City Council Votes To Return All Of Main Street To Two Way Traffic - What Do You Think?

The vote was three to two in favor of returning the 500 block of Main St. back to two-way traffic.

Downtown streets, including the controversial 500 block of Main Street, will be returned to two way traffic, despite nearly two hours of testimony from proponents and those who wanted to see Main Street all one way.

After a two hour workshop Wednesday evening, where engineers Mitch Avalon and Dick Duncan presented renderings of what Main Street could look like with one way traffic from Alhambra Ave. to Court St., the City Council voted 3-2 to return all of Main St. to one way.

There was testimony from many shop owners at Wednesday’s workshop. Those on the 500 block supported keeping the street one way, arguing that it slowed traffic and helped attract customer attention to shops and restaurants there.

But shop owners in other blocks of Main were opposed to turning the whole street into one way, saying it would make deliveries and customer parking more difficult than it already is.

After the workshop, the council continued taking public comments at its regular meeting, but in the end, Mayor Rob Schroder and councilmembers Mike Menesini and Janet Kennedy opted to return the 500 block back to two way traffic, citing public safety concerns.

“As much as I appreciate all the work that’s gone into the alternatives, my original priority has always been public safety,” Kennedy said. “Downtown has enough problems. I support everything going two way.”

“This is the right decision for the community,” said Menesini.

“There are two sure things going to happen – merchants and property owners are going to scream bloody murder, and second thing is after six month, everybody will have forgotten about it because it will be so successful,” said Mayor Rob Schroder.

“You’re willing to forge ahead and destroy what’s there now,” said Lara DeLaney.

Do you think the council made the right decision? Tell us in the comments.

