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