Showing posts with label BART. Show all posts
Showing posts with label BART. Show all posts

Monday, November 13, 2023

Owners of the San Jose Flea Market cutting office components entirely and dramatically downsizing housing plans

The original plan for the San Jose Flea Market next to San Jose's only existing BART station was for 3,450 residential units (yellow in image below), 3,400,000 SQFT of commercial (teal), a 5-acre urban market (red) and a 1.4 acre public park and open space (green areas). Grey is parking.

Sadly, the owners have changed direction and have completely eliminated office space from the project. The new plan will only have 940 homes and 45,500 SQFT of ground-floor retail space.

They are taking advantage of a loophole in the builder's remedy--which streamlines approval for certain residential projects designed to encourage more housing and development--to actually reduce the size of the project. It's a classic example of good-intentioned law (like rent control) causing the exact opposite effect. If it were not a builder's remedy, San Jose could more easily reject the project and require higher density.

San Jose needs to build about 60,000 housing units over the next eight years to keep up with demand and State requirement. By taking this many homes off the table, it will be a huge step back.

Given the proximity to some of the largest tech companies in the world and immediate access to BART, this site easily could have become another Santana Row over the next decade. Plus its a destination easy to get to from anywhere in the Bay Area. Now, with the scaled back plans it will greatly undermine this opportunity. It may not have the critical mass necessary to pull anyone into San Jose as a destination and will barely make a dent on our housing requirements.

If a dense redevelopment of the San Jose Flea Market site is truly off the table, the next best step would be to quadruple down in Downtown San Jose to hit our target. The infrastructure and space for dense development is already there. Eliminate as many fees and bureaucratic steps as possible for large-scale residential development and let's get that housing built!

Source: SVBJ, SVBJ(2)

Tuesday, October 24, 2023

Project for 900 homes moves forward near Little Portugal and San Jose's next BART station

The city of San Jose just completed the environmental review for a mixed-use project close to Little Portugal at 1325 East Julian St. The project would have four 10-story buildings with 633 apartments, 127 reserved for affordable housing, an 11,500 SQFT of ground-floor retail. There would be a six-story building with 49 affordable homes and 2,500 SQFT of ground-floor retail. Lastly there is a six-story apartment building with 235 homes, all affordable housing plus 820 SQFT of ground-floor commercial space.

This is certainly a huge improvement over what is in the area now (see 2nd image below). However...

...this is a huge lost opportunity to build interesting buildings that tie into the Little Portugal neighborhood and BART station. This does not have to be expensive. Simple changing the color scheme and adding a little mosaic tile will add character and give San Jose a much needed dose of vibrancy.

You can find Portugese-influenced architecture interviewed all around the world. This is Senado Square in Macao (China):

Again, something is better than nothing but there are not many empty parcels left in San Jose. We'll be looking at these buildings for the next 50+ years, so we should make sure the design reflects the direction San Jose is headed as opposed to being another beige box.

Source: SVBJ

Monday, September 11, 2023

New Five Wounds Trail would link San Jose's cycling and walking network to the 28th Street/Little Portugal BART station by 2031

The Mercury News has a story about a trail that has been in the works for over 20 years. 

The Five Wounds Trail--named after the Five Wounds Portuguese National Church it would run by--would be a paved 2.17 mile route starting at the intersection of Story and Senter Roads. This is where the Coyote Creek and Lower Silver Creek trails come together. It is also near Kelly Park, Happy Hollow Park & Zoo, the Japanese Friendship Garden, and History San Jose.

From there it would follow an abandoned railroad track all the way to Little Portugal, which is anchored by Five Wounds Church and is the site of the proposed 28th Street BART station, sometimes also referred to as the Alum Rock BART station.

What has become an unofficial walkway for some would be cleaned up, paved, and turned into a nice trail for walkers, runners, and cyclists with a few potentials areas for basketball courts and exercise equipment. It is all part of a master plan to connect hundreds of miles of trails together in Santa Clara County and would be a tremendous amenity for residents, especially those that are planning to utilize the new BART station.

