Exclusive Pedestrian/Bike Zone on central part of Main Street in Pleasanton, CA 94566
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Every time Main Street's central section in Pleasanton CA is closed to cars (about 1-2 times a month in the summer), a festive character develops there, with people strolling, kids biking, all types of businesses (and restaurants in particular) well visited. I am convinced that were this to be made a permanent approach, businesses would flourish, people would love it, and Pleasanton might even make some news and waves as a leader in innovative civic development that is pedestrian and resident friendly. People who travel the world (and most do these days) have seen the pedestrian zones around the world, in Europe or Asia, and how well they work for businesses, as well as for improving the quality of life. Parking seems quite sufficient along the lots and streets paralleling Main. People's approach to walking and biking is evolving, and what seemed like the optimum approach a few decades ago (a large parking lot with shops hiding behind it), is not what people want anymore, or will want in the future. And merchants might be surprised what happens once you remove cars from your high-density shopping and dining district. (Of course there would need to be exceptions and time-slots allowed, for deliveries, residents of Main, the disabled, etc., similarly to how it has been handled in other places with exclusive pedestrian/biking zones). A first step, as a test, might be to try this on weekends only. However, it is also important to realize that a change like this might need some transitional period, while the public and merchants are getting used to it. The positive results will not show up on the first day, as new habits and patterns need to develop, word needs to get out, etc. So it is possible that a weekend approach might not be ideal, and the back-and forth of blocking, enforcing, and re-opening access might be a drag on the Police Department and supporting services. It might therefore be best to have a 6-month 24/7 test period to prove it and to convince skeptics.
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