Restaurateurs push SJ to stop car traffic along downtown street

"Closing down the street would give us that opportunity to be able to increase our revenue and have additional sales to counteract all the losses we've had over the last year."

Video Transcript

- In the South Bay, keeping cars away after Covid-19, that's the goal for a group of restaurant owners along San Pedro Street in downtown San Jose. As ABC 7 news reporter [INAUDIBLE] explains owners are asking city leaders to consider making the popular stretch between Santa Clara and St. John car free permanently.

- It could be some time before visitors catch another vehicle along this stretch of San Pedro Street in downtown San Jose. Restaurant owners here are pushing the city to pump the brakes on car traffic so businesses can continue outdoor service in the street permanently post pandemic.

RANDY MUSTERER: We don't need to get back to 100%, we need to get back to 150% for many many years just to recoup all the losses that we've had.

- Sushi confidential owner Randy Musterer says he and other restaurateurs have done a number of pilot studies over the last few years, uncovering interest in what he calls an urban feel. In this case a pedestrian mall of sorts.

RANDY MUSTERER: With a high rise residential, all the corporate in the restaurants, this is exactly what downtown San Jose needs.

- But before any decision is made Colin Heyne with the city's department of transportation says there is much to consider. For instance, the type of closure that would be most appropriate impacts to surrounding traffic and more. Heyne says, the idea is still in its infancy.

COLIN HEYNE: It would be a significant change to our downtown street network it would require funding for engineering and implementation and we don't have any funding identified in the budget at this time.

- Another big issue surrounds maintaining access to the parking garage. A 1,200 space structure in the middle of San Pedro, Heyne says pre pandemic, it supported large community events.

COLIN HEYNE: When we get back to pre cobie levels of traffic and business for that part of downtown, we may see some significant demand on that garage that we would have to deal with.

- But traffic issues won't detour business owners looking for a more permanent solution. A stable set up they believe will benefit the downtown core. In San Jose, I'm [INAUDIBLE] ABC 7 News.