Downtown San Jose Street Life Plan

San Jose, CA

Over eight months, CMG worked with the PBID to establish a vision for Downtown, identify initiatives for working toward that vision, and invent a diverse array of projects to catalyze and exemplify improvements for street life in San Jose.

The Downtown San Jose Street Life Plan creates a vision for a next generation of open space improvements in the city center based on stakeholder input and a long-term needs assessment. The Plan operates in the provocative region between top-down planning initiatives and uncoordinated individual interests and opportunities. Proposals aim to encourage and facilitate vibrant social interaction, promote pedestrian life, enhance the physical image of the District, and be a source of pride for the community. Improvements leverage and bolster the district’s assets, advance broad initiatives for a better downtown, and exemplify the values and characteristics of a good public realm.

The Plan identifies 11 Focus Areas, streets or routes that are particularly significant to the improvement of the Downtown public realm. Covering a spectrum of conditions, the Focus Area network touches the entire District. It captures the most active ways into and across town–streets that are already important–and addresses others with unique potential. Each Focus Area is analyzed: its characteristic existing conditions; important qualities; challenges, and assets; and opportunities for improvement–both long term, planning-scale considerations and specific recommendations for improvement projects.

The Plan embraces Downtown San Jose’s streets and open space as places that should evolve over time to become more livable, rich and interesting, accruing texture and character through art, landscaping, and spaces for city life.

In 2016, CMG envisioned San Jose’s downtown as a vibrant corridor bringing together the arts, innovation and technology. Park Paseo links San Jose State University to Cesar Chavez Park through the heart of downtown, and extends the pedestrian experience along Park Avenue to Guadalupe River Park. Recently, CMG designed two blocks of Park Avenue into a “Garden Street’ and worked with the City to develop and implement Design Guidelines for the Park Avenue corridor.