//Originally created as newsletter on July 3rd, 2019
OQRA needs your letters to City Council and your attendance at the upcoming City Council Meeting (Tuesday July 9th, 2019 at 6 pm) to let Council know Santa Clara needs to reject the Gateway Crossings proposal
Many of you came out to the City Council meeting on May 21, 2019 to oppose the project proposal. (Previous communication here http://mailchi.mp/c3b96655a0a3/20190520-letterfromthepresident). After hearing our concerns, our City Council decided to continue the project and asked the developer for a project redesign centered around walkability, retail feasibility, and transit oriented development design.
This project will be reviewed by the City Council again next week (Tuesday July 9th, 2019 at 6 pm). Some changes have been made, but the design falls short of what a good project should be. We will send out more details in the next few days, but we have three main areas of concerns we want to address.
Areas of Concern
A good project should create a true Gateway to Downtown Santa Clara
This is the most transit rich site in Santa Clara with Caltrain, ACE Train, Amtrak, VTA bus hub, free shuttle to San Jose Airport, and future BART stop.
A good project should give transit riders, office workers, and Avaya Stadium event attendees reasons to stop in Santa Clara to investigate and explore the area instead of passing through to our closest transit neighbors in San Jose and Sunnyvale.
A good project should leverage the City’s placemaking efforts from the last couple of years to create an urban village with dynamic retail and public amenities that complements the great Downtown to come.
A good project should have viable retail spaces
At the June 12, 2019 Planning Commission Study Session, the retail expert stated that brick and mortar retail is not going away, it is evolving https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fiEnYqXOhw0
When retail fails, it is because it is built as an afterthought with spaces that are not usable and unattractive.
A good project should have retail spaces that are clustered together to amplify foot traffic.
The spaces should be flexible to accommodate for a variety of services.
Each space should be at least 16ft wide, 50-60ft deep, with pillars at least 20ft apart.
Proper ventilation and space for a grease trap is needed to adapt retail spaces into neighborhood restaurants.
Public space should be set aside to accommodate for temporary retail venues such as food trucks, kiosks, and popup shops should the appetite for retail increases.
The proposed project does not consider any of the factors listed above.
A good project should have great walkability
The proposed design centers around a hotel and 4 large podium deck buildings with sides up to 2 football fields long. These do not provide much ground level connectivity.
The Old Quad grid serves as an amazing template to a highly walkable neighborhood. With blocks spanning between 250’ - 300’, our neighborhood provides great opportunities to roam and explore.
Dividing the large podium decks would allow shorter blocks, making the site more walkable and inviting. Santa Clara has watched El Camino Real being developed with large wastelands of housing and no amenities. As we try to correct the errors along El Camino Real, we need to stop projects that would replicate those errors.
This is a chance for us to hold out for the right project, and not take the first one we are offered.
We are counting on you to help us amplify the message that Santa Clara is done with repeating the mistakes of the past. We Santa Clarans believe our city can become the leader of great urban design in the region and we are serious about paving the path to revitalize our Downtown.
Please pass this on to your friends and neighbors who would like to see fabulous projects spring up in our city. We look forward to seeing your letters, and most importantly you, at the City Council Meeting next Tuesday at 6 pm. Let's show everyone this is “The Center of What's Possible”!