Monday, September 14, 2015

Blast From the Past - Downtown San Jose is Getting Illuminated!

Below is an old post from December 26th, 2012 describing a killer project that would illuminate two highway underpasses that are gateways to the Downtown core. Guess what... almost three years later the project is going to happen! Work begins today according to the San Jose Trails Twitter feed!

Downtown San Jose is Getting Illuminated!
Here is a nice little Christmas present for all those that live, work, or play in Downtown San Jose. Two highway underpasses are about to get painted in LED artwork, which you can see below. The first is the main gateway to the Downtown San Jose core--where 87 passes over Santa Clara Street. This important area connects the HP Pavilion and Diridon Station with the rest of Downtown. Right now, it's pretty gloomy and can feel less than inviting if you are walking by yourself. However, that is about to change. Tons of LED lights donated by San Jose-based Philips Lumileds are going under the overpass along with colorful paint that will pop when hit by the lights.

The second underpass is the where 87 passes over San Fernando Street. This project is a bit more modest but the effect is the same. Artists are taking a gloomy overpass and turning it into an attraction. The photo shows blue and green lights, but with LEDs there is always a possibility of making the lighting dynamic.

All of this is made possible by a program called Illuminating Downtown, which received a $600k grant from ArtPlace America and other contributions from the SJDA. These first two lighting projects should be complete by fall 2013. I believe there will be two other areas that are getting lit as well, but am not 100% certain about that. In addition, they are also talking to high-rise residential apartment owners that are looking to illuminate their buildings (The 88 did a GREAT job with this and Axis isn't too shabby either).

I think this is a big step towards making San Jose look like the capital of Silicon Valley. Personally, I can't wait to see these two projects completed. This is showing that Downtown San Jose is moving in the right direction when it comes to public art and creating a more inviting atmosphere. Growdwerx is also doing a great job when it comes to lighting up parts of Downtown.

2013 is going to be a great year!

Source: SVBJ

Highway 87 & Santa Clara Street

Highway 87 & San Fernando Street


  1. Looks great, but did you mean 2013 or 2015? Would love to see something done with the ealkways under the train tracks on The Alameda/Santa Clara and on Julian. They are both creepy places to walk when going to Whole Foods from where I live in North San Jose

  2. Installation for this project began well over 6 weeks ago. In this time, the only work that has been completed appears to be several stenciled circular images and about 20 led lights hung up on the overpass. While crews have been onsite daily, complete with cherrypickers blocking lanes on West Santa Clara Street as well as walking paths. It appears this project has no oversite nor anybody managing the project. This is beyond frustrating to walk by everyday with seemingly zero progress being made.