San Jose to Open Streets to Cycle, Foot Traffic for ‘Viva CalleSJ’

This fall, San Jose will join the growing list of 100-plus cities in nearly 40 states that temporarily close their streets to car traffic in favor of pedestrians and cyclists. The event, “Viva CalleSJ,” will, in the words of Mayor Sam Liccardo in a press release, “convert San José’s streets into a vibrant paved park.”

From 10am to 3pm Oct. 11, six miles of downtown streets will be closed to traffic. The roughly L-shaped route will run from St. James Park along Market Street and First Street to the Calle Willow Business District and then east along Keyes and Story Road to Emma Prusch Farm Park.

Viva CalleSJ is not a race, and people can walk, bike, skate and play at any point, for any distance. There will be three activity stations along the route, at St. James Park, Parque de los Pobladores and Emma Prusch Farm Park. These hubs will host vendors, activities, entertainment, “hydration stations,” bathrooms and bike parking.

“These events promote and encourage people to replace daily car trips with bicycling, walking, and public transportation, which is an integral part of our mission,” said Shiloh Ballard, executive director of Silicon Valley Bicycle Coalition, in the event’s release.

The pedestrian-friendly day will be run by the city’s Parks, Recreation, and Neighborhood Services Department, in collaboration with Silicon Valley Bicycle Coalition. Seed funding has been provided by the Knight Foundation.

“Events like these attract and retain people to the region, create economic opportunity, and support a culture of robust civic engagement,” said Daniel Harris, San Jose program director for the Knight Foundation, in the release.

Viva CalleSJ is part of a larger city effort to emphasize mental and physical health, increase pedestrian and cyclist safety, and make San Jose one of the top bicycle-friendly cities in the United States by 2020.

The event was inspired by Open Streets Project, an initiative started in 2010 to close urban streets to car traffic and open them to pedestrians and cyclists. Viva CalleSJ will join San Francisco Sunday Streets, Oaklavia, Open Streets Santa Cruz and others to become the 10th such program in the greater Bay Area.


  1. Hijole! Garcías por el aviso. La fotografía representa vatos locos y borrachos andan en bicicletas de low riders. El pan y los circos . Penso que yo no participaré en esta fiesta.

    • SJI’s response to my comment above was to change the photo. Total bullsh*t, Josh. You had the right photo the first time. You won’t see the crowd in your new photo riding down First Street to Prusch Park in October.

  2. How many trips to Copenhagen did this take for the council and staff to come up with this idiotic idea? What is the cost to taxpayers and how much overtime and/or secondary employment pay jobs will the understaffed police department be saddled with?

  3. From the pages of a great metropolitan newspaper serving the San Jose community:

    “Road diet plan hits barrier”

    “Local businesses say sales declined after lane reduction trial”

    • I knew that was going to happen.

      This “Road Diet” “Vision Zero” etc stuff is just crap. Our streets and expressways were designed for a single purpose. Get a car from point A to point B as quickly as possible.

      No consideration was given at the time to bikes or pedestrians. I don’t know why, not gonna make up a reason here. Punchline though is, our infrastructure is better suited to cars than bikes.

      In Europe, people have been walking on roads since the Roman days. For the last 2000 years, every consideration has been given to non-car traffic simple because cars didn’t exist. Even when cars first appeared, people still walked, biked, etc. There are some very nice trails far away from busy roads crisscrossing all over Europe.

      Now you can’t just get a tiger to change it’s stripes by painting it, but for some reason Sam Liccardo thinks you can.

      You can’t simply paint/bulldoze over all this car centric infrastructure, increase the amount of residents, then expect the money to roll in. When people’s commutes go over 30 minutes, their desire to “Live closer to work” increases. San Jose gets a bad rap for “Having bad traffic” and so on.

      Sam if you want to increase tax revenue for San Jose.

      1. Don’t make leaving and coming to San Jose a burden for “Traffic calming” Please sir, go to the intersection at Cherry and Almaden for about 15 minutes one day. Go get your car washed. Watch how the traffic calming in that intersection has turned it into a parking lot.

