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Posts Tagged ‘San Jose’

The idea of extending BART from Diridon to the Santa Clara Caltrain station never made any sense, as it merely duplicates the existing Caltrain service. But it makes even less sense if San Jose has no plans to upzone the surrounding neighborhood:

Santa Clara University — along with Bellarmine College Preparatory and Cristo Rey Jesuit High School — wants to build a 290-unit apartment complex to house faculty and staff along with a tech business incubator.

While the university owns the land on Campbell Avenue where the proposed development would be built, it’s zoned for industrial use. And even as it wants to add more affordable housing, San Jose is grappling with a notorious jobs-housing imbalance and trying to preserve shrinking industrial land.

This week, the city’s planning department shocked the trio of schools by suggesting the City Council deny their request to have the space — close to a Caltrain station and a BART station slated to open in the future — rezoned for transit-oriented residential use.

The Planning Commission did vote to override staff objections. City Council will take up the matter next month.

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Tuition at SJSU has been soaring. 13% of students experienced homelessness over the past year. And yet the highest priority for San Jose State is…a multi-level parking garage:

A historic track where two of San Jose State’s most famous Olympians trained will soon be no more. The university said Bud Winter Field on the South Campus will be turned into a new parking garage.

“Yes, there were plans to see if a new track could be installed,” said San Jose State Athletics Media Relations Director Lawrence Fan. “But the greater need for San Jose State and San Jose State Athletics is a multi-level parking structure.”

The new garage is 1.25 miles south of the main campus, so it won’t be all that useful for commuters attending class.

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This has been a grim year for pedestrians in San Jose, with 23 fatalities (thus far). But San Jose leaders have come up with a brilliant solution: widen roadways and speed up the traffic!

Officials in San Jose think a possible solution to the recent uptick in fatal pedestrian deaths plaguing the city could be to widen the roads at a couple of traffic trouble spots.

The plan involves a land swap that will allow officials to widen Branham Road and Snell Avenue, two of the most problematic streets in the city. San Jose plans to use the strips to widen Branham and Snell. Right now, the roadway narrows down and forces cars to merge within a short distance.

This project will widen a 2-lane road into 4-lane, with medians along with new signals. This will greatly speed up traffic, leading to more death and destruction. It is crazy they call it a pedestrian safety project.

In a 2017 memo, Councilmember Khamis called this a “Green” infrastructure project, and proposed taking $2 million out of the Essential Services Fund to help pay for it.

Screen Shot 2018-12-24 at 2.22.02 PM

Branham Ln current configuration

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Senator Wiener’s legislation for transit housing (SB-627) is dead now, and the car-centric planning around BART stations continues on. Here are the latest neighborhood plans for the San Jose Berryessa station. The Mercury News describes this plan as having “more intense densities and new visions of how the ambitious Berryessa district development might appear.”

As you can see, the retail center looks like just another suburban strip mall (click image to enlarge).

berryessa

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The Bay Area is notorious for preventing infill development around transit stations. But with Branham LRT station in San Jose, things have hit a new low.

The San Jose General Plan designates the area around the Branham LRT station for mixed-use development. Nonetheless, the VTA-owned property is zoned “A” (agricultural!). To facilitate transit-oriented development, VTA submitted a request to change the zoning. Developing the Branham parking lot is a no-brainer, since it has just 13% utilization.

But neighbors and Councilmember Johnny Khamis are pushing back, forcing the VTA to at least temporarily withdraw the application:

When VTA’s application was filed recently, San Jose City Councilman Johnny Khamis said he would demand it address traffic around the northbound on-ramp to Highway 87 near the site before he would even consider a land use amendment.

“I let VTA know that they would have big opposition, including myself, to developing that property…without traffic mitigation measures at least started. “To change the zoning to housing before we address the traffic concerns, it seemed irresponsible to me,” he added.

Gee, if only there were an LRT station nearby to mitigate the traffic….

branham

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The VTA has published the draft EIR for phase 2 of the San Jose BART extension. Phase 2 would extend the line starting from Berryessa, through the downtown area, and terminating (for now) at Santa Clara Caltrain. The projected cost is more than $4.7 billion.

Like most EIR’s, it is extremely long. But you can skip to this one chart, which tells all that you need to know about the cost-effectiveness:

bart-sj-cost-effectiveness

In other words, the VTA will spend over $4.7 billion to generate just 14,619 new transit trips. Counting operating subsidies, that is more than $50 per trip.

 

 

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