Curb Cafes May Come to San Jose

By Kris Sanchez
|  Tuesday, Jan 8, 2013  |  Updated 7:19 PM PDT
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Curb cafes might be in the near future of San Jose. Kris Sanchez reports.

Curb cafes might be in the near future of San Jose. Kris Sanchez reports.

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Taking a cue from San Francisco, the San Jose City Council today will consider allowing some restaurants to replace street parking spaces with raised "curb cafes" so patrons can sit outside.

The one-year pilot program would authorize up to five eateries to install curb-level platforms to widen the sidewalk for things like tables, chairs, bike parking and plants, city officials said.

"Residents and businesses have long asked us to find better ways to exploit San Jose's uniquely ideal weather, to bring restaurants, cafes, vendors, and gathering places out into the sunshine," Councilman Sam Liccardo said in a statement.

"Through this pilot project, we're taking a healthy step toward a solution," Liccardo said. If the council gives the pilot program a green light, storefront businesses may apply for a permit for a proposed curb cafe, detailing the property lines and property owners within 15 feet and how many parking meters would have to be removed, according to a city staff report.

The cafe platforms, also known as "parklets," would have to be on a street with a speed limit of 25 mph or less, extend no more than 6 feet outside the curb line and could not take up more than two parking spaces except under special circumstances.

The application fee would be $600, and business owners would have to provide $1 million in liability insurance, naming the city of San Jose as an insured party, and obtain separate permission if they want to serve alcoholic beverages outside.

San Jose's proposed curb cafe plan is similar to San Francisco's, which started in 2010 and now has 42 "parklets" along sidewalks in the Mission, Haight-Ashbury, North Beach and other neighborhoods, according to the city's website.

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