Monday, July 25, 2016

This is who volunteers in North Willow Glen, Part 3

Another in our occasional series about who volunteers in North Willow Glen.

Chris Davis
Year you moved into the neighborhood: 2008
What drew you to North Willow Glen: We wanted to be central to San Jose and being in a primarily single family home neighborhood within walking distance to both downtown San Jose and downtown Willow Glen couldn't be beat.
What you love about our neighborhood: We quickly became friends with several of our neighbors - some right on the day we got the keys! I soon learned about the history of the neighborhood and its eclectic architecture. When I found out the neighborhood association needed help I decided to check it out and see what it was all about and what I could do to help.
What you do to help out in North Willow Glen and why it’s important to you: I presently help out with NWGNA communications by contributing website, Facebook, Nextdoor, and e-mail content as well as flier design and distribution. I would like to make sure that people know about what is going on in our neighborhood. NWGNA does a good job of bringing people together and neighbors getting to know neighbors is really what makes for a neighborhood. I also really like to keep blight out of our neighborhood so I report graffiti obsessively while I'm out walking my dog. From 2010-2013 I served on the NWGNA board as secretary, president, and past president. Thanks to all the people who donated their time to the cause, we were able to start new traditions like Party in the Park and revive old ones like the neighborhood garage sale. It's more fun than work and the people are great and have become good friends. I encourage anyone who has the time to meet once a month to check out the available board or committee positions.

Saturday, July 23, 2016

This is who volunteers in North Willow Glen, Part 2

Another in our occasional series about who volunteers in North Willow Glen.

Karen Taylor
Year you moved into the neighborhood: 2005
What drew you to North Willow Glen: I like that it had older homes with a lot of character, that it had its own small downtown, and that it is centrally located.
What you love about our neighborhood: I love that our neighborhood is diverse and that it had a friendly "small town" feel.
What you do to help out in North Willow Glen and why it’s important to you:  I deliver fliers whenever fliers need to be delivered on Delmas Avenue.  I wanted to be involved in the neighborhood on a regular basis without having the commitment of an office position on the board.

Friday, July 22, 2016

Party in the Park - save the date!

2014 Party in the Park
North Willow Glen's annual summer event, Party in the Park, is scheduled for August 14, 4:30 to 7:30 pm in Hummingbird Park at Fisk and Bird. Look for a flier in the next week with details and come enjoy barbecue, entertainment from Duke Mantee and the Gold Money Band, and ice cream from Treat Ice Cream in San Jose!

Thursday, July 21, 2016

This is who volunteers in North Willow Glen...

Many, many people volunteer in a lot of different ways to make North Willow Glen an amazing place to live. To raise awareness and recognize them, we are doing a series of brief bios highlighting who they are and why they take time to help the community.

If you would like to help out in the neighborhood, let us know by sending an email to

Lorraine Round

Year you moved into the neighborhood: 2008

What drew you to North Willow Glen: We definitely loved the vibe of downtown Willow Glen, and being walking distance was a big draw originally.

What you love about our neighborhood: I love knowing our neighbors, and how everyone looks out for each other.
What you do to help out in North Willow Glen and why it’s important to you: We help deliver fliers when there are meetings or other miscellaneous things going on in the community (like Christmas Trees!) and help with Christmas decorations around the area. We like to feel connected to our community and do our part to help others feel connected too.

Sunday, July 03, 2016

Online reporting of illegal fireworks activity in San José now available

The City of San Jose has a pilot program through Tuesday, July 5 that increases fireworks enforcement efforts in neighborhoods and parks.

Fireworks cause more than 15,000 fires every year, and half of reported fires on July 4 are started by fireworks. Additionally, sparklers alone caused more than one-quarter of emergency room injuries seen in 2014. (see statistics)

All fireworks in San Jose are illegal. To report use of fireworks, use the city's online form.

Thursday, June 09, 2016

CHSRA Meeting Recap

In case you weren't able to make it to the High-Speed Rail meeting on Monday, here are some observations. CHSRA had several information stations around the perimeter of the meeting room. These areas covered station planning, right of way issues, environmental review process, Caltrain electrification, and alignments.

