Transit-oriented development (TOD) is high-density residential and non-residential development located near rail transit stations and stops along bus lines with short headways that encourages the use of transit for commuting rather than private automobiles.  Greater reliance on transit reduces traffic congestion and greenhouse gases, and the combination of high densities of housing and employment uses in a walkable community encourages the internalization of commutes within the same neighborhood.

The Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) system currently provides high-speed, heavy-rail transit in and between Alameda and Contra Costa Counties, the City and County of San Francisco, and San Francisco International Airport (located in San Mateo County).  In June 2020, the East Bay line that previously ended in Fremont extended its service into Santa Clara County with a station in Milpitas and another in San José at Berryessa Road.  A further extension, projected to be operational by 2030, will bring this line into and through Downtown San José, terminating in the vicinity of the Downtown Santa Clara Caltrain station.

This future extension with have four stations: 28th Street near Santa Clara Street in the Five Wounds neighborhood; Downtown San José beneath Santa Clara Street between Market and Third Streets; at the Diridon Train Station on Cahill Street; and the Santa Clara station at its terminus.

The Valley Transportation Authority (VTA), which is constructing these extensions, and BART are encouraging the cities of San José and Santa Clara to plan for higher densities of both residential and employment land uses in the areas surrounding these four future stations.  VTA has entitled these areas as Transit Oriented Communities (TOCs).

VTA has issued BART Station Area Playbooks for three of the station areas, recognizing that it did not need to duplicate San José’s current efforts to update its Diridon Station Area Plan, originally adopted in 2014.  VTA’s jobs and housing targets for TOCs surrounding the other three stations are shown below.

VTA’s Jobs & Housing Targets in South Bay BART Station Areas
Bart StationsNew JobsNew Housing Units
28th Street (5 Wounds)2,1007,800
Downtown San José26,50016,000
Santa Clara14,4008,600

The Santa Clara TOC spills over in San José as far as the western boundary of Mineta San José Airport, so some of the new jobs (but no new housing) would be in San José.

For the TOCs located in San José, the City recognizes that its General Plan and some Urban Village plans will need to updated to reflect these ambitious targets.  As part of the Four Year Review of the General Plan, currently underway, the Task Force and City Council will consider increasing the jobs and housing capacities in the Downtown area.  For the 28th Street Station TOC, updates to four Urban Village Plans – Five Wounds, Little Portugal, Roosevelt Park, and 24th & William – will commence in the Summer of 2020.

For the Santa Clara Station TOC, the City of Santa Clara would need to amend its General Plan to implement the Playbook’s vision for the area.  To this end, the City intends to apply to MTC for a grant to prepare a new Santa Clara Station Area Plan.

For further information on each of the three Playbooks, view the 28th Street Station Area, Downtown San José Station Area, and/or Santa Clara Station Area.

SV@Home’s Position: Implement the Playbook Recommendations

SV@Home urges the cities of Santa Clara and San Jose to amend (or adopt) their specific plans and general plans for the neighborhoods around future BART stations to accommodate, at a minimum, the amount of new residential development capacity as recommended in VTA’s Station Area Playbooks.

Read SV@Home’s letter to the San Jose City Council on this matter.