Thirteenth Street SNI Redevelopment
N. 13th St. in 1970's
Latest Agenda for 13th St NAC
Goals and Objectives
"North 13th Street is ideally and centrally situated
to become a pedestrian-friendly neighborhood shopping district. It is
a gateway to downtown San Jose, to the Northside and to the upscale
Naglee Park neighborhood, siphoning traffic directly off Highway 101.
It is also adjacent to Japantown and the numerous new condominium developments
there, as well as to the office and light industrial complexes along
Oakland Road in the 'Golden Triangle' area of North San Jose. A civic
investment in North 13th Street promises to bring great dividends to
the surrounding neighborhoods as well as to both the residential and
business communities of San Jose at large."
- NNA Redevelopment Proposal to Councilmember Cindy Chavez, 1999
N. 13th St.today
North 13th St., which was once essentially part of the old highway to
Oakland, was re-zoned from light industrial to commercial/residential
a few years ago. Several new neighborhood-friendly businesses have located
along N. 13th St. in the past couple years, including Cesar's Flowers,
to complement older neighborhood businesses such as Rollo's Donuts, the
Mission Hardware store, and Chariamonte's Market, an Italian delicatessen
which has been family-owned and located on N. 13th St. for more than 90
Northside has helped build the fragile momentum of N. 13th St.'s nascent
renaissance by working with Our City Forest to plant trees along N. 13th
St., and with San Jose code enforcement to remove excess payphones, which
were encouraging loitering and drug dealing. (There were once nearly 30
phones along a five-block strip!) Northside has also worked with the City
of San Jose Office of Economic Development to attract new businesses catering
to the neighborhood, and has (unsuccessfully) sought Community Development
Block Grant funding for improvements to N. 13th St.
Nonetheless, N. 13th St. still has a disproportionate number of auto body
and auto parts stores, liquor stores, bars, and cheap motels. It remains
a high crime area relative to the rest of the Northside neighborhood and
also relative to city-wide averages. N. 13th St. is not inviting to neighborhood
residents, especially in the evening. It lacks a quality grocery store
or other amenities typically associated with neighborhood shopping strips,
such as a coffee shop or a bookstore.
NNA hopes that redevelopment funding will build on the fragile momentum
of N. 13th St.'s nascent renaissance. Among the improvements which Northside
seeks for N. 13th St. are:
Between Empire and Jackson Streets, N. 13th St. abuts one of San Jose's
older , most well-used and arguably most beautiful neighborhood parks,
Backesto Park, which dates to 1922. Among the improvements which Northside
seeks for Backesto Park are:
- Low-level, high-intensity, street lighting to supplement existing
overhead lighting along N. 13th St. between Empire and Hedding Streets.
Additional street lighting should help decrease crime and improve
safety in the area, and hopefully induce additional patronage of N.
13th St. businesses in the evening.
- Median landscaping along Oakland Road between Hedding Street and
the Highway 101 interchange. The 13th Street/Oakland Road interchange
on Highway 101 is a major eye-sore. There is currently no landscaping
whatsoever, suggesting a lack of recognition of the interchange as
one of the most significant gateways to San Jose's downtown neighborhoods,
including Northside, Japantown and Nagle Park, as well as to the businesses
in the Golden Triangle area of North San Jose.
- Pedestrian-friendly retail, including, e.g., a pharmacy, coffee
shop, bagel shop or diner, a bookstore, restaurants, etc. Currently
there is no pharmacy and only a smattering of ethnic take-out restaurants
and a donut shop.
- Removal of liquor stores and autobody shops. The corner of N. 13th
St. and Taylor, for example, a prime location at the heart of the
strip, has two liquor stores and an autobody shop on three of the
- A quality grocery store or supermarket. There is currently none
in the Northside neighborhood.
- existing buildings and businesses would benefit tremendously from
- A cultural/community center, with meeting rooms and auditorium space.
- Updated and improved restroom facilities.
- A new, enlarged community center capable of providing a full array
of park programs.
- Improved park lighting.
- Renovation or removal of the bocce ball court.
