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Old Town Bike Lanes to Take Another Spin Through Goleta City Council

Hollister Avenue traffic circulation, congestion, sidewalks and cycle space all part of expected discussion at Tuesday meeting

Goleta's City Council will be discussing what Old Town streets should look like for motorists, bicyclists and pedestrians in the area, and the public is being asked to weigh in.

Bike lanes for Old Town are expected to be the center of that discussion at Tuesday's council meeting. How best to incorporate them into traffic moving through the neighborhood as well as the current street parking will be part of the talks.

Plans to modify Hollister Avenue through Old Town have been a discussion point for years, and, in June, a crowd of people who cycle through the area encouraged the council to add bike lanes.

The Hollister Redesign Plan has been on the city’s to-do list for years, but the projects were placed on hold with the state's elimination of redevelopment agency areas and the loss of the funding that followed.

The discussion is a timely one, according to the city’s staff report on Tuesday’s item, because Cal Poly students recently made presentations on Old Town improvement alternatives that have "rekindled community interest" in how to improve circulation in the area.

The purpose of the Hollister Avenue Redesign Project is to "foster a more appealing downtown village atmosphere to help stimulate economic development."

The plan has kinks to work out, however, not the least of which is that the street improvements called for in the plan exceed the actual right of way by almost 30 feet.

Since many of the adjacent buildings along Hollister are located at the edge of, or partially in the right of way, the city came up with some alternatives that would work with the available right of way.

Staff say they've identified several alternatives, but they're still preliminary and need more study.

One alternative would remove one lane of travel in each direction on Hollister, create a 12-foot wide continuous center turn lane, add 7-foot-wide bike lanes on each side of the street and maintain parking areas on each side of the street.

Existing curbs and sidewalks would remain, according to the plans.

Other variations would alter the amount of street parking and the number of traffic lanes.

The city council could direct staff to investigate one or more of the alternatives or could direct moving design and environmental analysis on an alternative. Or the council could take no action and leave the area without the bike lanes.

The approved budget for the upcoming year doesn't have any provisions for the project, so staff would have to return to council with a schedule and funding plan if a direction is chosen.

More than 400 people responded to a survey that was conducted in 2011 as part of an Old Town Parking Study.

One question asked respondents if they would be willing to have fewer parking spaces directly on Hollister Avenue if it meant "wider sidewalks, bike lanes, improved lighting and landscaping." According to the staff report, "65 percent answered yes."

Tuesday’s meeting begins at 6 p.m. at Goleta City Hall, 30 Cremona Drive, Suite B.

Noozhawk staff writer Lara Cooper can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

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