Cheryll June 09, 2012 at 02:28 AM
LOVE IT Maria! The downtown trolly~mentioned above~ could take people down to the marina too! People WOULD come here as a destination!
Snafuli Patchouli June 09, 2012 at 02:59 AM
Staff is employed by the Council, many make generous salaries (I think Corey Simon make $180,000 plus benefits). Main Street and Historic Society, who have the same Alhambra Valley major developer as a president, also acquiesce to the Council's wishes, even if it means being dishonest. Council is owned by one property owner. It's why when there was the thought of a redevelopment agency the whole RCD shenanigan occured to gift the property owner 1.4$ million for a misplaced lot, so he would be on board about selling his properties for the agency. Now there's no RDA, there's the General Plan Update. Staff said what they thought they should to keep their jobs and get more raises some day.
Lawrence Risner June 09, 2012 at 03:53 PM
Patrick, hope you have a fireplace because the way its going I'd bet that the trees on Main Street will be declared to much trouble and they will be next to go. Can anyone answer this for me????? Why would a landlord would be so against having paying tenants? What would be the logic to that? Doesn't sound sensible - are y'all sure it's true? - just curious....
Roxanne Cole June 09, 2012 at 04:22 PM
You are right the round tables do not work well in the space. We have a plan that will seat 16 to 20 people on the pocket. I am having them custom built. I will help anyone with the new pockets maximize their space, and share my design. It is cheaper than new tables.
Snafuli Patchouli June 09, 2012 at 09:02 PM
San Francisco has outdoor dining in every possible configuration of street directions and sidewalk set up. Blocked off, one way, double one way, sextupled two way, 5 foot sidewalks, 15 foot sidewalks. You name it. Streets that are only sidewalks. (Julius Castle, anyone?). If we are going to exemplify San Francisco, let's exemplify it in all its ways: Historic Preservation in all its facets (including incorporating it as an economic development tool, a "Place Making" tool, dog parks, no overpasses blocking the prettiest vistas, the wealthiest people benefactoring the arts, operas, etc. Adaptive reuses, heritage tourism, etc. etc.
Chris Kapsalis June 09, 2012 at 10:39 PM
We cannot compair SF to Martinez much at all, only borrow a bit that might work here. What I saw was so different then here, it would not work here. Seeing other cities is only to see what might work here. I really liked the work between Toronot and Chicago, both borrowing ideas from eachother geared to their cities, benifiting both cities. but they are very similar, at least in that are both huge cities and on a great lake. Both faces the same problems and worked together. Does Martinez have a true sister city?
Paul L Wilson June 09, 2012 at 11:06 PM
Why were these two separate issues wrapped together? To divide and confuse the public into think this is one issue witch it is not. The pocket issue was decided on weeks ago with majority of public approving their use throughout downtown. Have we become so easily manipulated? Yes the 500 block will become just another asphalt street just like the rest of Main and we know just how well they were doing?
Chris Kapsalis June 09, 2012 at 11:23 PM
What two issues Paul? If you mean one way verse two way, one reason is with two way trafffic on our narrow streets, only narrow pockets can be used, as with one way traffic large pockets can be used seating many more people.
Cheryll June 09, 2012 at 11:53 PM
I agree with what you are saying Paul...although I wasn't involved in those prior meetings..it seems (from the newspaper) that the only issue was additional pockets and they got a generally good review. And on the face of it, they are not terrible just somewhat small. It probably would have been better to do two in a spot if they were desirable there. But including the 500 block as two way directional doesn't seem to have been the same THEORY of slowing things down and making the street accomodating to the eating public or the ambiance that we so desperately need down there. I agree with Elaine, exhaust doesn't taste that good. Maybe one way Main St. makes more sence, and make the sides streets all two ways.
Paul L Wilson June 10, 2012 at 02:48 AM
Hi Chris the city putting both pocket and street changes on one agenda item to start with. Passing the one on pocket first an waiting until the next meeting to pass the other and as I see the prior Patch issues that some people were trying their hardest to continue to tie these two issues together as one.
Chris Kapsalis June 10, 2012 at 05:33 AM
They are related Paul just imo. As I said, one way or two way would determine the type of pockets we could have, or none at all, and of course two way would mean the 500 block pockets would have to be removed. So it is all one big ugly issue imo. I love the 500 block pockets. I am sad. I do understand both sides and it is a tuff one I think. However, someone on the other blocks has no more business deciding how the 500 block should be anymore than someone on the 500 block has deciding how the rest of Main should be. Of course we are entitled to our opinions, or should be.
Snafuli Patchouli June 10, 2012 at 11:06 AM
I much enjoy the learned sophistication expressed repeatedly and on every subject, here by some.
Lawrence Risner June 10, 2012 at 03:09 PM
