Archive for December, 2009

New Year’s Eve in San Jose

Enjoy New Year’s Eve in San Jose, but please remember to stay safe if you drink.

A DUI could bring:

3 to 5 years probation or a fine, including court fees – $1400 to $1800.
6 month loss of California driver license
12 to 45 hours of DUI school
Mandatory jail time 48hours – scary!

Cabs will be very busy tonight and into the morning.
One of the safest places to find a taxi is at The Fairmont Hotel @ 170 South Market

This from VTA:
Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority (VTA) will be providing free service on New Year’s Eve and early New Year’s Day.
VTA recommends passengers check to see what time service ends that evening for the routes they will be riding. On New Year’s Eve, extended hours of operation for will be offered for light rail service and Express Bus Route 180, with all other bus service operating a normal weekday schedule.

New Year’s Eve, Thursday, December 31, 2009:

Light Rail Service

Extended Weekday

Regular Weekday
Most Express, Limited Stop & Rapid 522 Buses

Regular Weekday
Express Bus 180

Extended Weekday
Highway 17 Express

Regular Weekday
Monterey-San Jose Express

Regular Weekday
LR Shuttles-DASH and River Oaks

Regular Weekday
LR Shuttles-IBM/Hitachi

No Service

Extended Weekday
Dumbarton Express

Regular Weekday
ACE Train / Shuttle

Reduced Weekday
New Year’s Day, Friday, January 1, 2010:

VTA Bus and Light Rail Service

Most Express, Limited Stop and Rapid 522 Buses

No Service
Express Bus 180

Light Rail Shuttles (IBM/Hitachi, DASH, River Oaks)

No Service
Dumbarton Express

No Service
ACE Train/Shuttles

No Service
Highway 17 Express

Monterey-San Jose Express


WHEN: Beginning at 7 p.m., Thursday, December 31, through 3:59 a.m. Friday, January 1, 2010.

HOW: VTA’s Customer Service Call Center and Downtown Customer Service Center will be closed on New Year’s Day. Customers may contact VTA’s 24-hour Customer Service Line at (408) 321-2300 to access VTA schedule information via touch-tone telephone in English and Spanish.

For additional information please contact VTA’s Customer Service Center at (408) 321-2300, TTY for the hearing-impaired only, (408) 321-2330. Or log onto and click on the blue envelope icon to sign-up for VTA bus/light rail email.

San Jose Then and Now

I think they’ve been online for a while, but I just found out about a couple of great sets of “then and now” photos hosted by the Buena Vista Neighborhood Association. There are found photos of commercial buildings and homes from the first half of the 20th century (and earlier), compared with new photos taken in the last couple of years; as well as a group of 1976 photos of downtown San Jose rescued from the Redevelopment Agency’s dumpster and compared with photos from 2006.

Below, my contribution, a 1920’s(?) city directory photo of the Franco Brothers’ market at the corner of Fifth and Santa Clara, now the site of City Hall:

Fifth and Santa Clara

San Jose: Roasting Chestnuts

Chestnuts ("Oriental Pearl")

Chestnuts ("Oriental Pearl")

If you are too busy or clueless to roast chestnuts over an open fire, or otherwise, they can be found at the Mitsuwa Marketplace.

The Chestnuts are roasted and sold warm at the front door. A little plastic opening tool is included.

Tian-Jin Chestnuts are not only tasty, they are called the “Oriental Pearl” for their nutritional value.

Mitsuwa Marketplace
675 Saratoga Avenue @ Moorpark Ave.
San Jose, CA 95129
(408) 255-6699

Found on Our flickr Group: “I noticed these”

I noticed these

photo by Karen French

From the San Jose Metblogs Flickr Group.

Ames Research Center 70th Anniversary

NASA Ames 70
Ames Research Center founded on Dec. 20, 1939, as the second laboratory of the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (NACA), a federal agency established in 1915 to institutionalize aeronautical research. NACA became the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) in 1958, but aeronautics continues to be a major focus at Ames.

Ames named after Joseph Sweetman Ames, one of the founding members of the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics and chaired NACA for 20 years.

Many years ago, I worked at Ames and enjoyed “touring” the world’s greatest collection of wind tunnels during lunch breaks. Once, I did have the opportunity to stand in the world’s largest wind tunnel. That was a very eerie experience.

Discover Ames’ 70-year history, current missions, and future vision here.

Serious Joe by City Hall

Red Berry Coffee Bar

Red Berry Coffee Bar

About a year after we wrote that Backdoor Broken Door Espresso had closed up, San Jose city workers can once again get some high-octane fuel withing walking distance. Red Berry Coffee Bar has taken over the location where eMocha Cafe and Backdoor Broken Door Espresso once stood. They’ve been open since about 8 weeks ago.

Red Berry is brewing coffee from local favorite Barefoot Coffee Roasters. The coffee has some serious kick, and some complex flavors that aren’t revealed in the coffee at a Starbucks or even at Peet’s. Even the decaff has real flavor (and a very small amount of caffeine, so be warned if you’re extremely sensitive). I had a decaff americano and it was served with plenty of crema to give it the real espresso flavor.