Source: The Merc

Tuesday, August 8, 2023

Robot shuttles coming to San Jose, SJC and beyond

Autonomous transportation is a lot closer than most people think. It's coming in two forms: multi-purpose where autonomous cars are sharing the road with non-autonomous vehicles (Waymo, Cruise, Tesla FSD) and via dedicated pathways (Las Vegas Loop, autonomous trains/pods). 

San Jose has been struggling with how to connect SJC to Downtown San Jose's Diridon transit center just three miles away, which is destined to become the Grand Central of the West Coast. Plans have been brewing for more than 20 years, and tax dollars have already been collected. Finally, a solution has been approved using a local startup specializing in AVs (Autonomous Vehicles) called Glydways.

These autonomous pods can go up to 31 miles per hour, so they would take about 8 minutes to go from Downtown San Jose to SJC via a dedicated and potentially grade-separated path. Today the ride takes about 30 minutes on local buses. The vehicles themselves carry up to four passengers plus their luggage and are wheelchair accessible. 

The initial route would go between Diridon and Terminal B, with plans to potentially include Terminal A, nearby parking, and other future destinations in Midtown/Uptown San Jose like Valley Fair. Phase 1 would have 200 autonomous pods.

This would be a public/private partnership with the city taking on some costs and an investment group (Plenary) taking another portion. The investors would recoup their investment by charging a fee on each ride. 

The model sounds very similar to the Las Vegas Loop, which will actually be almost entirely funded privately except for a fare-less section at the Las Vegas Convention Center. That project will eventually have over 80 stations serviced by autonomous pods larger in size than what Gyldways is planning. Unfortunately, the Boring Company never responded to San Jose's RFI.

Now for the real bad news. The Glydways project is not expected to get underway until 2028 and could take years to complete--a timeline that may render the whole system obsolete by the time it arrives given how quickly transportation solutions are changing. 

We are already pouring billions into systems that are decades old (Light Rail and BART) so it's critical that this next step is something that will be scalable and move the needle on San Jose transportation for the decades to come. Hopefully there is some way to get this project going much sooner and with flexibility to incorporate innovation as the project is in motion.


Monday, June 20, 2022

Latest San Jose BART Updates

VTA released a new conceptional video of the new BART station planned for Diridon. The teal accents are a nice nod to the San Jose Sharks. Below the Diridon video is an older one showing the plan for the Downtown San Jose Station, which is just a half-dozen blocks or so away from Diridon.

Hat tip to MrAronymous from the San Jose Development Forum.

Wednesday, June 8, 2022

Downtown San Jose BART - SJDA Public Meeting on June 10th

If you would like to find out more about the BART subway system that will run from Berryessa to Downtown San Jose, the SJDA is hosting a public meeting at the Tabard Theater this Friday at 8:15am. 

Topics include the tunneling methods, timeline, partnerships, construction mitigation, the designs of the two Downtown Stations, transit-oriented development, and the process for community engagement.

You can watch online or attend in person (registration and proof of vaccination needed) over here.

Wednesday, January 6, 2021

High-rise residential village proposed for Five Wounds neighborhood

The first big new development proposal of 2021 is actually outside of Downtown San Jose. A seven-building project called Vila de Camila would rise just a couple blocks away from the proposed BART station behind Five Wounds Portuguese National Church.

With a mix of 942 residences and office space across 3 acres, this would be one of the most dense projects in San Jose. Most buildings would be 16-stories tall with one seven-story building. There is even a potential expansion with four more towers that would result in between 1,200 and 1,300 residential units.

This may be a longshot as several amendments to the general plan would be required--including raising building heights, density, and widening the urban village boundary. However, this is exactly the type of projected needed close to mass transit like BART that will help San Jose grow in a sustainable way.

Source: SVBJ

Wednesday, June 17, 2020

Berryessa BART Station

After many years of effort, BART trains are finally flowing in and out of San Jose! Gillynova from the San Jose Development Forum has captured some nice drone video shots of the new station. Check out the short video below for a sneak peak of Berryessa Station.

