SOURCE: City of San Jose California

City of San Jose California

February 10, 2009 19:58 ET

Diridon Station to Be Focus of Harvard Design Group

World-Renowned Urban Planner and Top Graduate Students to Address Future of New Regional Mega Transportation Hub

SAN JOSE, CA--(Marketwire - February 10, 2009) - The City of San Jose has entered into an agreement with the Harvard University Graduate School of Design for an Urban Design Studio Project to begin identifying possibilities for the future of San Jose's Diridon Station and its adjacent surroundings.

The project, "New Ways: San Jose/Silicon Valley," will offer a creative vision that will support overall economic development goals, enhance grant funding opportunities for the station expansion, and complement other planning taking place in preparation for the start of California's new high-speed rail service.

"The development of the Diridon Station area into a 21st century transportation center including high-speed rail, BART, Caltrain and VTA light rail is a huge opportunity for downtown San Jose -- and the city as a whole -- that connects our technology and knowledge job centers in North San Jose and Edenvale with the rest of the State," said Paul Krutko, chief development officer for the City of San Jose. "We are pleased the Harvard team has agreed to study this area for the year's student project. We expect to see some very creative approaches to how this area might develop in the future as it grows to be the premier transportation hub of northern California."

The recent passage of Proposition 1A makes possible the construction of the California high-speed rail system, a $33 billion project connecting all of California's major cities and reducing overall travel time throughout the state. For example, travel time from San Francisco to Los Angeles will take 2 hours via the high-speed rail system. And travel between San Jose and San Francisco will take 30 minutes. To serve the same number of travelers as the high-speed train system, California would have to build nearly 3,000 lane-miles of freeway plus five airport runways and 90 departure gates by 2020.

In San Jose, light rail, bus, ACE, Caltrain, Amtrak, and the future BART extension will all converge at the Diridon Station with an estimated 1,200 trains, buses and light rail arrivals and departures per day. This convergence is unique in the Western U.S. and will rival major transportation hubs in Asia, the Eastern U.S. and Europe. It allows riders to get to more geographic destinations in California than anywhere else on the high-speed rail system.

"It's San Jose's goal to build one of the world's great transit stations. High-speed rail at Diridon will be front door to San Jose, Silicon Valley and the Bay Area. Thus, it is very important to plan a 'gateway experience' that welcomes everyone to our City," said Krutko.

Headed by Dr. Rodolfo Machado, professor in Practice of Architecture and Urban Design at the Harvard University Graduate School of Design, and Co-Chair of the Department of Urban Planning and Design, the Harvard Urban Design Studio team will formulate innovative views of a next generation transit station, analyze partnerships that could contribute to economic development and educate the public about innovative solutions to land use issues and challenges.

"High-speed rail service has worked as a catalyst to stimulate city growth in cities around the world," said Machado. "Promoting development of areas adjacent to high-speed rail stations can have dramatic positive impacts on San Jose's future. For example, many high-speed rail stations become city centers with transit terminals, hotels, offices, department stores, cultural facilities, restaurants and shopping arcades, while also contributing to redevelopment of surrounding areas."

Machado, who has taught design studios in urban design and architecture at Harvard since 1987, has directed urban planning projects around the globe, including in Dubai, Moscow, Budapest, Seoul, Buenos Aires and Bilbao.

In San Jose, Machado will oversee the design proposals from 12 Harvard graduate students. The City receives these proposals to use for informational and educational purposes.

"As we reflect upon the future of Diridon Station and the addition of high-speed rail service to San Jose, it is important that we consider a variety of perspectives. It's our hope that the Harvard group will provide inspiration and insight that will develop one of the world's best transit hubs for the 21st Century while preserving the character and livability of our neighborhoods," said Hans Larsen, deputy director, San Jose Department of Transportation.

ABOUT SAN JOSE'S GREEN VISION

On October 7, 2007, Mayor Chuck Reed introduced San Jose's Green Vision, which sets 10 ambitious goals for environmental protection and economic development. This 15-year plan envisions: creating 25,000 Clean Tech jobs; building or retrofitting 50 million square feet of green buildings; installing 100,000 solar roofs (1/10 of Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger's 1 million solar roofs for California initiative); reducing per capita electricity use by half; becoming a zero waste city; recycling and reusing 100 percent of the city's water; and moving to 100 percent renewable energy. A key part of the San Jose Green vision is the creation of a Green Mobility system -- an integrated and sustainable way to get from place to place. This system focuses on long-term land use planning, reducing emissions from vehicles, embracing clean transportation technology, creating smart green streets, providing pedestrian and bicycling opportunities, and creating a green airport.

ABOUT THE CITY OF SAN JOSE

From its founding in 1777 as California's first city, San Jose has been a leader, driven by its spirit of innovation. Today, San Jose stands as the largest city in Northern California and the Capital of Silicon Valley -- the world's leading center of innovation. The city, the 10th largest in the U.S., is committed to remaining a top-ranked place to do business, to work and to live. For more information, visit, www.sanjoseca.gov.

Contact Information

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    Steven Brewster
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    San Jose Office of Economic Development
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