Tuesday, January 31, 2017

San Jose Women's March

Below is a beautiful photo that gives some idea of how many people showed up for the Women's March in January. This was taken by prawngeorge.

Source: cardinal2007 from the San Jose Development Forum

Monday, January 30, 2017

Digging for San Jose's Subway begins in two years

Thanks to the election last November, San Jose is getting a legitimate subway system consisting of three stations: Downtown San Jose, Diridon Station, and Alum Rock. Construction is coming sooner than you think. Shovels should hit the ground in late 2018 and continue until 2023. The $4 billion subway is slated to begin service in 2026.

While the idea of a BART subway in our city is very exciting, it will mean epic construction projects, street closures, and all sorts of temporary inconveniences. Currently there are two potential options for building the subway, a single bore (photo below) or twin bore. The SVBJ lists the pros and cons of each, but there is no way around the fact that streets will completely be torn up to build the stations. The tunnels themselves will be deep enough underground to not have a huge impact on the surface.

Other areas up for discussion are whether to build the Downtown San Jose station in the East between Third and Fifth Street (closer to City Hall and SJSU) or in the West between Market and Third Street (closer to the Downtown core). Either option should attract the same number of riders and will permanently change the face of Santa Clara street.

There are obviously a lot of big questions and decisions, but it will certainly be a very exciting decade for South Bay transportation improvements.

Source: SVBJ

Thursday, January 26, 2017

VTA Next Draft Plan

Fortunately, the VTA logo isn't the only thing that is changing about our transit system. There are significant route changes in the works to coincide with the arrival BART in the fall that sound very promising. In general, VTA is planning to reduce or eliminate routes with very low usage and re-utilizing that budget in highly trafficked corridors.

The proposed changes are too numerous to mention (list over here), but below you can see what the travel times from Downtown San Jose would look like before and after the changes. The area you will be able to get to within 30 minutes of Downtown will roughly double in size. However, your mileage may vary. If you live in the suburbs, say deep in Evergreen or Almaden, then your coverage area will likely shrink. To see exactly how you may be impacted, you can do your own simulation over here.

Current VTA Travel Times from Downtown San Jose

Proposed VTA Travel Times from Downtown San Jose

Our Light Rail system will get a major overhaul as well. The lines will finally be named after colors like most other metro systems in the world and a brand new line will be added that will run from the Alum Rock to Mountain View. Here are the proposed changes:

  • Green Line (902)
    • Northern end would become Old Ironsides
    • Increase frequency from 30min to 15min during the weekday, all day long
  • Yellow Line (Commuter Express)
    • Northern end would become St. James Park
    • Double frequency from 3 trips per peak period to 6 trips
  • Orange Line (NEW)
    • New line between Alum Rock and Mountain View that would connect Light Rail to BART
    • Would run every 15min during the weekday and 30min during the weekend
    • Potential express service is under review
  • Blue Line (901)
    • No changes
  • Purple Line (900)
    • No changes

If all of these changes get implemented that means Light Rail will run every 7.5 minutes (not including express trains) all day long during the workweek throughout all Downtown, Milpitas, Santa Clara, North San Jose, and East San Jose Stations. That would be a significant increase in service.

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

General Assembly expanding classes to San Jose

General Assembly is a global learning company that specializes in training programs for high-demand skills. They have just expanded in the Bay Area and are now offering their most popular classes and workshops in coding, data, business, and design in San Jose. Their classrooms are currently located in the WeWork co-working space in Downtown San Jose. As a side-note, they will be running their first ever User Experience Design Part Time course on 1/31.

Below is some additional information on their recent expansion, but if you are in the market for new technical skills head over to their website for a full list of classes.

Expansion in U.S. and Australia  
More than 350,000 students have come to one of GA's existing 15 campuses to either attend an event or acquire new skills through any one of the company's educational offerings. Earlier this year, GA opened its 15th campus in Denver and to make these skills even more accessible. GA will now be offering events, classes, workshops and opportunities for GA's online students to engage with the GA community in the following cities:

  • San Jose, California 
  • Arlington, Virginia 
  • Brisbane/Sunshine Coast, Queensland 
  • Brooklyn, New York
  • Dallas, Texas 
  • Geelong, Victoria 
  • Irvine/Orange County, California 
  • Raleigh, North Carolina

An additional U.S. market will be announced before end of year, bringing General Assembly's physical campus count to 25 total campuses.

