Pictured to the left is the Diridon Station, named after Rod Diridon Sr, a lifetime member of SVBC. He is better known as the father of public transit in Santa Clara County which is why his name adorns one of the most important transit hubs west of the Mississippi.
And, that station is about to get even bigger! Google has announced that it wants to expand in San Jose, gobbling up several parcels in and around the Diridon Station area.
The Diridon area is one of the most planned and thought about areas in all of San Jose. For decades, leaders have been attempting to kickstart the development of this area, most recently through an attempt to build a ballpark. That dream was scuttled by Major League Baseball but along the way several thoughtful and proactive planning efforts were completed, including the Diridon Specific Plan and the thorough involvement of the community through the Good Neighbor Committee.
Now, up to 20,000 new jobs are being proposed by Google. If this proposal comes to fruition it will be transformative, especially in terms of transportation. That is why this new proposal has caused the City to put together a solid community engagement process to provide guidance on the terms of a future project.
SAAG is what it is called, the Station Area Advisory Group. This 37-member task force was appointed by the City Council early in 2018. Silicon Valley Bicycle Coalition is one of the appointed representatives and is looking forward to helping to make the transportation elements of the deal exciting and cutting edge.
The area itself has much potential including the SAP Arena. The Arena is the home of the Sharks and also hosts many concerts/events. At present, the Arena has little to no incentive to discourage SOV (single occupancy driving). In fact, quite the opposite as there are contractual agreements with the City to assure thousands of parking spaces within a certain radius of the Arena. Plus, the Arena reaps a financial benefit from parking revenues.
The lack of incentive to encourage something other than driving shows. If you try to get anywhere around the Arena on game day, you’ll be stuck in traffic despite being across the street from the Diridon Station. This should change if Google comes into town (and it should change even if Google never comes to town.) Otherwise, San Jose may end up a candidate for the Streetsblog Parking Madness competition which you can read about here. (Read it for a very relevant story on the Houston Stadium Parking Crater, so named by Streetsblog.)
Unlike the Arena, when it comes to active transportation, Google is an enthusiastic partner. Anyone who has been to the Google offices in Mountain View is struck by that realization firsthand. There, brightly colored Google bikes flit here and there, steered (usually unskillfully but with smiles) by Google employees. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if San Jose streets were transformed into a fairyland of colorful bikes too?
This process is just getting started and there are many opportunities to ensure that the area becomes an incredible hub of walking and bicycling. Whether it is improved trail connections between the Guadalupe Trail and the Los Gatos Creek Trail, an innovative bike parking structure like the one viewed here or better connectivity throughout the area, this is the time to get great bike ideas into the mix. If you have suggestions, please let us know!