The Alameda Community Meeting

The first full-blown community meeting for “The Alameda: A Plan for the Beautiful Way” is happening on Wednesday, September 30, 2009. The full details are below. They had held smaller meetings for individual neighborhoods but this is the first at-large gathering. Councilmember Pierluigi Oliverio will be there.

The Alameda Invite
Click for PDF

I attended the last meeting for the Shasta/Hanchett Park neighborhood and got a real sense for the concerns of the residents and business owners, many of whom had been in the area for decades. I’d say the number one complaint was about traffic.  Cars drive too fast in their unfettered hurry to get in and out of downtown. There are no bike lanes so the speeding cars drive the cyclists onto the sidewalks where they menace pedestrians. And the poor pedestrians can hardly cross The Alameda at the crosswalks which are unprotected by traffic lights. When it comes to transit, the Beautiful Way has an ugly side.

I heard pros and cons for some notable ideas on how to calm traffic, better serve bikes and pedestrians, and favor local businesses. Some ideas: reducing lanes, widening sidewalks, reconfiguring parking, adding pedestrian bulbouts, building or extending medians. Barbara Maloney of urban planning consulting firm BMS Design Group gave a presentation on the current state of the street, the project, and on relevant government initiatives. I even shared my own views on the street not as a resident, but as a tourist. I let them know what draws me to the area and changes I’d like to see. Hilariously I announced this very blog hoping to gain readers, but forgot to mention its name. Publicity FAIL!

Neightborhood meeting

What I gained most from the meeting was a lesson on the civic process. I’ve never participated in neighborhood or local government like this, so I was impressed and inspired to see how plugged-in and productive people can be about their community. I attended a similar meeting in Menlo Park, so I’m all fired up.

The San Jose Redevelopment Agency has put together a survey you can use to express your opinions on The Alameda.

I plan to attend this next meeting. I’ve even been reading up a little on urban design so I can casually drop terms like “setbacks” and “massing” and sound knowledgeable. Most importantly, on my way there I’ll be driving just a little bit slower. It’s a start.

The Alameda:
A Plan for The Beautiful Way

What: You are invited to attend the first meeting for “The Alameda:
A Plan for The Beautiful Way” project. The streetscape
improvement project is intended to help enliven The Alameda as
a community-serving retail and transportation center, and foster
economic and residential development. Your participation and
input will help shape the future of The Alameda.
When: Wednesday, September 30, 2009
6:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.
Where: Westminster Church
1100 Shasta Avenue (at The Alameda)
  For more information or to complete The Alameda survey visit:
or call 408.535.8549. Surveys will also be available at the first
community meeting.

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