Governor Signs Beall's Bill to Prevent Nuisances on Communications Hill

September 28, 2015

SACRAMENTO – The loitering, littering, noise, and late night drinking that has plagued San Jose’s Communications Hill stairway and exasperated residents may be coming to an end after the Governor signed Senate Bill 236, authored by Senator Jim Beall.

The Governor’s approval today of SB 236 gives the city of San Jose, as of Jan. 1, 2016, the authority to regulate access to the stairs, such as instituting a curfew.  Under the existing state vehicle code, the stairs were designated as a sidewalk and as such open to the public at all times. The bill specifically allows San Jose to change the public service easement designation of the stairs if the City Council finds it protects public safety or otherwise serve the public interest and convenience.

“The goal of the bill was to protect the families who live on the hill,’’ Beall said. “Those households needed help and the city’s hands were handcuffed by a statute that prevented them from taking effective action. SB 236 allows the city of San Jose more freedom to control the stairwell to stop crime.’’ 

Beall introduced the bill in February. The city of San Jose had sought the change in the law in response to complaints from the community.

“I’m grateful to Senator Beall for his leadership on SB236, which will allow the City local control to successfully operate the staircase to the benefit of both the community and those who use the facility,” said Mayor Sam Liccardo.