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.