We're a grassroots organization getting things done.
CSV Calls for Robust Transit Demand Measures (TDM)
Following a historic vote to overhaul minimum parking requirements in new developments, Catalyze SV continued to ask for more robust transportation access alternatives. Continuing our collaboration with Greenbelt Alliance, we led advocacy efforts to update the outdated Transportation Demand Management policy, making it easier for developers to provide transportation access measures from a 'menu' of alternatives.
Eliminating parking minimums ensures more efficient use of scarce land, and updating the TDM code provides a variety of alternatives to developers to provide sustainable alternatives for people to get around. Together, these policies will shape decisions to provide more adequate parking and travel alternatives for a more sustainable future. In fact, in the long term these policies will positively impact traffic congestion, reduce gas emissions, as well as promote more active and walkable neighborhoods.
CSV Advocates for Free Transit Passes to Cut Down on Traffic
A project our members scored twice and we advocated for was approved by the San Jose City Council on June 21, 2022. Our members were impressed by El Paseo de Saratoga's extensive community engagement, as well as the density to create homes for as many people as possible. One of our members' key recommendations was to take advantage of the proximity to transit and incentivize future residents to explore alternative modes of transit. Our members recommended and advocated for VTA transit passes, which the City Council saw as an important element. In small part based on our advocacy, this project will provide VTA transit passes to all residents for a two-year period. Meanwhile, CSV's advocacy on this has spurred the City of San Jose and VTA to start considering proposals to ensure transit passes are provided on VTA land that is being redeveloped.
1710 Moorpark Affordable Housing for the Formally Homeless
Our members reviewed affordable housing for the homeless at 1710 Moorpark in San Jose in September 2019. MidPen Housing developed the project in partnership with Immanuel Evangelical Lutheran Church. We urged MidPen to improve in the categories of Legacy, Transportation, Sustainability, and Vibrancy. Our voices were heard, and improvements were made. An additional 2,500 sq. ft. of public space was reserved for landscaping to improve the vibrancy & sustainability of this project. In addition, MidPen added VTA passes for future residents. The exterior walls that will face Moorpark were dedicated to public art, as we suggested. The project was approved at the end of 2020 using the SB 35 streamlining law.
Improvements to Race Street Affordable Housing Based on Catalyze SV Feedback
In October of 2017, Catalyze SV’s Project Advocacy Committee reviewed the Race Street Family and Senior Affordable Housing by Core Companies and The Santa Clara Housing Authority. We saw the immense benefit this development could bring to the community, and we offered a few improvements that could be implemented. Catalyze SV asked for an active ground floor with retail on-site, fewer parking spaces, and high-quality bike infrastructure within the building. Core Companies revised the project inline with our suggestions, including a 2,000 sq. ft. of retail space, a bike kitchen, and a reduction in parking spaces. These changes allow for a more vibrant development while reducing air pollution from cars. The City of San Jose approved the project in August of 2020.
CSV Joins Partners to Eliminate Parking Mandates
Based on an outdated policy dating back to 1965, new developments in San Jose have been mandated to provide a minimum, standardized number of car parking spots disconnected from today's reality. With too many cars causing congestion & pollution, Catalyze SV advocates for developments that encourage convenient transportation choices and sustainable, healthy development.
So alongside partner Greenbelt Alliance, Catalyze SV led a coalition of a dozen organizations advocating changes to San Jose's parking policy for new developments, including writing an Op-Ed on the topic. Meanwhile, to build community awareness and support for this shift, Catalyze SV planned two educational events - one in September 2021 and another in May 2022. In Dec. 2022, the City Council finalized major changes to its policies, eliminating costly parking mandates & encouraging more sustainable ways of getting around.
CSV Supports Vendors to Save Berryessa Flea Market
In July 2020, Catalyze SV brought together 11 advocacy organizations & labor unions to advocate for a redevelopment of the Berryessa Flea Market site that focuses more on affordable housing, transit access & preservation of the Flea Market.
