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Huntington Beach Rejects Pedestrian Promenade

City Council votes against a proposal to close one block of Main Street to traffic after business owners complain.

June 10, 2004|Stanley Allison | Times Staff Writer

A proposal to turn one block of Huntington Beach's Main Street into a pedestrian promenade has been rejected by the City Council after shop owners said the plan was ill-timed and would hurt their businesses.

By the same 7-0 vote, the council formed a committee to meet with residents and business owners to continue discussing the idea.

"I'm in favor of the concept, but I want to do it right," said Councilwoman Jill Hardy.

She said potential effects of the plan, pitched by Councilman Dave Sullivan, had not been defined, such as lost revenue from parking meters.

The proposal called for closing the second block up from Pacific Coast Highway, between Walnut Avenue and Olive Street, on a trial basis during August, September and October.

The intent was to create a pedestrian-friendly area similar to the Third Street Promenade in Santa Monica. The promenade would include benches, landscaping and barriers at each end of the block.

Stephen Daniel, president of the Downtown Merchants Assn. and owner of the Chocolate Factory in that one-block stretch, said that "restaurants probably would not get hurt" by the plan but that businesses that rely on walk-in traffic and impulse sales might suffer.

He said the Santa Monica promenade was successful only after the city built parking structures to accommodate the crowds.

"We don't have that kind of parking," he said.

Daniel said that he was not against the plan altogether but said it should only be pursued "at the right time and doing it the right way."

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