Car-Free San Jose: Photos from VivaCalle SJ

01 of 12

Taking to the Streets

Photos from VivaCalle SJ, an open streets event in San Jose

Some drivers got a surprise this weekend when they found six miles of major San Jose city streets closed to cars and filled with bikes, pedestrians, strollers, skates, and skateboards.

Organizers of the VivaCalle SJ, a free recreational event closed streets for five hours on Sunday, allowing people to bike, skate, run, and play, and explore the city streets like never before. This mission is clear in the event's name, which brings together the Spanish “viva calles,” which means both “the streets live” and “long live the streets.” The family-friendly celebration included several organized stops at parks and plazas filled with music, vendors, activities, and community organizations.

The people-centered celebration was inspired by similar "open streets" events that started more than forty years ago in Bogotá, Colombia and is now a weekly tradition in cities around the world. In bringing this to San Jose, organizers hope to encourage locals to seek out alternatives to driving in Silicon Valley.

The event was organized by the City of San Jose's Department of Parks, Recreation, and Neighborhood Services in partnership with the Silicon Valley Bike Coalition and funding from the Knight Foundation. The organizers hope to do it again soon, making open streets a tradition here in San Jose.

02 of 12

Cyclists Take to the Streets at VivaCalle SJ

Photos from VivaCalle SJ, an open streets event in San Jose

People of all ages came out for the VivaCalle SJ in San Jose.

03 of 12

No Cars Allowed

Photos from VivaCalle SJ, an open streets event in San Jose

Volunteers were stationed at major intersections to keep cyclists and pedestrians safe from cars and allow cars to pass at regular intervals. 

04 of 12

Bike Love

Photos from VivaCalle SJ, an open streets event in San Jose

Attendees showed up (and showed off) bikes of all shapes and sizes.

Continue to 5 of 12 below.
05 of 12

Music in the Park

Watching a band perform at VivaCalle SJ, open streets in San Jose

There were several different musical acts set up along the route drawing visitors to stop and listen for a while. 

06 of 12

Colorful Streets

Families decorating the streets with chalk at VivaCalle SJ, open streets in San Jose

Some families set up picnics and temporary park space right on the street, leaving behind a little art. 

07 of 12

"Chalk-by-Number"

A chalk-by-number at VivaCalle SJ, open streets in San Jose

Student volunteers from San Jose State University set up this creative "chalk-by-numbers" work of art, inviting community members to fill it in. 

08 of 12

Kid-Friendly Activities

Lots of kid-friendly activities at VivaCalle SJ, open streets event in San Jose.

There were lots of kid-friendly activities like this foam play zone in Downtown San Jose's St. James Park.

Continue to 9 of 12 below.
09 of 12

Culture and Costumes

Photos from VivaCalle SJ, open streets in San Jose

These two colorfully dressed calacas (skeletons) took to the streets to spread the word about the upcoming San Jose Dia de Los Muertos celebration. 

10 of 12

Sharing Community

Nonprofit organizations working at VivaCalle SJ, open streets in San Jose

Local nonprofit organizations, like Bay Area Bike Share, set up tables to talk to visitors about community issues. 

11 of 12

San Jose Street Art

Muralists at work at VivaCalle SJ, open streets in San Jose

Walking the route gave visitors a chance to see the new mural going up in San Jose's SoFA District. 

12 of 12

Explore Your City

Clay studio spotted along the route of VivaCalle SJ, open streets in San Jose

Walking streets they usually drive gave visitors an opportunity to stop in and learn about local businesses they don't often see.

Was this page helpful?