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Comment on Mountain View City Council Item 3.1 Castro Pedestrian Mall

To Mayor Kamei and the members of the City Council:

MV YIMBY writes in support of the proposed Castro pedestrian mall, specifically options B or C presented in the feasibility study, in accordance with staff recommendations.

The closure of Castro to vehicles that was implemented as an ad hoc response to COVID has been overwhelmingly popular, and allayed many of the concerns heard when pedestrianization was first discussed in 2019. We note that car access will remain on Bryant and Villa streets, and (one-way) Blossom and Wild Cherry lanes, whereas Castro alone will be reserved for pedestrians and bicyclists, who have always constituted the large majority of traffic on Castro during the evening peak hours. Eliminating cars on Castro will maintain the improved safety and overall visitor experience that exist now under the temporary closure.

We do not express a preference between options B and C. Making part of today’s Centennial Plaza continuous with the Castro promenade (option C) would clearly benefit Castro. However, we expect more options for improving Centennial Plaza to arise during the anticipated design of the new transit center. We are also concerned that any option should provide direct and unimpeded access from the Central underpass to the transit center. We are also concerned that the additional expense of option C may take away from other public improvements.

Considering all of the above, we support the staff recommendations.

  • Proceed with option B, considering option C as a potential future phase: We believe this is an expeditious and cost-effective approach.
  • Add the 200 and 300 blocks to the pedestrian mall: We believe the distinction between these blocks and the 100 block is artificial.
  • Extend the temporary closure through January 2023: We believe that ending the temporary closure before implementing it again under option B would cause needless disruption.

Thank you for considering our opinion.

Kind regards,

Ilya Gurin

On behalf of the members of MV YIMBY