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.