Why do I get the feeling that the governing committee of Martinez, like much of the rest of our government, is far enough removed from the middle class monetary woes that they don't know or consider the effects of their decisions. By increasing the operating costs for merchants (the pocket and meter expenses) the result will be increased costs to the end consumer and another vacant business in the end. Anyone that has shopped or dined in Martinez knows that as the prices go up the consumer goes elsewhere - as they always have.
Bill Schilz June 10, 2012 at 03:26 PM
Roxanne... I am so pleased to hear this. I thought for sure you'd only be able to serve 6-8 people! Hearing you have a design to handle 16-20 people is music to my ears! You're not adding a 2nd story are you? :-)
Roxanne Cole June 10, 2012 at 03:43 PM
We will be the 'New' Old Main Street people will be talking about. They will be coming from all over to see us. Do you remember that saying about 'first impressions' ? Now is our time to shine. Everyone who has an interest in the future of downtown, should help each. Every restaurant owner, and ALL the businesses downtown need to put their best foot forward. Wash the windows, sweep the sidewalk, (into a garbage bag not the gutter) dress up your windows CLEAN your stores and get ready. We want to keep people coming back. What a perfect opportunity we have with the Fourth of July! All pockets should be installed. Let's have a Pocket Decorating contest, and Window decorating contest. We could have people vote and I will donate $50.00 a certificate for Roxx. Do you get my point??? We need to STOP the DRAMA . We can point fingers, and try and place the blame on others, city, mayor, or the guy with the purple hair. Do you see where I am coming form. It really doesn't matter. Work with what we have, keep a positive attitude because it is infectious. We the people have the power to make our town great.
Cheryll June 10, 2012 at 04:13 PM
That was 100% right on except the interpretation of DRAMA as opposed to the reality of these being comments from folks who are having a discussion. This kind of discussion is healthy and necessary. I hope commentors have enjoyed the discussion as much as I have. Thanks PATCH for the venue! July 4th is indeed an opportunity for downtown to get it's best face on and I look forward to all of their attempts to make it an awesome day.
Paul L Wilson June 10, 2012 at 04:13 PM
Thanks for affirming the point that I was making. The end results of this street change will be born by the businesses on the 500 block alone.
Roxanne Cole June 10, 2012 at 04:48 PM
I agree Cheryll. I enjoy a good discussion and the right to express our opinions. At some point though, action must to taken. Agree to disagree if you must, but now is the time to move forward! Thanks to all who show so much passion about our little town.
Chris Kapsalis June 10, 2012 at 07:46 PM
From drama sometimes come positive. Like getting those trash cans on Main. Can you imagine no trash cans on Main Street? That is how it was. Trash everywhere. Talk about first impressions. And ask people to fix their broken windows, not plywood them for months on end. My mom figured out how to get the cans. Many have said stop the drama, but I have seen the same thing happen over and over for 30 plus years, at some point most get caught up in it. But we have so much positive, and role modles like Danny, You Roxxanne, Candice, The people at Trisk to name a few, who manage to stay above the fray and show how you can be involved, even in issues, yet stay positive and set an example. Lets learn from these people. Lets learn to forgive, and move on. Politics are coming up. That always gets tricky. But after, work with who we elect, try not to hold grudges. We are an awesome city with so much to offer. People are seeing that now. Finally. Let's go for it.
Snafuli Patchouli June 10, 2012 at 09:04 PM
Roxanne, I hate to break it to you but that utopian is infeasible in an environment where our public funds, our democracy, environment, every planning and engineering and building decision, every legal and environmental finding is in the hands of one person. You cannot operate a middle class if the resources of all types (intellectual, governmental, tax base, urban planning) are funneled into the top eschelon. Half of us here have volunteered on Downtown clean up days. Half of us here, at least, shop purposely downtown. At least half of us have taken major actions. These are the expressions of the invested, of the battleweary, of the givers. You're new. I forgive you. The drama is our conflict to retain equitableness, to resist a local fascism. Sounds dramatic, and guess what, as Greerty said in a video recently "This things an opera!". I challenge you to read some Ben Franklin quotes.
Roxanne Cole June 10, 2012 at 10:27 PM
Snafuli, Thanks for your forgiveness...not necessary though. I will keep my vision and move forward.
Snafuli Patchouli June 10, 2012 at 10:51 PM
As will we, collectively and individually, based on the knowledge and experience gained through striving to realize our vision(s)--so easily obviated in other places but not here for all the reasons mentioned above. Anyway, soldiers and diplomats are necessary in any "cosm" and make no sense one without the other.
Paul L Wilson June 11, 2012 at 12:36 AM
