November 16, 2010
Last night, I went to an open house at the public library.
Hosted by the City of Mill Valley, its purpose was to educate us, the public, on the proposed changes to Miller Avenue. The event was of special interest to me as Miller Avenue is the main drag of town and the street our store just happens to call home.
For those unfamiliar with the area, Mill Valley has at least 2 major retail areas. Miller Avenue is one and “downtown” is the other.
“Downtown” is a place filled with bustling pedestrian traffic every day of the week - strollers, dogs, mountain bikes, retirees or the independently wealthy? all wandering around its 3 coffee shops, toddler-filled plaza and array of cute boutiques.
Miller Avenue, on the other hand, has a slightly different character. Cars regularly race down the street, presumably on an emergency mission to Whole Foods, and it can take a bit of patience/luck to cross the street safely. The sidewalks are inconsistent in this part of town and for that reason, we don’t get much “foot traffic.” Businesses here tend to be more functional, i.e. places to do errands.
And while our shop doesn’t necessarily fall into that category, we are very lucky to be considered a “destination” spot for a lot of shoppers (I need to go to Once Around and buy some glitter!), AND we have over a dozen on-site parking spaces.
Other boutiques are not as fortunate and could benefit from an increase in wandering pedestrians. The City of Mill Valley, it seems, agrees and is eager to help.
From what I could gather, the focus of the plan is to create a more neighborhood-y feel to the street. Wider, more easily accessed sidewalks and bike lanes, more trees and more parking. Sounds good to me.
But not, it seems, to at least one of my fellow business owners. He is opposed to the proposal, as he’s worried that parking and access to his shop will actually be reduced as a result of this plan. Hmmmm.....
It will be interesting to watch the process unfold in this wonderful community of involved citizens with strong opinions.
And I will most definitely keep you posted.