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Fairfax Council Gives Green Light to “Streets for People” Event, Bolinas Road Closure

Some Fairfax council members expressed concern at the June 20 council meeting about closing Bolinas Road for the "Streets for People" half-day event in August, while others talked about the need for more bike parking in downtown Fairfax on most weekends.

 

The Fairfax Town Council has unanimously approved a “Streets for People” event that will close part of Bolinas Road for half of a Sunday in August.

The family-friendly “Streets for People,” somewhat modeled off San Francisco’s “Sunday Streets,” will celebrate local businesses, citizens, art and non-motorized transportation. Following , “Streets for People” will be alcohol free.

The council unanimously approved the event at its June 20 meeting. 

The event, set for Sunday, August 26, from noon to 4 p.m., will close Bolinas Road between Broadway and Elsie, the Mono parking lot and a portion of Mono Avenue West of Bolinas Road for bicycle parking. 

that closing Bolinas Road between Broadway and Elsie Lane is a contentious idea, but they have said closing the road would be an experiment to see if the town could realistically move toward the general plan vision of making that stretch of road a permanent vehicle-free greenway.

“We close the street for the Fairfax Parade. So far we’ve survived that for about 30 years,” said Councilman Larry Bragman after some of his colleagues spoke about possible traffic impacts at the June 20 council meeting. “I don’t want to make light of your concerns, because they are legitimate, but I do think if we have a traffic control plan in effect before the event we should be OK. One of the reasons we are moving forward with this is because it’s a longtime concept.” 

Fairfax Police Chief Chris Morin said police officers will have backup plans ready for implementation in case traffic gets especially unbearable. “I know what we can do to mitigate the backup in certain places. We aren’t just going to close the road for you and sit here and watch it be a mess. If there is a mess we will do everything we can do to fix it. I will be there to help mitigate any problems," Morin said. 

Organizers, and the event resolution, said closing the road would appeal to Fairfax's several young families who use bicycles and strollers on the narrow Bolinas Road sidewalks. 

“Streets for People” will include:

  • Street painting
  • Information on local businesses
  • A parklet demo
  • Bike demos
  • Acoustic musicians
  • Café tables in the street
  • Free “back to school” haircuts for kids.

 

Officials say more bike parking is needed on most weekends

The council’s June 20 discussion also addressed the general need for additional bike parking in downtown Fairfax, not only for “Streets for People” but on most weekends. 

“We’ve talked about bringing in bike parking for the weekends. We’re looking at a couple of places where it could be put, like that loading zone where the [Fairfax Coffee Roastery] is, which isn’t used on the weekend,” said David Smadbeck, co-president of the Fairfax Chamber of Commerce.

Fairfax resident Renee Goddard, the “Streets for People” project coordinator, said the event will provide an “excellent opportunity” to use the ’s bike valet. “They have an incredibly professional and efficient system, and we may be able to plant the seed for the use of the [bike coalition] on our normal weekend days.”

During the council’s discussion, Councilman Ryan O'Neil asked that organizers try to ensure all downtown businesses get included in the event, even if they aren’t directly on Bolinas, via a “Passport” program or something similar. “I love the vision but we want to make this something that businesses want to support. We have to find way to make sure they are all participating,” O’Neil said.

Smadbeck said efforts are in the works to reach out to include all the shops. (The Fairfax Chamber and Sustainable Fairfax are among the local organizations in support of “Streets for People” and have each pledged $1,000 for the event.)

“At this point a passport is an awesome idea, I’m not sure if we can pull it off very professionally but I’d love to look more into it,” Goddard told the council.

The event will require two additional officers on duty for traffic control, a cost estimated to be $720. Other costs for Department of Public Works staff overtime are yet to be determined. 

 

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John Ferguson June 28, 2012 at 04:49 PM
Just my 2c on bikes in Fairfax - we're really talking about two distinct groups with differing needs re: parking, etc. One group is/are locals getting around, including kids, teens, etc. This group will typically use any parking and not be too concerned about how their bikes are handled. The other group is destination cyclists who pass through Fairfax on the way to/from the watershed or west Marin and they typically won't use even monitored parking as they're not staying very long and probably have concerns about theft/damage to bikes that cost as much as most people's cars. These are the bikes you see leaned up against the Roastery window on Bolinas. These bikes won't be locked and unless you provide white glove service they won't be parked. White glove service provided by the MCBC or one of the local bike shops for a nominal fee isn't such a bad idea, but in its absence these bikes will not be parked.
John Ferguson June 28, 2012 at 05:00 PM
I agree that closing Bolinas between Broadway and Elsie is an inconvenience, but let's not lose sight of who we're trying to help with this. This is an initiative to try to make downtown Fairfax more attractive to shoppers. This benefits local business and helps us bolster our local tax rolls, making it more likely that we'll be able to do all the other things that people want like improve road surfaces and crosswalks. To Cindy's point, cyclists need to be aware of pedestrian traffic. As a cyclist who rides frequently on Broadway, I find it hard to see pedestrians entering the crosswalks by the post office and movie theater and wish the crosswalk signals worked. The one at the PO has broken and there never was one at the theater. Mostly people are cautious and look before crossing, but I would love a more predictable system. Some people just rush across without looking which can be quite dangerous. We need bright flashing lights that are durable and long lasting - can it be made so?
Larry Bostagger June 29, 2012 at 06:02 AM
While I agree that dogs sometimes get in the way, I think a plan to safely route them down SFD could be accomplished. That way, the owners can spend more time talking about the few things that is keeping this town alive (cyclists & good earth).
Larry Bostagger June 29, 2012 at 06:13 AM
It's not that you don't know where to start, it's that you don't know where to end. I half expected you to be rallying against Lucas!s now-defunct movie studio plans by the end of your 4th post.
Larry Bostagger June 29, 2012 at 06:17 AM
Agreed... Fairfax residents need to realize preservation of the quaint nature of the town doesn't mean "no experimentation with new ideas". Let us not fall victim to the mentality of "let's close the door behind us"

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