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City of Monterey Downtown Specific Plan: Speak up!

Click here for an update.

The City of Monterey Planning Office has posted the Draft Downtown Specific Plan, regarding possible Custom House Plaza changes and more.   Now’s the time to voice your opinions.  Otherwise, no whining, folks. The City will be finalizing the Financing and Administrative Chapters in the near future.

As announced on this site, the public was invited to bike with planners in 2011 when the transportation and parking charrettes were going on, and to participate in community workshops in 2010.  Much work has been done before and since that time by the city’s planners and consultants.

What sorts of changes are in the Downtown Plan?

They’ve come up with some great plans! And some not-so great.

Have you heard about the proposal to open the historic Custom House Plaza and the Alvarado Mall (brick passageway between Portola Plaza and Custom House Plaza)  to at least some vehicle traffic? (No Environmental Impact Review has yet been done with regard to this change affecting California’s State Historic Landmark #1.)  

Click here and scroll down to “Custom House Plaza:  Perhaps change coming?” and then study the plan.  The Custom House Plaza “change”  notes include mention that one of the consultants, not a resident, who made  this open-to-vehicles recommendation to the City Council repeatedly expressed:

  1. He was so frustrated by Monterey’s streets that on every visit, he swore he’d never come back here again.
  2. He loves Monterey and has come here every year for 30 years!

I’d be inclined to give more credence to the second of his two rather conflicting statements.  I love Monterey too.

And I’d add that I love the Custom House Plaza and Alvarado Mall being closed to any motor vehicle traffic.

Bike-powered entrepreneurs:  Be inspired by the draft

Notice the mention of horse and buggy rides on page 46 of the plan? Perhaps someone would like to get a city business permit and start a pedicab service in the City of Monterey instead of, or in addition to,  horse and buggy.

How to offer your input about the Downtown Plan

Express your preferences to the City Planning Commission and City Council.  Questions and input may also be addressed to the City Traffic Engineer.

Be sure to let them know both what you like and what you may not like about the draft.

Stay informed–and advocate for walking and biking

Perhaps you’ve never heard of the Downtown Specific Plan. Want to stay abreast of  some ways municipal leaders’ decisions affect pedestrians and bicyclists–and how to give your input?

  1. Sign up for the City Planner’s email list.
  2. Keep in touch with the Transportation Agency for Monterey County’s Bicycle and Pedestrian Facilities Advisory Committee.
  3. Subscribe to the Bicycling Monterey website, where you’ll find posts like this one, the earlier Monterey Planning Commission on Transportation, Parking post, and those below.

Giving thanks for all the good things the City of Monterey, and others, do to make the City of Monterey and Monterey County better for walking and biking is always in order!

Sampling of related news on this site

In addition to the following posts, refer to links in the posts for more.

BTW, who are those people on Alvarado Street?

Yes, by the way, the folks pictured above are tourists from a very bike-friendly country, Holland.  They had just finished breakfast on Alvarado Street when I met them.  Knowing they were likely visitors–because of their rental bikes–I greeted them and inquired. Click here to learn more, and to see them biking in downtown Monterey.

 

  1. A bicycle powered taxi service or pedicab had been in the works…for over two years now with two separate people and businesses trying to start it with no luck yet. But there is good news! Santa Cruz might have one up and running this summer! Contact Mike from Green Pedal Couriers if you would like to be on the list to help get Monterey pedicab service. greenpedalmonterey@gmail.com

  2. marilynch says:

    Thanks for mentioning Santa Cruz Pedicab. That new business has launched, and its first run, on June 1, was featured in this story at Bicycling Monterey. http://marilynch.com/blog/monterey-bay-region-celebrates-tannery-arts-center-and-bike-powered-taxi-santa-cruz-pedicab.html

    Yes, it would be great to have a bike-powered taxi in Monterey, and in other parts of the county too. I think pedicab rides would be very popular in Carmel-by-the-Sea, including along Scenic Drive, where pedicabs would help keep that much more oil runoff, brake dust, deposited vehicle exhaust, and such out of beautiful Carmel Bay.

    It would also be neat to have bike-powered taxis providing tours of Salinas and alongside nearby farmlands. Starting such tours from the National Steinbeck Center, or from the Salinas Welcome Center, would be very helpful to visitors who want to explore more of our county seat.

  3. Hi all

    I have heard rumors that the architectural review commission is also trying to embed parts of the Cooper-Molera garden or even the house itself into their plan and turn in into more parking for Trader Joes. Does anyone know more about this?

    First suggestion to do this I found on the top of page 62 of these minutes from an ARC meeting

    http://www.isearchmonterey.org/cache/2/wgcdhl55fi1z3q5530bwasfp/9621609172012084724258.PDF

    “Anthony Davi Sr. … expressed concern regarding the closure of Pearl Street … and suggested incorporating the Plaza into the
    Cooper Molera Adobe”

    /WR

  4. marilynch says:

    I love Cooper Molera and have especially sweet memories from my daughter’s summer experiences there as a student and later a teaching assistant in the living history classes. As you research this topic, you may also wish to refer to the following by Monterey County Weekly staff writer Sara Rubin. http://www.montereycountyweekly.com/news/2012/jul/05/history-sale/

    As to the parking challenges in the Uptown Monterey shopping center, home to Trader Joe’s and other businesses, I appreciate the efforts of those who encourage bicycling! This includes the City of Monterey, which added more bike racks this year http://marilynch.com/blog/crowded-trader-joes-parking-not-anymore.html and the motivation to bike offered weekly, year-round, by HER Helmet Thursdays participants, including Erik’s Delicafe and r.g. Burgers. http://marilynch.com/blog/her-helmet-thursdays/all-participants-brief-and-detailed-listings-in-new-clickable-map

    Also encouraging biking is local writer Jerry Gervase, former Monterey County Herald columnist, who wrote in his Herald column that he’d found a great solution to the Trader Joe’s parking dilemma: He often rides his bike. See Jerry in this site’s “Shopping by Bike” section: http://marilynch.com/blog/tips-for-tourists/unique-attractions

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