Monday, September 26, 2016

Bay Area Bike Share expansion maps reveal new service areas

Bay Area BikeShare is responsible for those light blue bikes that you see throughout Downtown San Jose and parts of San Francisco. Thanks to a new sponsor--Ford--the program is going to dramatically expand starting in Spring of 2017. Bay Area BikeShare will also be renamed "Ford GoBike."

The program will go from 700 bikes to 7,000 bikes. Oakland and a couple other East Bay cities will also be added. If you are a subscriber, you will be able to access bikes in any available location in the Bay Area.

Below is the map of the area we care most about. The existing service area for San Jose is in orange, which includes most of Downtown San Jose and one station in Japantown. Phase 1 of the expansion will bring BikeShare to The Alameda. Phase 2 will push the service out beyond Japantown to the North and beyond Highway 280 to the South. Phase 3 will extend to the Airport area, the tech campuses on North First, and Naglee/Taylor. Finally, Phase 4 will go to Midtown, East San Jose, and towards Berryessa.

All phases should be complete by the end of 2018.

Expansion will start in Spring 2017 and roll out in phases, enlarging bike share in San Francisco, San Jose - and bringing bike share to the East Bay for the first time

Program to be renamed Ford GoBike as expansion begins

SAN FRANCISCO, CA — Motivate and the Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC) released maps Thursday showing the contours of the expansion of bike share in the Bay Area. The program will grow from 700 to 7,000 bikes with the first new stations being installed in spring 2017. The expansion will take place in phases, building outward from the existing service areas in San Francisco and San Jose and outward from more dense areas of the cities in the East Bay. Motivate and the MTC also released more specific maps with the proposed station locations for Phase 2 expansion stations. (Phase 1 locations were released earlier this year.) Expansion is expected to be complete by the end of 2018.

Station locations are being selected through an extensive community engagement process. Locations for the first two phases of expansion are the product of over 120 meetings with local officials, community leaders, business owners and residents, 19 public workshops, and door-to-door outreach – with more still to come. There is also an online station-suggestion portal that has generated over 5,000 unique station location suggestions submitted by the public so far. Motivate will continue this outreach as it plans additional phases of expansion, with Phase 3 public workshops beginning next week in Oakland and Berkeley (workshop schedule).

At full build-out, the system will have stations every few blocks in San Francisco from the Bay to the Beach; it will connect Oakland, Berkeley, and Emeryville; and it will extend the San Jose service area from the downtown core. It will link people to MUNI and BART, to jobs and schools, to businesses and parks. San Francisco will have more bike share bikes per capita than any other system in North America and will have one of the highest ratios of bike share bikes per capita than anywhere else in the world.

The program’s expansion is enabled by a public-private partnership, and Motivate recently announced that Ford Motor Company has signed on as the program’s title sponsor. The program will be renamed Ford GoBike as expansion begins in the spring.

“Since the launch of Bay Area Bike Share in 2013, we’ve heard a strong desire from the community to bring bike share to the East Bay,” said Emily Stapleton, General Manager of Bay Area Bike Share. “In the first year of our expansion, we’re planning to connect the key commercial corridors in Oakland, Berkeley and Emeryville to provide residents, workers and visitors in these thriving cities with a new and accessible option to travel in and between them.”

This week, Motivate and the MTC also released the proposed locations for Phase 2 stations for additional public feedback. Phase 2 will bring over 100 new stations that will expand the San Francisco service area into new neighborhoods including the Haight-Ashbury, Hayes Valley, and Dogpatch, make new connections across Berkeley, Oakland, and Emeryville, and expand service throughout downtown San Jose. Maps will be posted on the Bay Area Bike Share website, see below for details.

The best bike share station locations are highly visible, close to bicycle facilities, co-located with other transportation connections, and/or close to local destinations like parks, commercial districts, or other major destinations that attract large numbers of Bay Area residents. Bike share systems thrive when stations are placed close to one another, typically no more than a quarter mile or a five-minute walk. Specific locations are chosen through a process that couples feedback from the station suggestion portal with extensive public consultation in neighborhoods where the expansion is expected to take place, along with a technical assessment of site suitability.

