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Castro Street could stay closed to traffic after the COVID-19 pandemic

Original post made on Apr 6, 2021

Mountain View's experimental closure of Castro Street during the pandemic has temporarily transformed the city's downtown corridor. But could those changes be made permanent?

Read the full story here Web Link posted Tuesday, April 6, 2021, 1:09 PM

Comments (22)

Posted by KL
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Apr 6, 2021 at 1:41 pm

KL is a registered user.

Castro Street feels so much livelier with the outdoor dining setup. I've been really encouraged by the greater sense of community downtown during this pandemic. It'd be a huge shame to shut it down, especially if the traffic can tolerate the street closure. Make this permanent please!

Posted by A Talking Cat
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Apr 6, 2021 at 1:55 pm

A Talking Cat is a registered user.

YES! Please please keep Castro Street closed. The pedestrian-friendly, European-style, outdoor space that's there now is SO nice. Much better than risking death every time you cross the street. Plus, you can fit two or three tables of people outside, in the same space that a single car takes up in a parking spot.

Posted by AC
a resident of Shoreline West
on Apr 6, 2021 at 2:20 pm

AC is a registered user.

It's been working well. As they say, "If it ain't broke, don't fix it".

Besides, this seems a better implementation than the street closure proposal from a few years ago.

Posted by Karen G
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Apr 6, 2021 at 3:14 pm

Karen G is a registered user.

I've felt more connected to people with the downtown walkable. It's slower, nicer, easier to stop and notice things. I think it's helped the businesses very much. Most of the downtown businesses have back entrances for pick-up or delivery, which should really help. Many of us have traveled through Europe and loved the car-free pedestrian city centers. I'd love to see this one street - or a good batch of blocks - remain free of traffic. How lovely to dine outdoors, and stroll without car noise and smells. Thanks to the City for giving permission to make it happen. A great experiment, and a hope for the future.

Posted by Alex M
a resident of Willowgate
on Apr 6, 2021 at 3:28 pm

Alex M is a registered user.

I sure hope Castro remains a pedestrian-only mall. It's been great.

Even without the pandemic, Castro would get closed on a regular basis for events. Every other week in the summertime, I recall. It worked OK then being closed to cars, it's working OK now, so don't change it.

Posted by Concerned
a resident of Sylvan Park
on Apr 6, 2021 at 3:34 pm

Concerned is a registered user.

Keep it closed - but have some design elements so it is not an unattractive mismatch of everything. It needs to be transformed into an elegant European-style pedestrian boulevard.

Posted by DG
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Apr 6, 2021 at 3:40 pm

DG is a registered user.

It's funny that with so much energy around the green revolution, people a pushing for more cars rather than fewer. You'd think a pedestrian area would be just what the doctor ordered. With great free parking a block away, walking to a quiet tree-lined street does not seem like a big hardship. It's so nice to stroll Castro without dodging cars, noise, and fumes. And eating outdoors is not so great with noisy polluting cars right nearby. Please keep Castro closed!

Posted by MV Resident
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Apr 6, 2021 at 4:51 pm

MV Resident is a registered user.

"As much as the city likes to tout itself as a pedestrian-friendly destination, many people still use their cars to visit downtown Mountain View." who are these people who will only visit Castro street if they can find one of the approximately two dozen street parking spaces vs the hundreds upon hundreds in garages and on side streets? This would eliminate nearly zero actual parking spaces, and the effect it's had on making Castro a pedestrian boulevard is fantastic!

Posted by Jeff
a resident of Rengstorff Park
on Apr 6, 2021 at 4:51 pm

Jeff is a registered user.

I actually prefer allowing cars but, if that is not to be, then please allow bikes to ride on Castro Street also.


Posted by Jeremy Hoffman
a resident of Rengstorff Park
on Apr 6, 2021 at 4:59 pm

Jeremy Hoffman is a registered user.

I agree that Castro St would be lovely to bike down, if a bike lane can be consistently and safely included in the layout. This winter, the bollards and tables actually made it harder for me to bike down Castro St with my toddler in tow than it was to bike down it amongst car traffic.

Posted by Jeremy Hoffman
a resident of Rengstorff Park
on Apr 6, 2021 at 5:01 pm

Jeremy Hoffman is a registered user.

Cars take up so much SPACE. And parked cars don't even do anything, they just sit there. Castro St is a much nicer downtown if that space is occupied by humans.

Posted by SallyVP
a resident of Blossom Valley
on Apr 6, 2021 at 5:25 pm

SallyVP is a registered user.

I hope that city staff will survey residents in MV as well as businesses on Castro to gauge how people feel about keeping Castro closed. I prefer it closed. The businesses should not be the only ones who get a say in the decision.

