A Weekly Message to Member Businesses
View this email in your browser

To our members:

On Monday, the Santa Clara County Director of Public Health, Sara Cody, officially rescinded the few remaining health orders related to COVID 19.  Does this mark the official end to the 2.5 year pandemic?  Yes and no. Cody sites the widespread vaccination rates and availability of COVID-19 testing in our community as the main reason for ending mandates locally, and the World Health Organization reports that the number of deaths from the virus has dropped to levels that indicate "the end is in sight."

What isn't likely to change is the number of office workers returning to their desks.  We haven't reported on Back to Work stats from the weekly Kastle report lately because it hasn't changed.  We reported back in the spring that this may be the new normal, and it's proving to be so.  San Jose is still last in the country, which makes sense when you consider that a high percentage of our workforce are "knowledge workers" who can fulfill their professional responsibility from anywhere with an internet connection.  Kastle is now reporting on three metrics that measure whether people are returning to leisure activities: NBA game attendance, TSA checkpoints at the airport, and restaurant reservations on Open Table.  All are nearly back to pre-pandemic levels (86-98%), which goes to show that the reluctance to return to the office is not necessarily related to health concerns.

One last COVID-related statistic to share:  the open rate on this weekly email goes down when the word "COVID" or "pandemic" is in the subject line.  This newsletter started as a way to communicate to our member businesses about pandemic-related mandates, but we read you loud and clear that you don't want to hear about it anymore.  If we're wrong, let us know by sending an email to  
In Today's Message
Pilot program provides annual transit passes to downtown employees

City of San Jose will reimburse businesses providing transit passes to all their employees

To help get people out of their cars and into public transit, the City of San Jose's Department of Transportation is beginning a pilot program that provides reimbursement to businesses (not residential or colleges/schools) that enroll in VTA’s SmartPass program
Using the Parking Fund, the City (DOT) will reimburse companies on a first-come-first-served basis, with a total of $100,000 available this fiscal year and another $100,000 next fiscal year.  Large and small companies in any metered district (Downtown, Japantown, East Santa Clara) can qualify.

Businesses must get passes for every employee -- not just some employees -- by signing up on the VTA website.  Once businesses get their passes they will need to go to DOT with proof that they purchased passes for every employee.  

The passes range from $165 for non-profits to $180.  These links off the VTA SmartPass web pages provide more information:
Determining SmartPass Categories
Determining Service Level
Determining your Annual Rate per Participant 

To receive reimbursement for VTA SmartPass enrollment, email DOT at

Abierto events and public activation -  Produce community events

Time to apply for Abierto funding

There's still time to apply for a piece of $600,000 in Abierto program funds.  San Jose Downtown Association, Filco Events, San Jose Jazz and School of Arts and Culture are curating applications to disperse Abierto program funds -- intended to bring people back to San Jose and celebrate after two difficult years.

SJDA has four applicants, will accept applications through Sept. 30, and plans to evaluate them the first week of October. 

San Jose arts-based individuals, groups or organizations who plan to celebrate the city’s re-opening through events and public space activations are eligible.  Abierto (Italian for “open”) funding provided by the Mayor’s Budget Office of the City of San Jose will range between $500 and $50,000 per applicant.  

The four lead agencies will process the requests, disseminate the funds and provide logistical support.  Before the end of June, 2023, recipients can take part three different ways:

  • Activate in Viva Parks/Viva CalleSJ programming;
  • Activate in a one-time program or event;
  • Or activate an event or activation series.

Start by completing an Intent to Participate form available at and send it to Justin Imamura at  Forms are available in English, Spanish, Vietnamese and Chinese.  A review committee will evaluate applications and recommend grant awards soon thereafter.  

In the first season of the Abierto Program, SJDA allotted funding to Urban Vibrancy Institute for weekly music events; Curatus for South First Fridays STREET MRKT and SubZero; SJSU Department of Humanities and the Arts for a variety of events; Stage One for a short-film series; Friends of Hue for a photo exhibit and School of Visual Philosophy for Second Saturday events along The Alameda.

People and groups still interested can continue applying into October and will be considered by the other curating organizations. 

Meetings and workshops 

Santa Clara County Disparity Study Virtual Engagement Meeting

MGT Consulting Group has partnered with Santa Clara County to conduct a disparity study examining its use of Diverse Business Enterprises (DIV-BE) in the procurement process. To successfully complete this study, we need to hear from you! Several community meetings will be held to gather information from businesses that have done and/or attempted to do business with the county. These meetings are open to the public and all are encouraged to attend.

Input gathered from these meetings will be analyzed as the basis of recommendations to improve the DIV-BE program. Names will remain confidential. Both Chinese and Tagalog translation will be available. This is the last of a series of meetings.  More about the study here.

