Goleta’s Old Town sidewalks project is marching toward a community meeting on March 22. Earlier this month, the City Council got a first peek at maps that show the sidewalks along one side of each street between Mallard and Fairview, and Hollister and the railroad tracks. New lights on Edison’s poles and 17 new “back-in” angled parking spaces along Magnolia are to be added, as well as small curb extensions to help pedestrian crossing and prevent corner parking. Community comments are needed, and the meeting takes place at the Community Center (5679 Hollister Ave.), 5:30-6:30 p.m.
At the March 6 council meeting, planner James Winslow discussed the project and planners’ efforts to reach Old Town residents. “Lake Magnolia” was mentioned by one speaker as an issue, as is flooding in general, which will be addressed in a separate Public Works drainage project. The curb-outs and five-foot-wide sidewalks are intended to help keep pedestrians out of the puddles, though residents’ improvements that have encroached into the sidewalk right-of-way will need to be removed.
Winslow stated that more than 1,000 mailings had gone out to the roughly 850 residents and businesses of Old Town. Emails in English and Spanish had been sent, Facebook and Twitter employed, doors knocked on, and meetings in living rooms held. However, a number of Old Town residents from Kinman (which is outside the project area) to Orange (which is in it) had heard nothing of the project or the meeting next Thursday, Old Town resident Lindsay Rojas said. She was part of the group that had successfully convinced the city to hold district elections in 2017.
The community is a tight-knit one, Rojas added, and regularly walks to Hollister Avenue to shop at nearby stores and businesses. Flyers at the restaurants, donut shops, and churches along Hollister would reach many, she thought, and a bilingual door-to-door effort would probably reach more. Of the project goals, adding parking was a good idea, Rojas thought, as were sidewalks. “Parking is already so horrible,” she said, wondering what the impacts of construction would be on their narrow streets. Her work keeps her from actively participating in the community presently, she said, but she planned to ask her father or uncle to attend the meeting.