UPDATE (Wed., May 11, 2022) - The Arroyo Grande City Council has voted to move forward with further evaluation of a conceptual plan to transform Short Street into a pedestrian zone.
"This was an important step in making our Village more inviting and pedestrian-friendly," said Arroyo Grande City Councilman Jimmy Paulding. "I am excited to see that the whole city council wants to see Short Street re-envisioned into a public plaza."
As for what’s next, city staff will come up with an intermediate design that includes a resolution to keep Short Street closed to vehicle traffic. The City Council will also conduct a cost-benefit analysis while continuing to get feedback from the public.
(Tues., May 10, 2022) - The City of Arroyo Grande is considering creating a new pedestrian zone in a busy part of the village.
Short Street certainly lives up to its name. It's only one block long but prime real estate in the heart of the AG Village.
The Arroyo Grande City Council is now looking into the possibility of permanently closing it to vehicles.
The future of Short Street is up for debate at Tuesday night's Arroyo Grande City Council meeting.
City officials say that all options are on the table. Those options range from reopening Short Street to creating a new pedestrian zone.
"The value to the city, should the council choose to do this, would be to create a more pedestrian-oriented downtown," said Arroyo Grande Mayor Caren Ray Russom. "Being how our East Branch Street is also doubling as a highway, it's a little challenging for Arroyo Grande to create that pedestrian feel."
The city has released conceptual designs of what the promenade would like. They include a walkway, lawn space and stairs leading toward Centennial Plaza and the Swinging Bridge.
"It's gonna be kind of like a new image for the Village and a nice walkway for everyone to get around," said Chris Herrera, Assistant Manager at Gina's Italian Cuisine.
Some nearby business owners are now hoping for more public space that brings the community together.
"Anything we can do to allow people to get together in that kind of format is a bonus right now," said Daryl Cope, owner of Rooster Creek Tavern. "After the last couple of years of people growing apart, anything we can do to create a space where people can get together, I think is a good idea."
Short Street was blocked off at the beginning of the pandemic to allow for expanded outdoor dining.
The large tent used by Rooster Creek is now gone as the city looks ahead to what's next.
"There is some fear that losing the traffic flow of Short Street will hurt businesses," said Cope.
The city wants to address any concerns with the goal of making the village a nicer place to be.
"We would definitely want someone to come down to the village and patronize one of our restaurants but we also want them to stay, we want them to enjoy themselves," said Mayor Russom. "We want them to shop at our shops, we want them to experience our festivals and this is all part of creating that vibe that we'd really like to have."
It's important to note that Short Street could temporarily re-open to vehicles, even if the city votes to look into a permanent closure.