Dear Editor:

People visit Half Moon Bay for its small-town charm and nearby beach and Coastal Trail. Let’s make it easier for visitors and residents alike to enjoy being downtown.

A place where people can gather and enjoy the ambience of Main Street can only be a boon to all downtown businesses. Outdoor cafes help the whole surrounding business community to thrive. Having more comfortable spaces to sit and sip or munch for a while encourages visitors to hang around, people watch, and refresh themselves for another bout of strolling and exploring what downtown has to offer. They signal to visitors that they are welcome to take their time and more fully enjoy the experience. 

Some quoted in last week’s Review said removing parking spaces from in front of a business will be detrimental to it, but I disagree. The majority of the customers of these businesses are not able to park right in front. Potential customers who are not already familiar with them notice them as they stroll by. Those who already intend to shop at one of these businesses will not be deterred by having to park down the street or around the corner.

Parking a little farther away allows strollers a better chance to see more of what Main Street has to offer. Curiosity will lead people to an attractive parklet, and they will better notice the businesses around it. 

I am a member of the Half Moon Bay Bicycle and Pedestrian Citizen Advisory Committee. The thoughts expressed herein are my own and do not represent the BPAC, but they are not unrelated to our purpose, which is to help the city become fully bike and pedestrian friendly. We aim for a seamless citywide bike and pedestrian network that is accessible to citizens of every Half Moon Bay neighborhood, and for visitors to enjoy as well.

To this end, I believe that we citizens need to embrace a mindset and lifestyle that relies less on cars. Traffic is a major issue for us and it is getting worse. I believe that parklets are good for all of us in that they nudge us a bit to encourage the movement away from prioritizing cars. 

Parklets, for me, also provide a glimpse into what a truly revitalized downtown could be, for the benefit of residents and visitors alike. In my opinion, revitalization requires a much broader view than creating ordinances about retail vs. professional businesses on Main Street. I see wide sidewalks, plenty of outdoor cafes, safe and central dedicated bike paths, people leisurely partaking of the charms of our lovely city without having to dodge cars to do so. But I’ll settle for at least one parklet for now.

 

Elizabeth Brown

Half Moon Bay

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