See specific proposed station locations and learn more about how to get involved:

About Bay Area Bike Share, operated by Motivate
Bay Area Bike Share is a quick, convenient and affordable way to travel around the Bay Area. The system is growing from 700 to 7,000 bikes by the end of 2018, and expanding into the East Bay. Bay Area Bike Share is operated by Motivate, a global leader in bike share. Motivate manages all of the largest bike share systems in the United States and many of the largest systems in the world, including Citi Bike (New York and Jersey City), Divvy (Chicago), CoGo Bike Share (Columbus, OH), Capital Bike Share (Washington, D.C., Arlington and Alexandria, VA, and Montgomery County, MD) Hubway (Boston, Somerville, Cambridge and Brookline, MA), Pronto (Seattle), BIKETOWN (Portland, OR), Bike Chattanooga (TN), Bike Share Toronto, and Melbourne Bike Share in Australia. Learn more about Bay Area Bike Share at

About the Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC)
MTC is the transportation planning, financing and coordinating agency for the nine-county San Francisco Bay Area. For more information, go to

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Save Empire Seven Studios

The Empire Seven gallery in Japantown has hosted hundreds of art shows over its 10 year run. Unfortunately, the building will soon be torn down to make room for luxury apartments. Officially, they will be kicked out on January 1st, 2017.

Empire Seven's proprietors are now looking to build a new gallery in the heart of Japantown. The project would create a new four-story building with the gallery on the main floor, a recording studio in the basement, and artist residences on the upper floors. The residences would help keep local artists in San Jose.

They are asking for donations through a GoFundMe campaign over here. Every little bit helps, including getting the word out to as many people as possible. Check out their 8-minute video below and learn more about the project here.

Saturday, September 24, 2016

Saturday Stats: Median size of San Jose homes increased 51% over the last 100 years

San Jose home prices have become some of the highest in the world so you would think that the median size of homes would shrink to balance things out. However, this is not the case at all. Over the last 100 years, the median SQFT for a new home in San Jose has gone from 1,232 SQFT to 1,862 SQFT. To see how this compares with other cities, check out the source line below.

Source: PropertyShark

Friday, September 23, 2016

Stike Brewing Co. "Cheers to 2 Years" anniversary party on October 8th

One of San Jose's first craft breweries is celebrating two years at their S. 10th street location! To honor the occasion, Strike Brewing is throwing a huge party with killer beer, food trucks, live music, and a silent auction.

Tickets to the event cost $20 in advance or $25 at the door. That includes a special glass that's yours to keep and 3 pints of your choosing (everything is a pint that day).

To help absorb some of the delicious beer, the Gow Chow food truck will be on site from 1-5pm, followed by Kushi Yaki at 5-9pm. It all goes down on October 8th at 2099 S. 10th St. #30, San Jose, CA 95112.

Tickets are on sale now right over here. For more info, check out Strike's Facebook page.

Thursday, September 22, 2016

LuDela unveils world’s smartest and safest real-flame candle

A San Jose company named LuDela is taking smart lighting to a whole other level. Instead of using LEDs like every other smart lighting device, the company's first product uses a real flame. You use a smartphone app called Wi-Fire to turn on the flame, turn it off, set a timer, and see how much wax is left. The app can even control multiple candles. To top it off, LuDela added safety features such as automatic extinguishing if the candle tips and phone alerts.

The LuDela smart candle is available at for $99. Shipments begin early 2017. For more info, check out their site or read the press release below.

Groundbreaking Wi-Fire Technology Allows Multiple Candles to be Lit and Controlled From a Smartphone App Without the Need for Matches

SAN JOSE, Calif. – September 20, 2016 – LuDela today introduced the world’s smartest and safest real-flame candle. Featuring unprecedented Wi-Fire technology, the LuDela smart candle is the first to feature a real flame that can be lit, extinguished and controlled via a smartphone and eliminates the need for matches or other fire starters. LuDela addresses safety and aesthetic concerns that candle burners have faced for centuries, resulting in a safer, more convenient, and hassle-free approach to burning candles that delivers increased peace of mind and enjoyment to users.

“There’s nothing quite like the glow, smell, and ambiance of candles, but with it comes the fire risk, wax mess, hassles with wicks, and the time it takes to light and extinguish multiple candles,” said Jamie Bianchini, co-founder & CEO, LuDela. “LuDela addresses these issues with a smart candle that delivers the convenience and increased safety benefits of LED candles, but with the magic and fascination of a real flame. Combined with our social mission, LuDela delivers better light and better lives around the world.”

LuDela melds the beauty of traditional candles with 21st century Wi-Fire technology. Its innovative burning design utilizes 100 percent of the natural candle wax with no buried wicks and an “Everbrite Flame” that guarantees the candle will always shine bright. The LuDela smartphone app lights, extinguishes, and controls multiple candles with the touch of a button.

LuDela Smart Candle features with Wi-Fire technology include:

  • Instant Ambiance
  • Tap to Extinguish
  • Multi-Zone Lighting
  • Timer
  • Candle Remaining Meter
  • Scene Modes
  • Long-Life Rechargeable Batteries
  • App Controls Multiple Candles

LuDela Safety Features include:

  • Proximity Extinguish
  • Extinguish on Tip Over
  • Smart Scan
  • Child-Lock App
  • Reverse Burn Design
  • Safe Wax Pool Design
  • Smartphone Safety Alerts
  • Low Battery Detection

The LuDela smart candle is available at an introductory price of $99 at with delivery expected in early 2017. Special preorder bundles and subscriptions–including LuDela’s Seasonal Scented Subscription that features curated scented refills that change with the season–are also available. Unlike standard pillar candles, LuDela burns 100 percent of the wax refills. As a result, consumers benefit from savings of up to 45 percent compared to other natural candles.

