Residents to walk the talk on street planning tour

School officials have said they hope to close Nash Road near the high school.

City received $150K grant to plan improvements along corridor near Hollister schools
Residents involved in a streetscape planning session next week will get a good sense – from their feet and eyes – for the topic. That is because locals are invited to take part in walking along the very route they will later discuss to help plan improvements.
At what’s dubbed a “Community Walk for a Streets Plan” – organized by the city’s planning department and guided by a grant-funded consultant, Nelson Nygaard – residents on Tuesday can help design the streets plan for the area of Nash, Tres Pinos, Sunnyslope Road and McCray Street. Those participating will walk with a consultant’s design team from 5 p.m. to 6 p.m. and then develop design solutions from 6 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. Interested locals are meeting at Rancho San Justo Middle School’s gym, 1201 Rancho Drive.
This planning endeavor came about when the city applied for and received a $150,000 transportation planning grant from Caltrans. As mandated by the state as part of the grant program, the project must involve an environmental justice element, meaning the city will have to make some “extra efforts” to engage underserved and minority populations, said city Planning Manager Mary Paxton.
Paxton noted that the city partnered with the Youth Alliance in getting out the word and conducting surveys regarding the walk and workshop.
“It’s really vital to have an intentional youth voice at the table,” said Youth Alliance Executive Director Diane Ortiz, who hopes to have the group more involved in such formal planning processes.
Officials are examining that area of Hollister for improvements not only because it serves many underserved or minority residents, but also because it’s a highly traveled route to schools.  
“We want everybody to come. It’s an important corridor because it’s one of the safe routes,” Paxton said, mentioning nearby schools Rancho San Justo, Sunnyslope, Ladd Lane and San Benito High.
She also pointed out  “one of the largest concentrations” of apartment buildings is near that corridor.
“If you don’t have a car, this is a corridor you would probably use a lot to use your day-to-day shopping,” Paxton said. “The person in the car is also important, how their able to use it.”
Two more workshops will follow the walk. The next one, focusing on commercial areas, is set for November.
After this portion of the process, officials hope to obtain more outside grant funding to continue further project steps. The city also expects to soon gain ownership of the stretch as part of the swap for the Highway 25 bypass.
“Now is a good time to have some vision and think about what we can do to make it work,” Paxton said.