      2. Increase lanes and improve light timing. Any street over 5 miles should get the treatment.

      Finally, I won’t be going to VivaCallSJ. It’s been opressively hot lately. Why would I want to hang out on a 5 lane stretch of blacktop (Santa Clara)? when I can just enjoy my garden at home, with a pitcher of lemonade and a fan.

    • hey Mr. smart Mike read the reply from SJOUTSIDETHEBUBBLE. so much for all your sources of course I don’t expect you to admit you might actually be wrong ………because you’re so open minded. I personally I won’t respond to you anymore it’s like dealing with an ex-wife

  4. Bike Boy Sam and his allies commissioned double wide bike lanes on Third & Fourth Streets a few years ago, and turned those free flowing streets into downtown gridlock for people who work in DTSJ. To this day you see very few bike riders using those Liccardo Lanes. However, the auto gridlock remains, the lights were not re-timed, and the extra exhaust spewing into the air as cars sit idle while the Liccardo remains mostly empty. Now they are widening the sidewalk and making eastbound San Carlos Street from Market to Third one lane of car traffic instead of two. Yet another reason for people not to come to DTSJ. And the job is taking months to complete. Let’s hope it does not take the 2.5 years it took to re-do San Carlos from Second to Fourth. Hans Larsen told me it was to beautify the streetscape. I see no real change. Those two blocks are still ghetto. Most traffic “calming” measures result in the opposite effect—a lot of really pissed off drivers. The Lincoln Avenue road diet idea was probably a Michael Mulcahy brain fart, and was doomed from the start. What sane business person wants to make it more difficult for customers to get to his/her business? Are there odds on whether Mulcahy will try to keep his inane idea alive despite the complaints from the WGBA?

  5. Haaaaaaaaaa I love it this mayor helped to destroy the police DEPT now DTSJ . it’s like watching a train wreck you don’t want to look but you just can’t turn away. When this city turns into another Oakland maybe they will be happy. As for me I won’t shop in DTSJ just like I won’t go into the willow glen nightmare. I will drive out of my way to a city that wants my business

  6. When will they ever take time to repair the pot holes in the streets of SJ. They are everywhere. If I was a visitor to SJ that would be one of the first things I remember about the city. Not the bikes.

    • Here’s a thought because I’m sure you stayed awake all night to come up with the stay away. Brain storm. The reality is we all pay taxes and before our brilliant mayor imposes something that can destroy the downtown infrastructure how about putting it to a vote or does voting on issues bother you.

  7. > The event, “Viva CalleSJ,” will, in the words of Mayor Sam Liccardo in a press release, “convert San José’s streets into a vibrant paved park.”

    I think I have made myself clear on the matter.

    I have banned the use of the word “vibrant” in any public communication in San Jose.

    It makes us sound like a bunch of metrosexual “pajama boys”.

    Bring back the San Jose Rodeo, if there ever was San Jose Rodeo.

  8. I like to think I am a person capable of reason and when presented with the right sources, am open to changing my mind. From what I have read (and provided sources for), these programs seem to have a pretty wide spectrum of beneficial impacts on a city. If all goes to hell, ill be the first to say so. However, in my opinion, I am just happy to see people trying to make San Jose a better and more engaging place to live. But thats my opinion, so we can just leave it at that.

    • Things have come and gone,, and there was so little negative impact…. All of those trumped up claims and nothing..
      Well, it was nice having this wonderfully constructive conversation with you.. gl in life… you are definitely going to need it with an attitude like that…

      p.s. ” So let’s just watch that project blow and if I’m wrong I’ll say so ….will you”
      I’ll go ahead and wait for you to follow through with that… though something inside me tells me you are far to stubborn to stick to your word..

      • Mike you seriously need a life girl friend something but stop looking to me to fill it for you. If you were as tuned in on this bull as you pretend then you would be aware that they tried this bicycle baloney in Morgan Hill and it didn’t survive. Also you should be aware that Morgan Hill has a lot of bike traffic because serious bicyclist train in and around the area. We are not Europe and as for being stubborn if you base that on the fact that I don’t agree with you all I can say is I never agree with stupidity have a nice life I’m done wasting time with you.

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