The station design area featured two boards, each with an overhead view depicting Diridon Station and including track alignment in and out. One board showed the at-grade alignment and the other showed the aerial alignment. Bruce Fukuji of CHSRA discussed some of the issues regarding the two options. For one, the at-grade option required the ability for UPRR freight trains to be able to cut across all of the tracks from the spur that runs southeast of the station. The coordination of which could halt freight trains, local trains, high-speed trains, or all of the above. Secondly at-grade requires a number of compromises to the scheduling of the trains in order to prevent them from stacking up one behind the other. The aerial route alleviates each of these concerns. HSR would have dedicated tracks at the station and for a period on each end of the station. One item not depicted particularly well was the aerial route north of the station. It was easy to tell that those tracks were off to the east of the existing tracks and over a corner of the SAP Center's north parking lot. The ramifications on the area beyond that could not be determined as that area was not presented - this meeting was for the San José to Merced section.

The right of way (ROW) table dealt with the process of private property acquisition. The staff working this table did not know what properties would need to be acquired under either alignment option. They could however, tell attendees about the process should they decide they need land you may own. The first step of which is to appraise the value of the property. The entity that would purchase the land is the same entity that would determine its value. If the value was disputed by the property owner, the property owner could then receive up to $5,000 from the state to have the value of her land assessed by a licensed appraiser. CHSRA would not necessarily honor the new appraisal. If this process still does not result in the agreement of both parties a condemnation trial begins. If the property owner wins the case, her appraisal fees and attorney costs would be paid by CHSRA. The property owner will be given a minimum of 90 days notice, is eligible for advisory assistance in relocation, and may qualify for moving related expenses. If the property owner feels she has lost business she must submit a claim to prove it.

The environmental review process overview was given verbally so it was a bit more difficult to understand. The Environmental Impact Report/Statement (EIR/S) itself is requires a number of steps and a significant amount of paperwork often in great detail leading to the final design of the project. The CHSRA strategy appears to be re-using the initial EIR/S from several years ago, though that pre-dates the blended system design that is currently being considered.

The Caltrain Planner Jill Gibson explained that regardless of the option (at-grade or aerial) Caltrain would be electrifying two tracks for their trains. In the event an aerial alignment is chosen by CHSRA, both existing tracks would be electrified and a third, non-electrified track to accommodate freight trains would not be required between Tamien and Diridon stations.

The alignments table was staffed by Gary Kennerley of Parsons Brinckerhoff. It featured very long strips of satellite imagery of the proposed alignments along with section views showing two options of at-grade rail beds through North Willow Glen. One option, similar to the current cross section features sloping sides of dirt and rock that build up the rail bed. This would require the acquisition of yet to be determined parcels that would all but certainly include most of Fuller Park, Word of Faith Church, and other properties located south of the existing tracks. The other at-grade section would not require property takes. CHSRA would avoid this by removing the mature pine trees that separate the rail bed from the Fuller Park and constructing walls possibly 12 to 18 feet tall at the edge of the current ROW. Presentation renderings of this were grim, showing an imposing gray wall with some vegetation planted along the side. The remains of the park were a strip of grass and the existing fencing.

The aerial alignment option uses much of the existing ROW of I-280 and CA87, crossing over both of them and approaching the station above the existing tracks. To achieve this, some pillar supports would need to be placed north of I-280 near or over Orchard Supply to Diridon Station.

CHSRA staff presented the plan for the San José to Merced section. One of the more surprising pieces of information was from CHSRA Regional Director and former San José Transportation Systems Manager Ben Tripousis who said there would be no cost to San Jose for high-speed rail. Speaker comments and a Q & A period followed.

