Here’s what San Joseans would like to see in their downtown

Here’s what San Joseans would like to see in their downtown

More retail stores. Beefed up police presence. Additional movie theaters. A “critical mass of coolness.” These are some of the things that residents of San Jose want in their downtown, according to the results of a unique survey one local company conducted.

Gensler, a downtown San Jose design firm, launched the project last September at the San Pedro Farmer’s Market to generate ideas for a new downtown vision. Called “I Wish Downtown San Jose Had,” the project asked people to write down on cards how that phrase could could be completed.

The cards were hung on a wall for everyone to see, but the tallies of all 301 responses have just been released.

The wishes were categorized into six groups, listed here by declining number of suggestions — civic infrastructure, food & beverage, urban open space, retail, entertainment, events and miscellaneous.

The 106 wishes in the civic infrastructure category were more than double the 40-plus wishes in each of the next three categories. Within that group, 23 wishes involved community facilities and resources such as more street cops and a library, even though the city library system’s main Martin Luther King Library is right downtown.

Multimodal transportation options got 18 wishes in the infrastructure category. Bay Area BikeShare, a membership-based organization with bike rental kiosks in San Jose among other cities has been expanding downtown.

There were 21 wishes for more “general retail/shopping” in the retail category, which ranked fourth with 41 wishes overall, but Gensler said it was unclear exactly what was being requested. There were some requests to “bring back Ross,” a clothing store, and seven requests in the clothing sub-category.

The survey was taken just two weeks after the Camera 12 Cinemas announced it was closing. The Business Journal covered that story here, and within the entertainment category, movie theaters got 10 of the 16 total wishes.

The San Jose Mercury News reported last month that San Jose State University is looking at the Camera 12 site for a possible housing tower for students and faculty.

If that happens, it just might satisfy the person who wanted a shot of coolness injected into downtown.