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Open Letter to Council – Approve the Broadway Specific Plan

The American Canyon City Council will be taking up – among other items – approval of the Broadway Specific Plan. This is my letter to council.

Dear Mayor Garcia, and Members of the American Canyon City Council-

I apologize that I cannot appear in person for this important meeting. However, I feel that the Broadway Specific Plan is so important to the economic growth and enhanced quality of life of our community that I must speak out.

I urge you to approve the Broadway Specific Plan tonight.

What American Canyon Lacks

I recognize that there are still hurdles to overcome but the benefits to our community are legion. Broadway is the face of our community. Currently, visitors see a neglected highway that is little more than a passthrough to the Napa Valley. They speed through town as quickly as possible, never seeing all that our community has to offer.

Unless we have a complete makeover, this will continue. Our town is vivacious with a spark that shines to all who stay long enough to get to know it. In order to attract new people, we need to look every bit as vibrant as we are. We cannot do that without radically changing the experience that people have when driving into town.

What we gain from the Specific Plan

The Broadway Specific Plan will provide multiple opportunities to show-case our community. Traffic congestion cannot be fixed by the Broadway Specific Plan alone, but increasing the highway to 6 lanes will help. I also recognize that it hinges on American Canyon being able to work with CalTrans to lower the speed limit. Although paradoxical, I believe that the traffic studies are correct in showing that decreasing the speed limit to 35mph will help the current flow of traffic. However, to be blunt, the current flow of traffic is rarely 35. This is not an American Canyon problem but, as Supervisor Ramos pointed out on Friday, a regional one.

Nevertheless the solution necessarily starts with us. Lowering the speed limit will allow for the community face to be a pleasant one. We will be able to put trees in the median creating a welcoming environment for potential shoppers and travelers. Unifying the character of the new developments along Broadway is equally important. Rather than having multiple developments with myriad designs, bonding the diverse developments with consistent design standards will help to address the lackluster feeling when passing through town.

Finally, providing connectivity to community is – for me – the most important element of the Broadway Specific Plan. With Watson Ranch being built out over the next few years, it will be important to residents on the West Side of Broadway to feel included in the project. By enhancing the walkability between neighboring properties, adjacent properties and the East-West pathways to the Town Center, you will be helping to create a cohesive community.

Our Shared Vision

The goal for the Broadway Specific Plan is to “enhance the Broadway District as a livable, small town, mixed use City center that is vibrant and thriving and alluring as the Face of American Canyon.” I believe that American Canyon is – and should appear as – a jewel of the Napa Valley. I believe in our shared goals of community and know that together we can do great things.

We are an amazing community that embraces those who have come before us and those who will come after us. As long as we continue to grow responsibly, we can achieve our shared vision of strengthening our small town feel (i.e. community) while flexing our economic muscle in an enticing way that will continue to lure individuals to our community. The Chamber’s work to bolster our economic vitality will only be enhanced by making over the “face of American Canyon.” It is imperative that we move forward on multiple fronts.

I urge you to approve the Broadway Specific Plan.

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