The City of Atascadero is preparing to give its portion of the El Camino Real a facelift, putting the scalpel in the hands of the community.
“What we’re really trying to do is bring about a concept plan, that’s going to illustrate how El Camino might develop in the future,” Atascadero Community Development Director Phil Dunsmore said.
The City is conducting a study, funded by a Cal Trans grant, to find out over the next six to eight months what the people who travel this road most want to see change.
A public information and input session was held Saturday outside City Hall during Colony Days, but it’s just the first of many sessions to come.
“(I want) some angled parking, similar color scheme throughout town, safer bike lanes and running lanes,” Angela Pericic, an Atascadero resident, said.
Sue Gibler, another Atascadero resident, agreed that pedestrian safety and accessibility could be improved.
“That’s one of the problems with Atascadero, you have to drive everywhere and El Camino cuts right through everything so it’s not really a destination,” Gibler said. “You go to your store and leave, go to next store and leave. Some of these ideas lend to more actually being there for a little while and going place to place, business to business.”
Improved options for foot traffic was one of the most common suggestions, according to Place Works Principle Karen Gully.
“There’s a gap, sometimes a whole mile gap in between crosswalks along El Camino Real, they’d like to see something in between and have the crosswalks be safe,” Gully said.
Place Works, which is currently contracted on a similar project in Anaheim, was hired by the City to complete the project.
The firm will also gather traffic data and analyze land use in Atascadero.
Dunsmore said the goal is not necessarily population growth, instead better serving those who already live in Atascadero.
“More of a self-supporting and self-sustaining community is what we’re looking for,” Dunsmore said. “Less traffic on the 101 going to San Luis and Paso to work, keeping more of the local community here to work, play, shop and live.”
Anyone who would like to submit input can do so via a survey on the City’s website.