Park Paseo

San Jose, CA

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Revitalizing the Central Axis of Downtown San Jose

The failing of urban renewal in San Jose, California, is tangible as experienced by the pedestrian – wide streets surrounded by large buildings and parking lots where developments were planned but never materialized. The district streets and urban environments that include Park Avenue, Almaden Boulevard, Paseo de San Antonio, and surrounding super block developments are products of grand urban redevelopment projects of the 1960’s – 1980’s and do not support positive public life nor urban ecology. The redevelopment vision of Park Paseo de San Antonio, a 3-block pedestrian-only extension of Park Avenue, creates the most vibrant corridor in downtown San Jose to date. The city, local stakeholders, and the design team created for a multi-functional corridor, where people, and birds, move in comfort across the downtown. The project will be a model of urban infrastructure, to reduce heat island effect, sequester carbon, treat storm water, support urban ecology, and provide access to social spaces within nature.

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The project defines a vision to achieve the following goals: equity – to reallocate use of the right-of-way to reduce presence of vehicles and increase area for other public benefits; wellness – to create a delightful environment to entice and support active mobility and healthy connections; and justice – to increase access to urban nature and high-quality public space for everyone. Developed through an intensive stakeholder and community engagement process, the consultant team, led by CMG worked closely with the City of San Jose to articulate a vision for the revitalization of Park Avenue and the Paseo de San Antonio. The process of planning and design has been iterative over four years, responsive to cultural and economic conditions of the moment. The project has moved forward because of the clear principles and goals for an urban design vision championed by sustained city leadership.

The success of the project relies on coordination and integration of improvements of both public and private property to present the Park Paseo garden street as a cohesive environment; this level of multi-party, public-private coordination is rare in urban revitalization where the goal is seamless integration, and visual and material continuity between private and public property.