So I’m in San Jose now, and this is my first time in Silicon Valley. I landed at the airport and caught a free shuttle bus to the nearest light rail station where I caught a train that took me within a block of my hotel. I’ve also noticed that a different line could take me to the Cisco campus where the conference will be.
I’m very interested in how Silicon Valley compares with the Research Triangle Park area in NC. Especially in the land use/transit/sprawl department, since so many of our regional neighbors in the Triangle seem so certain than transit will never work there. I’m sure SV is much larger, but it might also be newer – at least as a research/tech region. RTP was founded in the 50’s.
This area is suburban like the Triangle region, but it was built (or grew) in an existing community, whereas RTP was made from scratch in the space between Raleigh, Durham, and Chapel Hill. There are still big parking lots, wide roads, and shiny office buildings a la RTP. But maybe as a result of the existing structure or maybe by design, the large office buildings and corporate campuses in San Jose don’t have massive 100+ foot buffers of trees between them – although they are pleasantly green. And there are many attractive residences of various types. These are key to being able to serve the place with transit.
It’s not like like New York where you can just show up and hop a train immediately (I think I waited 30 minutes for mine) but it still benefits the entire region to be able to get around here without their cars. So far, I have found the same suburban mindset in SV, but the area benefits from better land use planning. I don’t know enough about the area to know if that’s by design or by accident.