City walks out plan to improve downtown

City holds community forum today, Nov. 20, to improve traffic safety in the downtown area

@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.

Following a series of community workshops earlier this year, the city of Visalia is getting ready to complete the details of the traffic safety action plan for the core of the city. The proposed project is aimed at helping the city of Visalia identify traffic-safety challenges that affect the quality of life for residents and the economic vitality of local businesses. A professional planning and design team has been translating community input into potential solutions to improve safety and mobility for people of all ages and abilities in central Visalia. This planning document will then be used as a catalyst for future capital improvement projects.

A forum and open house for residents and businesses will be held today, Nov. 20 at the Visalia Convention Center to share comments and guidance about the team’s proposals to help make downtown more vibrant and its streets safer for pedestrians, bicyclists, transit riders and motorists. The forum will be held from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. and will include light food and refreshments. At this event, team members will highlight potential solutions from the plan for the central Visalia core bordered by Giddings, Ben Maddox, Mineral King and Goshen/Murray, and discuss suggested pilot programs and transformative visions the city can undertake to improve transportation safety and mobility while contributing to create a more vibrant downtown. This planning effort is funded by a Caltrans Sustainable Transportation Planning Grant awarded to the city of Visalia.

A team comprised of staff from the Local Government Commission, Downtown Visalians, and Alta Planning & Design is conducting the community event and developing the final plan for City Council approval in January 2020.

For more information about the Central Visalia Traffic Safety Action Plan project, contact Leslie Blair with the City of Visalia by emailing [email protected], or calling 559-713-4633.

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