Lend Your Voice to Shape Downtown's Transportation Future II
Sept. 22 | 1:30 to 2:30 p.m.
Digital discourse
Free | Register

San Jose’s Downtown Transportation Plan is a community-based, strategic plan to build a more vibrant and welcoming downtown. Since 2020, the community has been engaged in finding transportation solutions—big and small—that meet current needs and prepare for upcoming changes with BART, electric trains, connected trails, and more. A follow-up to April’s preview draft plan, the Downtown Transportation Plan team is eager to partner with SPUR to present the most recent public draft plan. This process depends on public feedback to be successful, so come and share your thoughts as the team completes the plan for City Council’s consideration in November.

  • Eric Eidlin / City of San Jose Department of Transportation
  • Wilson Tam / City of San Jose Department of Transportation
Here's the Transportation Plan presentation to the Downtown Parking Board
Downtown is hiring

SJDA has a Web page listing available jobs in downtown San Jose.
Businesses can list and prospective employees can search. Check

Street closures and traffic issues

Potential labor action may require suspension of ACE service
With the freight railroads and all of their respective employee unions not yet coming to an agreement, the San Joaquin Regional Rail Commission (SJRRC) will implement a modified operating plan for ACE on Thursday, September 15, 2022. ACE will be suspending ACE 05 (6:40 AM Stockton Departure) and 07 (7:32 AM Stockton Departure) in the morning and ACE 08 (5:35 PM San Jose Departure) and 10 (6:38 PM San Jose Departure) in the afternoon on Thursday, September 15, 2022. 

The nation’s Class I freight carriers, including Union Pacific, are currently in negotiations over salary, benefits, time off, and work practices with their respective employee union workforce. The Railway Labor Act (RLA) establishes a structured process of negotiations with the intent to avoid any disruption to the nation’s railroad network, however, the RLA’s cooling-off period ends on Friday, which legally enables a freight railroad work stoppage to occur. While this negotiation does not directly involve ACE personnel or contractors, preparations for a work stoppage have begun to impact ACE service. SJRRC, which owns and operates ACE, will continue to notify passengers of potential impacts to service.  


Annual celebration of Mexican Independence.
 Starting at 4 pm.
This event includes the temporary closure of East Santa Clara Street between Fourth and Sixth Streets from noon to midnight TODAY.

VIVA CALLE STREET CLOSURES Sunday, September 18, from 6 am to 4 pm
Jackson St. – Closed between 4th St. and 7th St.
4th St. – Closed between Jackson St. and San Carlos St.
St. John St. – Closed between 4th St. and Barack Obama Blvd.
3rd St. – Closed between Santa Clara St. and St. John St.
St. James St. – Closed between 3rd St. and 4th St.
Almaden Blvd – Closed between St. John St. and Carlysle St
 Barack Obama Blvd. – Closed between St. John St. and Santa Clara St.
San Fernando St. – Closed between 3rd St. and 4th St.
San Carlos St. – Closed between 1st St. and 4th St.
1st St. – Closed between San Carlos St. and Keyes St.

Auto Crossing Points
The following street intersections do allow vehicles to cross during the event.
4th St. and Empire St.
4th St. and Santa Clara St.
St. John St. and Market St.
St. John St. and 1st St.
St. John St. and 2nd St.
San Carlos St. and 2nd St.
San Carlos St. and 3rd St.

Through February -- West San Fernando Street between Almaden Boulevard and Delmas Avenue will be closed to allow for construction of the Adobe bridge.  Bridge construction occurs in five phases, each with unique conditions:

  1. Utilities and underground
  2. Drilled piers and foundation
  3. Steel erection
  4. Scaffolding and finishes
  5. Dismantle scaffolding
The street closure is largely for Phase 3.
Save the Date:  SJDA Annual Meeting is Oct. 14

Join the San Jose Downtown Association on Friday, Oct. 14 at 8:15 a.m. to be introduced to SJDA’s new CEO Alex Stettinski and hear our current CEO Scott Knies' final "State of the Downtown," plus financial reports on SJDA's assessment districts and the popular lightning-round two-minute committee presentations.
Attendees can attend in person at the Hammer Theatre Center or watch from home or office online.  Both ways, the meeting begins at 8:15 a.m. Please put this on your calendar for now. We'll have more information soon about the links to register to attend or view the meeting and how businesses can participate in the election of SJDA’s Board of Directors for the 2023-2025

Coming up

State of the City address
Sept. 22 | 6 p.m.
California Theatre
345 S. First St.
Register | Free

19th annual Downtown Doors Artist & Sponsor Virtual Reception
Thursday, Sept. 29 | 6 p.m.
Free | Zoom
RSVP here

Meet the student artists from San Jose high schools who have contributed their artwork to enhance Downtown San Jose's urban landscape, and learn the techniques they used and inspiration for their pieces. We'll celebrate the 10 students, their schools and program sponsors and thank the downtown site hosts.

Downtown San Jose and Silicon Valley in the News
Recent media reports involving Downtown San Jose/Silicon Valley. Subscriptions may be necessary to see the article.
Health Links
Workplace Safety
Grants and Loans City
County / State / Federal
Let us know how else we can help your business by replying to this email. We’ll have another message next week.
Copyright © 2022 San Jose Downtown Association, All rights reserved.

unsubscribe from this list    update subscription preferences