Downtown quiz answers

1. T or F:  Downtown office and building developers use “Feng Shui” consultants


TRUE:  Some do.  Mike Sarimsakci’s Alterra International has a feng shui and vaastu consultant, S. BS. Surendran, advising on the 24-story, 324 housing unit building proposed for 27 S. First St., the former Ross Dress for Less now occupied by Local Color.  Surendran advises on “property whose chi is not afflicted by hostile hills, whose luck is not blocked by harmful structures and whose yang energy is vibrant and strong,” he said.  The units will be positioned in a “good direction, important rooms will be located in proper placement, and water features, wall décor, flooring, painting and landscaping will all support the occupants, providing the strength to weather personal storms with minimum impact.”  Find more about Surendan’s thoughts on San Jose at

Likewise, Jennifer Emmer’s Feng Shui Style office is at 84 W. Santa Clara St.  Emmer worked on Blu Cocoon Med Spa in San Jose MarketCenter and recently Feng Shui’ed the 188,000 square-foot IBM Building on North First Street.

“My vision is to create exciting, aesthetically pleasing environments using my broad artistic background, architectural knowledge, feng shui expertise and passion for historic preservation and design,” Emmer said.


2. T or F:  There’s no free parking downtown


FALSE:  City of San Jose and about 100 retailers share in a validation program that entitles customers to park free for two hours during the day, up to 11 hours during the night and basically all Saturday and Sunday.  But there is a catch:  customers must secure their validation tickets from one of the participating businesses.  For more, check

Street parking is also free after 6 p.m. if you can find a spot.  But check restrictions – you likely will need to move your car off the streets early in the morning.

Also, a few businesses have made deals with private lot and garage operators near their businesses to offer validated parking.  The lesson here:  It never hurts to ask.


3. T or F:  In a move resembling Disneyland, Groundwerx requests that retailers not sell gum downtown.


FALSE:  While Groundwerx does emulate Disneyland’s practices, clean crews toil over the job of removing gum on downtown sidewalks.  But unlike Disneyland, which does not sell gum on site, Groundwerx has never requested that local stores take chewing gum off their shelves.


4. T or F:  Homeless individuals move to San Jose because of the average 300-plus days of sunshine.  


FALSE:  According to the 2017 Homeless Census, 83 percent of homeless individuals in Santa Clara County are native to Santa Clara County.  That number was 84 percent in the previous census.   And most would prefer affordable housing to living on the streets, according to the report.  Affordable rent creates the biggest barrier for homeless people who want housing, with 62 percent saying they couldn’t afford rent; 56 percent had no work or income; 23 percent don’t have the money to pay for moving costs and 20 percent have bad credit.

New York City and Los Angeles have by far the most homeless in the United States.  Santa Clara County’s homeless count is slightly behind San Diego, San Francisco, Washington, D.C. and Seattle, and slightly ahead of Boston and Philadelphia.


5. T or F:  The Redevelopment Agency once had a Downtown Project Area called Pueblo Azul.


FALSE:  As the map shows, one of downtown’s eight Redevelopment Project Areas was named Pueblo Uno (One Town), not Pueblo Azul (Blue Town).  The other seven project areas were Almaden Gateway, Century Center, Civic Plaza, Guadalupe-Auzerais, Market Gateway, Park Center Plaza and San Antonio Plaza.

6. T or F:  More than half of downtown’s 200 dining options have outdoors seating.


TRUE:  Of downtown’s 200-plus eateries, 65 percent have either patios or sidewalk cafes of more than two chairs, or both.  That doesn’t include the Continental, whose windows open wide, giving the feeling of outdoor eating inside.

While we’re on the subject of eating, the myths about not having breakfast or late-night options has also been debunked.  Downtown Dimension found 32 places serving breakfast and 68 restaurants that keep their kitchens open past 10:30 p.m. two or more days each week.  As expected, Friday and Saturday nights make the most sense for restaurants to stay open late.


7. T OR F:  A count of trail users at Guadalupe River Park reveals less than 500,000 people use the trails annually.  About half are women and half use the trails to commute to and from work.


FALSE: The 11th annual San Jose Trail Count conducted Sept. 13 reveals that the Guadalupe trail at Coleman Avenue and at River Park Towers (San Carlos Street) average 1,058 and 765 people daily, respectively.  That adds up to 665,684 trail users – more than 500,000 – per year.

