MOUNTAIN VIEW (KPIX 5) – The charm of Downtown Mountain View could soon be changing with plans of transforming busy Castro Street into a pedestrian mall or plaza.
Bushido Restaurant owner Steven Yen is welcoming the proposed change.READ MORE: Fmr. SF Public Utilities Commission GM Harlan Kelly Charged With Bank Fraud In Bribery, Corruption Scandal
“It’s a good idea, just look at how many people enjoy the outdoors,” Yen said as he looked at the packed parklet outside his restaurant.
Mountain View city leaders are considering three plans to transform Castro Street from Evelyn Avenue to Villa Street into a pedestrian and bicycle friendly area, as Caltrain gears up to increase service and make its trains faster.
The street is already partially closed for parklets during the pandemic, giving business owners a glimpse into what permanent street closure would look like even if the pedestrian mall doesn’t allow for parklets throughout the street.
At least one plan the city is considering allows for patio space. Two plans would shut out cars completely.
“We probably wouldn’t have been able to survive without it,” Yen said about the pandemic street closure of Castro Street. “It was pretty much our only chance of survival at this point in time.”
The city, however, plans to reopen the street in January of 2022. Yen said he and several other business owners are concerned what that will mean for them if the pandemic continues next year.READ MORE: California Drought: Gov. Newsom Declares Expanded Drought Emergency, Calls For Statewide Conservation
“If the street reopens and we lose all this seating it might be trouble for a lot of restaurants on this block,” he said.
The pedestrian mall, however, could be a solution to keep at least some of the patio space for tables and chairs.
Not every Castro Street business owner is completely on-board. Laurent Pellet, who owns pastry and coffee shop Maison Alyzee, said he agrees the pedestrian mall would be a great experience for pedestrians.
But he also worries it will decrease visibility for businesses if cars aren’t allowed to drive down Castro Street.
“I have mixed feelings,” Pellet said. “All the impulse purchases will disappear, because people don’t go through Downtown Mountain View. They will not go downtown anymore. They will go through the highways or through the main avenues. It can be significant and not only for me, but for every business being here.”
City leaders are asking for the public’s input until September 16, and Yen said he and other business owners have already given their say.
“I think just having somewhere like this in the Mid-Peninsula would be very beneficial to everybody, not just people on the block,” Yen said.MORE NEWS: Significant Storms Coming To Drought-Parched Northern California; Fire Season May Be Ending
To voice input on the pedestrian mall proposal or to view plans, visit the city’s website.