Dear Mayor Abe-Koga and City Council:
The Mountain View chapter of South Bay YIMBY expresses its support for repurposing downtown street space for restaurant seating. We have long supported making Castro Street more walkable. We believe that auto traffic on the street’s downtown core is unnecessary, and that street parking there is especially detrimental to visitors’ experiences. We agree with Mayor Abe-Koga that “the social distancing requirements of COVID-19 makes this an opportune time for us to try this concept [pedestrianization]” (as quoted by Elena Kadvany in the MV Voice, May 13).
Expanding outdoor seating would help support businesses and, in all likelihood, reduce virus transmission, as the outdoors is well ventilated and exposed to UV light. Furthermore, there are other businesses such as retail that might put sidewalk or street space to good use, as well as many businesses in strip malls outside downtown. We are also aware that such a change would not be simple, for instance because VTA bus routes would need to change. However, we encourage the city to make outdoor seating and business activity a key part of its reopening plans.
Ilya Gurin, on behalf of MV YIMBY