After a record 65 traffic fatalities last year, San Jose is pushing out a new message to drivers: Slow down already!
The three-month “Slow Down, San Jose” campaign was launched this week by the city’s Vision Zero Task Force, which aims to reduce traffic injuries and fatalities. The word will be going out in multiple language through billboards, yard signs and posters, as well as online videos and radio ads.
We love our numbers here in Silicon Valley, so here are a couple shared by the task force. A car going 25 mph takes 30 feet to stop, and if you’re going 35 mph that stopping distance jumps up to 59 feet. Those extra 29 feet could cost somebody’s life.
If you’ve been driving through downtown San Jose recently, you may already have seen some of the signs attached to streetlights. The yellow “Slow Down” is easily visible to drivers, though you’ve really got to slow down to read the smaller “Keep Families Safe.” There’s no mistaking the message on the billboard on East Santa Clara Street that includes a child’s shoe, a scuffed bike helmet and tire marks on the pavement. If that type of shock is what it takes to make our streets safer — and that applies to drivers, cyclists, scooter riders and pedestrians — then shock away.
CHURCH RISES FROM THE ASHES: Bishop Oscar Cantú will consecrate Our Lady of La Vang church in San Jose at a dedication ceremony that begins at 9 a.m. Saturday. Celebrations, including consecrations and thanksgiving masses and entertainment, will continue throughout the day.
The gleaming white church at 389 E. Santa Clara St., which includes the church’s original tower bell and a 27-foot high marble statue of Our Lady of La Vang on its grounds, replaced St. Patrick Proto-Cathedral, which was devastated by a fire in 2012. As the church had come to serve a mostly Vietnamese Catholic congregation over the years, the Diocese of San Jose renamed it Our Lady of La Vang Parish in 2013. Fundraising and design changes resulted in delays, pushing construction back until 2021.
The church, which will seat more than 1,200 people, celebrates Mass in English, Spanish and Vietnamese.
NINERS’ NIGHT OUT: The Dwight Clark Legacy Series event at the California Theatre in downtown San Jose was a big thrill for 49ers fans — even if they were occasionally keeping track of the Warriors’ game on their smart phones. The benefit for the Golden Heart Foundation, which supports 49ers alumni, drew several hundred fans and quite a few former 49ers, including Jerry Rice, Ronnie Lott, Bryant Young, Brent Jones, Keena Turner, Eric Wright, Gary Plummer, and Joe Nedney.
The red-and-gold celebration, also had a big hunk of Wisconsin cheese with Mike Holmgren. The former Packers head coach — who also had been the 49ers’ offensive coordinator — engaged in a leadership discussion with former Cypress Semiconductor CEO TJ Rodgers, a Wisconsin native. Rodgers — the event’s big sponsor and a big Packers fan — is in venture capital these days and said, “The job of a CEO is really like an NFL coach. I’ve got six companies I work with and I’m like a coach to them.” No Super Bowl rings for that coaching, though.
After the event wrapped up with the presentation of the Dwight Clark Award to 49ers linebacker Fred Warner, VIPs and a couple of the former players gathered for an after party at Original Joe’s where the reminiscing continued until midnight. I was told that OJ’s was a favorite of Clark, the 49er who made “The Catch” famous and died in 2018 from ALS.
ART AND ABOUT: The Berryessa Art Festival is back, and that means Penitencia Creek Park, behind the Berryessa Community Center in San Jose, will be filled with artists, musicians, vendors and food trucks from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday. “It’s the largest and oldest art and wine festival in the city of San Jose,” said San Jose City Council member David Cohen, whose office is sponsoring the event with a host of other organizations.
We’re also in the midst of Silicon Valley Open Studios, which showcases artists who open their studios to visitors — and buyers — for three weekends in May. This weekend will concentrate on artists in the Mid-Peninsula area and next weekend will focus on the South Bay. Studios are open from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, and you can get a map and artist directory at www.svos.org.