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Revitalizing the Community in the Alum Rock Corridor

The Alum Rock Avenue business corridor and its adjacent East San José neighborhoods are steeped in history stemming from its immigrant past, activist roots, and deep culture exhibited in its Mexican heritage through the arts. At the core of it all is a steadfast community that has shown great resilience through the years, even as a global pandemic and ongoing development pressures bear down on it. 

Given recent major developments that have impacted the Corridor, there is a strong sense from many in the community that the Alum Rock Corridor will continue to undergo significant change without feedback or consideration of the existing community, leading to displacement and cultural erosion. Developing the ability to mobilize large segments of the Alum Rock Corridor neighborhoods has taken on a sense of urgency in recent years. Community leaders in the Alum Rock corridor have been meeting since at least the summer of 2016 to mobilize and ensure that this engagement actually happens in a substantive manner while taking place in a way that directs market forces to incorporate social and community goals into the development process. Since a robust business district is the cornerstone of thriving urban neighborhoods, it’s imperative that efforts in the Alum Rock community focus on a critically important group of stakeholders: the Alum Rock business community and their patrons. 

CommUniverCity, In partnership with graduate students in the San José State University Urban and Regional Planning program, developed the Alum Rock Avenue Corridor Study: Thriving Businesses, People, and Culture in Spring 2021, following CommUniverCity’s engagement with Corridor communities over the previous eighteen months. The purpose of this report is to bring the current challenges faced by the Alum Rock Avenue Business Corridor businesses to light and to inform policymakers, planners, and the public with the current and incoming pressures facing Corridor businesses. Furthermore, the findings and recommendations might be of value in shaping the Alum Rock Urban Village Plan (ARUVA), developing community priorities for future improvements and investments, and acting as an advocacy tool to inform discussions about near-term and longer-range developments.

This report presents findings and recommendations from engagement with community stakeholders, as well as 96 customer surveys, 24 business surveys, and 7 business owner interviews. Through surveys and interviews with residents and businesses, and gathering testimonials centered around dreams and wishes for their beloved neighborhood, the report highlights the needs of the community and concludes with design and policy interventions to enhance the success of commercial enterprises along Alum Rock Avenue. Look forward to the final report which will be published by the end of summer of 2021.

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