SAN JOSE (CBS SF) — A San Jose pedestrian tunnel that was once a hot spot for crime and a popular shelter for the homeless, is now back to serving its original purpose.
Beneath the hustle and bustle of The Alameda, there’s an underground movement to clean up one of the last pedestrian passageways in San Jose.
And the brush strokes of change are going down in bright yellow at the hands of these 22-year-old twins.
Neighbor Taylor Thomas said, “Doing is so much easier than talking. We had so many neighbors talk about this project and complain about this project for weeks. And it’s taken us less than a week, to totally turn around this place.”
The tunnel was built in 1928 immediately after two children trying to cross The Alameda to go to Hester School were killed by a car.
But in recent years, the tunnel itself became the danger. People started living in it, doing drugs, urinating and defecating.
Neighbor Mackenzie Thomas said, “It wasn’t the same as how it used to be. I mean when I was in high school I used it all the time and just in that span of a few years it was just dirty, it was stinky, it was just gross to walk down there.”
David Thomas and his daughters cleaned up the poop and the pee, and even helped the homeless get services and relocate.
And a local business, Dunne Edwards, donated gallons of paint and supplies.
They envision the tunnel as a safe crossing for kids to walk again, and a place to display local art.
But their cleanup is a family affair.
City Hall hasn’t helped, and may not even know about it, until now.
David Thomas said, “Our city is overworked and we think the tunnel has fallen off the maintenance radar , that nobody quite knows who is supposed to be cleaning the tunnel. So, we cleaned it.”
They call it a labor of love.
“It’s such a great city and to just give something so small back to an amazing city just makes us feel better,” the family said.
They hope to have the tunnel completed in time for the Fourth of July parade which runs along The Alameda.