SAN JOSE- Parking in San Jose, long perceived as insufficient, is about to get worse. Downtown San Jose will lose 1,000 parking spaces when work starts on a project to bring more retailers to the area. Under a plan by the San Jose Redevelopment Agency, five locations that are now parking lots lining First and Second streets will become shops, restaurants, offices, hotels and apartments.

While it will be several months before the development plans are complete, the construction is likely to go on for years. As projects break ground in the coming years – such as an expected expansion of the San Jose McEnery Convention Center and the relocation of the civic center to the downtown core – parking will be gobbled up.

The San Jose Downtown Association say the short-term answer to the parking crunch is to better use existing parking, and to inform drivers where such parking is available through a computerized tracking system. The San Jose Arena, just west of Highway 87 between San Carlos and San Fernando streets could provide the reprieve the city needs – until construction on a nearby library is complete.

Workers can then walk to their office location or take the free Downtown Area Shuttle.The 800-space lot at Fourth and San Fernando streets will serve the library, but the project is not slated to open until 2003 – about a year after the current construction on the shops, restaurants, offices, hotel and apartments is complete.

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