By: City Manager, Rachelle Rickard
Atascadero’s El Camino Real corridor, approximately seven miles long and formerly the location of Highway 101 through the middle of town, is the primary access to all of our community’s local shopping, services, the downtown area and the surrounding neighborhoods. The City is currently in the process of conducting an “El Camino Real Corridor Study”, which will serve as a guideline for the route’s commercial opportunities and transportation connections through town. The goal is to provide a blueprint that could transform El Camino Real into a more effective, well-functioning, economic hub. This study is being funded by a grant received from Caltrans last year.
Although there have been previous academic and preliminary vacancy studies of this stretch of El Camino Real, this is the first time since the City’s incorporation back in 1979 that there’s been a fully comprehensive study. This study will help to bring earlier efforts and more recent investments together. “PlaceWorks”, the firm selected by the City earlier this year to complete the project, has been gathering traffic data, analyzing land uses, and looking at numerous options to improve El Camino Real and the businesses all along the way. Existing zoning, together with transportation and land uses for our commercial locations and their neighboring, complimentary uses are all being thoroughly analyzed.
Our goal is to be able to grow Atascadero’s employment and economy, achieve an improved jobs-to-housing balance and reduce the need for residents to travel out of town. A Market Assessment, which is being included with the study, will look at how El Camino Real currently performs on an economic level and will help to identify our potential. By better understanding what the local economy can support, the City can focus on attracting the types of businesses that are needed and desired in the community.
The El Camino Real Corridor Plan is a collaborative effort which will incorporate feedback from residents, business owners, City staff, and the City Council. Public input will be considered to help develop a plan that incorporates the vision of the community. Residents are encouraged to participate by taking the survey at https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/elcaminoplan. Community members can also learn more about the El Camino Corridor Plan during Colony Days, on October 6th, from 11:00 a.m. until 2:00 p.m. at Historic City Hall. Please plan to visit City Hall during the event, not only to celebrate Colony Days and Atascadero’s history, but also to learn more about the potential future of El Camino Real.
As always, please feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org with questions about this or any other topic related to the City.