Diridon / Arena Strategic Development Plan
San Jose, CA
Acknowledging its role as a world class city and the capital of the high-tech economy, the San Jose Redevelopment Agency sought to create a vision for a vibrant, new downtown. The Diridon / Arena Strategic Development Plan creates a high-density, mixed-use extension to downtown San Jose centered on Diridon Station, California’s highest intensity transit station, and the San Jose Arena.
Intermodal transit is the key to the plan, which expands downtown San Jose with a 30-block, 166-acre area that will introduce Bay Area Rapid Transit, increased light rail and bus system services, and possible high speed rail use at historic Diridon Station. By 2025, over 17,000 daily passengers are expected in the station area. 4.3 million square feet of mixed-use office and 1,800 units of high density residential will provide a significant share of the job base and ridership that support these transit improvements.
Significant challenges affect area development. The study area is separated from the core downtown by a river and an elevated freeway. Building height is limited by the nearby international airport's flight path, while a high water table restricts building depth. Perhaps most significantly, current regulations require a high parking supply that discourages a pedestrian-oriented streetscape.
As transit improves and parking demand decreases, the plan incrementally reduces commercial parking supply requirements from an initial 2.5 spaces/1,000 gsf to 1.5 spaces/1,000. Up to 20% of this supply is required in off-site, shared structures. The goals of this parking strategy are to encourage transit use, increase developable parcel area, and create a pedestrian-friendly street environment.
The plan's pedestrian emphasis enhances connections to the existing downtown and adjacent neighborhoods. A continuous land use pattern with small, walkable blocks creates an expanded downtown core, while streetscape design provides a variety of pedestrian linkages as well as identity for the new district. Thirty-two acres of continuous park and riparian open space provide additional land value and regional amenity. Building placement enhances visual connections by retaining view corridors to the overall skyline, the distant mountains, and landmark buildings.