Monday, June 29, 2009

Traffic Relief Coming to the 280/880 Interchange

How many time have you driven to/from Santana Row or Valley Fair and found yourself sitting in massive amounts of traffic? The good news is that some relief is on the way. Several additional lanes and direct highway connectors are being planned that should reduce congestion substantially. So the bad news?  You'll have to wait until 2013 to test out that new asphalt.

For more details on this $130-150 million project, click here.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

The Market Street Blues

I recently spent a week in a hotel on Market Street in San Francisco. Market is easily the busiest street in San Francisco and features retail, hotels, theaters, and a whopping 3 levels of public transportation stacked on top of one another. You have trolleys and buses at the ground level, a light rail subway below that, and if that wasn't enough you also have a BART line below the subway system. In addition, every light rail and BART line has multiple stops along market.

Naturally I assumed that this would be the place to be in SF. I envisioned nice walks with my wife to late night restaurants and bars with lot's to see and do. What a tremendous disappointment! This has to be the most inconsistent street in the world. You can be walking outside of Bloomingdales on one block and a porn megaplex in the next. Much of the retail spaces were vacant, far more than in the streets of downtown San Jose. Few places were open past 10pm besides Burger King, and most of the street is a homeless encampment (smells exactly like you would expect a homeless encampment to smell as well). Also unlike San Jose, the homeless people are very agressive and will sometimes follow you.

I have never seen a live robbery in my life, and yet during this week I saw two. First I saw someone steal a teenager's iPhone while waiting for the subway, then I saw a small group of people stealing a BMW's wheels while I was looking for parking (a nightmare in and of itself). What the heck SF? Market Street should be the nicest in the city. It's access by public transit rivals every other street I've been to besides a few in Tokyo. Market St. should be a showcase of everything San Francisco has to offer, not a sprawling homeless shelter.

We should try to learn from whatever mistakes were made leading to this Market Street cluster-mess. That way, when BART strolls through Santa Clara Street in the year 2087, we can provide an enjoyable experience to our residents and visitors!

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Outdoor Movies @ Starlight Cinemas!

Want to watch a movie under the stars this summer? The Downtown San Jose Association has a great event going on called Starlight Cinemas. For the remaining showings, keep on reading or head on over to the Startlight Cinemas webpage!


Wednesdays, June 10-Aug 26 (no show July 1)
movies begin at dusk, come early for the best seat
BYOCB(or A)- Bring Your own Chair, Blanket or Air Bed
Take advantage of San Jose's warm, summer nights and enjoy a movie under the star-studded sky with good company. Explore one of three downtown neighborhoods each week and meet the people and businesses that give downtown its character.
Find the complete movie line up for each district below:
CSP crowd eatingSan Pedro Square every second Wed (Jun 10, Jul 8, Aug 12). New restaurants stand side by side veteran eating establishments; European-style café seating beckons. Come early, have a seat, and stay awhile.
  • July 8 – Caddy Shack (1980/ Rated R / 107 min) Starring Chevy Chase, Rodney Dangerfield, Bill Murray; directed by Harold Ramis. Harold Ramis's breezy, laugh-a-minute comedy features some of the most inventive and hilarious men in contemporary film. Bushwood Country Club, bastion of the well-to-do, becomes a free-for-all when a mischievous rodent and Al Czervik (Rodney Dangerfield) arrive! Pre-movie entertainment: Comedian kicking off the mood and wear your most outrageous plaid and/or golf outfit and compete for prizes!
  • August 12 – Monty Python and The Holy Grail (1975/ Rated PG/ 91 min) Starring Graham Chapman, John Cleese, Terry Gilliam, Eric Idle, Terry Jones, and Michael Palin; directed by Gilliam and Jones. Considered the first "proper" film by the Monty Python troupe and mainstream audiences. The film spoofs the legends of King Arthur's quest to find the Holy Grail. Idle used the film as inspiration for the 2005 Tony Award-winning musical Spamalot, using songs such as “Knights of the Round Table” and “Brave Sir Robin.” Pre-movie entertainment: TBD – local performance group to perform Monty Python themed entertainment.
    Historic District every third Wed (Jun 17, Jul 15, Aug 19) on Post Street between Market and First streets. Discover unparalleled entertainment and dining options tucked inside some of downtown's oldest and grandest buildings, plus transit services steps from the front door.
    • July 15 – Casablanca (1942/ NR/ 102 minutes) Starring Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman; directed by Lawrence W. Butler. One of the most memorable of all film experiences. Wartime refugees gather in Morocco to obtain scarce exit visas to Lisbon. The final airport scene is not to be forgotten. Pre-movie entertainment: Rene Solis & Lucky 13 (rockin blues) and Bogart impersonation contest.
    • August 19 – A Streetcar Named Desire (1951/ NR /122 minutes) Starring Vivien Leigh, Kim Hunter and Marlon Brando; directed by Elia Kazan. Blanche Dubois moves in with her sister, Stella, and Stella’s husband, Stanley. Blanche refuses to come to terms with the death of her Southern aristocratic background, causing her to conflict with her lower-class brother-in-law. Stanley harshly forces her to face the facts, driving her to a complete personality breakdown in this cinematic version of the classic Tennessee Williams play. Pre-movie entertainment: Jimmy Dewrance Blues (Delta style blues) and Brando impersonation “Stella” shouting contest.

