Mountain View plans to ban cars, expand outdoor dining along its ‘crown jewel’

By Maggie Angst, San Jose Mercury News, October 13, 2021

“Like many cities across the Bay Area did with their downtown streets, Mountain View in the summer of 2020 closed off Castro Street from Evelyn Avenue to California Street to allow restaurants and shops to move their operations outdoors when public health orders banned them from serving customers inside.

“The Mountain View City Council [has] endorsed a plan to keep the partial closure of Castro Street in place until at least 2023, with the intention of gathering feedback and pursuing a broader vision of turning that segment into a permanent pedestrian mall.

“Their decision comes as other cities like Palo Alto and Pleasanton have gone in the other direction — taking down barriers that blocked off cars from downtown streets and putting an end to their beloved outdoor dining scenes.

“The road closure has given Mountain View the opportunity to test out the notion of a pedestrian mall it had been considering well before the pandemic struck the area in March 2020.

“Mountain View plans to start construction on the pedestrian tunnel at the north end of Castro Street by the end of 2024 — or as soon as Caltrain finishes electrifying its tracks. If that timeline holds up, Mountain View officials expect to complete the tunnel by 2026.

“As for Castro Street, the city envisions creating the pedestrian mall in two phases.

“The city’s ultimate vision will require a substantial amount of funding and is expected to take up to 10 years to complete, according to Dawn Cameron, the city’s public works director. …”

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