Escondido Considers Removing Cars from Maple Street Plaza - NBC 7 San Diego

Escondido Considers Removing Cars from Maple Street Plaza



    Traffic Shutdown in Plaza Could Impact Businesses

    The City of Escondido is looking to block off traffic in the popular Maple Street Plaza area, making it safer for pedestrians. However, that could deeply impact some local businesses. NBC 7's Greg Bledsoe reports. (Published Tuesday, March 18, 2014)

    Ashley Castellanos opened a design shop near the Maple Street Plaza in Escondido just two weeks ago. There’s one thing she has already noticed.

    “That parking lot is almost full by noon. So I can't find parking back there by noon," Castellanos explained.

    Now, it could get even more difficult for she and her customers to park.

    The $3 million Maple Street Plaza is primarily a pedestrian area, but cars are still able to drive through there. Now, the city of Escondido wants to close the area to traffic altogether. Delivery trucks would only be able to access alleyways.

    "I think it's a bad idea," said Lisa Koonce, who has owned a jewelry shop there for more than 30 years.

    Koonce says forcing every car into the alley will cause traffic to back up on surrounding streets.

    "It's going to make it harder for people to park, and it's going to make it harder for those that are making deliveries into these businesses," she said.

    However, other business owners say they’re fine with the proposal. Dan Foster says removing cars will make the plaza safer for pedestrians, for whom the plaza was originally intended.

    "Give them someplace to go and relax, not have to worry about the cars driving through where the kids are playing or the people are using it," he said.

    Foster adds, there are worse problems than having too many customers.

    "I think having a parking problem down here is a good problem to have. I would rather have a parking problem than not,” he said.

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