Showing posts with label BART to san jose. Show all posts
Showing posts with label BART to san jose. Show all posts

Tuesday, November 28, 2023

Tunneling in San Jose could be much cheaper in the near future

Most people don't see disruptive technology coming. It's often met with a lot of skepticism. There are plenty of famous quotes about computers or the internet. In 1943 The president of IBM said "I think there is a world market for about five computers." In 1995 Newsweek published an article that said, “The internet is just a fad.” However, even today in markets that have been stagnant for decades or even a century we're seeing disruption.

People laughed when Elon wanted to build electric cars. Tesla is now worth more every other car company combined. They laughed again when he wanted to start a rocket company. Today there are 7,702 active satellites in space--5,000 of them belong to SpaceX. By the end of next year, SpaceX will have launched more satellites than every government entity around the world combined over the past 66 years. So now... of course, there had to be much skepticism in the San Jose development community about the Boring Company. Tunnels have been built almost the same way for 100 years, what could the company possibly do differently?

Apparently a lot. The Boring Company already has a functioning tunnel network in Las Vegas with 4 active stations and capacity for 5,000 people/hour. It took one year to build. That will expand to 69 stations and capacity for over 100,000 people/hour over the next few years (not decades). They have managed to get to a cost of $10 million/mile for 14-ft wide tunnels with 2nd generation tunneling machines using EV motors and batteries. Now it looks like they might be able to triple tunnel construction speed with hexagonal wall tiles.

The big benefit is that all the pieces are exactly the same, cutting costs significantly. Fewer segments are required per mile and it enables continuous mining. There are challenges and disadvantages as well, especially around water, but if they can push through them they will very likely disrupt tunneling. It gets a bit nerdy, but there is a 15min video in the source link below that goes into exactly how this new process would work versus existing methods.

What this means for us, is perhaps there will be a future where we can bring VTA Light Rail underground or perhaps offer Personal Rapid Transit (autonomous pods) or other forms of transportation at a lower cost to San Joseans. After seeing BART costs swell to $2 billion per mile for the Downtown San Jose extension, there has to be a better solution long-term for other projects.

Full disclosure that San Jose did reach out to The Boring Company as an option to connect San Jose International Airport with Diridon in Downtown San Jose. They never responded to a RFI and things fell through. 

That doesn't mean there couldn't be other opportunities in the future to work together. A fun fact is that the original Tesla factory was supposed to be in North San Jose/Alviso. However, an opportunity to take over NUMMI presented itself in 2010 and the rest is history. Hopefully the door is still open for The Boring Company and San Jose to work together in some capacity.

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

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

Tuesday, October 20, 2020

Market Park could bring thousands of homes and an office compound to North San Jose

A massive transit village has been proposed for the San Jose Flea Market right next to our new BART station. This is already the site of our largest project that is currently under construction. How massive you ask? The developers are looking to build 3,450 residential units and 3.4 MILLION square feet of commercial space. To put that in perspective that is roughly half of all the office space the exists in Downtown San Jose today.

The commercial component would be spread across seven buildings and three parking structures. The residential piece could utilize high-rises as tall as 200 feet, would would be very noticeable for the area. Other nearby amenities would include a plaza, pop-up retail space, an urban garden, a 1.4-acre rec area, tennis course, and a mini baseball field.

The bad news is that the Flea Market would be demolished to make way for the 61.5-acre project. There would be 150,000 SQFT of ground-floor retail and restaurants in the transit village, but it would not quite make up for losing a San Jose icon. However, given the vast increase in jobs, tax dollars, and density near transit--this project should be an easy approval by the city.

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

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!

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

BART or Automated Transit Network?

The Merc had an article last week entitled "Affordable transitt will help close gap between rich, poor in South Bay." I think that title may be a bit misleading since it is actually a proposal to completely change the plan for BART to Silicon Valley - Phase 2. Instead of spending $4 billion to tunnel underneath Downtown San Jose, the article points out that running BART west from Milpitas to the San Jose Airport and then Diridon above ground would only cost $1.6 billion. However, that is not the interesting part. The real fascinating proposal is not building the BART extension at all and instead building using $1.6 billion to build a 100 station Automated Transit Network (PRT system) that would blanket a huge portion of San Jose and be placed above roadways.

While I am a huge advocate for BART Downtown, I strongly believe that automated systems will be the ideal transportation of the future and would be willing to sacrifice BART for it if given a choice. Check out the article over here and let us know what your thoughts are.

Many thanks to Francisco Gonzalez for sending this in!