February 21, 2018

Googletown, the Next Silicon Valley?

City Council in San Jose California is voting on giving Google “exclusive negotiating rights for parcels of city-owned land next to the Diridon train station, part of a plan to transform 250 acres of downtown San Jose into a transport hub connected to office towers and apartments.”  
Price Tags Vancouver originally wrote about this concept last year where the City of San Jose has been working with Google to create the new Silicon Valley which is vastly different from the original.  Version 2.0 will be  compact, walkable and accessible by public transportation, a stark departure from the suburban sprawl that has brought the cradle of American technological innovation to the brink of a gridlocked meltdown” as reported in the New York Times.
Housing and affordability have been major problems in the San Francisco area where like Vancouver, middle class workers cannot find affordable accommodation. The  Diridon station plan will house offices for up to 20,000 workers but only about 10 per  cent of needed housing.  To give you a sense of the size of this office space, the 8 million square feet are three times the size of Apple’s new “spaceship”  head offices.

Here are the interesting 21st century words about city making from the Mayor of San Jose ~“The future of Silicon Valley critically depends on our development of a vibrant urban center. We’re trying to retrofit the city that was built for automobiles into a city built for people.”
Key to the plan is a central rail transportation hub. “Diridon station, named after Rod Diridon, a tireless advocate of public transport for the Bay Area and already a hub for Amtrak, Caltrain and San Jose’s light-rail system, will be the “largest intermodal transit hub in the West,” according to the mayor.”
By tying in the Diridon station with Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) and the new high-speed rail being constructed in the central valley employees would have access to other housing areas.  The BART connection is expected by 2025 and further connections would enable a worker to travel from Fresno to San Jose in under an hour.
You can take a look at the background to the new plan here.

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