Tuesday, May 26, 2020

BART is finally coming to San Jose!

June 13th. That's the date when BART will officially open in both San Jose (Berryessa) and Milpitas! It took 14 years since we first voted for the extension, but it is finally happening.

The first train will leave the station at 7:56am from San Jose, stop at Milpitas at 7:59am, and then head to Richmond in the North Bay.

The next phase of the BART extension will be a subway that will add three more stations in the Downtown San Jose area and one in Santa Clara. Currently that is slated for completion in 2028.

Source: SVBJ

Monday, April 6, 2020

BART Phase 2 Updates

A video was released a few weeks ago that provides an excellent visualization of how BART Phase 2 will extend from San Jose's Berryessa Station to Little Portugal, Downtown San Jose, Diridon, and finally Santa Clara. I was surprised at how detailed the 3D renders were throughout the entire video.

I was also shocked to see how deep the stations actually were in San Jose. The Downtown and Diridon stations will both have high speed elevators to help get passengers in and out of the stations as quickly as possible.

Source: aphelion2100 from the San Jose Development Forum

Monday, August 12, 2019

Downtown BART subway alterations

After the huge debate between whether to use a double or single bore subway systems for BART's expansion to Downtown San Jose, it appears there is still some controversy with the design. It was decided that the expansion would use a single bore, which would make it the first system of it's kind in the United States. The key benefit of the design is that we would not have to dig up all of Santa Clara Street and disrupt businesses and residents for years. It would actually be less expensive to build. The downside is that this segment of the BART system would be completely different than the rest of the network, and that would require extensive retraining of staff.

Now it appears that there is a compromise solution, and that is to increase the size of the tunnel from 45 feet to a massive 55 feet. By volume, that is about a 50% increase in size. This would allow the trains to run side by side like the rest of the network, but would increase cost and complexity.

It is actually an interesting proposal for me because the extra space above and below the trains could perhaps be utilized for another mode of transportation. It looks large enough for electric buses or even Light Rail. Perhaps, we could see a next generation Loop or Hyperloop system utilize those spaces. While it is clear San Jose needs to be fully connect to BART, we should also think about how we can leverage this project to support the future generation of mobility.

Source: SVBJ

Monday, June 4, 2018

Downtown San Jose BART Station renders

Now that the construction methodology has been finalized for the BART subway in San Jose (single bore), let's have a quick look at the stunning station that is being planned for Downtown San Jose. To call the current design "open" would be a serious understatement. From the lowest point you can look up to the ceiling 145 feet or so above. The layout is modern and welcoming with high tech flourishes throughout. Check out the renders below of what will become one of the most iconic stations in the BART network.

Source: Robertee from the San Jose Development Forum

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

VTA's BART Phase II Update

Below is a webinar with the latest updates on the $4.69 billion BART Phase II project. This will be the most expensive transit project in Silicon Valley history and add a subway through Downtown San Jose with three stations along with a new terminus station in Santa Clara.

The video is 40 minutes long, but well worth watching if you are interested in transportation projects. One question that came up multiple times is why the heck we are building a completely redundant station in Santa Clara that is already serviced by Caltrain instead of evaluating running BART to San Jose International or Santana Row. Unfortunately, the response was very mediocre--it takes a long time to plan these projects and voters already voted for this specific alignment. I have to say that is a disappointing answer and is completely misaligned with the pace of change in Silicon Valley. It will be 9 years (at least) until this project is completed, so we should make sure we build that most effective system that will maximize utilization instead of making multi-billion dollar errors because we did the easy thing instead of the right thing.

BART itself is built on 45 year old technology. I have been a huge advocate and supporter, but honestly am starting to have doubts that BART will be the most effective transportation solution in 2026. Self-driving cars will completely change the transportation landscape within a decade, and costs will come dangerously close to public transit for point-to-point transportation in a private cabin. I hope that VTA is agile enough to keep up with transit innovations and make sure we are building these epic projects for the future and not for the past.