Use of the Guadalupe River trails has risen steadily over the past decade.  At the Coleman crossing, 243 users were spotted for the first trail count 11 years ago.

An online survey shows that about 40 percent of trail users are commuting to and from work – the rest are on the trails for health and recreation purposes.  And as the trails become busier, more women are on them – but the ratio of women to men is 2 to 8.


8. T or F:  The 20-year-old free Downtown Area Shuttle (DASH) is in its last year of operation.


TRUE (for now):  Valley Transportation Authority recently announced it would cancel the free service when the Berryessa BART Station opens, but that has been pushed back from December 2017 to June 2018 and now into 2019. For now, DASH between the Diridon Station and San Jose State from 6:30 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. MondayFriday.  No obligation.  Just hop on or off at one of the 10 stops along San Fernando, Fourth and San Carlos streets and Almaden Boulevard.  Shuttles run about every 10 minutes during peak times, 15 minutes through the day and 30 minutes after 6 p.m. The replacement route that connects Diridon Station with BART-Berryessa goes through downtown along Santa Clara Street, but requires a fee.  Check


9. True or False:  San Jose Sports Authority has been instrumental in bringing both the national championship college football game and professional American football game to San Jose?


TRUE:  Trick question.  While downtown already hosted the Carolina Panthers and the Media Day for Super Bowl 50 at Levi’s Stadium in 2016, the NCAA Championship has not yet been played. But it is scheduled for next January 2019, when downtown San Jose will transform into the “Championship Campus” – the epicenter of all fan activities during Championship Week.

Since 1991, the San Jose Sports Authority has also brought to downtown San Jose the U.S. Olympic Gymnastics Team Trials, U.S. Figure Skating Championships, National Hockey League All-Star Game, NCAA March Madness Men’s Basketball Championships, USA Fencing Summer Nationals, Amgen Tour of California, USA vs. Ireland Rugby and USA vs. China Volleyball and recently world No. 1 Roger Federer vs. Olympic gold medalist and American No. 1 Jack Sock for a charity exhibition. Oh, lest we forget Wrestlemania.


10. T or F:  Chargepoint has more than 150 electric vehicle charging stations in the downtown core.  Tesla has one charging station.


TRUE:  Chargepoint, based in Campbell, has multiple stations located in downtown’s city and private garages. As of this month, Chargepoint delivered 35 million charges, avoiding 35 million gallons of gas from being used, 111 million kilograms of carbon dioxide emissions and 117 million kgs of other greenhouse gases emissions.
The only “destination charging” station by Tesla is located at The Fairmont San Jose garage. The next closest stations are at the Holiday Inn Express, 2660 Monterey Highway and Signature Flight Support at the airport. Tesla owners can get an adaptor that allows the Chargepoint system to work on their cars.


11. The San Jose Sharks logo was created by a downtown-based designer after the great white shark. The triangle in the logo pays homage to the famed “Red Triangle” off the Northern California coast, where multiple species of shark thrive.


FALSE, FALSE and FALSE:  Designer Terry Smith worked out of the South Bay, but not San Jose. His objective was to design a “cigar with teeth,” a simple design, fin and teeth and give it some personality, he said in a 2011 interview. And though the “Red Triangle” does exist, formed between Bodega Bay and south of Big Sur with the Farallon Islands at the vertex, the triangle reportedly represents the triad of major Bay Area cities, San Jose, San Francisco and Oakland.


12. (EXTRA CREDIT)  T OR F:  San Jose has lower numbers of violent crime compared to other large U.S. cities.


TRUE:  Not really a downtown question, San Jose had the lowest violent crime rate of any city American city with more than 1 million people in 2016, according to FBI and Census data released in September 2017. Its total crime was among the lowest of any large American city.  And, while a slight uptick in crime mirrored national 2016 numbers, San Jose has consistently had one of the lowest crime rates of any big city for decades.  A person is less likely to be assaulted, robbed, murdered or raped in San Jose than in Chicago, San Antonio, Houston, Phoenix, Las Vegas, San Diego, Dallas, Los Angeles, Philadelphia or New York City.

Locally, San Jose had lower crime per capita in 2016 than Oakland, San Francisco or Berkeley and was on par with Santa Clara, Sunnyvale and Campbell.

That doesn’t mean the San Jose Police don’t have enough work, however. Because of lower staffing levels than other big cities, they are actually busier than many of their peers.

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