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Apple Park neighbors frustrated, sad

Traffic, noise, and construction have reportedly turned residents’ lives upside down

Photo by Michael Estigoy

While Silicon Valley hamlets have been all too happy to benefit from the revenue and skyrocketing property values that come from harboring tech companies’ headquarters, denizens turn sour when things don’t always go their way.

Take, for example, residents of Sunnyvale, who have had quite enough of the noise, construction, and traffic care of the $5 billion Apple Park, Apple’s new 175-acre headquarters that residents have affectionately nicknamed the Prison Wall.

In a recent article in the San Jose Mercury News, folks living next to Apple Park in a neighborhood known as Birdland complained about a number of issues ranging from an “incessant mechanical hum” to views of the Santa Cruz Mountains being obscured to parking woes.

According to the Mercury News:

Residents complain of drivers cutting through the neighborhood to avoid heavy traffic; constant construction noise, sometimes lasting past midnight; a halo of light above Apple Park at night; dirt and dust pollution, which occasionally cakes their cars; and sharp objects on [Homestead Road] and nearby streets puncturing car tires.

Apple says it has been quick to respond to complaints, even providing coupons for car washes.

Apple Park officials claim that they do not allow any active construction during off hours.

Three-bed, two-bath house in Birdland neighborhood, asking $1,748,000.
Three-bed, two-bath house in Birdland neighborhood, asking $1,748,000.
Photo via Redfin

For their part, the mammoth tech outfit plans to give roughly $500,000 to Sunnyvale to “monitor potential traffic impacts from neighborhood cut-through traffic and parking intrusions.” That money will come from the $1.3 million Apple will pay to the Valley Transportation Authority and Caltrans to help curb freeway traffic.

Meanwhile, Apple has built an estimated 11,000 parking spaces at the behest of Cupertino. San Francisco-based civic planning organization SPUR argued that Apple should have fought the city on their arcane parking requirements, which may make traffic worse.

Not mentioned in the story is the fact that more than 12,000 employees are anticipated to fill the 2.8-million-square-foot ring, but very few will be able to call Cupertino or Sunnyvale home due to a dearth of new housing stock.

Apple Park’s signature curved windows.
Apple Park’s signature curved windows.
Photo courtesy of Apple

This lack of supply is also a primary reason that housing values in the area have doubled since 2011. But some residents aren’t sure the arrival of Apple Park is worth the millions to be gained from eventually selling their quaint homes.

“Many say we should just be happy that Apple is raising our property values,” Birdland resident Debby MacDonald tells Mercury News. “This doesn’t do me much good unless I plan to sell. And I am not sure what we have had to put up with and will continue to put up with is worth the money.”

The most expensive home currently for sale in Cupertino is this 624-square-foot home asking $5,500,000. And in Sunnyvale, this unassuming circa-1979 triplex seeks a cool $2,575,000.