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2020 SPUR Impact Awards: Ed Solis Transforms Streets Into Public Space for Everyone

The 2020 SPUR Impact Awards recognize outstanding job performance by public sector leaders in Santa Clara County.

As Recreation Superintendent for the City of San José, Ed Solis instigated and manages Viva CalleSJ Open Streets Program, which temporarily transforms seven miles of San José's roads into a car-free park. The program nurtures social integration and connects communities across the city by bridging social, economic and geographic divides. This approach to community building allows San José to view public spaces and resources in a drastically different light. Disregarding traditional ideologies of what parks or recreation services should be, the City can take the largest shared space and transform it into a park filled with life, creativity and community resources.

Additionally, Viva CalleSJ results in increased physical activity, reduces carbon emissions, helps residents understand alternative forms of transportation, and positively impacts local businesses. Twenty-seven percent of participants are from outside San Jose making it a large regional draw. There are seventy-three percent of participants who report spending more than twenty-one dollars, resulting in approximately $1.5 million in revenue for local businesses.

Attendance has grown from 35,000 in 2015 to 145,000 at the May and September 2019 programs with people of all ages and abilities enjoying walking, biking, and exploring San José. This growth serves as evidence of the program’s ability to inspire our community members to explore the city and view its public spaces in a new light.

Learn about our other 2020 honorees:

Senator Jim Beall Creates Solutions to California's Toughest Problems

Rebecca Garcia Helps Provide Shelter and Housing for All

Building Reach Code Team Helps San José Go Carbon Neutral

SJSU's CommUniverCity Team Partners with City Residents to Support Community-Based Planning