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Landscape Architect
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So I lived in Vancouver, a very dense and successful urban core. There were next to no corporate owned towers, everything was private condos and most leased out. Why is San Jose stuck building endless apartments with little to no ownership opportunity in or around the core. I would have gladly bought a unit in a building like south first, instead it is for rent and has no long term tenancy.

Also, what happens when the bubble bursts and these towers are mid construction?
 

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Landscape Architect
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243 Posts
My frustration and concerns lwith the influx of apartments is then you have no individual ownership and your city is at the whim of landlord groups that are in San Diego, Chicago, Minneapolis.

I think there should be a balance of product types.

Back to my Vancouver example and granted it is a different country and Financial market, but there are zero apartment towers in a downtown of 600,000.
 

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Landscape Architect
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243 Posts
We're seeing some change in the product mix though: Silvery Towers will be for-sale condos and so will a few other projects (I think Gateway will also be for-sale).

Edit: There have also been a few recent conversions from rentals to condos: The Globe in DTSJ and Skyline at Tamien.
Thanks for the feedback! ^^
 

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Landscape Architect
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243 Posts
An electrified variation of the eBART concept from Mineta's terminals via Santa Clara and Diridon stations to VF/SR and beyond in to the West Valley would ease a lot of this. (I don't like BART's non-standard tech and think the eBART option makes more sense for future extensions). BRT on Winchester would soften N-S congestion issues.
This type of project isn't even on VTAs radar. I'd like to see shovel ready projects like alum Rock extension to the mall or Winchester to Netflix occur first.

But if we are dreaming, a LRT line on San Carlos to Cupertino/De Anza makes most sense to me.
 

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Landscape Architect
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After 8b and 22 years they will open more LRT or BART lines, or we can all just take self driving cars.

Yes, dreaming.

While I'd rather have one network--VTA LRT--BART has a better cachet with riders and voters are more willing to throw billions at BART than at LRT. eBART (or, actually, E-BART, with EMUs rather than DMUs) could capitalize on this without using BART equipment. VTA LRT would, likely, be value-engineered and slow. The ideal would be timed transfers at Diridon among eBART, BART, and Caltrain.
Before 8b
If 1st St and Tasman are any indication, even with dedicated/private ROW LRT is extremely slow, as it still has at-grade intersections and has to follow the traffic lights, and has a lot of stops. I don't think it is that much of an improvement over a bus line. The only areas where LRT serves as a long distance commuter service is on the median sections of 85 and 87 where it has a chance to get up to 50mph. Running a line down San Carlos would probably have the same effect as 1st St, a very slow line that averages something like 15mph. It may be much better to run service down the median of 280. But I think overall LRT seems like it would be much more costly than BRT would be in the long run, as there are providers working on autonomous buses, and no one will work on autonomous LRT vehicles.

But I'm guessing such an idea would not be popular here, as a BRT vehicle will probably only have 70% of the capacity of a LRT double car coupling.

I think though a heterogeneous fleet could allow BRT to maintain 15 minute or shorter headways throughout the day. As well as allow the line to extend all the way to Eastridge sharing duties with the 522 east of downtown, something LRT doesn't allow.

I'm really opposed to VTA extending LRT for now largely due to the cost, the numbers they quote for extensions are crazy high.
 

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Landscape Architect
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243 Posts
not sure why real bart couldn't run down the middle of san carlos/stevens creek on elevated tracks similar to MLK way in oakland from downtown to deanza and then eventually somehow continue up the peninsula. stations at midtown, valley fair, lawrence, valco, deanza. a mandatory transfer at diridon to ebart/lrt would limit passenger traffic.

also, i don't think you'll ever see ebart in the south bay when there's the existing light rail network.
I think the NIMBY crowd would freak out about elevated tracks.
 

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Landscape Architect
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243 Posts
Getting it off the ground makes ground traffic more efficient, and it opens opportunities for pedestrian crossings, which I am a fan of in other countries
Just no Bangkok Skytrain, that thing is a concrete jungle.

I would like to see density and transit along these main arteries.
 

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Landscape Architect
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243 Posts
I'm a higher income transit-dependent user (now, I was a poor student for a lot of years too). I've lived in various places in SF, Mountain View, Santa Clara, Sunnyvale, and San Jose, over the last 25 years, all with different challenges for being carless. I've worked in technology for the most part, so I'm familiar with what commuting into those suburban campuses are like. I have a kiddo, so I'm familiar with the unique aspects of raising a family without a car too.

The last few years I've gone from just being a user to also studying transit, and especially transit in the South Bay. The whole process of buying a house was an exercise in minutely examining the transit-accessibility of neighborhoods from RWC to SJ. (Sadly few places met my needs, but midtown has been an awesome choice.) I'm an enthusiast, not an expert, but this is where my long rants are coming from.

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SF residents don't use transit because their pokey old non-grade separated light rail and buses are faster than cars (BART is just a small piece of the SF transit puzzle). They do it because transit is good enough to get them places and a lot cheaper/easier than driving/parking. SF can support a lot of transit, because it's dense and on grids. Combine with strong disincentives to own/use cars, and you get broad transit adoption.