- Bus shelter at southeast corner of park, along North 15th Street
at Empire Street. School children wait for their school buses at that
On June 22, 1999, the San Jose City Council passed a budget for the
City's fiscal year 2000 which includes $3 million for taking administrative
steps for securing state funding to create new neighborhood redevelopment
areas, one of which is N. 13th St. from Highway 101 to East Santa Clara
Street. NNA had been actively lobbying for redevelopment funding for
the N. 13th St business district for the two years preceding the vote.
Downtown councilmember Cindy Chavez, honoring a campaign promise to
Northside residents, recommended N. 13th St. as a redevelopment area
to Mayor Ron Gonzales, who included the area in his budget proposal.
president Don Gagliardi received the 1999 Good Neighbor Award for
San Jose Council District 3 at the Mayor's State of the City Convocation
in April 1999 for his work in lobbying for redevelopment funding
for N. 13th St. Gagliardi was further recognized as a "Neighborhood
Hero" by District 3 councilmember Cindy Chavez on her website.
Under state law, redevelopment funding is provided for areas which are
"predominately urbanized and blighted." Blighted areas have conditions
such as the existence of buildings that are unsafe or unhealthy to live
or work in, depreciated or stagnant property values, abnormally high
business vacancies, abnormally low lease rates, high turnover, abandoned
buildings or excessive vacant lots, the lack of necessary commercial
buildings, an excess of bars or liquor stores, and a high crime rate.
NNA has been assured that N. 13 th St. qualifies as blighted.
On December 16, 1999, at a community meeting held at City Hall, the
San Jose Redevelopment Agency unveiled a map of its "survey areas" for
neighborhood redevelopment initiatives, including the N. 13th St. investment
district. Most of the Northside neighborhood, which extends from Julian
to Hedding and 6th Street to Coyote Creek, is encompassed by either
the N. 13th St. or the Five Wounds survey areas.
The creation of a survey area is one of the first formal steps toward
establishing a redevelopment district. Bill Ekern of the Redevelopment
Agency (RDA) told the roughly hundred person audience of neighborhood
representatives and city staff that, when the process has been completed,
the actual redevelopment project areas may be smaller than the survey
A number of additional steps will need to be completed before a redevelopment
plan is adopted by the City Council, an action not anticipated before
March 2001. Only after enactment of the plan - a legal document providing
authority for public improvements in the redevelopment area - can physical
improvements actually get underway, explained John Weis, also of the
In the interim, RDA will be working on planning and design issues. Among
the next steps is the preparation and adoption of a preliminary plan,
which is slated for May 2000. Weis explained that in furtherance of
the planning process RDA will be gathering information from three primary
sources: (1) its technical consultants; (2) survey research of residents;
and (3) neighborhood groups.
The formal mechanism for involving neighborhood groups is the Project
Area Committee (PAC), which will be comprised of formally elected representatives
from effected neighborhood groups. The PAC will help write the final
redevelopment plan and remains active for at least three years after
adoption of the plan to provide comment on all proposed projects within
the redevelopment area to the City Council. As a result, the PAC will
be an important community voice on any proposed redevelopment initiative.
Councilmember Chavez also pledged that the community would be heard
before any proposed project is implemented.
Ekern explained that the exact configuration of the PAC has yet to be
determined. However, the Northside Neighborhood Association anticipates
electing representatives to PAC subcommittes concerning both the North
13th Street and Five Wounds PACs. The schedule presented by RDA indicates
that election of the PAC will take place in June 2000 and be confirmed
in July 2000.
Cover of the draft SNI: Thirteenth
Street Neighborhood Revitalization Plan, dated October 2001
The long process of creating a redevelopment plan for North 13th Street
and the other proposed areas will also include the drafting of an environmental
impact report in June 2000, which would receive public review before being
certified by the Planning Commission in February 2001.
Councilmember Chavez observed during the community meeting that the City-wide
initiative to extend redevelopment from its focus on the downtown business
core into qualifying neighborhoods near downtown and elsewhere was directly
prompted by lobbying on behalf of N. 13th St. by our Northside Neighborhood
Association. NNA's efforts promise to reap significant rewards not only
for the Northside neighborhood but many others in and around downtown.
Redevelopment Director Susan Shick discussed plans for redevelopment of
North 13th Street at the most recent NNA general meeting on Thursday,
March 9, 2000. Stay tuned to this site for updates on N. 13th St. redevelopment.
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