The City of Coronado has pursued talks on the relinquishment of SR 282 and SR 75, and it looks like those will be coming to a successful close in the near future. What changes in the Orange Avenue corridor do you see as viable given local control of the environment?
The City of Coronado SR 75 and 282 Relinquishment bill, SB 479, passed unanimously in the State Assembly in late August, and was forwarded to the State Senate for their vote. Although there was strong support from our State Representatives in both the Assembly and Senate, the bill did not reach the Senate floor for a vote prior to the legislative deadline of midnight, Aug. 31, due to procedural activities having nothing to do with our bill.
So, it did not pass, as expected. There is still strong support for the bill and it is still expected to pass once brought up again to the State Senate. The main question now is the timing, which will be worked out by the State Legislature over the next couple of months.
Once approved, Coronado will have local control over Third and Fourth Streets, Alameda Boulevard between Third and Fourth Streets, Orange Avenue south of Second Street and all of the Strand. While the City will have liability responsibility for these roads and highways, we will be able to better manage them to Coronado standards of maintenance and community integration and usage.
Having local control over the Orange Avenue corridor will allow us to do things that were, practically speaking, unattainable through Caltrans, not necessarily because they were bad ideas, but because they were out of the typical Caltrans modus operandi, requiring special review and approval from an agency with limited time and resources.
Some of the things we can now consider for our business district include the implementation of traffic calming measures to improve pedestrian, bicycle, and traffic safety. We can improve the aesthetics of our downtown by developing and implementing an overall plan for a consistent look for things such as lighting, benches, landscaping, etc., which we can now accomplish without the need for Caltrans approval.
We can also look at more and better uses of outdoor spaces such as outdoor dining. There may be opportunities to create small “pocket parks,” parklets, or areas like Adella Plaza, at the northeast corner of the intersection of Adella and Orange Avenues.
These are some thoughts from one person, but going forward I would advocate for having some of our non-profit organizations, such as Coronado MainStreet, Coronado Chamber of Commerce, and the Coronado Historical Association as examples, to weigh in with their thoughts and ideas. In addition, it would be a good idea to have some public forums and surveys to get input from as many residents as possible.
With this positive shift to local control, we have a great opportunity to improve the look and feel of our downtown area and we should get as much feedback from those most affected as possible to ensure full enjoyment by the public.