Bringing Downtown Back
Few would argue that Downtown Watsonville is a model for what a downtown should be. Sure, we have beautiful buildings and some of the finest historic architecture in the world. And we have great pocket parks, free parking and beautiful murals. But Downtown still isn't the thriving commercial district it once was, nor does it offer a shopping and dining experience for a broad range of residents and visitors. In this difficult economic time, when cities everywhere are struggling to find just the right way to succeed economically, it would be easy to just let Downtown Watsonville be what it is and not expect more. Well, starting about a year ago – the City of Watsonville decided to go another direction and lay the foundations for a better Downtown.
One source of Downtown Watsonville's struggles has been that State Highway 152 is routed through the center of our Downtown. While this highway brings a number of cars to Downtown each and every day, most of those cars are just passing through. Additionally, because CalTRANS focuses on traffic throughput, the roadway is designed to be very friendly cars that are passing through town and not friendly to cars trying to park or to pedestrians walking from store to store. The State Highway also means that the City does not have control of the street or of the sidewalks in Downtown. This means that we must apply for permits with the State each time we need to work on the sidewalk, street or any
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