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Mountain View to turn Castro Street into a car-free pedestrian mall.

Some cities in the Bay Area even pull out dining tables from the streets Reopen their city belts. For the first time in 18 months, Mountain View leaders have no plans to view the Cove 19 as the epitome of silverware.

In contrast, Mountain View plans to turn the city’s oldest commercial corridor – Castro Street – into a permanent pedestrian mall so that residents and visitors can enjoy car-free for decades to come. ۔

“Castro Street has been successful, and I know some people say, ‘OK, there’s been an epidemic.’ But the epidemic has silver lining, and it was one of them.”

Like many Bay Area cities, Mountain View closed Castro Street from Evelyn Avenue to California Street in the summer of 2020 to allow restaurants and shops to operate outside when public health orders were issued to customers inside them. Banned from serving

In the months that followed, the city’s main city, Drag, became a vibrant and bustling outdoor hub for food, drink and shopping for friends and family.

A recent city survey of more than 1,500 Mountain View residents and visitors found that more than 85% of respondents supported maintaining the roadblock.

“Castro has been active for more than a decade now,” said resident Jonathan Shamgar. Let’s make Castro the crown jewel of the region and keep it a place where everyone wants to have a good time.

Mountain View City Council on Tuesday night approved a plan to keep the three temporary blocks of Castro Street closed until at least 2023, intending to gather feedback and move forward with a broader approach to making this part of the road permanent. Pedestrian goods

Their decision comes like any other city. Like the Palo Alto And Pleasanton has moved in the other direction – removing the barriers that once blocked cars off city streets and eroded his lovely outdoor business landscape. San Jose, meanwhile, recently hired a consultant to analyze the potential impact of maintaining it. San Pedro Street is permanently car-free..

Mountain View, CA – September 14: Mountain View’s Castro Street is closed to outdoor dining traffic. (Dai Sugano / Bay Area News Group)

Although the COVID-19 epidemic provided Mountain View with the opportunity to test the operation of the pedestrian mall, the city was considering the concept before March 2020.

With the upcoming electrification of Caltrain, Mountain View plans to renovate its transit center, which is adjacent to the northern end of Castro Street, and one for pedestrians and cyclists under Caltrain tracks and the main expressway. Will build the tunnel.

As part of these projects, in 2019 the city council expressed interest in building a pedestrian mall along the Castro Street block near the tracks, giving pedestrians and cyclists direct access to the transit center and buses. Visitors will be allowed. Or train to cross restaurants or the Central Expressway without having to cross any roadways.

The pedestrians of the past have not always been successful. Cities across the United States, including Sacramento and Fresno, added them to their business districts decades ago when they failed to reach the expected number of pedestrians.

But Urban Design consultant Blaine Mercar told Mountain View City Council Tuesday night that Castro Street had “all the ingredients to succeed” given the ideal year-round weather, young residents and workers and large street make-up. Are Most retail stores instead of restaurants.

Mountain View plans to begin construction of a pedestrian tunnel at the northern end of Castro Street by the end of 2024 – or as soon as Caltrain stops electrifying its tracks. If this timeline is maintained, Mountain View officials expect to complete the tunnel by 2026.

As far as Castro Street is concerned, the city currently plans to build a pedestrian mall in two phases.

The first phase, which could take five years to complete, will set up Car Free Castro Street from Evelyn Avenue to California Street. Various improvements will be made to make the roadway more accessible and attractive, including widening the road to match the existing height of the sidewalk and adding more permanent outdoor dining areas.

During this phase, motorcyclists will still be able to use Evelyn Street to cross Castro Street, so they will cut off pedestrian goods just before the train tracks and the transit center.

However, the second phase will cut West Evelyn Avenue before Castro Street and rearrange the road to cross the Caltrain tracks. This will allow long car-free space between shops and restaurants along the pedestrian tunnel and Castro Street.

According to the city’s public works director, Don Cameron, the city’s final vision will require significant funding and is expected to take 10 years to complete, although he did not provide a specific cost estimate.

But most residents said Tuesday night that they felt the price tag and long timeline would eventually pay off.

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