Bicycles are frequently a part of American Independence Day parades, but the 2016 Rose White and Blue Parade will go all the way with a bicycle theme. Their parade takes place next Monday, July 4, 2016 just west of downtown San Jose, California.
Olympic speedskating medalist and USA Cycling Hall Of Famer Beth Heiden will be the Grand Marshall for the parade, which begins 10 A.M. at the Lincoln High School Parking lot on Dana Avenue. The parade route runs through the Shasta / Hanchett Park and Rose Garden Neighborhoods before finishing on the Alameda.
The parade information page mentions the generous free parking in the area; I’d add the suggestion to ride bikes and transit. Caltrain and VTA will run on a Sunday / holiday schedule. For Caltrain Diridon Station, which is located a mile from the parade picnic area, this mostly means arrivals every hour from 9:53 A.M. to 10:53 P.M. VTA routes 522 and 22 both run every 15 to 20 minutes on Sundays and holidays. VTA 61 and 62 stop at the Rose Garden on Naglee near the parade start, they run hourly on holidays. VTA 23 on San Carlos Street stops two blocks from the parade start with 20 minute headways; 323 also runs every 20 minutes but it’s about a mile to walk to the parade route from the nearest stop on San Carlos at Topeka Ave.
The Alameda was constructed to convey people between downtown San Jose and the Santa Clara Mission. Commercial activity grew along the Alameda after a trolley line was built, with residential neighborhoods immediately behind the businesses. After the Alameda was designated as a state highway (initially US 101, then California State Route 82), the increasingly car-oriented nature of this road accompanied declining commercial activity and empty storefronts as this once “Beautiful Way” became increasingly hostile to pedestrians.
Efforts by local businesses to calm traffic along the Alameda were stalled by state transportation policies that prioritize motor vehicle movement over all other considerations. Caltrans relinquished the portion of SR 82 through San Jose to local control in 2013. Since then, the city of San Jose has spent millions on traffic calming projects, which has reduced average speeds on the Alameda down by 5 MPH. Retail activity has been brought back to life on the Alameda while the walking environment has improved significantly. As far as I can tell, the only business to complain about these efforts has been a gas station, which says revenue dropped 20% for them after center turn lanes were removed in 2014.
You can find more about the history and future of the Alameda at the Rose, White and Blue website. I encourage you also to look at the program guide, which includes information about the history of bicycling in Santa Clara Valley.