Guadalupe River Trail closed in June

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.

Guadalupe River Trail Detour

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.

GRT detour to 1st Street

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.


  1. For my commute from Willow Glen to Technology Drive (off of Airport Pkwy), I’ll be taking Guad River Trail to Taylor, Taylor to 4th, 4th to Gish, Gish across 1st, and then backroads into the office.  

    For those of you heading further north (Rivermark, Tasman, etc), I’d also look into biking through Santa Clara.  You can catch the San Tomas Aquinas Creek Trail at Monroe and San Tomas Expressway and take that under Central/Caltrain/101 to Agnew or Tasman.

  2. What are the chances that we can convince them to open the existing bike path on the East side of the Guadalupe between Hedding and Airport Drive? 

    From Airport Drive north, you can take 1st street on bike lanes that begin just north of 101. I never understood exactly why that bike path was closed to begin with.

  3. I second this!  Is there anyone associated with this project and the detours that we can contact?  

    And if anyone is interested my tentative route from 1st and Julian to Airport Parkway and 1st (Where the bike lane begins) will be: Work my way over to 4th, take 4th to Rosemary, Rosemary to Forestal, Forestal to Technology and Technology to Airport Parkway.  This should avoid the nasty highway crossings.  

  4. Ah, I didn’t know about that connection between Forestal to Technology (in fact, I didn’t even know about Technlogy Drive at all) — thanks for that tip!

  5. It crosses through a park, but an easy connection.  Technology Drive is a strange one.  Extremely wide lanes means both lots of room for cyclists and very unpredictable car behavior.  

  6. I should emphasize I haven’t done this yet, but it is hard to imagine that it could be worse than First street – which I have done *once*.

  7. I work on Technology at Skyport.  I’ve done the sneaky park connection between Technology and Forrestal and taken Rosemary to 4th, under 880, right on Younger to San Pedro.  It works well enough.  But it means I’ll have to take an earlier train if I want to make my 8:30 am meetings.

  8. taking zanker all the way down is better than taking 1st. but first is usually ok until it goes to a single lane at hedding. then it just gets ugly Last time someone lost it and started holding the horn down when i was riding i just stopped…

  9. Oh yeah, Zanker Rd. I don’t know why I didn’t mention that.  Bayshore pavement is pretty messed up until you get to 4th St., but it’s rideable.

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