Gary J. Stollery: Nevada City’s ‘new’ public seating area on North Pine Street
Gary J. Stollery
None of the impacted businesses were notified about any meetings or even asked for input regarding this outdoor public seating plan that the City of Nevada City put into place.
The city has been trying to increase parking downtown for four decades. This is a loss of 12 parking spaces in the middle of downtown, which includes a two-space loading zone and one handicap parking space. And, at a drastic time when the retail businesses need it most.
It also increases the fire danger to the historic downtown at a time when the risk is highest. North Pine Street and lower Commercial Street are barricaded and blocked, allowing no vehicular traffic … including emergency vehicles.
In case of a fire, responding firefighters will be severely hampered in gaining access to buildings and businesses on North Pine Street and lower Commercial Street, plus to others via these roadways. Ambulances and first responders will face the same problem, when seconds can count in a life or death situation. Law enforcement officers also will be hampered with their duties.
Due to the city closing North Pine Street to vehicular traffic, it has also increased the problem of deliveries to businesses. The “new” loading zone at the top of North Pine Street is a hazard in itself, with semi trucks having to pull in, and with no means of egress, they are forced to have to back their trucks out onto Broad Street. This is just traffic and pedestrian accidents waiting to happen. This “new” loading zone also now uses four parking spaces where it has only been using two spaces.
If there is such a current urgent need for public seating, a better solution would be to use some of the spaces in the city parking lot on Commercial Street, those at its entrance off Commercial Street, nine spaces on the left and three spaces on the right. This location would provide a much more charming and restful place for visitors to relax and enjoy Nevada City. The setting is surrounded by lovely trees and landscaping and the beautiful Garden Monument celebrating Nevada County’s Chinese Pioneers, as well as the wonderful historic Stamp Mill, Ore Cart with tracks and hydraulic monitor, which tell of Nevada City’s beginnings. With its unique and historic views of the town, including the Nevada Theatre, New York Hotel Shops and Annex, this would be a far better choice.
The location is further enhanced by its being flat and having parking directly adjacent, along with a useful map of where the businesses are located, and the greatly added benefit of public bathrooms. This area would also make it significantly easier for city staff to be able to do daily cleaning and handle garbage and recycling needs.
It would also have zero negative impact on the businesses and deliveries being made to them.
Gary J. Stollery own the Toad Hall Book Shop on Pine Street in Nevada City.
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“You’ve heard me say this before: Every acre can and will burn someday in this state” — Cal Fire Director Thom Porter.