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San Jose votes to permanently shut down part of San Pedro Square to traffic

The San Jose City Council has voted to permanently shut down a section of San Pedro Street downtown to cars.

Business owners and residents already have a sense of what it would look like as the city closed the street to cars back in July 2020.

With a new vote Tuesday, San Pedro Street will become San Jose’s first permanent pedestrian mall in 52 years.

During the pandemic, San Jose gave the idea a trial run as a way to offer safer outdoor dining options. Ever since, cars have been banned on this stretch between West Santa Clara street and Saint John — now, it’s permanent.

Business owners, including the co-owner of O’Flahertys Irish Pub, say keeping cars out has been good for business.

“Overall I think it’s been a positive experience, and definitely on Fridays and Saturday nights, I see more people walking on the streets than I did on the pavement pre-pandemic,” said David Mulvehill of O’Flahertys.

Neighbors say the road closure brought them together.

“Now it’s one continuous pedestrian thoroughfare with people walking, bicycling, and taking the time to stop and chat throughout,” said Mark Lewis of San Jose. 

Mayor Matt Mahan says he thinks permanently closing a section of San Pedro Street will provide an economic boost to businesses and help downtown experience a boom loop instead of a doom loop.

“When we reclaim public space, and allow it to be used by pedestrians and customers, we have more opportunity for our small businesses to be successful, in our downtown and beyond. For our residents to be they come to the downtown area and beyond for events and more and we come together in community,” saud Mahan.

Now that the council has approved the permanent pedestrian mall, the city will move forward with adding lighting and making other improvements.

Source: NBC Bay Area

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