It’s been more than two years since cars have been able to drive down San Pedro Street in downtown San Jose and it appears that trend may last forever. A recent unanimous vote by the San Jose’s Rules and Open Government Committee sent a proposal to permanently close the street to traffic to the City Council for full approval. San Pedro Street was closed when the city enacted its Al Fresco program during the height of the pandemic. It allowed nearby restaurants and bars to utilize the closed street for outdoor dining and activities when gathering indoors was illegal. The program ends on June 30th.
The idea to permanently close San Pedro Street was being pushed by Councilmember Raul Peralez as far back as 2015, well before the COVID-19 outbreak. It has been closed since May of 2020 and most business owners in the area believe it only makes sense to keep it shut down. “San Pedro Street is one of the most lively and active streets currently in downtown San Jose and a lot of that is attributed to the street being closed and al fresco dining, and if it is permanent, that would allow businesses to then invest and build and create even more unique spaces,” Randy Musterer, owner of San Pedro Square’s Sushi Confidential, told San José Spotlight.
Attached to the proposal is a pilot program to also close nearby Post Street to traffic but, according to San Jose Spotlight, the closures would only happen from Thursday evening to Sunday. The pilot program would last one year and after that, the city would reassess the idea. One problem is that Post Street is lined with retail businesses and isn’t dominated by restaurants and bars like San Pedro Street. Some retail owners on Post Street say they’ve lost customers because of the closures.
The city closed Post Street at the start of the Al Fresco program but after protests from shop owners, the city decided to open it back up to traffic. Now, it appears there is more support to close it again. “We saw a really strong community reaction, calling and demanding that we close Post Street back down, and that’s exciting. That’s what we wanted, right? We’ve wanted to create these vibrant spaces and I think there’s no greater streets that make more sense than San Pedro and Post Street,” Peralez told San Jose Spotlight.
The plan for San Pedro and Post streets will be taken up by the City Council during a meeting on April 26th. You can watch the meeting live on the city of San Jose YouTube channel. You can also find a zoom link to view the meeting on the calendar page on the city’s website.