The Bigger Picture: Seven Ideas for Downtown San José

Making the most of big plans for new development, a major rail expansion and a project to re-envision public green space

SPUR Report
The Bigger Picture: Seven Ideas for Downtown San José Report Cover

SPUR’s Bigger Picture series proposes ideas for key locations in San Francisco, San José and Oakland, the Bay Area’s three largest cities. Each exploration represents an opportunity to tackle major regional challenges through local planning processes. And, conversely, each suggests how big investments in infrastructure can — if planned carefully — bring about positive transformation for the immediate neighborhood. 

We partnered with AECOM to identify locations that have important implications for the region. The ideas we explore are not prescriptions but possibilities — offering one vision of what a more sustainable, equitable and prosperous future might look like. 

Our first report in the series looks at the western side of downtown San José, where a major rail station expansion, a park re-envisioning process and a record number of proposed developments are signaling big changes for the neighborhood. We explore possibilities like redesigning elevated State Route 87 as a boulevard and turning SAP Arena into an entertainment center.