The Sidewalks of South First Street

What do Inlaid Thermoplastic Asphalt Pavement Marking Systems have in common with bollard sleeves and Wilshire round planters? Easy. They’re all part of the SoFA District Year One Development Plan—a cosmetic redesign of South First Street between San Carlos and Reed Street.

As you read this, planters are being installed in front of the new Café Trieste, replacing what used to be the southbound parking lane. Similar planters are being installed across the street, directly in front of Anno Domini and Eulipia. Parking will now be diagonal. When finished, the scene will be much more conducive to outdoor café seating and a vibrant nightlife. Finally.

Currently, bulldozers are lumbering back and forth and planter foundations are being laid. New lighting, foliage and pavement designs will foloow. Campus police are casually overseeing the action. If you come out for First Fridays tonight, for example, you can see the progress being made. The one-year plan is just the beginning of aesthetic improvements to be implemented over the next five years.

All of this is long overdue. People have complained for 20 years that the sidewalks are too narrow to properly facilitate any sort of pedestrian-oriented, public art-driven landscape. Now that the luxury 360 Tower is almost finished, and First Fridays are a huge success, the time is right for yet one more phase of revitalization. At least we hope so. The entire plan can be downloaded from the 1stACT Silicon Valley website.


  1. Terrific news, Gary.  Now we can pull up a sidewalk seat, sip a latte’ and watch SJPD harrass brown people!  San Jose is growing up!

  2. This is awesome.  These are just the things that DT residents want and expected for DT.  It’s just another reason why I love living in Downtown San Jose.

  3. Isn’t this fabulous? I’m so happy for Downtown.
    Out here in Undowntownland the City sends us rude letters informing us that if we don’t repair THEIR concrete sidewalk in front of our house they will hire somebody to do it and send us the bill.
    What a Tale of Two Cities this is.

  4. The best part is this we are getting double value from the money the city is spending on this project.

    These improvements will provide new wait person job opportunities for all the librarians that the city is laying off.

  5. David Hollis,

    Sorry about my cousin John. We keep trying to get him to drink the koolaid but he just doesn’t like it.

    I think this latest downtown redevelopment project is fantastic. All the previous downtown redevelopment projects have been fantastic too. I’m not a planning expert so my own opinion is of no value but since the people who run the City ARE experts then I know that all the decisions they make about allocating funds are for the best for all of us. The most important thing is that we all be positive at all times and never question or criticize.

  6. Seriously? how does that saying go… put earings on a pig, you still got a pig?

    Small step in the right direction i guess. I lived in SJ most of my young life and tired of waiting for the city to do something about downtown.

    I will check in with you in another 10 years and see how its doing. meanwhile, I will go spend my money in Palo Alto.