Aided by a $945,000 Smart Growth grant from SANDAG, the City has turned Maple Street, between Grand Avenue and Valley Parkway, into an interesting, urban pedestrian plaza. The street has been reconstructed as a “festival street”, with a single, one-way lane from south to north with no on-street parking. What makes the festival street different is the absence of curbs defining the traveled way for autos. It is all constructed at one level and, with the use of removable bollards, can be closed to car traffic for special events making the entire block a people place.
Both the travel lane and the pedestrian areas have been resurfaced with decorative paver blocks. The project includes a large Oak tree in the center of the project, in addition to a large interactive water feature and two trellises with art features. Street trees lining the plaza, as well as the large Oak tree, are lit with dramatic, colored LED lighting. Two large gateway structures spanning the drive aisle form bookends to the plaza.
The new plaza connects the Civic Center, Grape Day Park and the Arts Center with our historic downtown and is an ideal venue for many Downtown community events. The Plaza has augmented the City’s renowned Friday Night Cruzin Grand events as well as other evening and weekend events many of which also feature live music all drawing large crowds to the downtown area. The plaza also provides a great daytime gathering place for nearby university students for before and after class activities. Construction of the project was completed in December 2012. Improvements to the plaza are currently underway to improve accessibility and fountain operations.