May 16 Event on Vashell Way Aims to Bring ConnectOrinda Projects to Life

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    For months, city staff, Fehr and Peers Transportation Consultants and Orinda residents have been considering a variety of projects that will beautify Orinda’s streetscape, improve travel through the downtown area and, hopefully, connect the two sides of Orinda in a pedestrian-friendly manner.  
    The project resulting from that vision, entitled ConnectOrinda, moves to its celebration phase May 16 with an event at the intersection of Vashell Way and Moraga Way from 6:30 to 8 p.m. The alley-way between Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage and La Piazza restaurant on Moraga Way makes for an interesting choice of venues given that turning the location into a dining/pedestrian space is one of the proposed projects. 
    ConnectOrinda launched in October with residents providing hundreds of suggestions which were used to develop 19 potential projects presented at a Jan. 29 workshop/City Council meeting. The Orinda community submitted more than 1,000 project-specific votes/likes and more than 1,000 comments on these proposals, which were used to distill and reconstitute the projects into eight projects discussed at the City Council’s March 5 meeting. Following that meeting, the design team also began a set of downtown guidelines that can be applied throughout downtown.
    At the May 16 celebration, participants will be able to view and comment on seven of the projects the staff and the project consultant have developed further. One of those, the proposed pedestrian alley at Vashell Way, will also be “experienced” as it is the site of the celebration. One project, changes in traffic patterns on Camino Pablo between Santa Maria and Brookwood, has been tabled pending a detailed traffic study. 
    The public may provide more feedback at the May 16 event. The feedback will be used to transform the design guidelines and projects into a plan document the City Council will consider adopting in the fall. To view more on ConnectOrinda, go to www.cityoforinda.org.

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