They're a harbinger of big infrastructure upgrades to come over the next two years. The City of Mill Valley currently has $4.3 million dedicated to upgrading sewer systems, sidewalks, roads, and utility infrastructure downtown, an area that spans part of East Blithedale and West Blithedale avenues, Corte Madera Avenue, Throckmorton Avenue, Sunnyside Avenue, Bernard Street, and Miller Avenue.
The multi-colored markings on the sidewalks and streets are part of an effort to develop the base map for the downtown project, providing proper elevation of the streets, sidewalks and other features, according to project engineer Michael Hanlon. Poster told the Council that so many of the downtown features – streets, sidewalks, crosswalks – varied significantly in terms of height, thus making an effort to bring them all in line with one another both necessary but also complex.
The project also calls for safety, bicycle-pedestrian improvements and accessibility upgrades that could range from a shortening of long crosswalks at intersections like Miller Ave. at Throckmorton Ave. up to a "potential reconfiguration" of downtown streets, particularly around Lytton Square, according to City officials.
"It's really a paving project to start. And then the next phase is about gathering all of these larger ideas and see what we can stomach," Poster added. "Change is hard. There are tons of things we can throw out there, but is change desired? Is it needed?"
The much-needed improvements will be weighed against issues of major concern to downtown business owners and shoppers, particularly the potential loss of parking and day-to-day disruption to businesses," he said.
"There's no getting around it," Poster said. "This is going to be difficult on the businesses and on the folks that want to use these shops."
With that in mind, City officials stressed that there will extensive public outreach in advance of the project, with the Chamber "getting a seat at the table from day one," said Councilman John McCauley. The construction period for any downtown "reconfiguration" would likely occur in 2021-2022, Poster added.
"It's great that we're taking this holistic look at the downtown," Mayor Stephanie Moulton-Peters said.
MORE INFO FROM THE CITY:
- Downtown businesses and residents: Please send your contact information (name, email & address) for updates on meetings and project news. Email Linn Walsh at email@example.com.
- Please stay tuned to learn more about how you can participate.
MAP OF THE PROPOSED PROJECT: