“City View is a new landmark and a catalyst for growth that is enlivening the heart of downtown San Jose,” said developer Jay Paul Co.’s website of the upcoming development of San Jose near Rod Dirodon Station. “City View is just a few minutes’ walk from future Bart stations and existing Lightrail as well as from San Jose’s ever-growing downtown residential options and is ideally located in the urban environment that future-oriented companies need.
What it doesn’t boast is how much of this “urban setting” will still be dedicated to private automobiles.
“It’s a monumental project for 3 million square meters of office. It has some wonderful bike and pedestrian elements – really, really wonderful like a pedestrian walkway and elevated bike path, ”Shiloh Ballard of the Silicon Valley Bicycle Coalition wrote in an email to Streetsblog. “AND, it has a parking bomb.”
This parking bomb consists of over 6,000 spaces, all just a short walk from a redeveloped train station that will soon receive BART, electrified Caltrain and bullet train, as well as VTA, ACE and Amtrak that already service the station.
“The problem isn’t parking or not… it’s where the parking is located (underground and with no valuable vertical or open space). whether the focus is on sustainability, including abundant chargers and free parking for electrics, and creating parking access that avoids negative effects on bicycles, pedestrians, etc., ”wrote Rod Diridon, politician, proponent of transportation and namesake of the San Jose station. in an email to Streetsblog. “And most importantly, how much of the city’s standard formulas can be negotiated downward?”
“This is a mile from Diridon train station. We are jeopardizing our transit investments if we continue to make driving easier, ”Ballard wrote. “Parking means they have to have more entrances and exits, which they place on San Fernando, the best cycling boulevard in town.” She added that the city has a scholarship to improve San Fernando, but it serves different purposes. “If San Jose wants to achieve their mode change goals, which are quite aggressive in the general plan, they have to act very differently. It’s crazy to put the car on this level downtown and a mile from an incredible transit station. “
She added that this is in sharp contrast to Google, which also has development plans for the area “where they don’t want parking”.
Streetsblog emailed Jay Paul but did not receive an immediate response.
San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo also didn’t return to Streetsblog at press time, but the San Jose Mercury News quoted him last year saying of the development, “This is no small investment in the future of our city.” Liccardo is now considered one of the most bike-friendly mayors in the Bay Area.
And “Our goal is to transform a city built for cars into a city built for people,” he told Streetsblog in 2012. “The vibrancy that we hope and expect will affect the way we see the streets of San Jose across the region. “
Another look at the development. Image: Jay Paul
“To the best of my knowledge, it was approved prior to VMT,” wrote Vignesh Swaminathan, a consultant who helped design the bike paths in San Jose, also in an email to Streetsblog. Swaminathan refers to vehicle miles traveled – new state rules that require developments to reduce driving in the community. “It really does affect circulation, but you pay for the largest protected intersection in Park and Almaden.”
“San Jose does the talking, but when the boost comes and gold comes to economic development, they sacrifice their commitment to meeting all of the goals of the general plan in favor of one goal – job creation,” Ballard said.
Meanwhile, Diridon is wondering how far the COVID-19 home orders will affect the need for so many parking spaces – or the office space itself – in the long run. That means: “Ideally, we learn from the most beautiful and desirable European cities like Florence, Rome, Paris and others where parts of their inner city are forbidden to most cars,” he concluded. “But unfortunately that can be a way out for us.”
The first completion of the cityscape is in 2024, according to the developer’s website.
Update 4:30 p.m. from a spokesman for the city of San Jose: 6,230 parking spaces are currently proposed as part of the project. Given the size of this project (over 3.5 million square feet of office space), this is actually 19 percent below the baseline parking requirement. In their most recent approval of the project, the Planning Commission recommended that our City Council consider ways to further reduce parking in the development.