I had read that Barefoot attributed their flavor to a less aggressive roast, but Chris, who was working at Red Berry Thursday morning, and previously worked at Barefoot’s cafe on Stevens Creek Blvd., told me it’s really more about the source of the beans.

Red Berry Coffee Bar is at 231 East Santa Clara Street.

The Professional Culinary Institute in Campbell

I’m watching Sandra Lee on the Food Network. She is preparing holiday recipes. Looks so good. Ah, if only I had more time…

The Professional Culinary Institute in Campbell is selling food items made by their State Champion hot food team. The team recently won in Sacramento. They are now raising funds for another contest in Albuquerque, NM.

Items available are: Stocks, sauces, side dishes and cookies. All items are available on December 23rd.

All proceeds go to the team, which will help them raise money for the trip to the Regionals.

If anyone wants to make the holidays a bit easier, please contact Bettie @ 408-370-5546 for information.

The Professional Culinary Institute

Contreras Family Fundraiser

Mi Pueblo Food Center at Capital Square

Mi Pueblo Food Center at Capital Square

The young 12-year-old son of Yesenia and Samuel Contreras was shot in the head Halloween night. It is difficult to imagine the emotional agony his parents have been suffering. Mathson Middle School Principal, Orlando Ramos, agrees with me that it is a miracle that their son is alert and responsive.

Now the residents of San Jose can lend the Contreras family a hand. The Alum Rock School District is inviting the community to the parking lot of the Mi Pueblo Food Center at Capital Square. While enjoying the sounds of a student mariachi band the public can show their support by donating checks.

Mi Pueblo Food Center at Capital Square
320 N. Capitol Ave.
Saturday, December, 19

Checks may also be sent to The San Jose Police Officers Association:

1151 N. Fourth St.
San Jose, CA 95112

Or to: The San Jose POA

New Year’s Eve at California Billiard Club

cuekidsWondering what we could do for New Year’s Eve I suggested that we spend it at California Billiard Club.

My husband, Ken, (The Bear in pool nickname) didn’t hesitate to sign us up. I play so badly I don’t have a nickname – Mrs. Bear doesn’t really count, but I have a lot of fun anyway.

New Year’s Eve:

Live Music by Disco Kid

10pm to 2am FREE: Pool & Appetizers

Ask about their Drink Specials

Reserve a pool table by calling – (605) 965-3100

California Billiard Club Sports Bar and Grill

881E El Camino Real Mountain View, CA 94040

Hours of Operation: 11:30 a.m. to 2:00 a.m.

General Plan Task Force Tackles Transportation

The transportation element for the San Jose General Plan Update specifies a variety of different types of streets, depending on their function.

The transportation element for the San Jose General Plan Update specifies a variety of different types of streets, depending on their function.

The Envision San Jose 2040 general plan update task force met this evening to consider transportation and water supply issues, with transportation taking up most of the meeting time. One of the key issues in transportation is to accommodate planned growth in the city without overwhelming the transportation infrastructure; and a key strategy to do that is to increase the use of alternate “modes” of transportation like walking and biking.

A report drafted for the city by consultants Fehr & Peers highlights some ways to do that, as well as laying out a plan to combine personal vehicles, alternate modes, and freight (trucking) traffic, with connections to rail and freeways for regional travel. San Jose is compared to other cities that lead in “mode share split”. For example San Jose has about 1.2% of its commute trips currently taken by bicycle, while Portland has 6% and Davis (just this side of Sacramento) has 14% bicycle mode share. San Jose has about 1.8% mode share for commuting by foot, while San Francisco has 10% and leading college towns like Ann Arbor and Berkeley have 16 or 17%.

One task force member made an excellent point that the configuration of some of our streets makes cycling simply dangerous (imagine biking on Stevens Creek Boulevard, for example) and we’re unlikely to get cycling ridership up to match Portland, or the higher percentages the plan is targeting for 2040, without providing safe, separated cycling paths along such important routes. Which is not impossible, but it does require that the level of public subsidy granted to cycling infrastructure becomes a miniscule, rather than a microscopic, fraction of the subsidy already given to automobiles.

Another issue pointed out was that the proposed general plan doesn’t take into account the new Master Bike Plan adopted by the city council in just the last few weeks. For example, certain roads are proposed to become “bicycle priority streets”, but there’s no mention of actual “bicycle boulevards” as were included as part of the primary bikeway network in the Master Bike Plan. Hopefully some work will be done to align the new general plan with the Master Bike Plan before it’s finalized.

Overall I was glad to see that at least 80% of the task force members seemed to be on my side of this issue, promoting increased cycling (and walking) and improved accomodations for cyclists in San Jose, and I’m hopeful that the plan will go through as they discussed it tonight, and also be fulfilled by the city over the next 30 years.

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