8 Miles in 45 Minutes? San Jose Working to Fix Heavy Traffic in North First District

San Jose is looking to alleviate traffic issues that have plagued the North First Street district by creating more housing units and building up the area's commercial and retail space.

City Councilman Kansen Chu said the plan is to create jobs and provide workers a place to live close to where they work.

"We want to encourage the people who work in the high tech companies to consider living near where they work," Chu said.

Commuters said the area is too congested and are concerned traffic in the area will get worse.

The North First district is already home to big-name companies, including eBay, Toshiba and Philips adding to the thousands of drivers who commute to the area. A Samsung office building also is scheduled to be built in the area in a few years.

"If I want to get around it's not easy," said Guru Pattabhiraman, who commutes only eight miles to work. On a bad day he said his commute can take 45 minutes.

"Maybe business should be looking at a different place," Pattabhiraman said. "Maybe they can move more south."

Meanwhile, Chu said housing and commercial growth must move at the same speed. All residential building permits are on hold until more office space is created, which can lead to more congestion in an already crowded area.

"It's pretty maxed out -- a matter of planning for the capacity you have," Chu said. "There's only a certain amount you can fit in the space we have."

The city is in talks with the Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority to increase bus service in the area. Officials also hope more people will consider living close enough to walk or bike to work.

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