This “Hell is other people” letter to the editor in the San Jose Mercury News last Friday caught my eye.
The Cambrian area is in south San Jose. The four lanes in front of this writer’s house is probably something like Camden Avenue or Union Avenue. Cambrian is 12 miles from downtown San Jose.
Mr. Ronald Whitney’s solution to his suburban traffic congestion problem is to stop the high density development taking place right now in downtown San Jose. I’m not quite sure where he expects people — including the two generations of children from his neighborhood — to live. If they don’t live downtown, they’ll live out in the suburbs, and golly, a lot of those people might have to drive past his house.
If his neighbors move, instead, to the several hundred units now under construction near downtown, and the several thousand housing units along North 1st, and another 1500+ units that will break ground this year near the Milpitas BART station, then maybe he might even see a slight reduction in traffic in south San Jose.
More houses in the suburbs means more traffic everywhere. More housing near downtown means a more pleasant drive for those who live in the burbs. Right?
Transportation planning = land use planning
Take another look at the Google Map above. The blue line shows the suggested driving route from Cambrian Park to downtown. When Mr. Whitney’s long time neighbors first moved to the area 50 years ago, Highways 85 and 87 did not exist. You can see some of the construction at the 85 / 87 interchange in this video from 1989 about the “Guadalupe Corridor Project.”
The video highlights the light rail system, but in reality, the project was about building six to eight lane freeways to connect the suburbs with the northern industrial area. Residential development followed the roads, and so we now have extremely heavy traffic in Cambrian Park.