The Los Banos Downtown Master Plan Steering Committee meeting was held Oct. 10. The focus area for the upcoming developments downtown is between H street and Pacheco, and 7th and 4th street.

Thirty people attended the committee workshop on Aug. 23 and had expressed that the future of downtown should include more cafes, restaurants, retail stores, entertainment and larger sidewalks. These major improvements are most dedicated to a collective interest in public space improvements. So, what would the development of these draft concepts look like?

The sidewalk will not only be restored but will have been made to be wider and include outdoor dining and parklets. The parklet will have a small seating area and green space to beautify the downtown and enable accessibility for the elderly, community members, dog-walkers and parade watchers. The trees will be replaced.

Then the loss of parking will be compensated for by the diagonal parking changed to parallel parking where additional cars will be able to park in parking lots. From this point, people may be shuttled from the parking lot to downtown where they will be able to walk less and be able to save time especially during parades or street faire activities. The alternative for this is to have a hybrid system of parking where some streets will still be diagonal parking whereas other streets will have horizontal parking to accommodate new renovations and space.

Streetscape options include an “Old Town” or a “Vibrant Downtown Hub.” The Old Town” style includes ambient lighting, notable Spanish revival building elements, building lanterns, fountains, decorative tiles, and gray/green tones—similar to the downtown depicted in Santa Barbara and Port Costa. The “Vibrant Downtown Hub” takes on a more modern and contemporary characteristic with minimalistic décor, fused with color and that will emphasize function over ornamentation. Keeping both in mind, stakeholders had also discussed marrying the two styles together to take the best features of both streetscapes to create a unique, practical, and lively downtown.

A demonstration parklet will be set up for the community to see on Sixth Street between I and J streets on Oct. 20 from 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. Organizers hope people will attend the demonstration and offer feedback.

Prishaa Vala