"From small businesses and startups to Fortune 500 brands, digital skill sets have never been more in demand. It is no coincidence that the skills helping companies to evolve - mobile development, data analytics, product management and user experience design - are the skills that we teach at General Assembly," said Anna Lindow, GM Campus  Education & Operations, General Assembly. "By expanding into new markets like Canada, and furthering our presence in existing Australian and U.S. regions, General Assembly will be able to empower even more individuals and add value to even more employers."   

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

New co-working space opening at Santana Row

Co-working continues to increase in popularity in Silicon Valley, especially with entrepreneurs, start-ups, and remote employees for large organizations. Not only does it reduce overall costs by sharing resources between multiple companies, but it creates a culture and atmosphere that you won't find sitting in a home office with dogs barking or a baby crying in the background. Downtown San Jose has several coworking spaces such as NextSpace and WeWork. Finally our other urban center--Santana Row--has one as well, and it looks quite nice.

Spaces Santana Row will launch on February 20, 2017 at 3031 Tisch Way, and offers inspiring collaborative workspace for San Jose entrepreneurs and innovators. Founded in Amsterdam on the idea that “success breeds more success,” Spaces Santana Row is Spaces’ latest location in North America and the second location in Silicon Valley, joining sister property Spaces Menlo Park which opened in summer 2016.

Spaces Santana Row offers the following amenities:

  • 5,300 SQFT business club 
  • Co-working memberships starting at $330 per month
  • 100 private offices available for rent starting at $819 per month
  • 3 meeting rooms available to members and community residents
  • Concierge-level hospitality services
  • On-demand services including dry cleaning, IT support, floral, etc.
  • Learning and social events hosted by local businesses and influencers

Of course, tenants also happen to be at the tail end of Santana Row. That might be the biggest amenity of all, walking access to two dozen restaurants, bars, retail, movies, and entertainment. 

For more information, head over here.

Monday, January 23, 2017

VTA introduces abysmal, terrible, AND horrific new logo

As regular readers know, I am usually pretty upbeat and optimistic. Unfortunately, this post will be a bit uncharacteristic of this blog... we are making a terrible mistake that will impact the region for at least the next decade. Before I get too it, let me start off by saying that I respect all the hard work the VTA has been putting in on trying to improve local transportation and later this week we will discuss some of the exciting route changes that will have a net positive impact for our city.

Switching gears, let's have a good look at the logo and slogan that will adorn hundreds (maybe thousands) of buses and light rail trains in the region. This is what will represent transportation in the most technologically advanced and innovative region in the entire world:

What... the... %@#&.

The first thing I think of when I see this logo is a Christian Fellowship. I'm Catholic and have nothing against religion, but that is not the vibe a transportation company should exude, except for perhaps a mortuary, hearse manufacturer, or ambulance company. Speaking of which, that is the second thing that comes to mind--a hospital like Good Samaritan or O'Connor. Have one more look.

Next the slogan seeps into your brain... "Solutions that move you." As Sal points out in his piece, "Solutions that move you" makes our transportation system sound like a laxative. That's right, the perception is that VTA is something that helps you go to the toilet. If you think I'm overrating, show the image below without the "Valley Transportation Authority" text to anyone that is not familiar with VTA and ask them what product they think this company produces:

To prove that this is not an early April Fools joke, here is what all of our buses will eventually look like:

Let me ask you, what about this logo represents Silicon Valley? Where do you see innovation, or diversity, or technology, or sunlight, or even transportation in this logo? I can't imagine a more vapid representation of Silicon Valley to slap on the side of our entire transit network. 

How did this happen? There were focus groups, people voted, this was a community decision. This logo is supposed to represent a peaceful ocean and sky, the white reminiscent of a seagull gliding through the air. Of course people are going to like in isolation, the logo reminds them of a vacation in a coastal town. But guess what--we are not Santa Cruz, Monterrey, or Hawaii, and we are definitely not San Francisco. Where does the ocean touch Silicon Valley? When was the last time you saw a seagull gliding through Downtown San Jose? 

This is so misguided, it's apalling. The last time the VTA changed their logo was 1998. That means we could be stuck with this aberration for the next 20 years! We have so many intelligent, creative, passionate people working in San Jose. We shouldn't settle, we can do better than this. We have accomplished so much as a region, we cannot let this be our brand.

