activities is a smart move for two reasons. First, it will make
downtown more pedestrian friendly. Second, it will divert through
traffic to Butterfield Boulevard and
– not soon enough – to Santa Teresa Boulevard.
Widening median appears to be a good idea
Widening the downtown median to provide space for myriad activities is a smart move for two reasons. First, it will make downtown more pedestrian friendly. Second, it will divert through traffic to Butterfield Boulevard and – not soon enough – to Santa Teresa Boulevard.
Although a traffic study has yet to be completed, the idea needs to seriously be considered. The circulation element will study how busy downtown Monterey will be in coming years, at both the existing four lanes and at the potential two lanes. The circulation element will be brought before the council in early March.
It would create a more pedestrian-friendly downtown
The median now separates the east side of the street from the west. It divides downtown into two halves, neither greater than the whole. Widening the median to 45 feet from Main Avenue to Dunne Avenue would make it more pedestrian friendly, with better sight lines. Businesses along Monterey on the east and west sides of the streets will be more visible and cohesive.
If this happens, proponents say Widening the median from Main to Fifth Street would create about 65,000 square feet of romping room, for many activities, including an art showcase, car show and business kiosks. The possibilities are only limited by our collective imaginations. Imagine the number of people you could fit into a 45-foot median to watch the Fourth of July parade.
Through traffic would be forced to use Butterfield Boulevard
The idea is to make downtown a destination and get those traveling north and south to use Butterfield Boulevard and, when it is completed, Santa Teresa Boulevard.
The ongoing construction of Third Street, which has narrowed traffic to one lane from Second to Third, has been an experiment that shows it can work. Sure, there are some minor backups at heavy commute times, but that’s likely caused by motorists who could use Butterfield.
The time is now to take advantage of the recent excitement about downtown. Third Street will soon be finished, bids are due in mid December for downtown development projects and 500 housing units were approved last year. When the economy rebounds, it’s vital the city is poised and ready to act.