Several cities in the Bay Area – including Oakland, San Francisco, San Mateo and Redwood City – recently made headlines by announcing road closures during shelter enforced by the coronavirus pandemic. The main reasons are to create more space for people to walk, run and cycle while keeping them reasonably spaced from each other and to slow down the speed of the drivers who use the empty streets.
But don’t expect San Jose to join their ranks anytime soon.
In a response to the Silicon Valley Bicycle Coalition, which wrote to the city to create a safer environment for cyclists and pedestrians, the San Jose transportation director reported John Ristow The city has teamed up with Oakland City officials to understand how they implemented their plan and what resources are required.
“Together with the feedback from our police department and the department for parks and leisure services, we are currently not tracking any road closures,” said Ristow. “In the neighborhood, residents can generally go outside to stretch without breaking the required physical distance.”
That struck me as a bit ironic at first for the most populous and most residential city in the Bay Area, which has given parts of its lanes to bicycles throughout the city and twice a year closes kilometers of roads to motorized traffic for Viva CalleSJ. “Open roads”.
But reading between the lines and knowing how much trouble it is for San Jose to close the streets for Viva CalleSJ, the city’s answer makes sense. Nobody knows how long this situation will last, and Oakland and San Francisco made big announcements with dozens of miles – but they have slowly started off with just a few miles each. In San Jose, places where streets would be easier to close – like Market Street around downtown Plaza de Cesar Chavez – wouldn’t help much because they already have open spaces and wide sidewalks. And in closer quarters, where this would be more beneficial, residents will still need their cars to shop for groceries or to commute to key jobs.
Police officers may be needed to make sure the cars that use the streets are truly local traffic – and if you think the drivers would only obey the signs, count the parade of cars that drive on the sidewalk, to bypass a physical barrier at the end of my street.
However, San Jose has implemented two more policies: automating pedestrian signal buttons in the city center to make them contactless and eliminating the timing of green signals across the city to keep drivers from going faster on empty streets. The city is also broadcasting safety messages through social media to ensure drivers are aware of the increasing number of pedestrians and bicycles on our streets these days.
There may also be good news on the horizon. The city is in the final stages of work on its Cycling Plan 2025 and has yet to implement Vision Zero recommendations on pedestrian safety. It makes more sense to follow the more permanent recommendations in these plans in the near future than to experiment with a temporary fix. In the meantime, residents looking for extra space have to settle for more than 200 parks and miles of bike paths and trails in San Jose.
SILENT NIGHTS: Not too deeply into my colleague Mr. Roadshow’s trail, but there have been a number of complaints after the city put pedestrian crossing signals on autopilot last month. The audio signal included with the walking sign, so visually impaired pedestrians know when to cross, was heard every time the lights changed in both directions throughout the night.
Colin HayneThe public information manager for the city’s Department of Transport said that in response to complaints, the city only has the automatic signal between 7:00 a.m. and 10:00 p.m. at two downtown intersections (Park and Delmas Avenues and Second and San Fernando Streets) ) that are close to residential units. The alert still sounds when someone uses the pedestrian button after hours, but people nearby should sleep better now. Anyone else who has problems can email inquiries to [email protected]
Rich Santoro’s onion orchard in San Jose, shown here in 2017, was closed to the public this year due to an order from Santa Clara County’s on-site protection. (Photo by James Sakane) James Sakane / Fremont Bulletin
GARDEN PARTY, VIRTUAL EDITION: As promised, Rich “The Bulb Guy” Santoro posted – with the help of his sister, Joyce – a YouTube video tour of his backyard onion garden in San Jose. Of course, the colorful 2.5-minute virtual tour is linked to the song “Tiptoe Through the Tulips”.
“The only thing missing is the smell of freesia and the feeling of spring in the air,” said Santoro, who added that he was working on a coffee table book “2020: The Bulb Guy Garden Nobody Saw” with photos and photographs begins the funny stories he tells when he shows the garden.
Of course he was disappointed that he could not present his garden to the public this year. But he was amazed at the generosity of people who couldn’t visit but still donated to A Rainbow for Boom, his fundraiser for St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital, dedicated to his son, who was 6 years old at one in 1982 Childhood Disease Died More than $ 3,300 had been raised by earlier this week.
You can still donate at www.the-bulbguy.com for more information. In the meantime, you can enjoy the video by searching for “The Bulb Guy’s Garden 2020” on YouTube.
Give early, give often: If you haven’t heard it, May 5th has been dubbed Giving Tuesday Now, a global day of philanthropy that reminds those who have the resources to donate to nonprofits, schools, and other groups to that have been hampered by the coronavirus pandemic and economically shelter-in-place orders.
Since the devastation has been so extensive, you may want to look beyond your favorite charities. If you just can’t choose, you can always donate to the Silicon Valley Strong campaign at www.siliconvalleystrong.org. The regular Giving Tuesday takes place on the first Tuesday after Thanksgiving, which this year takes place on December 1st.
And when you’re in the mood for a giveaway, remember: Tuesday is Cinco de Mayo too. Instead of cooking at home, why not order lunch or dinner at one of your favorite restaurants in Mexico that are struggling to survive alongside the rest of the state. That way, you’re covered for both Cinco de Mayo and Takeout Tuesday.