California Today: Google’s Idea for a New Silicon Valley
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Today’s introduction comes from Thomas Fuller, the San Francisco bureau chief.
Google and the city of San Jose have a vision for a new Silicon Valley: compact, walkable and accessible by public transportation, a stark departure from the suburban sprawl that has brought the cradle of American technological innovation to the brink of a gridlocked meltdown.
The San Jose City Council will vote Tuesday on whether to offer Google exclusive negotiating rights for parcels of city-owned land next to Diridon train station, part of a plan to transform 250 acres of downtown San Jose into a transport hub connected to office towers and apartments.
“The future of Silicon Valley critically depends on our development of a vibrant urban center,” Mayor Sam Liccardo of San Jose said in an interview. “We’re trying to retrofit the city that was built for automobiles into a city built for people.”
The Diridon development would have office space for 15,000 to 20,000 workers and include 2,500 units of housing, the mayor said.
Mr. Liccardo says that he expects the Council to approve the start of negotiations and that a plan with Google, which has already bought up privately owned parcels of land near the station, will be ready to sign by early next year.
Diridon station, named after Rod Diridon, a tireless advocate of public transportation for the Bay Area, is a hub for Amtrak, CalTrain and San Jose’s light-rail system. By 2025 the station would also host Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) trains and, if fierce opposition by the state’s Republican Congressional delegation is overcome, a high-speed rail line already under construction in the central valley. Mr. Liccardo describes the station as the largest intermodal transit hub in the western United States.
A Google spokesman said the company was looking to build up to 8 million square feet of office space at the site, around three times the size of Apple’s new “spaceship” headquarters. The increase in office space would be gradual, the spokesman said, and of course contingent on reaching a deal with the city.
“This is very early on,” Mr. Liccardo said. “We haven’t even started dating yet and folks are already talking about the size of the ring.”
(Please note: We regularly highlight articles on news sites that have limited access for nonsubscribers.)
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• State officials are moving to restore access to a beach that was blocked by a Silicon Valley billionaire. [Sacramento Bee]
• California is home to six of the seven least affordable metropolitan areas in the United States — and it’s only supposed to get worse. [Sacramento Bee]
• “Everyone loves L.A. — and that’s the problem.” [Opinion | Los Angeles Times]
• They may be angry with President Trump, but these tech executives still came to the White House. [The New York Times]
• The start-up economy is disrupting not only old industries but also the entire concept of work. [The New York Times]
• Carrie Fisher tested positive for cocaine, methadone and opiates when she was admitted to the hospital before her death. [The New York Times]
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• A guide to the many free museums in Los Angeles. [Time Out Los Angeles]
It’s been called Sacramento’s Golden Gate Bridge.
Stretching across a bend in the Sacramento River, the Tower Bridge serves as the western portal to the city’s downtown.
Shelley Green, a reader from Vacaville, shared a photo she captured of the bridge lit up against the night sky.
The vertical lift bridge was erected during the Great Depression to relieve transportation pressure in the fast-growing city.
Built in the Streamline Moderne architectural style, it became a beacon of civic optimism.
Gov. Frank Merriam declared during the bridge’s dedication in 1935: “California during the Depression has been a bridge building state. And the bridge right here is the most beautiful.”
Aside from the Capitol dome, the Tower Bridge remains Sacramento’s most visible landmark.
In recent years, it’s also been the setting for one of the hottest events of the city’s social calendar.
For one night each fall, it is closed and decked out with dining tables for the Tower Bridge Dinner. The gala routinely sells out in minutes.
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The California Today columnist, Mike McPhate, is a third-generation Californian — born outside Sacramento and raised in San Juan Capistrano. He lives in Los Osos. Follow him on Twitter.
California Today is edited by Julie Bloom, who grew up in Los Angeles and graduated from U.C. Berkeley.