The city of San Jose is considering a proposal to open up the Bayfront Park to more car traffic, and the issue has sparked outrage.
The City Council’s transportation committee has been set for a possible vote Wednesday about two city-led proposals that would expand parking spaces, open up waterfront green space by creating a parking island and allow for more streetcars and bikes on the park’s main corridor. That stretch of the park, from Pacific Coast Highway to Interstate 280, is now divided and is largely inaccessible to drivers.
Proposals by the city and the San Jose Bicycle Coalition, a citizen-driven cycling advocacy group, are being met with strong opposition in the Bayview community, where people fear traffic and congestion could worsen if the proposals are moved forward.
“We have heard from so many,” said Jennifer Yoon, community engagement manager for the Bayview Transportation Coalition. “The people in our community oppose every proposal out there, except for 1.”
Included in these proposals is a proposal to expand parking, which would involve increasing the size of existing lots. The city’s plan includes expanding the maximum amount of space each lot can hold, the number of curb-side spaces available for parking and changing the layout of the parking island for better access to the park. Proposed changes would also provide for bicycle parking to increase access, an increase in streetcars for the corridor, or a bike share station.
The Bayview community has consistently called for more parking, according to the Bayview Business Improvement District. According to the district, the proposed proposals would increase congestion in the area, making it more likely carpools would be used for transportation, especially when one-way trips are more costly and limited trips are not taken.
“When people think about parking, they think about their car,” said Bill McCauley of the Business Improvement District. “They see it as the problem and think it hasn’t changed too much since they were driving their car.”
It’s important for the community to hear about the concerns of everyone, McCauley said.
If approved, the proposals would be discussed by the council on February 17 at its regularly scheduled 2:30 p.m. meeting. If approved, the proposals would come into effect by December 2016.
Mayor Sam Liccardo said the city would not be proposing changes to the bayfront park while it awaits the results of the committee’s review.
“I don’t really think it’s appropriate
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