Improve foot traffic in downtown with walkable plan

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 @TheSunGazette
VISALIA – Downtown Visalia is often the example used when other cities look for ways to improve the center of their city. Clean streets, arranged storefronts, a diverse mix of restaurants and retail shops, bookended by the Visalia Fox Theatre and Garden Street Plaza all work together to entice people to get out of their cars and walk down Main Street.
Every bustling downtown relies on one important retail tenet – foot traffic. It’s something local businesses can’t live without and something that every city works to improve. A big part of ensuring that downtown Visalia keeps attracting visitors to pull over and pull out their pocketbooks is ensuring the streets are safe to walk, ride and drive. The City of Visalia is currently in the process of creating a new Traffic Safety Action Plan for central Visalia and will be holding two community workshops on the plan.
“These workshops will help us gather ideas from the community to make our downtown more vibrant and our streets safer for pedestrians, bicyclists, transit riders and motorists,” shares Leslie Blair, City of Visalia Civil Engineer. “We invite residents of all ages to join us, these workshops are going to be very hands on with presentations, discussion and table top exercises.”
Workshops will take place at 210 West Center Avenue in Visalia on Tuesday, May 21 and Thursday, May 23. On Tuesday, the city will begin with a walking tour hosted by Design Experts from 4-5 p.m. The tour will assess downtown’s safety conditions for walking and bicycling. Following the tour will be a Community Design Workshop from 5:30-7:30 p.m., where residents can tell traffic designers what they would like to see in the future.
On Thursday, the city will hold a closing workshop from 6-8 p.m. to share comments and guidance about the design team’s draft recommendations. Both meetings will be held in both English and Spanish, they are family friendly (bring the kids!) and a light meal will be provided.
“The Traffic Safety Action Plan will identify short- and long-term projects that the City can implement to improve transportation safety and mobility and create a more vibrant downtown,” added Blair.
This planning effort is funded by a Caltrans Sustainable Communities Planning Grant awarded to the City of Visalia. A design team from the Local Government Commission and Alta Planning + Design will conduct the workshops and develop the final plan.
For more information about the Central Visalia Traffic Safety Action Plan project, contact Leslie Blair, City of Visalia Civil Engineer, at leslie.blair@visalia.city or 713-4633.