A Once in a Century Opportunity
VTA’s BART Silicon Valley Phase II Extension through Downtown San José and Santa Clara provides an extraordinary opportunity to sustainably organize Santa Clara County's future growth around BART. High demand for housing of all types, including affordable housing, a strong job market, and new transit options provide the essential ingredients for developing Transit Oriented Communities (TOCs) that are equitable and walkable places to live, work, shop, and play.
By design, TOCs are accessible and make transit use easy and convenient, resulting in less driving, more walking, and reduced impacts on existing communities. TOCs also support active street-level uses, creating opportunities for engaging storefronts and places to eat, shop, and socialize. These spaces can improve the quality of life in our cities and communities and fulfill community, city, and regional goals.
Realizing the TOC Vision
In June 2020, the Federal Transit Administration awarded VTA an additional $1.58 million to begin TOC Playbook implementation. VTA will continue to work with the Cities of San José and Santa Clara and the communities we serve to implement the TOC Playbook strategies by:
- Developing and/or updating plans for the 28th Street/Little Portugal and Santa Clara BART station areas
- Developing and establishing VTA BART Phase II mobility and investment district(s) and other mechanisms to fund and implement projects and programs that support TOCs
- Creating TOD Design Development Frameworks (DDFs) for VTA-owned property in the 28th Street/Little Portugal station area
TOC Vision for Each Station Area
The TOC vision for the 28th Street/Little Portugal station area is characterized by strong Latino and Portuguese identities and is a destination for Latino and Portuguese food, arts, heritage, and culture. The concentration of ethnically diverse businesses – along with cultural institutions such as the Five Wounds Church and Mexican Heritage Plaza – draw visitors from across the city and region. The area is especially well-known for its food scene.
The TOC vision for the Downtown San José station area is vibrant, safe, prosperous, affordable, and equitable. It is the largest urban center in Silicon Valley and a unique place to work, live, and play. Downtown is a center of business, culture, history, and entertainment. It is a 24/7 place where local businesses, community-based organizations, and public life thrives. Ground floor spaces are active, and the streets are lively. Community landmarks are celebrated as hubs for vibrant public life, and calm public spaces provide opportunities for respite and spending time with family and friends.
The TOC vision for the Santa Clara station area will be added after the Santa Clara station area Playbook is finalized.
The TOC Playbooks
The TOC Playbooks set the stage to implement the TOC vision for each BART Phase II station area.
The TOC Playbooks provide strategies for creating affordable and workforce housing, supporting small businesses, enhancing commercial areas, providing mobility for everyone, and generally creating great places that strengthen community identity. To realize TOCs, land use regulations must be updated, and funding and implementation must be prioritized.