Posted by Ramone
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Apr 6, 2021 at 5:49 pm

Ramone is a registered user.

I also hope it stays closed, and that businesses will create some more attractive semi-permanent outdoor areas. Curious what that would mean for festivals? Would the festivals still take over Castro and replace the restaurant seating for the weekend, or might the festival move over a block?

Posted by Lenny Siegel2
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Apr 6, 2021 at 7:17 pm

Lenny Siegel2 is a registered user.

It's time to ask HOW, not WHETHER, to convert Castro Street into a permanent car-free zone. How will deliveries be made? Is there a place for bikes? Where will festivals take place? How should public and private spaces be demarcated? To what degree should Castro serve businesses on side streets? What will the permanent streetscape look like?

There are a few models in the U.S, but plenty more overseas. Let's learn from them.

Posted by minor character
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Apr 6, 2021 at 7:35 pm

minor character is a registered user.

It is lovely space without cars. People can easily reach Castro Street by car, park a block away and go on foot from there. I've actually visited more of the retail (frame shop, Books Inc. and Ava's), since it is so convenient to walk down the center of the street. Eating outdoors has also been really nice, even in the middle of winter. We used to dine outdoors pre-pandemic too, with cars driving by, but that was much less pleasant. Hope the city won't open Castro St. back up to car traffic.

Posted by SRB
a resident of St. Francis Acres
on Apr 6, 2021 at 8:01 pm

SRB is a registered user.

I'm all for closing permanently some blocks of Castro to traffic (cars and also bikes actually) to make it a true pedestrian mall (cars and bikes can easily park at the periphery). If the primary use will remain for outdoor dining, I'd like to see more room for pedestrians (in a few areas, tables take so much space that it's actually difficult to walk around them). Also tables should probably be moved back inside at night to allow for morning deliveries and street cleaning. As to festivals, move them closer to El Camino?

Posted by Maria McCauley
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Apr 6, 2021 at 8:19 pm

Maria McCauley is a registered user.

I love Castro with no cars! It feels safer as a pedestrian, more enjoyable, and is less noisy. The sidewalks were too crowded when so much public space was given to parking and traffic.

Posted by Bill Mark
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Apr 6, 2021 at 9:43 pm

Bill Mark is a registered user.

I also like Casto Street with no cars. There's not even any significant downside for drivers. In the past, even when Castro St. was open to cars, I avoided it whenever possible when driving. I would use the parallel side streets instead, which were less congested and have better access to parking lots and garages. Likewise for the intersection of Castro with Central, where I once waited for about 10 minutes at the light for four different trains to pass before I could go through the intersection.

Posted by Roland
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Apr 6, 2021 at 10:13 pm

Roland is a registered user.

I definitely support keeping Castro closed permanently, and in fact I would suggest considering closing Dana and Villa between Wild Cherry and Blossom, to create a longer uninterrupted pedestrian stretch on Castro and open up some space for businesses on side streets.

Posted by Vaccine sites NOT bureaucracy!!!
a resident of Sylvan Park
on Apr 7, 2021 at 7:13 am

Vaccine sites NOT bureaucracy!!! is a registered user.

ABSOLUTELY AGREE WITH THIS COMMENT. “Keep it closed - but have some design elements so it is not an unattractive mismatch of everything. It needs to be transformed into an elegant European-style pedestrian boulevard.”

The public works signs and barriers are UGLY. In addition there are no design standards. This is the centerpiece of our city make it an attractive destination.

Posted by Mitch Cumstein
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Apr 7, 2021 at 10:22 am

Mitch Cumstein is a registered user.

Yup - keep it closed! The COVID beta test has been a roaring success.

I would agree that keeping a lane for bike access is sensible - let's not force bikers to weave around tables and onto sidewalks.

Posted by Polomom
a resident of Waverly Park
on Apr 8, 2021 at 11:27 am

Polomom is a registered user.

@Jeremy Hoffman and @Mitch Cumstein : As a regular user of the Stevens Creek Trail I can only hope there will be no dedicated bike lane on the 3 blocks that make up the closed off section of Castro. Bicyclists should be asked to push their bikes those blocks and park their bikes in designated areas. As Stevens Creek Trail shows nobody cares about speed limits and the motorized bikes/scooters and skate boards are flying by the pedestrians. I grew up with pedestrian only inner cities, deliveries are managed in the early mornings all during the same time. Tables and chairs get pushed aside overnight for a.m. street cleaning and bicyclists have to push their bikes through the closed off sections. Salt Lake City implemented a pedestrian friendly downtown over the last 10 years, might be an example closer than Europe.

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