In late August 2012, the Bridgeport community gathered together for a series of intensive, participatory workshops to discuss the problems and possibilities of US 395 as it passes through town. An exciting opportunity for residents and business owners to provide direct input on how to change the face of Main Street, ideas from reducing the number of traffic lanes to trees and landscaping were discussed.
An overwhelming consensus emerged from the Design Fair to reduce the number of traffic lanes from five to three - one lane of travel in each direction and a center turn lane. Determining the fate of the pavement outside the traffic lanes was a little more difficult, but RPAC members and Main Street business owners Bob Peters and Steve Noble worked with the business community on a new parking scheme during September. The three-lane configuration and new parking scheme – with back-in angle parking from School Street to approximately the Jolly Kone crosswalk, and parallel parking on the western and eastern ends of town – was supported by the RPAC at the regular September meeting and submitted to Caltrans for immediate incorporation into the current grind and overlay project in Bridgeport.
Assuming final details can be worked out in the field and construction on the overlay project continues as planned, Bridgeport’s Main Street will have a new configuration this fall! The final design will vary somewhat from the “conceptual striping plan” pdf below based on actual field conditions, and will likely result in fewer back-in angle parking spaces due to poles and other sidewalk obstructions. Back-in angle parking is currently considered the safest way to park, as it consists of only the first step of parallel parking, directs pedestrians exiting a car toward the curb, places people accessing the trunk on the sidewalk, and allows the driver to pull into traffic flow easily. (See the back-in angle parking “instruction” diagram above.)
Other concepts and priorities discussed during the Design Fair, such as trees and landscaping, town gateways, street lighting, seating areas and benches, curb extensions, a colored center turn lane, and façade improvements are longer-term projects that will be addressed in the final report, currently in development. The final report will also contain a phasing plan, funding opportunities, and recommendations for implementation. The RPAC and community will have an opportunity to review the report, which is intended to serve as the foundation and guide for further Main Street improvements.
Hosted by the Bridgeport Valley Regional Planning Advisory Committee and in collaboration with Caltrans District 9, the Design Fair events were held August 23-28, 2012, and consisted of an opening workshop; walking tour and design workshop; Board of Supervisors workshop; a closing presentation of initial recommendations; and focus groups with main street business owners, the Spanish-speaking community, public works and safety providers, and potential interagency visitor center partners. Community participation was impressive, with 78 people attending the final presentation alone!
The Design Team consists of nationally-recognized walkabilty expert Dan Burden, the Local Government Commission, a traffic engineer from Nelson/Nygaard, Opticos design and architecture firm, and an economist, supported by Mono County Community Development Department staff. The purpose of the Design Team was to first facilitate and listen to the public, and then distill a common vision and design solution.
The project is funded through a Caltrans Community-Based Transportation Planning Grant. For more information, contact Wendy Sugimura at 760.924.1814 or wsugimura [at] mono [dot] ca [dot] gov (wsugimura [at] mono [dot] ca [dot] gov).
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