Transit Oriented Development
at Mountain View's San Antonio Caltrain Station

This Transit Oriented Development should furnish a lot of helpful insights for the task ahead in Sonoma and Marin Counties. It demonstrates a gradual transformation of an area that was decidedly unfriendly to transit a decade ago, when the actual construction of the 18 acre development "The Crossings", designed by Calthorpe and Associates, got underway.from City of Mountain View website

The Crossings is Area D of Mountain View's San Antonio Station Precise Plan of 1991. Area D is a little less than half the area covered by the plan.

The 1991 plan was the second revision of its San Antonio-California Area Precise Plan of 1972. Area D would include a new train platform and station for CalTrain.

The first revision, the Old Mill Area Precise Plan of 1985, was designed primarily for development of a retail/office/hotel complex. But by 1991, it had been recognized that there was a growing jobs/housing imbalance that warranted a different approach. With considerable retail in the area already, it seemed that an emphasis on higher density housing integrated with the transit network was more appropriate.

See Mountain View Advance Planning for further details.

The Crossings

In the 1970s and 1980s the San Antonio area was a large auto-oriented shopping area, with three shopping malls as well as movie theatres and a health club. It was built out. During the 1990s, Calthorpe and Associates created a New Urbanist neighborhood integrated with a train station. Overall, The Crossings is a medium density development (21 units per acre) that facilitates many of the residents' needs to be accommodated on foot.

"New urbanist" features incorporated into the project included

  • Houses with porches that face the street
  • Garages facing the rear of the lot
  • Narrow tree-lined streets
  • A mix of housing types.

The final result is 102 small-lot single-family houses, 30 rowhouses facing the train station, 99 rowhouses (smaller and more compact) fronting on the entry road leading to the station platform and 128 condominium units. These individual building types range from 11 units per acre to 70 units per acre, but they are integrated into a single walkable neighborhood with several small parks and playgrounds. The first houses were completed in 1994 and the condominiums, with parking underneath for Caltrain, were finished in early 2000. The Caltrain station opened in 1999.

The project is now a classic urban village — large enough to define its own character, but with design features that connect to and integrate with surrounding areas. Residents enjoy living there. Demand for housing units has been high from the beginning and the units have sold (and re-sold) quickly.

Although The Crossings is pedestrian-oriented, the larger San Antonio area has heavy auto traffic and auto oriented retail with large parking lots and one and two story buildings. The developer was required to build 200 parking spaces for the new Caltrain station.

Caltrain is nearing the end of a long and expensive effort to insert express trains into its schedule, which are expected to go into service in Spring 2004. This will make long-distance commutes easier, while sacrificing shorter distance service. There will be only four stations served between San Jose and San Francisco, and San Antonio will not be one of them.

It seems ironic, that after a decade-long effort to make the San Antonio area more transit oriented, the train service will soon be reduced at this station. Peak-hour headways, currently about 15 minutes, will soon be about twice that long. The winners will be the Mountain View (downtown) station to the south, and the Palo Alto station, two stations north. Both of those stations, which have much better transit access to the main line, will have full service from Caltrain.

Station Usage in 2001

841 Average Daily Weekday Boardings, 790 Average Daily Weekday Alightings

Station access modes:

  • Walk: 40.7%
  • Bicycle: 20.4%
  • Transit: 9.8%
  • Drive Alone: 19.5%

For further details of this and other rail stations, see Caltrans' California Transit Oriented Development Database

For a street map of the San Antonio Station Area (circle of half mile radius), click here.


Taken in summer 2000. (Click for large format.)

Train coming under San Antonio Rd underpass, pulling in to station.

Train arrives at station, Showers Dr at left. Larger rowhouses facing Showers Dr.

Crossing Showers Dr from platform to main entrance of neighborhood, Pacchetti Way.

Bus stopping at main entrance to neighborhood.

Looking from neighborhood entrance toward platform.

Rowhouses along Pacchetti Way, Storefront at left.

Rowhouses opposite platform, along Showers Dr.

Rowhouses opposite platform, along Showers Dr.

Train platform viewed from greensward adjacent to pool area.

Pool, community center and play yard.

Condo apartments near pool and play area.

Single family detached homes facing neighborhood park.

Single family detached homes on small lots.

Single family detached homes facing neighborhood park.

Neighborhood park.

Pathway along edge fence, between neighborhood and Old Mill office commercial.

Pre-existing Old Mill office commercial, adjacent to neighborhood.

Pre-existing redwoods preserved.

Alleyway vehicle access.

Redwoods preserved from prior development.