    Sunday, June 21, 2009

    Famous People From San Jose

    Were you just wondering about famous people that were either born or ended up moving to San Jose? ... No? Well, I bet you are now.

    Click here to see the Wikipedia list of people that were born here, moved here, and just for kicks there's even a list of popular bands started in San Jose.

    Thursday, June 18, 2009

    49ers Stadium Render!

    Okay, so while technically not in San Jose... this is close enough for me. The Merc has posted a very nice render of the proposed 49ers stadium in Santa Clara. I hope this comes to fruition and we get our 3rd major professional sports team in the South Bay!  Click on the image below to see a blown up version.

    Tuesday, June 16, 2009

    Video: Downtown San Jose

    Okay, now that I know how to post videos, I have to post this one:

    If you have any other videos that you would like to see here, just post the link in the comments!

    Monday, June 15, 2009

    Video: Downtown San Jose at Night

    Below is a video tour of Downtown San Jose at night. The video itself is about 2 years old, but still an interesting watch.

    Friday, June 12, 2009

    The San Jose Blog Turns 1 ... 1 month old that is!

    This is post number 30, not too shabby for for a month's worth of existence! Originally I was planning to post a couple times per week, but I think I will attempting to do 5 posts instead since there is so much to talk about. The economy has seen better days, but San Jose is continuing to grow in every way possible. I think you're going to see exponential changes over the next 10 years, and San Jose will become one of the most significant cities in 21st century US history. There, I've said it... you heard it here first. ;)

    I've done practically no promotion for The San Jose Blog and it's already received several thousand views from throughout the Bay Area over the past few weeks. Clearly a few buddies from the San Jose Development News Forum and myself aren't the only people excited about San Jose. We have a lot to look forward to, keep checking in to see how our renaissance unfolds!

    Thursday, June 11, 2009

    SubZERO 2009 Photos!

    Rambis has taken some fantastic photos of SubZERO 2009! I wish I could have been there, but will definitely put it on my calendar for next year. Below are some of my favorite SubZERO photos from his album:

    To see his full album with over 60 photos, click here!

    Tuesday, June 9, 2009

    San Jose Politics: Proposed Runoff Election Changes

    If you're interested in San Jose politics (or a free lunch), then you might want to check out this event happening at the Martin Luther King Jr. Library Room 225, from 12pm-1:15pm this Thursday:

    CA EVENT: Instant Runoff Voting (San Jose)

    In order to be elected to office in San Jose, a candidate must secure a majority of the votes cast. Sounds simple enough, but if no candidate receives a majority, then a runoff election is held in which the top candidates must compete again. This process is not only lengthy and results in voter fatigue and low voter turnout, but can cost $500,000 per election. There must be a better way to elect our leaders.

    In May, the San Jose Elections Commission had Instant Runoff Voting (IRV) on their agenda, and heard it described as a cheaper, quicker, and more civil way to run elections. Join us for a discussion of how IRV works and what it can do for San Jose.

    This event is free and open to the public and lunch will be provided.

    The event is jointly sponsored by the New America Foundation and Common Cause.

    Featured Speakers
    Sam Liccardo
    Councilmember, San Jose City Council (District 3)

    Steve Chessin
    President, Californians for Electoral Reform

    Ash Kalra
    Councilmember, San Jose City Council (District 2)

    Ellen Wheeler
    Member, League of Women Voters Los Altos-Mountain View

    Moderated by
    Terry Christensen
    Professor of Political Science, San Jose State University"


    Monday, June 8, 2009

    San Jose Improv - SPECIAL EVENTS

    I have been to both the Punchline and Cobb's Comedy Club in SF, and have to say I have always had a better experience ant the Improv in downtown. The seating is better, location is better, and we've consistently been getting top tier acts month after month. If you've never been to a live comedy show before, this is the place to go. You'll probably be coming back for more.

    Here is a list of some of the "special events" coming this summer (Improv's way of saying: "these our our big name acts"):

    Jim Breuer: Jun 25-28
    Josh Blue: Aug 14-16
    Kevin Nealon: Aug 21-22
    Eddie Griffin: Sep 11-12
    Gabriel Iglesias: Sep 25-27

    I've seen Jim Breuer, Josh Blue, and Gabriel Iglesias... all were amazing. By the end of Gabriel Iglesias' routine I was laughing so hard I was almost in tears. Gabriel also gets respect for brining in San Jose Lightrail and pedicabs into some of his jokes.

