Diridon Station Area Plan on the Right Track
Last night, the San Jose City Council unanimously approved the Diridon Station Area Plan, which calls for 2,588 new homes near the Caltrain, Amtrak, light rail, and bus hub.
This marks the end of a five-year process that started with the City hoping to lure a Major League Baseball team to San Jose. Whether or not baseball eventually comes to San Jose, the city now has a plan that lays the foundation for a world-class community.
Diridon Station Area Plan Highlights
Here are some highlights from the newly approved plan:
- At least 15% of all housing will be affordable, with the possibility of up to 20%; councilmembers Don Rocha and Sam Liccardo both called for trying to achieve a minimum threshold of 20%
- Significant improvements to bicycle infrastructure in San Jose, some of which—such as Bike Share—have already been implemented as a result of the Silicon Valley Bicycle Coalition’s advocacy
- An emphasis on the public realm, including a grand civic plaza, neighborhood parks, and “green fingers”—wide linear parks that link together the various sub-districts
- Day-lighting Los Gatos Creek by freeing it from its underground culvert and restoring the riparian corridor; neighborhood champion Larry Ames and others successfully fought to keep this in the plan
The Diridon Station Area Plan has required years of collaboration and diligence. Greenbelt Alliance has been engaged in the Diridon Station Area planning effort for several years, having spent considerable time and resources shaping a plan that will lead to a dense, walkable, green, bike-friendly, equitable, and dynamic transit district. Diridon Station is a priority site for the Great Communities Collaborative with Greenbelt Alliance at the helm, and we have worked in close collaboration with our partners, the Silicon Valley Bicycle Coalition and Working Partnerships USA.
Greenbelt Alliance saw the plan through changes of elected leaders and city staff and several rounds of community input. Along the way, we organized residents so that the Diridon Station Area Plan reflected their input and had their support.
What comes next will be critical to ensuring this vision becomes reality.
The City Council has already taken an important next step by approving the formation of a Transportation Management Association, which will include stakeholders such as neighborhood groups and the SAP Center. This body will work toward the City’s ambitious goal of having 20% and 15% of all trips be by transit and bicycle respectively by 2040.
Greenbelt Alliance would like to see San Jose also move forward on issues we outlined in our San Jose Mercury News op-ed including new funding mechanisms for affordable homes plus implementation of its Art Master Plan [PDF] for Diridon Station.
There is still plenty of work ahead to transform this area into a walkable, green, dynamic, and inclusive community. It will take visionary leaders and cross-departmental, cross-jurisdictional collaboration to make it happen, but San Jose is a city that thrives on innovation—this innovation can extend to how the city grows. And Diridon Station is the perfect place to start.
Thank you to the many organizations and neighborhood groups that played a role in the successful passage of the Diridon Station Area Plan including the Silicon Valley Bicycle Coalition, Working Partnerships USA, Silicon Valley Leadership Group, TransForm, Friends of Caltrain, the Great Communities Collaborative, the Sierra Club, Guadalupe River Park Conservancy, Shasta Hanchett Park NA, Delmas Park NA, Burbank Del Monte NAC, Willow Glen NA, and the Good Neighbor Committee.
Councilmember Don Rocha praised the level of participation from the community as the highest he has ever seen and Councilmember Sam Liccardo called it “crowd-sourcing at its finest.”