Archive for the ‘Traffic’ Category

Score one for livable neighborhoods

Most of Saint James Street switched from one-way to two-way traffic last week. That means something like 14 blocks where residents no longer have an expressway running past their front doors. It’s almost enough to make you think that even with the city broke, good things can still happen.

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.

16th Annual Bike to Work Day

The Bay Area’s 16th annual Bike to Work Day will take place along local bike commute routes on Thursday, May 13, 2010.

Energizer Stations located along the bike routes may provide complimentary bike doctors, free beverages, and snacks along with commuter convoys. Most Energizer Stations will operate in the morning and a few during the afternoon commute. See the Energizer Stations map for locations and times.

No need to register for this free event; however, you may want to register online for a chance to win prizes in the Bike to Work Day Raffle (though May 31).

Check out 511’s BikeMapper for everyday bicycle paths, lanes, and routes.

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Dr. Donald Shoup: The High Cost of Free Parking

Free Parking

Parking Cash Out (AB2109) – State law requiring employers of fifty or more employees, who lease their parking and subsidize any part of their employee parking, to offer their employees the opportunity to give up their parking space. In return for giving up their parking space, the employer pays the employee the cost of the parking space.

Dr. Donald Shoup (Professor of Urban Planning at UCLA), author of “The High Cost of Free Parking”, will speak about the need for cities to change their parking policies. Dr. Shoup was instrumental in California’s adoption of the parking “cash-out” law.

FreeFebruary 24, 2010 – 6:30 p.m.
200 E. Santa Clara St.
City Hall Wing Rooms 118, 119, 120
San Jose, California
free event – I’m not sure about parking…
You might feel better if you take a taxi.

For more information, contact Michele Beasley at 408-983-0856
or mbeasley@greenbelt.org.

Air Resources Board

Amazon The High Cost of Free Parking

Streetfilms – Dr. Shoup: Parking Guru!

Fire on Communications Hill?

From what I can tell there is a fire above Curtner Av. and 87.

From Sigalert:
* CHP Unit on Scene 3:01 PM
* Tfc Slowing to Look at the Fire 3:04 PM
* Caltrans On Scene–Smoke Thick Visablity is Still Good
* 171 M #3 Lane North 87 Between Cap and Curtner Shut Down
* Thomas Guide Map Coordinates: Page 854, Grid 5D

* 24-87 M Affirm Right Lane Still Blked for About 30 Mins 4:11 PM

Report unsafe rail crossings

Rail crossing at 7th and Jackson in Japantown.

Rail crossing at 7th and Jackson in Japantown.

If you’re a bike commuter, one of the most dangerous parts of your ride is probably that rail crossing. The one with broken pavement and giant potholes all around it and a Himalaya range of mounded up pavement running along each rail. To cross this track without landing on your face, you’ve got to pick your path carefully, and that might mean swerving out into the traffic lane to cross at a relatively flat spot.

In my case, that rail crossing is at the corner of 7th and Jackson Streets, just on the east edge of Japantown. Getting to my old job, it was on 10th Street, just north of Hedding. There’s probably a few crossings just as bad scattered around other parts of town too.

For years, whenever I mention these problem crossings to city staffers, they’ve told me they rely on Union Pacific railroad to maintain railroad crossings, and there’s little they can do to get them fixed. But just this week, I had a chance to mention that crossing again to a group of city transportation engineering managers, and I learned something new.

Jay Thorstensen from the Transportation department emailed me a day later and let me know its possible to contact UP directly to let them know about dangerous track crossings. Contact details are found on the UP website. Basically, for non-emergency track or crossing maintenance issues in California, the number is (916) 789-6114. That gets through to a real person, though its not clear how quickly he can actually respond to problems. I’m hoping at least that enough calls about a particularly problematic crossing can move it to the top of the list for repairs.

511 Freeway Assistance

The Metropolitan Transportation Commission which operates the 511 service has added a new feature “511 Freeway Aid” that allows drivers to use their wireless phones to summon non-emergency roadside assistance on any freeway in the nine-county region.

A motorist in a non-emergency situation (out of gas, flat tire or mechanical problems) can dial 5-1-1 on their wireless phone (you may be charged airtime by your wireless service provider). At the main menu, the caller says “Freeway Aid” and the voice-recognition system will transfer the call to the privately operated call center that now handles incoming calls from the roadside call boxes.

