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Pedestrians cross Main Street on Broadway in Santa Maria on Monday evening. The Planning Commission on Wednesday will review the final version of the Downtown Multimodal Streetscape Plan.

A streetscape plan that aims to make downtown Santa Maria more bicycle- and pedestrian-friendly will go before the Planning Commission on Wednesday for approval.

The Downtown Multimodal Streetscape Plan — which has been in the works for around two years — focuses on a conceptual redesign of Main Street between Pine and Miller streets, and Broadway in between Cook and Mill streets.

The goal was to help provide a layout for downtown streets that would better accommodate bicyclists and pedestrians while also balancing the needs for vehicular and truck traffic, said Ryan Hostetter, city planning manager.

By narrowing and consolidating traffic lanes, city planners were able to create room for protected bike lanes, on-street parking and larger sidewalks.

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A pedestrian walks past a restaurant in the 100 block of West Main Street in Santa Maria on Monday evening. The Planning Commission on Wednesday will review the final version of the Downtown Multimodal Streetscape Plan, which aims to make downtown more bike- and pedestrian-friendly.

Along West Main Street, the plan proposes to reduce the curb-to-curb from around 90 feet to 73 feet, while the curb-to-curb would go from 109 feet to 75 feet on East Main Street. The curb-to-curb on North Broadway would be reduced from around 95 feet to 77 feet, and the South Broadway curb-to-curb would be reduced from 122 feet to 74 feet.

Part of a revitalization strategy for the city’s core, staff began developing a downtown streetscape plan in 2016 and sought out public input during several community workshops and other events, along with using an online survey.

Portland-based consulting firm SERA Architects was hired to assist the city in developing the plan, which was funded by a $300,000 grant from Caltrans.

City officials hope the concept plan will help spur economic development and growth in the downtown area.

If approved by the Planning Commission on Wednesday, the streetscape plan will move to the City Council for consideration in January.

The next step of the process will involve working with Caltrans — which controls Broadway and Mains Street — and gather results from a traffic study looking at how the proposed changes would affect traffic, said Rodger Olds, principal civil engineer. “It’s a multistep process,” he said. “We’re studying it to see what will work, what won’t work. We don't know how it’s going to turn out. It’s going to take some time and then after that happens, we’ll make some hard decisions on what we want to work with Caltrans on.”

A traffic engineer began conducting preliminary work to look at the proposed changes earlier this year and will perform a more detailed analysis following the City Council’s approval of the plan.

Once final approval from Caltrans is granted, city officials will move forward with design and engineering plans for the first part of the project, which will be the corridor on Main Street between Broadway and Pine Street.

Olds said the city tentatively hopes to go to bid and begin construction by early 2020.

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Razi Syed covers Santa Maria City Government for Lee Central Coast Newspapers.  Follow him on Twitter @razisyed

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