Taking to the Streets
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.
Cyclists Take to the Streets at VivaCalle SJ
People of all ages came out for the VivaCalle SJ in San Jose.
No Cars Allowed
Volunteers were stationed at major intersections to keep cyclists and pedestrians safe from cars and allow cars to pass at regular intervals.
Music in the Park
There were several different musical acts set up along the route drawing visitors to stop and listen for a while.
Some families set up picnics and temporary park space right on the street, leaving behind a little art.
Student volunteers from San Jose State University set up this creative "chalk-by-numbers" work of art, inviting community members to fill it in.
There were lots of kid-friendly activities like this foam play zone in Downtown San Jose's St. James Park.
Culture and Costumes
These two colorfully dressed calacas (skeletons) took to the streets to spread the word about the upcoming San Jose Dia de Los Muertos celebration.
Local nonprofit organizations, like Bay Area Bike Share, set up tables to talk to visitors about community issues.
San Jose Street Art
Walking the route gave visitors a chance to see the new mural going up in San Jose's SoFA District.
Explore Your City
Walking streets they usually drive gave visitors an opportunity to stop in and learn about local businesses they don't often see.