San Jose City Council to Review New Plans For Diridon Station

After more than a year of design work by four local agencies, preliminary plans for a re-envisioned Diridon Station have been unveiled.

The city of San Jose, the Peninsula Corridor Joint Powers Board, the Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority and the California High-Speed Rail Authority joined forces in July 2018 and hired Arcadis Design & Consultancy and Benthem Crouwel Architects to come up with spatial layouts for the new station.

This afternoon, the San Jose City Council will have a chance to review and provide feedback on the proposed schematics.

According to a memo from San Jose’s Department of Transportation Director John Ristow, the council will be tasked with evaluating three major features:

  • Elevated station platforms, which will create street-level connections and reconnect neighborhoods on both sides of the tracks for pedestrians, bicyclists and drivers.
  • Two station entrances with one on Santa Clara Street and the other near San Fernando Street. The entrance on Santa Clara Street will be near BART, light rail, bus and allow for quick transfers. The entrance near San Fernando street will create a seamless connection for cyclists, creeks, neighborhoods and future development.
  • That the track approaches in the existing northern and southern corridors.

The consultancy team originally drafted up three designs, but after receiving critiques from the public, added a fourth that, “optimizes transit and passenger needs, while supporting future development potential,” according to Ristow’s memo.

“The layout prioritizes access to the station for pedestrians, bicyclists, and transit patrons, while also siting vehicle parking and pick­ up and drop-off zones adjacent to the core station area,” Ristow wrote. “It creates the opportunity for grade- separated light rail through the station area, as well as space for bus stops and a future airport connection.”

To accommodate for a spike in transit users, consultants are considering the development of a rail viaduct structure that would pass over the I-280/87 interchange. However, the project would have some tradeoffs, such as an increase in noise.

In a Nov. 24 memo, Mayor Sam Liccardo, Councilwoman Dev Davis and Councilman Raul Peralez requested that any decision on the track approaches be deferred until early 2020 so that the community and the council can fully understand the viaduct.

“Our community has invested a great deal of time and effort-some for more than a decade-and has monitored this process carefully,” the councilors said about the process. “We must clearly and transparently articulate the tradeoffs presented by the construction of a viaduct versus the use of the existing Southern Corridor for all trains.”

Liccardo, Davis and Peralez plan to ask city officials to hold a study session in January to understand some of the aspects of the viaduct, such as the property it would effect and other general impacts on nearby neighborhoods.

Over the next year, the local agencies and its consultants will focus on conceptual engineering drawings, cost estimates, passenger flow analysis and environmental impacts, among other things.

The San Jose City Council meets at 1:30pm Tuesday inside the council chambers at City Hall, 200 E. Santa Clara St. Click here to read the entire agenda. 

Grace Hase is a staff writer for San Jose Inside and Metro Silicon Valley. Email tips to [email protected]. Follow her on Twitter at @grace_hase.

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