There was another article today about Amazon’s massive project in downtown Seattle, which includes bike lanes paid for by the company. It’s a marked contrast to San Diego’s respective technology leader, Qualcomm, who continues to expand its suburban campus and is completing this parking garage monstrosity that’s two city blocks long:
Qualcomm’s Sorrento Valley is a traffic-choked nightmare, accessed by gridlocked Mira Mesa Boulevard, and the I-805 freeway that’s at a standstill for hours a day.
Solution? More parking – and lots of it! Instead of following the lead of many companies across the US that are moving downtown and/or embracing alternative transportation options (like the Silicon Valley shuttles that are changing the future of transit), Qualcomm’s racing toward the 1950′s. Leading the way is founder Irwin Jacobs, a man who loves cars so much he nearly built a bridge through the heart of Balboa Park to yet another parking garage. I’d suggest Qualcomm employee/future mayor Nathan Fletcher talk some sense into Irwin about Qualcomm’s insanity, but Nathan was riding shotgun on Jacobs’ Plaza de Panama folly.
Amazon, by contrast, is both local and global. By encouraging its employees to live within walking distance, it could help Seattle meet its goals for energy efficiency and conservation, city officials said. As part of its development agreement, Amazon also plans to buy a new streetcar for the light rail line that runs past its properties and pay for a stretch of dedicated bicycle lane.
“I think they’ve single-handedly defined a whole region,” said Bryan Trussel, the chief executive of Glympse, an Internet start-up with offices next to Amazon. “Now everyone wants to be there.”
As Amazon Stretches, Seattle’s Downtown Is Reshaped. nytimes, 25.08.13.