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San Jose Hosts Inaugural “ViaVelo” Event Celebrating Cycling

San Jose, California, recently joined cities around the world in promoting car-free streets by hosting its first ciclovía, the Mattson Technology ViaVelo, which opened a portion of San Fernando Street in downtown to pedestrians, bicycle riders, and skaters. San Jose's first foray into ciclovía events was a hit with sponsors, elected officials and the throngs of people who showed up to enjoy the day. Though the city hasn't yet committed to more ViaVelos, the foundation has been set and the community seems poised to embrace them.

[intro music]
Speaker: [0:13] Today we're extremely excited to be here with the first Mattson Technology San Jose Via Velo.

[music continues and fades]

Corinne Winter: [0:23] This is a street closure in some ways, and in other ways this is a street opening because we normally think of streets as places for cars. But I like to think of streets more as for people. By opening up the streets to the community we're allowing people to come out and utilize this public space in a much more active way.
Chuck Reed: [0:42] Well, first off we just closed down the streets so people can take their kids on their strollers, ride a bike, come out on rollerblades, anything you want right on the street. It's kind of a novel thing. And a lot of entertainment and things going on, just to have a little fun and get people out of their houses into some recreation.
Rose Herrera: [0:58] It's a wonderful event to bring out the whole community to celebrate bike riding in San Jose. And bike riding for people of all ages-children, their parents, and their grandparents and everyone.
Dave Dutton: [1:12] If you want to think about the first time you ever rode a bike and your parent first let go and you were free for that second-that feeling! So to try and bring that feeling back to families.
Courtney Karnes: [1:21] You see lots of kids out on their bikes excited about getting in shape with their parents, doing something outdoors with their parents. Lots of art projects and obstacle courses. We see healthy food demonstrations. We see people who are excited about being outdoors.
Speakers: [1:36] Bike party!

[music]

Girl: [1:39] Here we go!

[bicycle bell rings]

Speaker: [1:41] We're just cruising. Cruising! Stay green, baby! Stay green! Yeah!
Katie: [1:45] My name is Katie. I'm with San Jose Bike party, and Bike Party has collaborated with the Silicon Valley Bike Coalition to lead some really cool touring rides during the Via Velo event. So instead of just sticking around and looking at booths, you can actually get on your bike and go for a brief bike ride during the event.
Speaker: [2:09] I'm a big boy but I can make it, too. So everybody come out and join us. We've got lots of fun! Hurry up!

[bicycle bell rings]

Sam Liccardo: [2:16] In the last four years we've tripled our Mode Share, commuters who are using bikes, which I think is a great accomplishment for a city of this size. Carl Guardino: When we ride to work or any of our trips, look at the benefits. First, our health. Second, our environment. We have to get off the bus. The fuels reduce our greenhouse gases and carbon footprint.

[2:37] Third, traffic. Every year it's identified as the major concern of Silicon Valley and Bay Area residents. We have a chance to get out of our stalled cars and onto cycles.

Hans Larsen: [2:48] A couple of years ago San Jose was rated 40th of the 70 largest cities in the country. In the last two years we've moved up from 40th to 15th, and we hope to continue our progression into the top 10.
Kim Walesh: [3:04] I think like a lot of cities, in San Jose we've seen a lot of interest in cycling the last couple years. We have more and more people cycling through downtown, cycling to work.
Hans Larsen: [3:13] San Fernando Street you can see here. This used to be a four-lane street, that just a couple of years ago we converted to two lanes with bike lanes. We plan to augment this even further by adding green pavement markings like what they're doing in San Francisco.

[3:31] We're looking at doing some separation like they've done in New York City, and we're really looking at the best practices from around the world to make biking safe and convenient and getting more people to ride.

Carl Guardino: [3:43] I want to make just one word change on Bike-To-Work Day. One word change. [people in the background saying every] If we change it from Bike-To-Work Day to Bike-To-Work Every Day.

[cheers and applause]

Sam Liccardo: [3:54] My dream ambition really is to make this happen every single week here in San Jose. For now we'll just try it a little bit. And hopefully, if we can find a way to minimize the cost and get a little sponsorship help, we'll make it more routine.

[music to end]

[4:06]



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  • Clarence Eckerson, Jr.

    To all the college kids out there who want to make Streetfilms one day, John Hamilton has mastered the art of shooting video while blading. If you practice becoming a great skater, one day you will be making movies in this business. For sure. Great footage, great job!

  • http://www.bikesiliconvalley.com Carlos Babcock

    Thanks Clarence,
    First met you at Portland's Sunday Streets. After participating in that wonderful event, it was great to see this finally happen. This will be the first of many more. John was fantastic. Thanks Streetfilms and Streetsblog.

  • http://www.cyclelicio.us/ Richard Masoner

    Love it!

    I didn't catch him on his skates, but here's a "behind the scenes" of John Hamilton in San Jose.

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/bike/4610215293/

  • http://www.victrolux.com/ Victor Ingrassia

    Super cool!

  • Hans Larsen

    A big thanks to Streetfilms and Streetsblog for the great coverage of San Jose’s first open street festival – ViaVelo. Please know that your reporting of worldwide best practices has had a significant influence on San Jose’s firm embrace of the livable streets movement and the recent adoption of a policy goal to become one of the best bicycling cities in America. A few years ago, the Streetfilm on Physically Separated Bike Lanes kicked off a fascination with the Streetfilm "library" and how auto-oriented cities can transform themselves into more livable communities by following the paths taken by such diverse places as Bogota, Copenhagen, New York City and Portland. On behalf of the San Jose Department of Transportation, thanks for the education, inspiration and now the validation that San Jose is on a journey that is Streetfilm-worthy!

  • http://www.livablestreets.com/people/grenavitar Fritz

    The head of a city DOT who wears a Copenhagen shirt AND comments on StreetFilms. Now if only we could get all city and state (where the real money is) DOTs to think that way. :)

    Great video, best of luck to San Jose.

  • Kheggem3

    Man, I will tell ya. As someone who is an  Ex-patriot if San Jose... partially due ot cost of living AND the bike infrastructure ills... I am moved by the changes taking place. 
    It was not unusual for folks to nearly run me down, even in bike lanes, some 6 years ago before we moved to PDX. 
    They would honk if I was turning in a turn lane at a light like I had no business being there. 
    Serious Share The Road campaign is likely needed, but I am proud of my hometown for taking steps toward a more livable and bike friendly city. 
    Cheers!

  • Jamie Croft

    hi can u show me some cool rims off some cars so i can show them 2 my uncle so he can put it on his cars so he can do raceis and can u make hoim a cool car 4 his race