What’s in store for Capital Expressway?

The new Capital Expressway. Image by Richard Masoner.

The new Capital Expressway. Image by Richard Masoner.

San Jose wants to change its car-oriented ways, at least a bit, and transforming Capital Expressway from a 10-lane surface highway into a multi-modal transit corridor. With new VTA light rail, BRT, sidewalks, bike lanes, and a road diet, it seems there is a bright future in store for the area.

Richard Masoner of Cyclelious explored the environmental impact report (EIR) and found that, while the redesign will be a definitive good thing, some of the issues around parking should raise eyebrows.

A couple of things about parking really caught my eye in the EIR:

  • VTA uses a “Santa Clara County Travel Demand Model” to calculate the number of Park-and-Ride spaces that are needed when they build a new transit center. Whoever authored the EIR then points out that this model “tends to overestimate the number of people arriving at a light rail station and parking their car for the day. Historically, VTA has found more individuals arrive by walking, being dropped off or transferring from a bus than estimated by the model, resulting in an overestimation of the Parkand-Ride demand.”
  • The project proposes no new parking for Alum Rock Station, which has 129 parking spaces. The VTA Parking Demand Model predicts a need for nearly 500 parking spaces at the Eastridge Transit Center, a significant expansion over the 135 spaces currently available there. VTA plans to add 140 more spaces [UPDATE: After publication, the total rose from 275 to 417 spaces] to the park and ride lot, but to build the station, VTA will remove nearly 500 parking spaces from the adjoining Eastridge Shopping Mall. There will be a net loss in available parking, but maybe a net increase in foot traffic with an anticipated 4000+ people traveling through this transit center.

San Jose will never become the walkable place it wants to be if even its built-up light rail stations have massive park & ride lots. Maybe there will eventually be pressure to change, but not if it keeps relying on models it knows are bad.

Read the whole piece on Cyclelicious.

Written by David Edmondson

David Edmondson

David is a native Marinite working in Washington, DC. He writes about how to apply smart-growth and urbanist thinking to the low-density towns of his home.

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