San Jose Diridon Station Area Plan Adopted!
Last night the San Jose City Council adopted the Diridon Station Area Plan. The Diridon station sits in the heart of San Jose, just outside of downtown, and currently serves as a major transit hub in San Jose, connecting Caltrain, VTA light rail and buses, and Amtrak. Diridon is also a planned stop on the BART extension to San Jose and on California High Speed Rail.
For over six years, Great Communities Collaborative (GCC) has supported local and regional partners to engage in the Diridon Station Area Plan process, and has committed over $300,000 from multiple funders in grants and technical assistance. When GCC formed in 2006, our goal was for half of all new housing through 2030 to be located near transit and affordable to all incomes. The adoption of the Diridon Plan is a critical step in reaching that goal. The Plan calls for 2,588 new housing units – and includes strong language requiring that 15% of that housing be affordable to low and moderate income families – along with almost 5 million square feet of office space, and 420,000 square feet of retail.
With the high level of existing and planned transit service at the station and the opportunity to set the stage for Urban Villages in San Jose, the Diridon station area represents an important place to get the planning framework right – for the City of San Jose, the South Bay, and the entire Bay Area region. Plan Bay Area calls for 80% of new housing in the region to be built in PDAs like the Diridon Station Area, and having strong local plans is critical to realizing that regional vision.
In addition to the overall housing and jobs numbers and affordable housing requirement, the Diridon Plan includes important bicycle and pedestrian improvements, new parks and green fingers – parks and green space that serve as connecters nearby neighborhoods.
One major challenge for implementing the plan will be finding the right balance of parking in the station area, as it transitions from a place for cars to a place for people. To that end, the Plan recommends that the City create a Transportation Management Association (TMA) to bring together major stakeholders – including the SAP Center (Go Sharks!) – to discuss parking needs and how to encourage visitors and employees to take transit, or bike, or walk. Other cities in the Bay Area use TMAs, but it will be a new tool in San Jose and could be a model across the city.
Working proactively to meet that affordable housing requirement will also be a major challenge, and by adopting the Diridon Station Area Plan, which includes specific financing and policy mechanisms for staff to explore, the City made a significant step forward.
Greenbelt Alliance led the GCC process in San Jose, and passing the plan required collaboration from many partners and friends. The Silicon Valley Bicycle Coalition, Working Partnerships, Silicon Valley Leadership Group, Friends of Caltrain, Sierra Club, TransForm, Public Advocates, and Neighborhood Housing Services are some of the other dedicated groups who came out to public meetings, met with staff and elected officials, wrote letters of support, and worked to bring community voices and leaders to the planning process.
To learn more about the adopted plan, read on:
- Diridon Station on the right track, Greenbelt Alliance Placematters Blog, June 18, 2014
- San Jose Council approves Diridon Plan, steers Sharks toward reducing driving, revives plan to free the creek, Peninsula Transportation Alternatives, June 17, 2014
- San Jose OKs massive 250-acre Diridon Station Plan, Silicon Valley Business Journal, June 18, 2014
- Diridon Plan Adopted, Santa Clara County Housing Action Coalition, June 27, 2014
This space will be updated as more articles and blogs are released.