San Jose

Stretch of Los Gatos Road Goes on ‘Diet'

One of the South Bay’s swankier streets is going on a diet.

Starting Monday, North Santa Cruz Avenue in downtown Los Gatos will undergo some big changes, with the hope of bringing more people and fewer cars to downtown businesses.

The plan, a four-month experiment, is to take the fairly busy two-way street and convert it into a one-way street. Then some of the street parking spots would be turned into restaurant seating.

During the four-month trial period, traffic along North Santa Cruz, between Bachman Avenue and Elm Street, will go south only. The idea is to make it easier to walk around.

The town also is converting some of its parking spots to outdoor restaurant seating. Local businesses say they’ll be watching closely.

"I think it will be great to have people milling around," said Heidi Heeter of Automobuild. "We get a ton of traffic in the summer."

Carl Guardino, CEO of the Silicon Valley Leadership Group, added: "When you have outside walking and seating, it brings a European sense of place. Hopefully that will translate to big gains for our businesses."

San Jose has seen some success with a similar "road diet" along Lincoln Avenue in Willow Glen.

Los Gatos hopes its road diet will feed local businesses without making things too crowded, as in too many cars headed towards Highway 17 south during the summer.

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