Turning downtown SJ into a vibrant area

April 30, 2008 10:38:12 AM PDT
Downtown San Jose is turning into a vibrant residential area, but balancing home life with night life is proving to be tricky. It's an issue the City Council is taking up.

Twenty-five years and more than a billion dollars has made San Jose's downtown what it is today. The problem is as the city's grown so have its problems.

One issue is an estimated 10,000 patrons emptying out of downtown bars and clubs at 2:00 a.m. on weekends, and they all hit the streets at once.

"As soon as the clubs close the cops are everywhere. They push everybody out, it's just too much. It's no fun," said San Jose resident Troy McClean.

The mayor and City Council want to soften the blow of having these people on the streets. In a few new proposals, they're asking clubs and restaurants to compromise.

One proposal would shut down sidewalk tables belonging to restaurants that offer alcohol and entertainment at midnight.

That would cut down on people drinking outdoors and would potentially save the city a bundle in police costs.

"We spend a couple of million dollars a year on police overtime downtown and we take in about $400,000 in sales tax revenues," said San Jose Mayor Chuck Reed.

Dave Powell owns three downtown bars and clubs including the Three Gringos and the San Jose Bar and Grill.

"We're allowed to invest millions of dollars into the downtown corridor, contribute quite a lot to sales tax, but then they say we're going to tell you how to run your business," said Powell.

The City Council has decided to allow more street vendor licenses to spruce up the downtown area.

The mayor and City Council want to make the downtown area an attractive, vibrant 24-hour destination for all ages -- one that would satisfy and service the new residents moving into expensive high rises now surrounding the downtown area, but still cater to people wanting a night time urban experience.

The City Council is still hearing public comment before they decide on whether or not to close those sidewalk areas at midnight or 2:00 a.m. They are expected to make a decision sometime later on Tuesday night.


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