    Saturday, June 6, 2009

    June 2009 Downtown Dimension Highlights

    I have just received the latest issue of Downtown Dimension, a great newsletter put out by the San Jose Downtown Association that covers what's happening in downtown San Jose. Here are some highlights from June's issue: 
    • SoFA is becoming more pedestrian-friendly with 3 new sidewalk extensions for outdoor seating and 200 new planters.
    • Later this summer SoFA will receive two new murals, bike racks, and illuminated tree lighting (nice!).
    • Music in the Park schedule (Thursdays from 5:30-9:15pm):
      • June 11: Sierra Leone's Refugee Allstars (world/reggae)
      • June 18: Third Eye Blind (allternative rock)
      • June 25: Pete Escovedo (Latin jazz)
      • July 2: The Tubes (classic rock)
      • July 9: Eek-A-Mouse (reggae)
    • The City is asking over 30 downtown nightclubs to help pay for policing costs.  Annual charges to club owners would range from $1,200 to $33,000 depending on club size.
    • 25 downtown utility doors have be converted into art projects for aspiring local talent.
    • The Old Wagon Saloon & Grill has opened up on 73 N. San Pedro St. and features buffalo, free-range turkey, and calamari fries.
    • Agave Viejo is open on 151 W Santa Clara and boasts over 93 brands of tequila.
    • Pearl Nigh Club has opened up in what used to be Vivid Night Club, 8 S. First St.
    • Groundwerx will be emphasizing work with the downtown homeless population, connecting them with housing services that will hopefully get them off the streets.
    To subscribe to this free newsletter, click here.

    SubZERO 2009 Photos Coming Soon

    The SubZERO festival hit downtown SJ yesterday, and from what I heard so far it was a huge success. Unfortunately I couldn't be there, but I'll be collecting photos to post early next week!

    Thursday, June 4, 2009

    History San Jose Expands Historic Trolly Line

    The historic trolley line inside of History San Jose has been expanded so that the trolleys can run from History Park to the Japanese Friendship Gardens. That is a photo of the inaugural run using a 1912 trolley.  

    For more information, you can check out the History San Jose Blog.

    Tuesday, June 2, 2009

    DINE DOWNTOWN SAN JOSE *** Restaurant Week 2009 *** June 3-13

    Starting tomorrow you'll be able to enjoy a 3 course dinner at one of 27 different venues for the fixed price of either $20, $30, or $40. This is a great opportunity to try out some of the amazing restaurants in downtown San Jose at reasonable prices!

    I would also like to point out that the Silicon Valley Capital Club is also on the list. This is a members-only club on the top floor of the Knight Ridder building next to the Fairmont, so unless you have a friend that's a member this will be your best opportunity to try out the club's dining room. There are 2 massive balconies up there and the views are spectacular. This is currently the only downtown San Jose dining venue more than a few stories off of the ground (Scott's Seafood comes in second being on the 6th floor of a parking structure), so if you're a San Jose enthusiast you have to check it out!

    Monday, June 1, 2009

    Tallest Proposed Hi-Rise in San Jose

    Okay, so the current economy isn't exactly a harbinger of optimism to the San Jose construction scene. Despite everything, there still are quite a number of projects on the table, particularly in the downtown San Jose area. There's a handy San Jose Future Highrise Map link on the right hand menu to this blog to give you an idea of how many projects are shovel ready, approved, or proposed (along with photos if we have them).

    I wanted to highlight the tallest approved project, the One South Market building by KT Properties and designed by Ankrom Moisan. If completed, it should stand somewhere between 315-338 feet tall and be the tallest building between San Francisco and LA. Also, it couldn't be in a better location with easy access to San Pedro Square, 1st St, 2nd St, and Market. For more details about the building head down past the photos!

    Description from the Ankrom Moisan website:

    "Located in the heart of downtown, the building is adjacent to the San Pedro Square dining and entertainment district. New retail space at street level and the addition of permanent residents will increase pedestrian activity in the district and make it safer through a significant number of "eyes on the street." The building design uses a modern palette of materials, with a transparent curtainwall skin at the base that rises to a glass and stone tower designed in a Mondrian-like pattern. The tower will be a striking presence on the San Jose skyline, offering residents views of downtown and the surrounding Santa Cruz and Diablo Mountain ranges. Residents of the 300 luxury condos will enjoy a variety of amenities, including a landscaped elevated plaza deck with lap pool and spa. Bus and lightrail access is only one block away. 1 South Market is designed as a 22-story, 610,000 sf building with 300 luxury condominiums."