San Jose

San Jose Residents Voice Safety Concerns Over Proposed Pedestrian Bridge

A neighborhood in the South Bay is struggling with a city project that may say makes them feel less safe in their homes.

San Jose has been building a huge 100-mile trail system connecting downtown to the out reaches of the south end of the city. But a key part, a pedestrian bridge, is going to be designed soon and it is drawing community fear and anger.

The project is part of the Guadalupe River Trail master plan, where about 60 miles of the trail system has already been built or connected. Now it's time to start planning for the Cynoweth Avenue Pedestrian Bridge, which would connect residents to the other side -- mainly to shopping centers.

But some people point out it also opens up the neighborhood for criminals to come and go.

The proposed Chynoweth Avenue Bridge that would cross over the Guadalupe River and percolation ponds would also start and end near resident Don Jefford's home. And Jefford said he can see his future if the bridge is built.

"Increased foot traffic," Jefford said. "We got enough problems with the homeless -- and that'll increase the access."

The local Erickson Neighborhood Association officially supported the bridge when it was part of the Almaden Ranch Project in 2012. But now the concerns are around pedestrian traffic, parking and the possible access in and out of the area by criminals has the association waffling.

In an upcoming meeting with the city, the association will bring up the $1.4 million design price tag.

"We are kind of sitting on the fence. Should we spend the money on the bridge or spend the money in infrastructure?" said Mark Bolger, Erickson Association board member.

Meanwhile, the city project manager said studies show bridges actually improve safety and community convenience.

"Bridges like that allow people to both use the trail system, get to neighborhoods and to shopping and transportation," said Yves Zsutty, trail project manager. "So they're great resources."

The two sides will get a chance to persuade the other at a meeting with city officials on May 29 under the topic "Crime and Safety."1

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