I believe that we all have wonderful visions and hopes that downtown will become a destination for evening dinning and entertainment with hundreds of people coming to visit and explore the last real home town left in Contra Costa County. I also believe that by a vote of 3 to2 that the dream that took the 500 block so long to cultivate will be gone forever. Some won’t know it until they look up and find that the street that started it all is gone and has become just another two way street. When it gone I hope people won’t just drive down there and find it’s gone and keep on driving. It truly didn’t have to be this way!
Snafuli Patchouli June 11, 2012 at 05:25 AM
OK, wait a minute..is "Patrick O'Connely" really Veronica Nebb, our assistant City Attorney. OMG! Too funny. Hello, people, the City Attorney is on a $24,000 a month retainer. Wake up y'all.
Lawrence Risner June 11, 2012 at 01:53 PM
I would like to believe that this will be the final stroke for Martinez having a city council that is distanced from the needs of the city. People that are somewhat new to Martinez have now seen how that is a problem. I don't like to be classified as a "complainer" but I guess I have been and I couldn't just sit by and watch our town return to "depression era" status without speaking my mind. I am now going to be an silent observer now that the axe has dropped and yes, I do hope for the best!!!!
Snafuli Patchouli June 11, 2012 at 03:17 PM
Or Wait, Maybe P. O'Con nnelly is the girl put on the Planning Commission, Main Street, and General Plan update for all of Dunivan benefitting decisions, beginning with 1.4 million dollars for that uptilted lot. The future includes the past, and cannot exist without it. You have no understanding of such things, even though most great cities do. Minions, onions, our crying is a result of--or a precursor to--our actions. I can see through your rhetoric. & Btw, I know you're not Veronica Nebb. She is brilliant, even if it makes me angry that she gets paid with our tax dollars to do Dunivan's will as well. No wonder she can afford to give out half cookies.
Paul L Wilson June 11, 2012 at 06:06 PM
Why are their pictures of pockets attached to this article? Not even pockets that are of Martinez pockets but from all over the U.S?
Chris Kapsalis June 11, 2012 at 07:11 PM
Hope I am not out of line Paul but I believe, don't quote me, that patch members can post pictures to articles if they want, even questionable ones as long as they are related somehow to the article. Are these? It is a stretch imo. . also I think if people find a photo objectionable, esp obscene, they can flag it.Not sure why someone did post these pictures though, could even be from outside of Martinez. Are there names credited to the pics?
Anne Mobley June 12, 2012 at 12:36 AM
I just don't understand why some people want a cookie-cutter look to our Main Street. The 500 block has character because it is different. I hope other pockets are all different too, but none will look as charming as what we have and when it is destroyed, you will see a change not for the better on that block. But I still say shame on the Mayor and Council and their leader who want what we have come to enjoy for 14 years WITHOUT AN ACCIDENT destroyed. There has never been a safety problem -- someone should tell that to Janet Kennedy who cast the deciding vote based on public safety at the last meeting. Which begs the question, just who is leading our Councilmembers to such a conclusion? And why? I think most of us know. And it is not a conspiracy theory, it is just fact. If it walks like a duck, and quacks like a duck, it probably IS a duck. And that duck has been quacking for a long time to get rid of the success of the 500 block and that duck's little ducklings echo the same old same old, trying to cause discourse within the merchant community when they are the cause but place the blame where it does not belong.
Cheryll June 12, 2012 at 12:52 PM
I heard a comment that the exisiting configuration of 500 block was deadending the street and thought about that statement. I think it isn't true technically but may partially have that effect, at least to traffic but that is what is good about it. 1.it turns that end of martinez into a "flow" pattern that brings people INTO the street and not OFF OF it (leaving downtown). 2.That presents a kind of fung shui that creates an energy that flows INTO downtown & not AWAY. 3.Fewer cars allows for more visibility of people, products, landscaping, things condusive to People not Traffic (which is as it should be unless you want just another through street-hwy-freeway). This will not create any additional safety but instead it is certainly NOT as safe because 2 way traffic there will allow more vehicles, thereby more danger to pedestriansm, & with no stop signs on Main, faster traffic to get "through" the street as an artery not a destination. The feel as a two way section will be like rain water running out to the delta, emptying directly into a neighborhood which is not a destination for many/most. The reality is it is emptying into the major connective streets to head elsewhere. It's effect, a non personal emptying feeling, and the block is still very far to go for employees of the County, rushing to get through a break time. The 500 block is only a destination to people who are coming here for just the purpose and time, to spend enjoying the ambiance that is that block.


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