Freeway Service Patrol tow trucks, which provide their services free of charge, will be dispatched to respond to 511 Freeway Aid calls during peak periods on the Bay Area’s busiest routes. Towing companies that operate on rotations under contract with Caltrans and the CHP will be dispatched at other times and will charge motorists for their services. You may wish to inquirer if there will be a charge.

If you are on a toll bridge or in a tunnel, the information will be sent immediately to Caltrans and/or the CHP.

You will no longer have to hike to one of those roadside call boxes.

The MTC nine-county regions: Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, Napa, San Francisco, San Mateo, Santa Clara, Solano, Sonoma.

“511 is a free phone and Web service that consolidates Bay Area transportation information into a one-stop resource. 511 provides up-to-the-minute information on traffic conditions, incidents and driving times, schedule, route and fare information for the Bay Area’s public transportation services, instant carpool and vanpool referrals, bicycling information and more. It’s available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.”

Rock ‘N’ Roll 1/2 Marathon to shut down traffic

To the runners preparing for the Rock ‘N’ Roll Half-Marathon this Saturday, Oct. 5: Good luck!

To the motorists planning on driving through the city this weekend: Good luck! You will meet plenty of road closures, clogged freeway exits and a lot of athletic-type people running around. They get their exercise while you continue to pollute, which makes these traffic headaches even more guilt-inducing.

But never fear! Here’s a map to help you avoid running over those athletic-types with your SUV (click to enlarge, and notice I said AVOID):

And here’s more traffic information I got via the marathon’s Web site:

Freeway Information

No freeways will be closed on race day; however, expect delays on Highway 87 near downtown and Highway 880 near Bascom Avenue due to the close proximity of the race course to those roads.

Specific Access Routes
Fairmount Hotel / St. Joseph’s Basilica:

Due to close proximity to the finish line at Plaza de Cesar Chavez, allow extra time for alternate access and expect delays before the race starts (7- 8:00 am). Use the following access route during the race (8:00 am – 12 Noon): From San Carlos Street, use 1st and 2nd Street to connect with San Fernando Street. Hotel guests will be metered in/out on Market Street.

Hotel DeAnza
Please notify the hotel’s valet parking service on Saturday night if you will
be leaving between 7:00 and 10:00 am. The race organizers have arranged
for hotel parking on Notre Dame, between Santa Clara and Carlysle
Streets. From this parking area, you will be able to drive north on Notre
Dame, turn left on Julian Street, and access Highway 87/Guadalupe
Parkway. To access the San Jose airport, follow directions above to
Highway 87 north and follow signs to airport. Prior to the complete
reopening of Santa Clara Street/The Alameda at 12:30 pm, use Highway 87
to return to the Hotel De Anza before 10:00 am. From Highway 87, exit east
on Julian Street, turn right on North Almaden Blvd, left on Carlysle Street
and right onto Notre Dame Ave.

Cory Neighborhood
Residents between Newhall and Hedding, Monroe and Bascom, can use
Cherrystone Drive to exit this part of the route between 7:00-11:30 am.
Roiscrucian Neighborhood – YMCA, Calvary & Scientology Churches
Residents, YMCA patrons and church visitors can use Park Avenue for
inbound access and The Alameda for outbound access between 8:00 am
and 12 Noon.

For more assistance regarding road closures and alternate access routes, please
email SJCommunity@eliteracing.com. Please provide as much information as pos-
sible, including your starting and ending destinations, so that we can more readily
assist you.

Carfree Day this Monday

On Monday September 22, people from around the world get together to celebrate a day without cars. With gas prices at an all time high, Carfree Day is the perfect time to leave your car at home and get around your neighborhood and the region by foot, bike, bus, and train or by sharing the ride.

I did not find any events listed for San Jose nor did I find any information on the VTA site saying what a great day to take public transit. Carfree Day is not mentioned on the San Jose Green Vision site. People asleep at the wheel. You and I knew about World Carfree Day, right?

Red-Light-Runner in Willow Glen


Last Saturday a pedestrian was struck down in the crosswalk on Pine at Hicks. This afternoon a red-light-runner caused this mess at the same intersection. As bad as the rolled van looked, the occupants did not seem seriously injured.

San Jose District 6 City Council member Pierluigi Oliverio (blue shirt) arrived at the scene. He was talking of ways to make the streets of Willow Glen safer – – possibly red-light violators could be caught on camera.

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