When the pandemic hit back in 2020, life looked far more different than it does now. We had to make a lot of private and public adjustments in life to accommodate a global pandemic. Some adjustments ended up having great lasting benefits for people and businesses and are just slightly adjusting again to re-accommodate to life now that the pandemic is mostly behind us. One of these such changes lies with restaurants, and that was when restaurants were given street access to have outdoor dining and select streets in metropolitan areas were closed off to pedestrian-only foot traffic. Now that indoor dining is allowed again, many places are eliminating the outdoor dining option, but some areas are fighting to keep it. San Jose’s San Pedro Street is one such street that people are fighting to remain set up with outdoor dining for pedestrian foot traffic only.
After a couple of previous extensions, San Pedro Street has been voted to remain permanently pedestrian-only.
In May, a unanimous vote passed the bill forward that deems the street to be a pedestrian-only outdoor space to which cars will not have access. City Councilmember Bien Doan said he “looks forward to having an outdoor space for tourism and residents,” while acknowledging how this will mark the formation of San Jose’s first pedestrian mall.
Originally car traffic was blocked off on San Pedro Street as it became an outdoor dining area after the San Jose Al Fresco Initiative passed.
This was extended in 2022 to continue to have a temporary, at the time, block on cars coming through the street. Many restaurant owners and chefs on the street and in neighboring areas are incredibly happy about this change being marked into permanence. All businesses will be able to bring their businesses to stand out on the sidewalk since walking will now be allowed in the street and sidewalks will not be needed to be devoted to walking only. The overall plan for the change is that anything that is currently in the street will have to move to the sidewalk and closer to the businesses themselves and there must be a 20-foot-wide space in the street for pedestrian traffic and emergency vehicles.
Most are very excited for these changes to become permanent and appreciate the fact that it opens up so much to foot traffic overall in the city, as the street is conveniently located at walking distance of many major San Jose buildings.