in the area. And non-immigrant Americans are having the fewest children that any generation has had in the last 100 years or so. Increased population might be a concern when Apple builds the 2nd new campus.

I do actually think that Apple should consider building a campus somewhere else: perhaps on the East Coast. They probably wouldn't want to be in New York City, but Boston or Providence might be a nice place for a big Apple campus. Because, after all, what's going to happen when California falls into the ocean?
post #23 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by zoetmb View Post

And non-immigrant Americans are having the fewest children that any generation has had in the last 100 years or so.

True. Terrifying, as we are failing Darwin's most basic test. Get busy, fellow Americans!

Quote:
Originally Posted by zoetmb View Post

I do actually think that Apple should consider building a campus somewhere else: perhaps on the East Coast. They probably wouldn't want to be in New York City, but Boston or Providence might be a nice place for a big Apple campus. Because, after all, what's going to happen when California falls into the ocean?

East Coast? No. Austin? Yes. It has existing technically trained talent, combined with Texas' superior business climate.
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