People who can afford to own cars are not going to be a significant part of the South Bay transit users until most of our job/retail/entertainment areas have become dense enough to be inconvenient to drive to or park in, but have transit access. It can't just be DTSJ, because people will just avoid DTSJ (see VF/SR). Once things are bad enough, some percentage of people will opt out of cars and onto whatever transit is available. But until then....

Since large swaths of the South Bay are morasses of SFRs and office parks, we have a long way to go. We have to plan out an effective transit grid, and then drive development to support density around that grid. But we can't jump straight from grand plans to implementing expensive grade-separated solutions because we haven't even finished the ones we've started, and there's no will currently to bring expensive transit West.

We'll only get there if we focus on serving transit-dependent populations, and growing them with smart TOD. It can be done now with existing budgets, and all it takes is vision and some cooperation from city planning departments. If we start with boring old bus grids, at least we've locked in future transit corridors for higher quality transit in the future.

I'm much less worried about perpetuating the vision of transit as being just for the poor than I am about driving the poor out of the area entirely because we fail to urbanize at all, or build "TOD" in a way that fails to consider and prioritize transit-dependent populations.
Proximity and speed are important factors. I walk with neighbors who presumably own a million dollar home to a VTA LRT with me for daily commutes.

But there is a break point where I won't take transit because the hub spoke model adds hours to some trips.

For example, I had a meeting in Santa Clara near the Hall, transit said my commute to Campbell would be 86min. I got an Uber for $7.93 and was home in 11min. This is an issue region wide.

Even Jarret Walker's vision doesn't solve this.
 

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Landscape Architect
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243 Posts
Dude, it's never been about the ROI or building or not building. The fact is our metro traffic situation is slowly becoming a stage 4 cancer patient and our state officials are bragging about getting overpriced butt implants for the central valley. How this is OK with anyone is beyond belief.
I think the ultimate goal would be to have commuters come in on the HSR, where they can live in the interior. Fresno to Bay Area and Bakersfield to Basin. This will take cars out of the region and allow people to buy affordable housing. It won't be for everyone but in 20 years will be the only way to continue economic growth.
 

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Landscape Architect
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243 Posts
I don't doubt things are leveling off, and I was of the mindset things were due for a slow down or correction. For the first time in 7 years, I think things are looking positive. I hope a few of the proposed residential towers get built. With BART, Caltrain and even VTA upgrades SJ is actually a natural hub. If St. James Park redevelopment occurs along with the adjacent residential, the downtown will have great people spaces. As you said things will always ebb and flow.
 

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Landscape Architect
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243 Posts
I don't know if the BART extension to DTSJ will be completed in my lifetime if ever, but with the chances looking good for BART to be extended to Berryessa, Caltrain getting electrified, and ACE getting extended, I think that those will be enough to make downtown very attractive to employers as freeways in the Bay Area get further clogged up, making locations not convenient to mass transit less and less attractive. If the Capitol Corridor extension to Salinas ever gets moving, that could only help as well.
If you can hang on another decade you will see BART rolling under Santa Clara, maybe only as testing, but hopefully revenue service.

Make it 20 and you might see early HSR testing :)
 

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Landscape Architect
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243 Posts
I have no doubt that Diridon will be serving HSR before it serves BART. I just have this very positive feeling about it.
HSR is 2029 if things proceed on schedule.

BART is 2025 if things proceed on schedule.

BART opens Berryesa later this year. I'm confident it will make it to Diridon before HSR.
 

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Landscape Architect
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243 Posts
Potentially Good news! I had a long chat with Sam Liccardo and Mark Tersini recently. I pointed out the Merc. said July 2018 is scheduled. A lot can happen to it by then,and the project would never get off the ground, I pointed out to them. Sam and Mark agreed and are willing to do anything to fast track this project, possibly break ground soon instead. I hated being so right that no high rise gets going downtown for a long time, and Sam said he'll everything in his power and along with Mark to get this particular project off the ground soon. The Graduate is another project that could get started downtown in a month after demo, according to Josh Burrough, Barry Swenson. I challenged Josh that it's not going to happen since about to get started is a looong way from actually breaking ground just like 80 degrees is along way from 90 degrees which is hot metaphorically speaking. He'll do whatever he can to make this happen since I challenged him.

I don't like to get involved and tinker with projects and have them built just because I interfered with them. It's like I'm strong arming it and cheating. Again, when a wimpy city like Seattle having 67 cranes in the skyline, I just had to intervene! I even told Liccardo that if convince Google to come downtown, we'd would have 100 cranes in the skyline. He said give him several weeks to woo them. He's really motivated since I told him no high rise for a generation and Seattle kicking our butt.

So stay tuned!
Is this satire?
 

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Landscape Architect
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243 Posts
I try not to read his posts, but I actually wouldn't be surprised if he chats with the developers/city on a regular basis.

Anyway, here's the Modera pit that was mentioned a few times. Caught it right before it got dark

Does modera require tanking? I noticed the development on balbach was waterproofed/tanked. I suppose it is the creek proximity and not the water table, but sps isn't far from the creek either.
 

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Landscape Architect
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243 Posts
Does anyone know what the timeline for St. James park is? I know the City created a special district for the park and chose the winning design from the competition, but what are the plans to move forward? Is funding secured? Will the design be taken as is or will it receive additional scrutiny from the City before proceeding on?
SPUR has an update presentation scheduled for June 20th.

http://www.spur.org/events/2017-06-20/what-s-next-st-james-park
 
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