SAN JOSE, CA - San Jose City Council passed an ordinance on Tuesday that will permanently close San Pedro Square to vehicle traffic. City officials say it’s safer for pedestrians and good for downtown businesses.
"I like it if they have restaurants and tables all around and people can walk. So, I think it’s better that way," said one man from San Jose.
Through the ordinance, city officials are looking to make better use of sidewalks and outdoor areas.
"We’re seeing a major upswing. Thirty-plus businesses are opening up. We have residents who actually feel safe to come down and patronize our amazing businesses downtown," said Omar Torres, San Jose City Council member for Dist. 3.
San Pedro Square was temporarily closed to traffic during the pandemic and remained closed until June of last year. City staff then analyzed closing the square for good and the idea was supported by the business community. The plan is to re-establish the square into a pedestrian mall, which will cost nearly $10 million.
"I love it. It’s good for businesses, for patrons, families with kids. It’s safe and fun," said Lucio Garcia, general manager of Old Wagon Saloon and Grill.
City officials also say San Pedro Square has contributed to the city’s quick recovery from the pandemic. One resident who lives nearby says she welcomes the decision to keep the street free of traffic and safer for pedestrians.
"I live on this street. So, I definitely condone keeping it closed down versus having it free and having people coming through," said Nikeya, of San Jose.
City officials also say data shows downtown San Jose has recovered faster than any other downtown in the state since the pandemic ended.