Video Link

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

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

San Jose BART Station - latest updates

San Jose is just one year away from finally being connected to BART. Below is the latest update from the VTA, which is responsible for the extension to Silicon Valley. Both the Milpitas and San Jose stations should be open in late 2017. Watch the short video below for construction photos and details.

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

San Jose's first BART station is coming along nicely

If you have driven around Berryessa recently, it is nearly impossible to miss the new BART station. The project seem to be moving pretty quickly and will hopefully hit its 2018 completion date. Below are the most recent construction photos I have found.

Source: Hillrise from the San Jose Development Forum

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Wednesday Wishlist: BART to Santana Row

Mark from Think Bigger San Jose is proposing a different alignment for Phase 2 of the BART extension into Silicon Valley. The Santa Clara BART station is highly redundant with Caltrain service and if not for the maintenance yard nearby, it would be considered mostly unnecessary. Yes, you have SCU and large development projects like the Coleman Highline are being planned for the area, but the need for BART there is far less than the route Mark proposes--taking BART through Midtown to the Santana Row and Valley Fair area. This is a region that is booming and is in desperate need for mass transit access. At the rate "Uptown" is growing, Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) is not going to cut it. Check out the thoughtful post and discussion right over here.

Monday, December 7, 2015

Development Plan Around San Jose's First BART Station in Berryessa Might be Changing

The plans for one of the most important redevelopment in San Jose was developed over 10 years ago, which might as well be a century in terms of the development mindset in Silicon Valley. The San Jose Flea Market Area--which is in the immediate vicinity of the first and likely only BART station in San Jose for many years to come--is supposed to be redeveloped into 2,818 residential units and a paltry 365,622 SQFT of commercial space across 120 or so acres (4-6 story buildings). That might have been fine in 2004, but by 2017 our needs for housing, commercial, and supporting retail around mass transit are going to be quite different unless there is a major economic shift.

Going small near BART will only add to future traffic problems and reduce the effectiveness and potential of our multi-billion dollar BART extension. Currently the developers are looking to add 37,000 SQFT of ground-floor retail and an extra 95 units to the northern section of the Flea Market site. It is a tiny step in the right direction, but is far from enough. We have a golden opportunity here to go dense and add tax-generating commercial space accessible to 80% of the Bay Area's population.

As an example, please watch the video below of what is being built in Milpitas a quarter mile away from the Milpitas BART station. The Flea Market project is transit ground zero, the BART station is right there in easy walking distance. What you see in the video below is the absolute minimum we should be doing with the San Jose BART station.

Source: SVBJ

The District in Milpitas from The Registry on Vimeo.

Thursday, November 19, 2015

BART is Bringing Retail to Stations

Several modular retail kiosks are coming to the Bay Area's 44 BART stations. This should add extra convenience to BART's 400,000 daily users. There will even be a companion app to the retail pods that would allow passengers to run errands such as dropping off and picking up laundry as part of their trip. These types of services could go a long way in helping people get out of their cars and utilize public transit more.

Perhaps instead of using kiosks, retail can be fully baked into the design for the upcoming BART Silicon Valley Phase 2 extension--especially since the bulk of those stations will be located in the Downtown San Jose area.

The retail kiosks are already operating in Downtown San Francisco and will reach five more stations by the end of the year. Square footage is going to vary from 600 SQFT at Union City to 2,172 SQFT at Castro Valley. I imagine that San Jose's Berryessa station will likely be towards the larger end of the retail spectrum given the station's size and location.

Source: SVBJ

Sunday, February 8, 2015

BART Expansion to San Jose Getting Some Help from Obama

In Obama's proposed budget, $1 billion is earmarked for California transit. San Jose gets a nice shout out, since $165 million of that is to continue the BART expansion in Silicon Valley. Have a look at the source link for more details on the transit plans for California.

Source: LA Times, Hatip to Barclay Livker for sending this in!