How community insights are informing the urban design for Downtown West

With the City of San José adjusting the date for City Council consideration of the Downtown West project from late 2020 to early 2021, we want to assure the community that Google remains committed to the Downtown West project and to ongoing engagement about our proposed plans. 

Over the last year, we’ve heard from thousands of community members at events across the City. We appreciate the collaborative exchange of ideas between our team and the San José community, and are excited to share how we’re incorporating feedback in our design ideas for Downtown West with this first video update. After watching the video, we encourage you to share your feedback with this brief survey

Community insights

Click to see our video on how community insights are informing the urban design for Downtown West. Available in Spanish and Vietnamese subtitles.

Please share your feedback after the video!

Here are a few insights that we cover in the video

Parks & Open Space

In our previous workshops discussing parks and open space, we heard about the importance of programming including activities, management, and ongoing maintenance of the physical space. 

Community members participating in our workshops looked at eight sites across our project. From St. John’s Triangle in the north to Los Gatos Creek in the south, participants identified specific themes as most important in design, such as providing flexible spaces and prioritizing trail alignment and connectivity to key areas.  We also heard, “We should incorporate nature as best we can and preserve as much of it while we try to enjoy cultures.” 

Streetscapes & Curbside Experiences

In feedback about streetscapes and the desired curbside experiences, most advocated for a car-free downtown; however, the community also saw the need for accessible street parking. We also heard from you that spending time outside is important as well as connecting people to nature and bringing people together, “I want SJ to be a space people want to spend outside, makes the city feel alive.” 

The community also emphasized the importance of a pedestrian-friendly environment. So we heightened our focus on connectivity of the street network. Coordinating with the existing network, our project will integrate multiple micro-mobility solutions including protected bikeways, trails and shared streets. 

Buildings & Public Realm

At the February workshop we began asking, “What's important in the experience of buildings within the public realm?” We heard, “blending old and new helps keep SJ’s history.” Input on ground floor building experiences provided us with a good starting point for our next discussions, and we’re looking forward to sharing more on the approaches to building design. 

Timeline graphic of project milestones for the Downtown West Project

The project has been informed by thousands of ideas and comments from across the City. The upcoming Downtown West Design Standards and Guidelines will work within the city’s framework, and ensure the vision that we’ve created together will be realized. We’ll share more about these design standards and guidelines in future updates. 

Over the next few months, you can expect to see more video updates as well as surveys and online workshops so we can continue to gather your feedback.

A few ways to stay engaged

After you’ve watched our video update, we encourage you to share your comments with this brief survey

If you would like more information about the Downtown West project review process and schedule, please go to the City’s website to learn more

If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact us at downtownwest@google.com  

Thank you for your interest in the Downtown West project. We hope you and your families are safe during this challenging time.