In early 2021, joining with the newly formed Berryessa Flea Market Vendors Association, we were a core part of a broad coalition fighting the displacement of the vendors from our community & a future for the Flea Market in San Jose. Together, we secured a better deal for the vendors as this redevelopment unfolds. Now, CSV and our coalition are working with San Jose staff to envision the next iteration of the Flea Market.
Catalyze SV Gets Transit Passes Added for Future Residents
In May 2019, community members who are part of Catalyze SV's Project Advocacy Committee evaluated an innovative proposal on North 1st Street in San Jose from nonprofit housing developer The Kelsey. Catalyze SV highlighted the proposal's strengths & its areas for improvement. In July 2019, The Kelsey presented a revised proposal that included one of Catalyze SV's main suggestions - complimentary transit passes for all residents to encourage transit usage & reduce the need for more parking spaces as part of the project. Fewer parking spaces means fewer cars, which means less traffic in the neighborhood, less air pollution & more space in the building for more homes. Catalyze SV supporters turned out at a July 2019 community meeting to express their positive perspectives on this project.
Catalyze SV Supports Senior Housing on El Camino
In October 2017, the Santa Clara City Council voted for a 151-unit mixed-use, senior apartment development with 18,000 sq ft of retail on El Camino Real & Anna Drive. It's a few minute walk to a rapid bus stop, two grocery stores, and two pharmacies. The Development includes five homes to be affordable to renters of moderate income or lower and a much-needed community room. Catalyze SV pushed for more units, less parking, and more affordability. With Catalyze SV and others expressing strong support for the project before the City Council vote, a majority of comments favored the proposal. This provided key backing for the City Council to approve the project after it had previously rejected it.
Our Successful Push for More Affordable Homes
In February 2021, our Project Advocacy Committee members first scored the Cambrian Village mixed-used proposal with over 400 homes from developer Kimco Realty. One concrete suggestion our members made was to include on-site affordable homes. The developer held firm to only 15 affordable homes. So in Feb. 2022, we launched an action alert calling on our stakeholders to email the developer directly to ask for more affordable homes. In the summer, the developer changed course, deciding on 30 affordable homes. CSV still thought they could do more.
In the days before the key City Council vote on the project, in line with our members' advocacy, a memo from the Mayor, Councilmember Foley and other Councilmembers called on Kimco Realty to increase the number of affordable homes to 50. Cambrian Village agreed and the project was unanimously approved by the San Jose City Council in August 2022.
Agrihood Concept Selected by City of Santa Clara
In 2013, neighbors saw opportunity in an empty city-owned parcel in his neighborhood. Kirk organized a group of neighbors and paid architects – out of his own pocket – to create a vision for the land. Their vision included mixed-income housing, as well as an urban farm and open space. They called it The Agrihood. Developers took note. One developer included the vision for The Agrihood in their proposal. Three developers submitted bids to the City Council. Dozens of neighbors showed up to advocate for The Agrihood. The City Council voted with the neighbors, selecting the developers who wanted to build The Agrihood. The project broke ground in Sept. 2021 and is expected to be completed in late 2023.
CSV Members Play a Major Role in Improving 259 Meridian
Community members in Catalyze SV’s Project Advocacy Committee first reviewed 259 Meridian in July 2018. Strangis Properties took our member’s feedback seriously. After presenting 3 plans over 2 years - each one improved based on our feedback - CSV was ready to fervently advocate for 259 Meridian. With major improvements, and Catalyze SV’s advocacy, the project was approved by the San Jose City Council in June 2020. This approval attests to our "Improve, then Approve" strategy - urging developers to design more equitable, sustainable, & vibrant projects that can yield huge wins for the community. In working with the developer, we were able to get such improvements added as: on-site affordable housing, family housing added, parking spaces traded for a “mobility stipend”, & public art in a 24-hour plaza. When our members & developers find consensus on designing the best projects possible, the community wins.