Commenters repeatedly expressed their dissatisfaction with CHSRA outreach. Fliers were distributed only to houses on the north side of Fuller Avenue and the south side of Jerome Avenue 24 hours before the meeting started. The meeting itself would not have happened had it not been for residents asking the offices of Raul Peralez and Pierluigi Oliverio to ensure it happened. Other neighbors noted the repeated division of the Greater Gardner neighborhood, first by UPRR, then I-280, and again by CA87. Adding walls and taking more properties would continue to isolate the area whereas the aerial route would benefit HSR efficiency without further impacting this part of Willow Glen. Others added that the burden of transportation was once again being born disproportionally by poor and Hispanic families, bringing up social justice issues with the at-grade option. It was for many of these same reasons that CHSRA decided in favor of the aerial option and against the at-grade alignment themselves, only to return years later trying to return to the at-grade alignment. Residents noted the complete lack of materials showing any underground option. In response, Mr. Tripousis added that the underground options would be contained in the EIR/S and it was not off the table. Ironically, tunnel drawings were not on any table in the room. Attendees pointed out that both north- and south-of-Diridon Station issues are resolved by going under ground. Budgetary questions were asked repeatedly. It was pointed out that the Prop 1A budget for the project was $40M yet the current projection is $64M. Mr. Tripousis insisted the project was not over budget because the budget is $68M and that CHSRA builds as the money becomes available. The final major thread of questions came with regard to the legality of the project overall. Commenters noted that Prop 1A specified that California would have a dedicated high-speed rail system and that a blended system could not be built without the consent of the people through a new measure.

Wednesday, June 01, 2016

June 6 High Speed Rail Community Meeting

This may be the best - and possibly last - opportunity we have to learn about the plans California High Speed Rail has for passing through Willow Glen and specifically Gardner and North Willow Glen.

The current program alignment calls for additional tracks passing through a widened rail corridor with a number of eminent domain property acquisitions including Fuller Park, a house of worship, and other parcels. The aerial route over 87 and 280 is currently listed as an alternative. If you have a preference among these options or any others you may want to attend and voice your preference and concerns.

Time: 5-8pm, presentation starts at 6pm
Date: Monday, June 6
Location: Gardner Community Center, 520 W Virginia St, San Jose, CA 95125

Monday, May 30, 2016

Help needed: Community Action & Pride Grant Lead

For the past few years, the North Willow Glen Neighborhood Association has been fortunate to receive funds from the Community Action and Pride Grant (called a CAP Grant), offered by the City of San Jose via the United Neighborhoods of Santa Clara County (UNSCC). Over the last several years we have submitted a relatively consistent grant application and we were awarded $1,500 per year. These funds have been used for our annual Party In The Park and year-end party, events that bring neighbors together to meet each other and learn more about our great neighborhood.

Currently, we need a volunteer to write the annual CAP grant application, submit it, and manage it throughout the year, including submitting the final report. This important role comes with a mentor for the first year, so you would be able to ask questions and receive guidance from an experienced person.

Maintenance of the CAP grant requires understanding the goals of our Neighborhood Association, recording expenditures related to the grant, communicating with Neighborhood Association Board members, and meeting deadlines.

Important dates for the CAP grant include:
June 2016 - Submit application for UNSCC membership
July 2016 - Submit application for the new CAP grant
If awarded, the CAP grant covers expenditures from September 1, 2016 to August 31, 2017
September 2017 - Close out the CAP grant by submitting receipts and recording expenditures and commitments

More information is available online

Please send a note to with any questions!

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Save the Date: June 6th High Speed Rail Community Meeting

This may be the best opportunity we have to learn about the plans California High Speed Rail has for passing through Willow Glen and specifically Gardner and North Willow Glen. At the request of several residents, councilmember Peralez's office has set up a CHSRA community meeting near our neighborhood.

The current program alignment calls for additional tracks passing through a widened rail corridor with a number of eminent domain property acquisitions including Fuller Park, a house of worship, and other parcels. The aerial route over 87 and 280 is currently listed as an alternative. If you have a preference among these options or any others you may want to attend and voice your preference and concerns.

Time: TBD
Date: Monday, June 6
Location: Gardner Community Center, 520 W Virginia St, San Jose, CA 95125

Saturday, May 21, 2016

Take a book, return a book

Terry Woo and Laura Herse were inspired to participate in the Lending Library movement when they encountered a Free Little Library in Japantown. After investigating, they loved the idea of encouraging literacy through neighborhood connections. 

Rebecca Adams wanted our neighborhood to have a second Little Free Library to serve the many kids in the neighborhood. The excitement her kids have to stock and maintain the little library is an extra bonus. 

There are many great books to choose from at 585 Coe and 477 Snyder. With the philosophy "take a book, return a book," all books are free to enjoy and exchange. 

A special thank you to our neighbors expanding our community through literacy.

