Saturday, November 17, 2007

Creating Demand for Office TOD

Recently Microsoft has started its own bus service to its campus in Redmond. Google and other companies have these bus services and I've discussed before why they annoyed me. But there might be a small consolation bonus in this that wasn't previously realized. Because of companies such as Google, office space is at a premium making it possible to build more office space near transit stops. According to the Silicon Valley Business Journal:

Demand for quality space in Google-land is strong, and market rental rates now justify the costs of redeveloping obsolete industrial structures into higher-density modern offices, observes veteran Silicon Valley commercial broker Gregory M. Davies at CPS/Corfac Intl. in Santa Clara.

Planned commercial projects are taking advantage of the neighborhood's attractive transit service, including not only the VTA light-rail system but also Caltrain's Baby Bullet express service whizzing commuters from San Francisco in well under an hour, Davies adds.

This also brings up another point about San Jose. The office park sprawl there with all the tech companies is probably the worst I've ever seen. I don't get why our buddy Randal O'Toole calls San Jose a failure in Smart Growth when there is none. The land use around light rail is the worst in the country and never focused. Just junk buildings that should be destroyed and reoriented towards the streets and given a grid.

Check out the aerial below to see what it looks like. Tons of parking spaces and wasted land. Its amazing this system gets over 30,000 riders a day. The green and blue lines are the San Jose Light Rail. Looks like its going through a bunch of industrial warehouses, but they are just single use offices.



jarkatmu said...

Thank you for speaking about San Jose's terrible office sprawl. Check out the area by Lawrence Expressway too. It's awful. It's also interesting to see how much land the parking lots consume that could've been used for more office space.

DSK said...

I was also amazed at how uninteresting a place San Jose was once I finally visited it. Several other of the valley towns, too. I had just kind of assumed that it'd be better planned.

Pantograph Trolleypole said...

Yeah. It kind of just grew. I really recommend the book zoned out by Jonathan Levine. He goes into detail about San Jose and its sprawl.

M1EK said...

San Jose's LRT was built simultaneously way too early and way too late to be of any help in land use. The office sprawl was already there, but too new to be torn down and rebuilt, in other words.

Didn't help that their building codes penalize density more than most (due to good reasons like earthquake rules, in addition to all the typical dumb reasons).