Thursday, January 19, 2017

New San Jose high-tech 'megafactory'

Veoldyne LiDAR has chosen South San Jose as its location to manufacture cutting-edge sensors for advanced tech such as self-driving cars. LiDAR is similar to radar, but uses light from a laser instead of radio waves to create a three-dimensional image. Next time you see a prototype autonomous vehicle on the freeway, look for the spinning disk on the roof. That is a LiDAR sensor. It is also used for drone aircraft and industrial robots.

Manufacturing will take place in a 200,000 SQFT building at 5521 Hellyer Avenue, formerly home to Nanosolar until 2013. Hundreds of high-paying San Jose jobs will be created and production is expected to begin soon.

Source: SVBJ

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

The San Jose Silicon Valley Chamber changes its name

Yet another significant San Jose institution has decided to drop the word "San Jose" from its name. The San Jose Silicon Valley Chamber of Commerce is now the "The Silicon Valley Organization."

This follows an unsettling trend preceded by The Business Journal and The Mercury News, our two top news publications. Dare I say it--should the city of San Jose be renamed the city of Silicon Valley to better raise our global awareness in light of these continued changes? You might be surprised to hear that I'm not completely opposed to the idea.

Source: SVBJ

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Knight Cities Challenge Names Eight San Jose Finalists

Today the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation announced 144 finalists across 26 communities in their third annual Knight Cities Challenge. The contest is a national call for ideas that will make local communities more vibrant places to live and work. The three main themes of the contest are helping cities attract and keep the best talent, expanding economic opportunities, and encouraging civic engagement.

Eight San Jose proposals made the cut and are finalists. Winners will be announced in the Spring and will receive a share of $5 million. All of the San Jose projects sound fantastic to me. Have a look at the list below and let us know which sound most worthy of funding.

San Jose Knight Cities Challenge Finalists

Local Color by Exhibition District (submitted by Erin Salazar): Activating vacant commercial
sites with a creative bazaar featuring artist studios alongside modular, open spaces for multidisciplinary community learning and teaching.

A Mobile Street Amenity Builder by Better Block Foundation (submitted by Jason Roberts):
Developing a mobile unit that includes the resources and tools needed to improve city blocks
and construct public benches, wayfinding signage, bus stops, planters and other resources.

Reimagining the city: Chief Architect of San Jose by Office of Mayor Sam Liccardo, city of San Jose (submitted by Shireen Santosham): Working to ensure San Jose develops into a walkable, green and engaged metropolis by hiring a visionary chief architect.

San Jose Pedestrian Paradise Project by Concrete Gardens (submitted by Liz Ruiz): Artistically reinforcing the established Pedestrian Priority Zone by further developing a pedestrian-focused environment–including sidewalk murals, vacant storefront installations, wayfinding signs–in downtown San Jose’s core.

San Pedro Square Great Public Plaza by Department of Transportation, city of San Jose (submitted by Laura Wells): Piloting a space for community engagement, the Great Public Plaza on San Pedro Street, to inform the design of a potential permanent plaza.

SoFA Playground by Public Space Authority (submitted by Ryan Sebastian): Creating a meeting place for residents to meet and connect with a food truck playground in the heart of San Jose’s arts and culture district.

#TogetherWeVote > Together We Are San Jose! by PACT (People Acting in Community
Together) (submitted by Akemi Flynn): Deepening ongoing civic engagement by engaging new
and first-time voters in discussions to learn about their experiences with voting; the project will also use community events as a forum for sharing how voting makes a difference and how to become more civically involved.

Young Placemakers by City of San Jose Department of Parks, Recreation and Neighborhood Services (submitted by Zacharias Edward Gabriel Mendez): Facilitating youth-driven neighborhood improvement projects, by creating opportunities to learn, design and execute ways to enhance and activate public spaces.

For more information, head over to knightcities.org.

Monday, January 16, 2017

New Topgolf Shopping Center Renderings

A handful of new renders for the proposed Topgolf in Alviso have been released. Topgolf is the Dave & Busters of driving ranges. They are popular entertainment destinations with 20 locations across the US (the only other Topgolf location in California is near Sacramento). The San Jose Topgolf would be part of a 100,000 SQFT retail project that includes a new 200-room hotel. The center would be very close to @First and Levi's Stadium and might even encourage a few residents a visitors to explore Alviso, a mostly forgotten yet very interesting and unique part of San Jose.

