rendering of development near Diridon Station
Integrating the Community with Silicon Valley BART Stations
Stacey Hendler Ross

This article was contributed by Dennis Kearney, BART Phase II Planning and Outreach

As the first phase of the BART Silicon Valley extension nears the start of passenger service later this year, VTA is well on its way to finalizing proposed strategies to build communities more integrated with public transit.

A Draft Transit Oriented Communities Strategy Study will be released in August 2019 for public review before it goes to the VTA Board of Directors and the City Councils of San Jose and Santa Clara.

Transit Oriented Communities (TOCs) create high density, pedestrian friendly places to live, work and play with easy access to public transportation. This means you may see your favorite grocery store, along with a café and other small business on the street level, with four or five stories of housing above. You may also walk through a neighborhood park along your walk to and from a BART station.

This study, in coordination with San Jose, Santa Clara and BART, identifies paths to achieving TOCs along sections of Phase Two of the BART Extension, at the Alum Rock/28th Street, Downtown San José, and Santa Clara BART station areas. The Study also complements efforts to revitalize and rebuild the Diridon Station area for both community and transportation improvements.  

To date, the Study has reviewed and assessed existing city and community plans and explored and identified both opportunities and constraints.  At present, VTA is in the process of finalizing proposed implementation strategies and tools that the cities will use to enable TOCs in and around the BART Phase II stations, as well as help achieve affordable housing goals and protect current residents and businesses.  The Study also identifies access improvements to better connect users from the surrounding communities to the new BART stations, including dedicated bike lanes, widening of sidewalks, and the addition of high-visibility crosswalks.

VTA’s Board of Directors will review the study in September, with San Jose and Santa Clara Councils following in October and November. VTA will then work with the cities to begin implementation of the Study’s recommendations by the end of 2019. 

The TOCs Strategy Study sets the stage for an ongoing and collaborative planning process with the cities as well as local, regional, state, and federal governments to secure the future of TOCs in Silicon Valley.
This Summer and Fall, there will be numerous opportunities for the public to learn more about the TOCs Strategy Study, its recommendations, and how TOCs in Santa Clara County can be realized.  For up to date information on the Study’s progress and public events, visit the TOCs Strategy Study webpage:

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