San Jose Wants Its Own Grand Central Station

It seems impossibly unlikely. A Manhattan-style urban hub in the middle of sprawling, suburban San Jose?

That's the plan next to HP Pavilion, where planners envision a transit hub that would connect people to shopping, work housing, and transportation, all without ever having to set foot in a car.

An environmental impact report on the project is due next spring, according to the San Jose Mercury News, but it already has people on the edge of their seats. The strategy is to create three districts: a business area, an entertainment and retail area, and a residential area.

The area is uniquely poised for the project because of its proximity to Caltrain, Amtrak, VTA and possibly someday BART. Elevated freeways would have to come down, but controversy remains over whether rail would continue to run on elevated tracks. Elevated tracks would be unsightly and would deter people from coming to the area, but an underground train would be expensive and possibly unsafe.

In order to shepherd the project along, planners want a "master developer" who would ensure unified construction efforts. That may take the form of a public/private entity.

Don't start planning your trip to the new hub just yet. It'll be at least a decade before it's built. Delays include the usual California-style paralysis by analysis, as well as funding challenges to extending BART.

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