“LuDela literally pays for itself,” added Bianchini. “Within the first year, candle refill savings allow most LuDela users to recoup their $99 investment and begin saving money while continuing to enjoy safer, clean burning, beautifully smelling natural candles that light up their space–and their lives.”

For more information and to order your LuDela candle today, visit

Social Media
Twitter: @joinLuDela

About LuDela
LuDela is a smart and safe candle company with a mission to deliver better light and better lives to people around the world. With innovative Wi-Fire technology, LuDela offers the convenience and increased safety benefits of LED candles, but with the real flame ambiance and scents of real flame wax candles. LuDela is using its smarter, safer candle as a vehicle to help those suffering from poor lighting and lack of education in developing countries. To join LuDela in delivering a brighter global future, visit

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Camera 12 - (Part II)

Sorry to end on a cliffhanger, but I want to start the post today with a different tone. So what is the positive spin on Camera 12 shutting down? The opportunity to create something even better.

Over the past few years the theater did seem like it was being poorly maintained. While the ticket cost to see a movie at Camera 12 was less than most other movie theaters, it does take effort for people outside of Downtown to drive in, park, and go see a movie. To make matters even worse, the home movie experience today has become exceptional. For people to go out and see a movie, there needs to be a more compelling reason than 10 years ago--something you cannot get at home.

What Downtown really needs right now is a destination movie theater that will appeal to local residents and pull people from around Silicon Valley. It can't just be another Cinemark or AMC, it should be something that goes above and beyond. I think the Camera 12 space would be perfect for a premium movie theater with fewer seats, food, and alcohol. A great example is the Alamo Drafthouse. Even better is iPic Theaters where you get reserved leather recliners, blankets, and service in the theater.

The multi-level setup allows for even more opportunity to turn this into a premium experience that can cater to multiple audiences. The bottom floor can have nice reserved seats with no food or drink and costs similar to a normal theater. The upper floors can be 21 and over with a full bar and food served at your seat. Fewer seats that are more expensive would make the theater easier to fill, especially with a concept not found anywhere else in Silicon Valley.

Right now there are only two premium theaters planned for the area, one in Valley Fair and another all the way in San Mateo. Both are half-measures in malls that won't be of the same caliber as the iPic Theater pictured below.

Downtown is the perfect location for a destination movie house that will bring more people to the area instead of solely rely on nearby residents. We need to step up our entertainment game, and the Camera 12 spot is the ultimate anchor location that can help take us to the next level.

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Camera 12 - Rest in Peace (Part I)

Unfortunately, the largest movie theater in Downtown San Jose has shut its doors. Camera 12 was one of my favorite movie theaters for a long time. I still remember when they first opened and hired actors to entertain crowds during premiers. My personal favorite was the Borat impersonator that hung out with crowds in line and introduced the film.

Camera 12 was also known for its central role in the Cinequest Film Festival. The 2017 festival will be a bit more complicated now. It was one of the few theaters eager to experiment with new technology, like the Barco Escape three-screen experience (image below).

Architecturally, it was also very unique. There are not very many three-story theaters in the US, let alone the Bay Area. I always enjoyed the view coming down from the top floor and the openness in the lobby.

Even though it seems like more and more people were patronizing the theater this year, revenue was outpaced by increasing rents and maintenance costs. Fortunately, Camera 3 and Camera 7 will not be impacted by the closure.

As sad as I am about this closure, there is a positive spin... (stay tuned for Part II tomorrow).

Source: The Merc, Andrew Rivlin

Monday, September 19, 2016

San Jose Brew Bike

With so many great beer options in Downtown San Jose, it's surprising we didn't get one of these sooner. San Jose Brew Bike is essentially a giant bike that takes you and up to 14 friends on a tour of San Jose's top beer hotspots. Don't worry, the person steering does not partake in the tastings.

The standard two hour tour will stop at three different establishments and stay for 30 minutes at each stop. The extended tours allow for a fourth or even a fifth stop. Tours begin and end at 286 West San Fernando Street (next to Adobe).

The cost is $25/person from Sunday-Thursday and $30/person on Friday-Saturday. This includes a designated tour guide, bottles of water, and discounts at each stop. You do have to be 21 and over.

For more info and to book a tour, head over to the San Jose Brew Bike website.