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Friday, January 21, 2022

This Bay Area city is using COVID funds to create permanent outdoor parking lots.

Despite the unpredictable trajectory of the pandemic, San Jose is giving one thing for sure: the beloved parklands and sidewalk recreation areas that have revitalized barren streets and allowed restaurant owners to keep their lights on in recent tough times will stay here.

Using $ 700,000 in federal COVID-19 relief funds, San Jose officials plan to help restaurants transform temporary recreation areas set up in street parking lots or sidewalks during the COVID-19 pandemic into permanent fixtures throughout the city.

Meanwhile, until December 2022, the city will continue to allow businesses to operate outdoors on private property, such as in private car parks. In addition, two streets in downtown and one in southern San Jose will be temporarily closed to motorists until June. 2022. In the coming months, the City plans to identify ways to make these outdoor restaurants more permanent.

“It has proven to be an invaluable asset for these small businesses and truly a lifeline in the fight against the pandemic, so I’m delighted that we can continue to move forward,” Councilor Dev Davis said of Al Fresco City’s program.

The moves, which were unanimously approved by the San Jose City Council on Tuesday night, came as cities in the Bay Area were deciding whether to continue their pandemic-inspired outdoor dining and business programs. Cities like Pleasanton and Palo Alto recently decided to end their programs and reopen downtown roads, while other cities like Mountain View are taking the same approach as San Jose and are looking for ways to transform its popular restaurants and commercial corridors into permanent pedestrian centers.

SAN JOSE – MARCH 31: People eat outdoors at restaurants on North Street San Pedro in San Jose, California, Wednesday, March 31, 2021 (Randy Vasquez / Bay Area Newsgroup)

The San Jose Outdoor Program was designed by Mayor Sam Liccardo and Davis Councilor in May 2020 to allow businesses closed under the COVID-19 Public Health Order to take up parking spaces, close street sections and set aside sections of public parks for maintenance. open air. Over the past 18 months, the program has been extended five times, and nearly 200 businesses have signed up to work on city streets, parks, sidewalks and private property.

For JR Mini, co-owner of Rosie’s New York Pizza, the program meant he was able to more than double the number of sidewalk tables outside his restaurant.

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“I think it looks better,” Mini said in an interview. “It makes the street more attractive.”

According to the program, San Jose has closed three streets to traffic – San Pedro and Post Streets, which are located in the city center, and Coronado Avenue in southern San Jose.

Although Post Street is expected to open in early January, most business owners in San Pedro Street are urging the city to leave it car-free for good.

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