A meeting to discuss a proposed affordable housing development at the Gilroy Transit Center drew more than 100 people on Feb. 18, who provided input on parking, design and other elements of the project.
The Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority is planning a mixed-use development at the transit center on Monterey Street near Seventh Street in downtown Gilroy. The nearly eight-acre property, owned by the VTA, is currently a parking lot for VTA bus and Caltrain passengers, and serves various bus lines for VTA, San Benito County Express and Monterey-Salinas Transit.
According to the VTA, the site could be used for a mixed-use development of housing, retail and employment centers. The project would fall under the VTA’s Transit-Oriented Development program, which requires 20 percent of housing to be considered affordable, and at least half of those units targeted toward extremely low and very low income households.
Rents could range from $1,050 to $2,800 for a two-bedroom apartment, and accommodate families of four earning between $47,000 and $126,000, according to the VTA.
The project is expected to be funded with Measure A revenue, a 2016 voter-approved bond intended for affordable housing projects in the county.
According to a timeline presented by Bruce Brubaker of PlaceWorks, the VTA Board could choose a developer for the project by the end of this year, with design work continuing into 2024. Construction could begin by mid-2024 and end in 2026.
Some meeting attendees questioned how the development would impact parking for the commuters who use the transit services.
Brubaker said the 471-space parking lot was 63 percent used during a survey done in September 2019, adding that more than 650 people used the center on a daily basis pre-pandemic.
“This is an extremely important transit node,” he said.
How the project would fit into the proposed high-speed rail project at the Gilroy Transit Center was also a concern raised by attendees. Brubaker said construction for high-speed rail might not start until 2028 at the earliest.
Gilroy Mayor Marie Blankley, who serves on the VTA’s Policy Advisory Committee and as an alternate on the Board of Directors, said the city falls short of its state-set affordable housing goals, especially in the very low income category.
According to the most recent data by the California Department of Housing and Community Development, Gilroy has only completed 27 percent of its goal of 236 very low income housing units by 2023.
A project such as VTA’s proposal could help alleviate the city’s housing shortage, Blankley said.
“I’m hopeful it will be a development that does a lot for Gilroy in terms of meeting the housing needs that we have yet to meet,” she said.
A virtual meeting will be held in Spanish on Feb. 24 at 6pm. Another meeting is scheduled for April 22.For information, visit vta.org/gilroydevelopment.