Today’s Tribune and the Santa Maria Times both ran stories about the West Tefft Street Corridor and the San Luis Obispo County Planning meeting where it was discussed this afternoon. The Tribune’s story included an actual photograph of a part of the West Tefft Street Corridor along with a sketch showing the same portion of the street as it might look in the future.
The photo, taken by the Tribune’s David Middlecamp depicts Tefft as it exists now:
The sketch, courtesy of the San Luis Obispo County Planning Department depicts what Tefft Street might look like in the future, based on input local Nipomo residents have provided the West Tefft Street Corridor Committee:
From the Tribune:
As development occurs along West Tefft Street in Nipomo, some local residents want to make sure the area will become pedestrian-friendly, have complementary building designs and include trees, lighting, walkways and even a horse trail with hitching posts.
They also want to ease traffic congestion in the area, not add to it . . .
“There’s a large downtown area west of the highway that could develop as a series of disconnected shopping centers,” county planner Jim Lopes said. “But the community preference is that the area should become more like a suburban downtown.”
That design would have street-front buildings, lots of landscaping between curbs and sidewalks and no parking along the street.
The Planning Commission will comment on the plan today. The Board of Supervisors is expected to review it in December.
Based on the sketch above, it looks like Tefft will certainly have a lot more trees than it does now. Of course there is also a heavy emphasis on a more pedestrian friendly business district. I think some of it is pretty pedestrian friendly now, at least outside my office–but much of Tefft Street does not have sidewalks or paths, other than a lined off bike path, as the photo shows. Of course as Nipomo grows one of our major concerns is TRAFFIC! At times Tefft Street is lined with cars backed up well past my office complex down toward the Nipomo Regional Park. This plan is specifically designed to deal with traffic; but, the bad news is that those who will eventually approve this project are the same county employees that gave us the horrible traffic problems we currently have. We will need to make certain the traffic issues are dealt with realistically:
While the design plan details the aesthetics of sidewalks and buildings, one of the main features is its traffic plan.
Traffic is expected to increase 75 percent by 2025. That means an increase of 7,000 to 15,000 vehicles per day on West Tefft Street to 12,000 to 26,000 vehicles per day.
To reduce congestion, the plan suggests extending Mary Street to Hill Street, installing a median from 101 to Pomeroy Road and creating a coordinated traffic signal system.
The southbound 101 onramp would be relocated to the Hill Street intersection.
Driveways to businesses should also be located on side streets as much as possible.
Bike lanes and continuous sidewalks are planned to make the area safer for pedestrians and bicyclists. A trolley system could be set up.
Besides traffic, the plan would regulate signs, lighting, planters, sidewalks and roof types.
No palm or eucalyptus trees would be allowed, and buildings could not have painted or white brick, metal or glass walls or unfinished concrete block. Architecture should be in the early California, Craftsman or Mediterranean style.
Two-story buildings would be the norm, according to the plan, with a third story allowed if it is set back from the bottom stories or in the site’s interior.
Outdoor dining would be encouraged, along with paseos and gathering places.
“The emphasis is to create an area that is enjoyable for socializing, for enjoying the weather,” Lopes said.
Traffic is expected to increase 75%? WOW! That’s just what we need along Tefft Street, 75% more traffic. Without some serious traffic mitigation by the county planners, traffic will be backed up all the way to Guadalupe! We really need to keep an eye on how all this is going to work out. For those interested in reading the Draft West Tefft Corridor Plan, you can find it here.