Experience Los Gatos: One-Way Downtown Pilot Program

Beginning in early July, Downtown Los Gatos will take initial steps to reinvent itself. The Town Council approved an experimental closure along North Santa Cruz Avenue between Bachman Avenue (before Mike’s Bikes) and Elm Street (near Lexington House), creating a streetscape that invites community gatherings, outdoor dining, and a variety of activities and events.

This pilot program, in conjunction with Experience Los Gatos, is designed to offer new ways to enjoy Los Gatos shops, establishments, eateries, and summer events. In keeping with the mission to “Shop, Dine, Gather, and Play,” seven temporary “parklets,” or sidewalk cafes, will be scattered along North Santa Cruz Avenue to encourage community gathering spaces like those found along Mountain View’s Castro Street. The Council is allowing private and commercial property owners to apply to “participate in a public-private partnership to install a parklet in front of their business.” 

Additional transformations that will occur during the four-month pilot program include:

  • One-way traffic southbound along North Santa Cruz
  • Southbound “on-street” designated bike lanes
  • Angled parking along the East side and parallel parking along the West side of North Santa Cruz Avenue
  • Wider sidewalks, creating an even more pedestrian-friendly downtown experience

Unlike in recent years, the on and off-ramps to Highway 17 will remain open. Northbound traffic will be routed onto alternate streets to bypass the one-way section through Downtown. Both Main Street and University Avenues will remain two-way, with no alterations to through traffic.

According to Los Gatos Parks and Public Works Director, Matt Morley, “The work to install the pilot will begin Sunday night, July 7. The one-way street will be in place that night. The following night we will adjust the parking to add angled parking on the eastern side of the street. We will also install the infrastructure for the parklets that night, with the final touches on the parklets occurring on Wednesday.”  

Morley says they plan to run the pilot program through the month of October and, depending upon its success and reception by Town residents and visitors, could lead to future permanent Downtown transformations.

Experience Los Gatos is a collaboration between the Town and the Los Gatos Chamber of Commerce that hosts a multitude of cultural and community events coupled with local hotel, restaurants, and retail recommendations.

The One-Way Pilot Program hopes to further welcome residents and visitors to enjoy the many events and activities happening in Los Gatos this summer.

“We are excited about the programs we have going on in Downtown this summer. Between the one-way pilot with parklets built in, events like Music in the Park, Jazz in the Plazz, and third Thursday Summer Block Parties, there is a ton going on! We also have made significant changes to business processes with exciting changes like opening parking spaces for businesses to program their own parklets. This should lead to great opportunities for curbside dining,” Director Morely explains.

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