Two San Jose Urban Village Plans Released
The West San Carlos Street and South Bascom Avenue urban village plans are available for the public to read and comment on. Each document lays out the vision, goals, policies, and actions necessary to create attractive, walkable, green communities.
Both plans envision safe and well-connected neighborhoods, thriving business districts, and gathering places that promote community identity and spirit. They also encourage sustainable design features, such as bioswales, and emphasize pedestrian-friendly features, which explore “re:Streets” strategies.
Let’s dive deeper into the specifics of each plan:
West San Carlos Street Urban Village Plan
West San Carlos Street is a commercial corridor that connects downtown San Jose and Diridon Station to the Santana Row-Valley Fair area. Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) service is planned along this corridor, which will better connect San Jose State University and De Anza College in Cupertino. Here are highlights from the plan:
- Calls for 980 new jobs and 1,245 new homes
- Height limits up to six stories at West San Carlos St. and South Bascom Ave., indicative of commercial areas; height limits up to seven stories at West San Carlos St. and Meridian Ave., for new homes with ground floor retail
- Possible BRT stations at Bascom Ave. and Race St. due to high boarding rates
- Green buffers, or linear parks, that will be accessible to pedestrians and cyclists
- Scott St. as the primary east-west bicycle connection for the urban village neighborhood
South Bascom Avenue Urban Village Plan
South Bascom Avenue is home to several institutions such as San Jose City College, Del Mar High School, Santa Clara Valley Medical Center, and the Bascom Community Center and Library. Here are highlights from the plan:
- Calls for 1,400 new jobs and 1,560 new homes with heights limits up to 150 ft. or 12 stories at certain nodes along the corridor
- Goal of making the area south of the Bascom Community Center the heart of the urban village community with a future park (which will require a willing property seller)
- New homes won’t be built in the near term unless the City Council fast-tracks a good development project; the intention is to phase in new homes as jobs are created
- A continuous north-south cycle track—which involves repurposing parking, bike, and travel lanes—along South Bascom Ave.
The Community’s Vision
How do these urban village plans stack up against what the community wants [PDF]?
While they include great language, some elements are missing. For example, the plans should address the need to not only create more homes affordable to a range of incomes, but also the need to preserve existing affordable housing. One audacious goal of the community is to create a park over Highway 280, an idea that should be acknowledged as a long-term goal in the South Bascom Avenue plan. And the yet-to-be-written section on implementation of the plan will need to address how to fund community amenities such as smaller parks and plazas and other place-making improvements.
There is plenty of work to be done, but these plans are a great start towards realizing more dynamic, complete, and connected communities.