Julian Street opens to two-way traffic

Julian Street near downtown San Jose has been converted to two-way traffic after decades as a high-speed one-way thoroughfare. Neighbors who’ve been working to make this change happen hope that calmer traffic on the street will contribute to a safer and more pleasant experience for people living on the street, and even encourage homeowners to live in their Julian Street houses rather than rent them out.

Neighborhood activists had been trying to make this happen for a long time, but what catalyzed it was the San Jose Strong Neighborhoods Initiative (SNI), begun 8 or 10 years ago to revitalize the city’s most neglected neighborhoods. When the Neighborhood Advisory Committee (NAC) for the 13th Street SNI area first met, they established a top-10 list of improvements that would bootstrap the neighborhood out of its cycle of neglect. Number one was to convert high-speed one-way streets to pedestrian-friendly two-way streets. Portions of Third and Fourth Streets have already been converted, and today’s opening marks more or less the half-way point in converting the Julian / Saint James “couplet” to neighborhood-friendly streets. After Saint James, only Tenth and Eleventh Streets remain to be converted.

The SNI and the 13th Street NAC are currently implementing deep cuts due to the financial crisis at City Hall. I’m hopeful that despite that, we will see a few more successes like this conversion on Julian Street over the next couple of years.

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