SAN MATEO (CBS SF) — As some cities begin to reopen streets and in turn, eliminate outdoor dining parklets, San Mateo plans to keep cars off of a downtown street for good.
The San Mateo City Council passed a resolution this week that will establish a pedestrian mall shut down to traffic on South B Street. There will be two sections of it – one between First Ave. and Second. Ave, and one between Second Ave. and Third Ave. Traffic will still run along the avenues.READ MORE: 'Survivor' Contestant Michelle Yi Describes Frightening Santa Monica Assault
“I think it’s a great idea,” said Gregg Ellson, the Café Leader at Blue Bottle Coffee. “I think that overall, it’s great for the neighborhood.”
But some neighbors aren’t on board, like the people at Los Amigos Imports, which is one of the oldest businesses on B Street. Carolina Valle, the business manager, is nervous people won’t know her shop is there anymore if they can’t drive by or park nearby.
“They’re not even going to be able to see our sign from either side of the street – so our biggest concern is that customers won’t be able to see us,” she said.
The city would first install bollards and adjust traffic signals. Eventually, they might consider redesigning the roads.
Mayor Eric Rodriguez thinks the pedestrian mall could become a focal point of downtown San Mateo.READ MORE: COVID: Oakland Unified Sets January Deadline For Students 12 And Up To Be Fully Vaccinated
“I really do think in 10 years, we’re going to look back and say wow, why didn’t we do this earlier?” he said. “Creating a focal point within our downtown where the community can come together and not have to be worrying about passing traffic is just a natural extension as our city grows.”
The project would eliminate around 60 parking spaces.
“There’s a lot of really accessible parking already in the neighborhood – the parking garages are pretty plentiful. I mean – there’s a lot of foot traffic – I feel like that’s good for every business,” Ellson said.
While restaurants would be encouraged to have outdoor dining on the pedestrian mall, parklets will not be allowed. The plan calls for restaurants having the ability to remove outdoor dining spaces if they’d need to make way for a public event on the mall.
“We’ll be ready to adapt for whatever changes need to come if we do need to be able to move it. We can definitely make that happen,” Ellson said.
Mayor Rodriguez says this was just a first step, and that the city is happy to hear any feedback from the community.MORE NEWS: Fantasy Football Start Or Sit Week 8: Can Kirk Cousins Put Up Points On The Cowboys Defense?
“I would say, give the project a chance. Change is always difficult,” he said. “We are going to do everything we can to address your concerns.”