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Home » San Jose streets go car-free for a day as Viva Calle competition returns

San Jose streets go car-free for a day as Viva Calle competition returns

Downtown seemed extra like Copenhagen or Amsterdam than San Jose on Sunday.

The ding ding of bicycle bells changed the blaring horns as 1000’s of individuals joined the Viva Calle open-streets truthful, which inspired strolling, biking or skating via the town’s most historic neighborhoods.

After being compelled to cancel final 12 months due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the occasion got here again robust Sunday, with six miles of roads closed to automotive site visitors for about 5 hours. From the Mexican Heritage Plaza to The Alameda, all the way down to SOFA and over to Japantown, the car-free routes beckoned bikes and skaters to take pleasure in reside music, native cubicles, a drag present — or “drag race” — and excessive bike stunts.

SAN JOSE, CALIFORNIA – SEPTEMBER 19: Drag queens race on couch throughout Viva Calle San Jose in San Jose, Calif., on Sunday, Sept. 19, 2021. (Shae Hammond/Bay Space Information Group) 

For Raul Rivera, who has lived on the east aspect his entire life, the Viva Calle has turn out to be a household custom through the years. Using alongside extra a few dozen different family members decked out in San Francisco Giants gear on Sunday, Rivera mentioned the day took him again to cruising down Story Highway along with his household and homies simply to have a very good time. To be surrounded by household — together with his just lately born granddaughter — was a blessing for him, Rivera mentioned.

“We’re a giant metropolis now, however you don’t really feel it till occasions like this come round,” Rivera mentioned. “It nonetheless looks like household. Again within the day, you’d cruise and showcase your automotive. Individuals are exhibiting off their bikes right here. There wasn’t something like this earlier than.”

Veronica Rivera mentioned their household has ridden via stormy climate and loopy warmth, however right this moment “it’s good.”

Craig Simpson, who got here from Mountain View only for the occasion, rode on his unicycle at Third Avenue and Santa Clara streets along with his accomplice, Lyn Simpson. He mentioned he would’ve gone on two wheels, but it surely’s not good for his again after years of again and foot issues.

“I began to unicycle a number of years in the past,” Simpson mentioned. “I assumed it might assist me with my again and it has lots. I’ve had issues with my foot and sciatic nerve, so I’ve been in numerous ache. The unicycle has lessened it tremendously as a result of it labored on my core muscle tissues. It’s so enjoyable too.”

SAN JOSE, CALIFORNIA – SEPTEMBER 19: Kids play in bubbles throughout Viva Calle San Jose in San Jose, Calif., on Sunday, Sept. 19, 2021. (Shae Hammond/Bay Space Information Group) 

And proponents of car-free biking are hoping for a everlasting resolution.

Using a motorbike down Santa Clara Avenue or First Avenue could be a horrifying prospect on another day, but it surely’s precisely that downside that the Valley Transportation Authority is making an attempt to resolve with its Central Bikeway venture, a 10-mile bicycle superhighway envisioned to attach San Jose and Santa Clara from the Berryessa BART station via the airport and over to the neighborhoods of the town’s west aspect.

On Sunday, the transit company arrange a tiny Central Bikeway to indicate riders what it would really feel prefer to trip with 7 toes of house between automobiles and bikes, a buffer that may make riders of any age really feel comfy, mentioned advocate Donny Donohue.

Proposed as a part of the county’s Bike Plan in 2018, the Central Bikeway may even be linked to the community of about 200 miles of devoted bike trails.

SAN JOSE, CALIFORNIA – SEPTEMBER 19: Drag queens race on couch throughout Viva Calle San Jose in San Jose, Calif., on Sunday, Sept. 19, 2021. (Shae Hammond/Bay Space Information Group) 

Donohue is aware of firsthand how troublesome it could actually really feel to navigate metropolis streets on a motorbike, at all times dreading the worst and staying in your toes. The Central Bikeway — just like the Viva CalleSJ occasion — will enable cyclists to “deliver the nippiness again and make biking a enjoyable technique to get round and revel in their metropolis.”

“The most important factor I discover is older of us and other people driving with their children, and also you don’t usually see these of us gunning down this street on their bike typically,” Donohue mentioned. “Biking within the metropolis for me is in regards to the stress; you’re continuously centered. This feels enjoyable.”

Ed Solis, recreation superintendent for the town of San Jose and planner of Sunday’s roll-out, mentioned he was involved the turnout would endure amid the coronavirus pandemic, however he was pleasantly shocked to see 1000’s of individuals taking part.

“There have been so many households and other people of all age teams and talents out right this moment,” Solis mentioned. “I couldn’t be happier with our group, our metropolis, and our neighborhood’s resiliency. Nothing can maintain San Jose again from exhibiting what we’re all about.

“As I name it, miles of smiles.”

SAN JOSE, CALIFORNIA – SEPTEMBER 19: Casey Wickstrom performs guitar throughout Viva Calle San Jose at downtown San Jose in San Jose, Calif., on Sunday, Sept. 19, 2021. (Shae Hammond/Bay Space Information Group) 
SAN JOSE, CALIFORNIA – SEPTEMBER 19: An individual stands with their bike throughout Viva Calle San Jose in San Jose, Calif., on Sunday, Sept. 19, 2021. (Shae Hammond/Bay Space Information Group) 
SAN JOSE, CALIFORNIA – SEPTEMBER 19: Folks trip their bikes throughout Viva Calle San Jose in San Jose, Calif., on Sunday, Sept. 19, 2021. (Shae Hammond/Bay Space Information Group)