Source: gillynova from the San Jose Development Forum

Friday, January 13, 2017

Jimmy Kimmel SJC Shout-Out

This isn't big news, but is pretty cool nonetheless. A celebrity tweeted out a great compliment about SJC. I have to agree, we have one of the best airports in the US when it comes to convenience and customer service.

Source: SJEconomy Newsletter

Thursday, January 12, 2017

San Jose Launches Restaurant Week: January 16-26

San Jose is participating in a statewide Restaurant Week that also includes various other cities in the Bay Area (SF, Berkeley, Oakland, etc.). The event features fixed-price dinners and other specials at participating eateries. The event launches next Monday and runs for a week and a half.

Below is a list of 25 San Jose restaurants that will be part of the event this year, an all-time high. All of the restaurants happen to be Downtown, which is very convenient if you want to go all out and do a food crawl.

  • 55 South
  • The Blue Chip - $10 cheesteak, chips, and soda combo
  • Cafe Stritch
  • Cafe Too!
  • Curry Pundits
  • Deluxe - 20% of all food items from Sunday to Thursday
  • Fountain - $40 three-course prix fixe lunch
  • The Farmers Union - $30 three-course prix fixe dinner
  • The Grill on the Alley - $45 prix fixe lunch, $70 prix fixe steak dinner
  • Habana Cuba - $35 tasting menu 
  • Hawaiian Poke Bowl - $30 dinner for two
  • Il Fornaio - $40 three-course prix fixe dinner
  • La Lune Sucree
  • La Pastaia
  • Loft Bar and Bistro - $30 three-course prix fixe dinner
  • Mezcal Restaurant - 15% off entire bill
  • Mosaic
  • Nomikai - 20% off pizzas (mention DTSJ Restaurant Week)
  • Olla Cocina - $30 three-course dinner, Tequila or Mezcal pairing for $20
  • Our House - $45 three-course prix fixe dinner
  • Pizza Bocca Lupo - 20% off when you mention Restaurant Week
  • Rookie's Sports Lodge
  • Scott's Seafood - $40 three-course prix fixe dinner
  • Takai - $23 two-course prix fixe menu
  • Treatbot - one free topping or waffle cone with purchase

For more info, head over here. Press release below.

Program Part of Statewide California Restaurant Month Promoting California’s Culinary Experiences

SAN JOSE, Calif. (Jan. 10, 2017) – More than 25 San Jose restaurants will celebrate San Jose Restaurant Week from Jan. 16 – 26, announced Karolyn Kirchgesler, Team San Jose CEO.

“San Jose’s Restaurant Week is a great opportunity for visitors to sample the 250 dining and night life options in San Jose,” Kirchgesler noted. “This years participating restaurants are an excellent representation of San Jose’s diverse culture and innovative approach to food.”

San Jose’s Restaurant Week is a mixture of Silicon Valley meets Valley of the Heart’s delight. Visitors will experience special deals and foods including: discounts, pre-fixed menus, chef’s tables, wine pairings and more. For more information and the complete list of participating restaurants, visit www.sjdowntown.com/dtsjrestaurantweek and follow Visit San Jose on social media.

San Jose Restaurant Week is part of California Restaurant Month, designated by Visit California. During its past 6 iterations, more than 50 destination partners have participated and contributed to its success. From the southernmost coastal beach towns to the High Sierras up north, dozens of destinations are hosting restaurant weeks and special events, shining a light on the many talented people and places in each region.

“This year, we’re broadening the program to promote all things culinary across the Golden State, from farmers’ markets and chef tastings to progressive dinners and winemaker specials. Our restaurants are the gateway to California’s abundance of culinary experiences -- now it’s time to peel back the layers to let our visitors experience the talent behind the scenes, from farmers and producers to chefs and winemakers,” said Caroline Beteta, Visit California President & CEO.

In 2015, travelers in California spent $32.3 billion on food and beverages, consisting of 29 percent of all visitor spending (Source: Dean Runyan Associates), Beteta said. Nearly 38 million domestic visitors participated in fine dining throughout the state. For more information about California Restaurant Month, visit www.DineinCa.com.

