The city of San Jose, CA will pave the Lower Guadalupe River Trail beginning in June 2012. Cyclists and other trail users are instructed to detour onto North 1st Street during trail construction.
The Guadalupe River Trail (GRT) is a popular north-south trail from south of downtown San Jose to the Bay in Alviso. The trail was built as part of the flood mitigation project after historic spring flooding in 1995 forced the cancellation of a San Jose Sharks game and the only rainout in the history of the National Hockey League.
The segment of the levee trail north of Interstate 880 is unpaved gravel. Contractors will begin paving this 6.4 mile segment of the trail in June 2012, and access to the trail between I-880 and the trail terminus in Alviso will be completely closed off to commuters and recreational users. This is the entire stretch of trail alongside San Jose International Airport and north past Trimble Road, Montague Expressway, Tasman Drive and Highway 237.
The detour suggested by San Jose Parks is North 1st Street between Hedding Street to Gold Street (shown in the diagram at right as the yellow line; trail closure indicated with the red line). Hedding Street runs alongside the County buildings and carries heavy traffic during commute times. North 1st from Hedding to north of Highway 101 has narrow lanes and traffic merging to and from I-880, Hwy 101 and Brokaw Street. North of Highway 101, the lanes on 1st widen significantly and you have bike lanes, but it’s also right-hook city with multiple cross streets and parking driveways so stay on your toes. I’ll post video later showing what you can expect on 1st Street.
The River Oaks bike bridge between the VTA offices and Rivermark in Santa clara will remain open during construction.
Guadalupe River Trail Alternative Detours?
I’m an assertive, all traffic conditions type of cyclist, but I dislike riding on 1st, especially between James Street and Brokaw. Here are some alternatives that I prefer.
VTA Light Rail runs along 1st Street between downtown San Jose and Tasman Drive. Bikes are always allowed onboard, and during commute times you only have to wait about six minutes between trains. Adult fare is $2 one way. Buy the $70 monthly pass if you ride everyday. VTA accepts Clipper.
3rd & 4th Streets don’t have bike lanes but have much less traffic than 1st Street, and 4th doesn’t have freeway ramps to I-880. Here’s the Google Maps bike directions to get from Brokaw to 4th Street.
San Pedro Street is another nice alternative that runs between downtown and Hedding Street. Google Maps bike directions here for that. The thing Google Maps does not show is the “secret” gate that gives access across the railroad tracks. San Pedro deadends at an apartment parking lot underneath Coleman Avenue. Go straight into that parking lot, veer right onto a sidewalk and you’ll see a black gate leading to the tracks. Push the gate open and, viola! You’re on San Pedro Street again with easy access to downtown San Jose. If you’re interested in this route and can’t figure it out, ping me and I’ll help show you the way.
Airport Boulevard is maybe another possibility, except I don’t know if you can get to it from the trail after construction begins. I’ll update if it turns out this detour is viable.
Coleman / Airport Blvd / Brokaw is another route I’ve taken. These roads all have nice wide lanes, but fast traffic, freeway merges, and lost visitors looking for the rental car return are points against this route. Here’s the Google Maps bike route if you’d like to try this out. Possibly handy for Caltrain bike commuters.
Coleman / De La Cruz / Trimble is another possibility for Caltrain bike commuters. I’ve taken this route only once. Crossing 101 on Trimble Road by bike is not fun, though I know somebody who does this daily. YMMV.