Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Using Space Better Comments

About a month ago I wrote up this post on using space better using San Jose as an example. Well today reader Marc made this observation:
That looks like the lettered part of the Cisco campus (or at least the area near it - lettered buildings are west of 1st, numbered buildings are east). I worked in building 6 (or was it 7) for a few years. While that particular building was at the Cisco Way station, getting around campus without a car was terrible. An example - people would *drive* to get across the street to building 10. Why? Because you can only cross (safely) at the corners and the blocks are very long.

Tasman is also very wide (5 lanes in each direction, if you include the turn lanes), plus enough width for three tracks of lightrail. If you're going from a midblock building to the midblock building across the street, you're looking at a 10-15 minute walk.
Wow. Not just bad to get there, but bad to work there too. Thanks for the comment Marc. And welcome to all those who found their way here from Blogs of Note.


arcady said...

True story: when I was working in silicon valley over the summer, the company had rented some extra office space across the street from their campus. The street happened to be San Tomas Expressway, which is like 10 lanes wide including turn lanes. The company actually ran a shuttle bus just to get across the street, and "strongly discouraged" people from attempting to walk across the crosswalk, even threatening unspecified consequences from Security.

Winston said...

There is no point on Tasman Drive where it you would have to cross 10 lanes of traffic to cross the road. There are 2 points on West Tasman where you would have to cross 9 lanes and 2 points where you would have to cross 7. There are a few places where you would have to cross 5. However, the problem with Cisco's campus has little to do with the width of Tasman and lots to do with the placement of the buildings and the design of the parking lots. When you have to walk 400 feet to get to the street, and another 400 feet to get to the crosswalk and do it again on the other side, the 200 feet to cross the street is nothing.

I think the real problem here was Cisco's decision to design their complex the way that they did. They could have opted to place their buildings much closer to the street which would have made the complex much more pedestrian friendly.

arcady said...

I wonder what the setback requirements are in that part of San Jose. Perhaps the bad building placement was actually mandated by law, as these things often are. However, there is some hope. The older buildings weren't built to last very long, and many are now being torn down, and their replacements are much taller.

M1EK said...

That reminds me of the Austin IBM office - where I walked ONCE at lunch to the other side of Burnet to play basketball. Only once; after I found out it took almost 15 minutes each way. Drove the next 1000 times or so.

(This is why the people who think commuter rail will somehow serve the Domain are idiots, by the way; they're vastly underestimating how far apart things are up there).

arcady said...

Commuter rail does serve Silicon Valley, but requires a transfer at the work end, to light rail or shuttle bus or bicycle or even your own car parked on that end. And this definitely cuts down the number of people taking it significantly. Without the connecting light rail/shuttles, the ridership would be almost nonexistent. Your Austin case is probably similar.

Winston said...

I don't believe the setback requirements are very large in that part of San Jose. In fact I'm pretty certain that they aren't as is illustrated by the few non-Cisco buildings that are on Tasman and which are much closer to the street. Also, Cisco's site plans are identical in Milpitas where zoning codes are different. San Jose does plenty of stupid things, but mandating Cisco's poor campus design (and it really is terrible) isn't one of them.

As for commuter rail, there is a station on Tasman, just west of Cisco's campus. It is served by a good shuttle bus system, but needs better pedestrian access as well as an easier transfer to the light rail. Hopefully some of this will come when the rail line is double tracked sometime in 2012 or 2013.