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AARP Livable Communities Charrette: North 13th Street Business Corridor

AARP Livable Communities Charrette: Reimagining Urban Villages & Main Streets


From April 30th – May 5th, AARP hosted a Livable Communities Charrette to address livability in the City of San Jose. The Charrette brought together community members, property owners, developers, local non-profits and public entities to creatively develop strategies for two communities.  Of the two communities, one is the North 13th Street Business Corridor.

See the full charrette report HERE (San Jose Charrette Report). .

Why the North 13th Street Business Corridor?

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For many years, North 13th Street has been identified as a location where major changes are appropriate to create a new “town center” like neighborhood. In particular, the blocks between Hedding and Jackson Streets have previously been regarded as appropriate for higher intensity residential development, combined with ground floor local-serving commercial retail uses.  For purposes of the charrette, however, the segment of N. 13 th Street to be studied will extend to Washington Street in an attempt to provide a more cohesive vision for the entire corridor.

Residents feel that redevelopment of North 13th Street will allow blighted conditions to be corrected. These include a number of poorly maintained or visually unattractive non-local-serving auto service businesses that have parking storage areas that are open to the street and/or chain link fences that interrupt the pedestrian qualities necessary to support local retail and business services.

In past studies, residents have also indicated that housing types along the street should include true “mixed-use” with ground floor retail, apartments of different sizes and configurations, stacked flats or lofts, and live-work studios or other flexible ground floor space. One issue that will need to be addressed is how to best preserve the many residential (albeit legal non-conforming) units that currently exist, while at the same time constructing new residential projects.

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A cohesive street façade should be provided along all of North 13th Street. To that end, residents have been eager to see improvements to the pedestrian environment – sidewalks, street trees, lighting, street furniture, bus stops, and art projects – can have a catalyst effect on adjacent properties and may help spur redevelopment of this area. More recently, there have been calls to effect change more rapidly in the form of tactical urbanism – temporary projects to repurpose small areas of public space into casual community gathering spots.  One such project took place in the Spring of 2017, but there is definite interest in conducting more in the future.

Where can I learn more?

Check back regularly for updates on the North 13th Street Business Corridor site development! #AgeFriendlySJ

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