Every “Second ” of the month, Plant 51 resident volunteers work (one hour only) on cleaning up the White Street area between the VTA station and the Plant 51 complex. Time permitting, volunteers also clean-up other exterior areas of the complex. The focus is on the White Street side for a variety of reasons: its proximity to CalTrain and VTA means lots of foot traffic in the area; many people coming and going to HP Pavilion events use it as a walkway; it is, unfortunately, a gathering place for groups of teens (often with alcohol) or homeless folks. By cleaning up the area, we hope to avoid the “impression of neglect” that studies show can increase undesirable activity. Volunteers paint over or remove graffiti and “slap tags,” pick up debris, cut back on foliage that conceals unwanted activity. We keep an eye out for out-of-order lighting in the area and notify the appropriate agency. Although we focus on the area adjacent to Plant 51, we also extend our efforts further along White Street towards and including the Alameda (by the glass and window shop). We appreciate City of San José donations of graffiti removal paint, litter picker-sticks, and trash bags to aid our efforts.
Other things we have done: Our HOA has spent literally thousands of dollars on graffiti removal of tags on our historic building. Removing graffiti on the brick exterior requires special equipment and expertise. We added motion-sensitive lighting to the “loading dock” area in the back, and we keep trees cut back as part of regular maintenance. We are also considering ways to make the portion of Plant 51 property more resident-friendly (to encourage our residents to create a “presence” on White Street, thereby discouraging individuals from lingering there to drink, sleep, or otherwise add to littering and graffiti problems). Two joint-use ideas we are kicking around are a community garden and a dog-run for our numerous residents with pets.
Things we could use from VTA: improving or “refreshing” the No Parking/No Stopping signs on White Street and replacement of the damaged sign at White and the Alameda that directed people to the Diridon Station through the access arcade. It would be great if the City could continue to enforce no parking in this emergency access route.
Candy Carter – Plant 51 Resident