Downtown

As Mayor, I will continue to work to preserve and improve our cherished Downtown, especially the historical buildings and parks. Our Downtown needs to be vibrant economically and still retain its unique old-time charm. Loss of either element would make the City less beloved by residents and visitors alike. I fully supported the nearly complete retrofit program, which is so important for earthquake safety. I also have voted to upgrade street furnishings in order to enhance safety and reduce visual blight.

I voted to update the Mission Plaza Master Plan and the Conceptual Plan for the Downtown in light of current resident input, new development, and Smart Growth principles. (See my definition of Smart Growth here.) Smart Growth principles will not turn our Downtown into a mini-Manhattan but will make it  more dense and pedestrian friendly, without causing traffic problems, environmental damage or loss of historical character. As we add more people to the Downtown, we also need to create more public plazas and green space. To enhance the attraction of the downtown to residents as well as visitors, the City needs to continue fostering the Children’s Museum, Little Theatre, County Historical Museum and the Museum of Art.

Parking is always an issue, and has become tighter recently due to the construction of Garden Street Terraces Hotel and Chinatown Hotel on former surface parking lots. Studies show that our parking garages (with the first hour free) have empty spaces most of the time, so drivers are encouraged to seek them out before street parking. I voted in favor of a new parking structure at the corner of Palm and Nipomo, planned to be complete when these large projects open. I have also voted to increase the number of handicap spaces on street parking in the Downtown to improve accessibility.