Tactical Urbanism: Short-Term Events for Long-Term Change
On March 9, Greenbelt Alliance hosted a community meeting at the San Jose Rose Garden Library. Attendees included members from the Buena Vista Neighborhood Association, Burbank Community Association, and Antiques Colony, as well as San Jose city staff and other members of the community. The topic of discussion: tactical urbanism events at the West San Carlos Street and South Bascom Avenue Neighborhoods.
Tactical urbanism refers to short-term place-making activities that are designed to generate enthusiasm for long-term urban improvements. In the case of Scott Street and Business Circle, we want to engage community members around these short-term events and to increase engagement around the improvements outlined in the West San Carlos Street and South Bascom urban village plans.
Scott Street Bike Demonstration
Greenbelt Alliance had originally put forth the idea of having a bike demonstration project along Scott Street during which temporary “sharrows”—painted arrows indicating that bicycles and motor vehicles share the lane—would be installed for national Bike-to-Work Day on Friday, May 20.
Feedback from the meeting helped further refine our vision and we are now hoping to plan an additional event on Saturday, May 21 around bicycle education. We would temporarily close down one block of Scott Street and invite bike experts to teach residents about how sharrows are utilized and general bike safety tips.
Community Event at Business Circle
In addition to the Scott Street programming, stakeholders at the meeting were also excited to talk about a community event at Business Circle, which sits at the corner of West San Carlos Street and South Bascom Avenue.
Members of the community initially spoke to Greenbelt Alliance about having temporary place-making activities at this location due to Business Circle’s reputation of having criminal activities in its back alley. Conversations with the City and other partners have centered around how temporary improvements—such as hanging Christmas lights and allowing for outdoor seating—can lead to permanent improvements—such as permanent light fixtures and parklets—thereby bringing new life to Business Circle.
Other ideas included having interactive activities, art and musical performances, and urban gardening demonstrations. The event is being tentatively planned for late June, so stay tuned!
Greenbelt Alliance is still looking for additional community input as we move forward. Please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org to get involved.