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Citizens gather to hear about future of downtown

Wendy Alexander/The Madera Tribune

Ed Noriega and Christine Anderson, consultants for the firm of Mark Thomas discuss ways of improving Downtown Madera during a community workshop at First 5 Madera on Wednesday evening.


About 80 people met Wednesday night at a workshop to look over some ideas about the future of Madera’s downtown core — ideas which include the installation of street art, improved street lighting, high-visibility crosswalks, buffered bike lanes and improved landscaping.

The next public workshop will be in January, when ideas gleaned at the Wednesday night meeting will be sifted for affordability and practicality.

The area under discussion is encompassed by the 99 freeway on the west side, East 4th Street on the north side, North High Street on the east side, and East 6th Street on the south side.

Landmarks within the project area include the Madera County Administration Building, the Madera County Library, Memorial Courthouse Park, the John W. Wells Youth Center, the National Guard Armory, Centennial Park and Pool and the Department of Social and Health Services.

Yosemite Avenue (aka State Route 145) bisects the area, more or less, between north and south.

“The goal is to reduce congestion, vehicle miles traveled by city residents, reduce greenhouse gas emissions and ultimately make it a more attractive place to live, work and play and to boost economic development opportunities.

Featured speakers included Keith Helmuth, Madera city engineer; Ed Noriega and Christine Anderson, planners with the firm Mark Thomas, serving as consultants to the city. The audience of about 50 people, meeting in the offices of First 5 California on Yosemite Avenue, then spent about an hour asking and answering questions of the consultants.

The audience learned about “bulb-outs,” buffered bicycle lanes, “traffic calming” and using alleys for public art.

Many of those in attendance had been seen in previous meetings, discussing the fate of the area surrounding Memorial Courthouse Park.

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