About Team San Jose
Team San Jose (TSJ) is an innovative partnership unifying the San Jose Convention and Visitors Bureau, hotels, arts, labor and venues to deliver an exceptional visitor experience. TSJ manages the San Jose McEnery Convention Center, California Theatre, Center for the Performing Arts, City National Civic, Montgomery Theater, Parkside Hall and South Hall. For more information, visit www.sanjose.org.

About Visit California
Visit California is a nonprofit organization with a mission to develop and maintain marketing programs – in partnership with the state’s travel industry – that keep California top-of-mind as a premier travel destination. According to Visit California, travel and tourism expenditures totaled $117.5 billion in 2014 in California, supporting jobs for 1,013,000 Californians and generating $9.3 billion in state and local tax revenues. For more information about Visit California and for a free California Official State Visitor's Guide, go to www.VisitCalifornia.com.
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Wednesday, January 11, 2017

San Jose 2017 Resolutions

Better late than never! I have been meaning to post a link to Searchlight San Jose's list of New Year Resolutions. I agree wholeheartedly with all five items on the list, especially #3 (Get another Michelin Star Restaurant). To see the list for yourself and add your own items, just head over to Searchlight San Jose.

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

"I Wish Downtown San Jose Had" Project

Last September, Gensler (a slick design firm with a major office in Downtown San Jose) commissioned a project at the San Pedro Farmer's Market entitled "I Wish Downtown San Jose Had." The goal was to inspire the community to participate in defining the vision for Downtown. Anyone could write a wish on a card and then hang it on a wall. The wishes have all been compiled and you can see the results over here.

I also recommend checking out the great photos of the wish wall here. We need more creative grass-roots ideas like this to move things forward. Hats off to all those at Gensler involved in this.

Monday, January 9, 2017

January 2017 Downtown Dimension Highlights

Here are my notes from the latest edition of Downtown Dimension:
  • To incentivize high-rise housing Downtown, developers will continue to receive a 50% reduction in construction taxes and parkland fees for projects beginning consturction before July 2018. There are 10 residential projects in the pipeline with 3,600 units total.
  • Supergraphics on non-residential buildings were approved by the city council. Fees collected will go to abate graffiti and create murals.
  • Olla Cocina was awarded a Golden Nail Award for beautification.
  • Exhibition district has opened Local Color (LoCo), a pop-up arts and retail space at 24 S. First Street (former Ross space). Eventually, the space will be used for a high-rise residential tower.
  • The trendy new 210-room AC Hotel on West Santa Clara Street will be the first new Downtown San Jose hotel to open in 13 years. It is also the first AC Hotel in California and features a saltwater pool, outdoor fireplace, carpet-less flooring, and European-style bath and shower.
  • Downtown San Jose Restaurant week runs from Jan. 16-26 and will feature 24 Downtown eateries.
To read the newsletter, click here!

Thursday, January 5, 2017

The Silicon Valley Auto Show begins today

The largest auto show in the South Bay begins today at the San Jose Convention Center in Downtown San Jose. In addition to the hundreds of new vehicles on display from popular manufacturers, there will be several concept and exotic cars on display such as the McLaren 570S and 650S. It is still missing my favorite car company, Tesla, but that is expected given their sales model.

Event hours are 10am-10pm Thursday to Friday and 10am-6pm on Sunday. Tickets are $11 for adults and $8 for children, students, seniors, and military. Children under 6 are free. You can purchase tickets over here.

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Sourisseau News: From Willows to Glen

Did you ever wonder how Willow Glen got its name? How long was Willow Glen an independent city before being annexed into San Jose? Watch the latest two-minute Sourisseau News video below to find out, along with all sorts of other interesting tidbits.

To see an archive of past videos, head over here.

Sourisseau News Willow Glen December from WMS media Inc. on Vimeo.

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

JetSuiteX adds another San Jose route

JetSuiteX is a public charter airline that flies out of San Jose's swanky private terminal on the opposite side of Terminals A and B. They already have routes from San Jose to Burbank, Bozeman (Montana), and Carlsbad. Now they are adding a new nonstop to Santa Monica.

The flight will depart San Jose at 4pm and arrive in Santa Monica at 5:10pm on Mondays, Tuesdays, and Thursdays. On Friday the flight leaves SJC at 2:30pm and arrives are 3:40pm. Return flights leave at 7:50am and land in San Jose at 9am on Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays. Prices range from $99 to $219 each way.

For more info, head over to the JetSuiteX website.

Source: SVBJ