The Alameda Celebrates Its Independence as a City Street on Parade Day, July 4

And Janice Rombeck

Rose, White and Blue Parade program

Photo by Shasta Hanchett Neighborhood Association Participant Rose, White and Red Parade.

The floats, bands, bicyclists and dancers in San Jose’s Rose, White and Blue Parade on Wednesday, July 4, will be strolling exclusively along city streets. The Alameda is officially no longer State Highway 82.

For parade organizers, this means a $10,000 savings on permits and fees they used to have to pay to close a state highway.

“We can do things that we had never really had permission to do before, or we had to go through permitting processes with the state,” said Helen Chapman, a director with the Shasta Hanchett Neighborhood Association. “So it’s an extra layer of cost that’s not there anymore. We can control the street.”

The action to relinquish portions of state routes 82 (The Alameda and Monterey Road) and 130 (Alum Rock Avenue) to the City of San Jose was taken by the State Legislature in December through a bill introduced by Assemblyman Jim Beall, D-San Jose.

Relinquishment of the state routes means that local redevelopment and improvement efforts now rest with local leaders instead of the state, cutting a lot of red tape. The relinquishment also paves the way for local development projects like “The Alameda:The Beautiful Way,“ funded by a $3.1 million Transportation for Livable Communities grant acquired through the Metropolitan Transportation Commission along with $783,000 of city matched funds.

Work on the improvements is expected to start in September to create a pedestrian-friendly area along the Alameda between Stockton and Schiele avenues as well as beautifying the public spaces in the area with street furniture, general maintenance and public art. The MTC money also would be applied to pedestrian improvements, particularly along The Alameda’s retail and business area from Fremont Street to Stockton Avenue.

A pedestrian-friendly area is a high-priority item, Chapman said. Studies conducted showed a desire for pedestrian traffic closer to the business area.

“So we want to slow down the traffic and let people drive down the street and see what businesses are here,” Chapman said.

One phase of the plan would be to “look at one and make it a dedicated bike lane,” Chapman said, something that requires a lot more planning with local transit authorities.

An effort to create a maintenance district among Alameda businesses was unsuccessful. It would have generated $116,000 a year in taxes from the businesses, which would pay for repairs or maintenance. A majority of property owners voted against creating a maintenance district, causing planners to look at scaling back improvements that are maintenance-intensive.

Chapman has an idea for fundraising for The Alameda’s next event – auctioning off “a little piece of history” — the Highway 82 signs that aren’t needed anymore.