Monday, May 09, 2016

High-Speed Rail Open House Meeting

California High-Speed Rail Authority is in the process of planning the route that would carry trains along the corridor south of Diridon Station. The preference of CHSRA is to lay an additional track along the existing corridor currently used by Caltrain and UPRR. This alignment would necessitate the eminent domain acquisition of several parcels of land including those currently used by Fuller Park and the San José Word of Faith Church among others. Alternate alignments considered include an aerial route over CA87 and I-280 as well as an underground approach. If you would like to learn more or possibly voice your concerns, CHSRA is holding a community open house meeting.

Berryessa Community Center
5:00 to 8:00pm
3050 Berryessa Rd.
San José, CA 95132

Sunday, May 01, 2016

Willow Glen neighborhood garage sale June 11

From Willow Glen Charm:
Every year hundreds of houses participate in the phenomenon that our neighborhood yard sale has become, and “garage sailors” from all around the south bay swing through Willow Glen to score sweet deals on secondhand stuff.
You just hold your yard sale on Saturday, June 11, and register so we can add you to the map.
We will feature your sale as part of an interactive map on the web and promote the overall event via email and Facebook.

Thursday, April 14, 2016

WG Farmer's Market perhaps opening in June

From the Mercury News:
'Last year, former Willow Glen Farmers' Market directors Mel Defe and SuEllen Sterling announced their departure after more than 18 years. The news generated considerable speculation about the market's future and who would operate it. 
A new director has not yet been announced, and Willow Glen Business Association executive director Valerie Merklin told The Resident that the market will start a bit later than usual this year 
"We are still ironing out details on the farmers' market," Merklin wrote in an email. "Because of the transition, the only news is that it will not be able to start the first weekend in May as it has in the past, it will likely be June."'

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Hands-on Native Plant Gardening & Tour

Native & Drought Tolerant Plants - Instructor: Sherri Osaka

Learn how and why drought tolerant plants need less water, and how to plant and care for them. Discover the role of soil organisms and organic matter in maintaining plant health and improving your garden’s water-efficiency. Dress for the elements! Wear garden boots, a hat, gloves, and bring water and your hand pruners, along with any other garden tools you like. Tools will be available for those who don’t have them.

Register online for this free class

Additional Directions: Free parking on Seymour St. To find the demonstration gardens, walk north of the grassy knoll towards the cross streets of Taylor and Walnut. 

When: Saturday, April 16, 2016 from 9:00 AM to 12:00 PM (PDT)
Where: Nature's Inspiration Gardens & Guadalupe Gardens Court Yard - 411-421 Seymour Street, San Jose, CA 95110

VTA wants your input for our next transit network

From Valley Transportation Authority:

Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority (VTA) is embarking on the important task of re-designing its current transit system to accommodate the growing needs of Santa Clara County in the coming years. Next Network is a component of VTA’s Transit Ridership Improvement Program. The Transit Ridership Improvement Program is an agency-wide effort to make public transit faster, more frequent and more useful for Santa Clara County travelers. Through Next Network Project, VTA is planning to redesign its transit network in order to accomplish three goals:

1. Better connections to future BART stations in Milpitas and Berryessa
2. Improve overall system ridership
3. Improve VTA's farebox recovery rate.

This effort will potentially be one of the largest transit network revamps in VTA’s history, involving a much larger and robust outreach campaign throughout Santa Clara County. Through summer 2016, VTA will seek community input on network design concepts through a series of public meetings and online tools. Community input will be analyzed in Fall 2016 and a draft network design concept that incorporates community input will be shared in early 2017 for more review. VTA’s Board of Directors is expected to adopt the Next Network service plan in April 2017.

Visit today, to view conceptual network designs and other information that will guide VTA's conversation with the community throughout the summer.


Monday, April 25, 2016
Milpitas Public Library
160 North Main Street
Milpitas, CA
(6:00 p.m. - 8:00 p.m.)

Thursday, April 28, 2016
Berryessa Community Center
3050 Berryessa Road
San Jose, CA 95132
(6:00 p.m. - 8:00 p.m.)

Feedback from the community is important at this step in the process. VTA encourages you to join the conversation. Visit to find out more ways you can participate! For more information contact VTA's Community Outreach Staff at (408) 321-7575 or