On Sunday, M and I went for one of our regular walks around town. Lately, I've been tempted to call our walks "suburban hikes". Then I remember I'm not trying to sound like a complete volcanus1.
The routes we take vary. Some days, we stay within the limits of our neighborhood, squeezing out a couple miles of walking, passing familiar houses and familiar parks. Other days, we venture beyond the neighborhood's invisible walls, wandering north towards Walmart and Peet's, east towards the freeway, or west towards downtown and the library. On those days, we log roughly three miles (according to M's pedometer).
Sunday's stroll was a westerly one. On a whim, I suggested we visit the recently opened Third Street Promenade, a streetscape project intended to beautify a key corridor in Morgan Hill's downtown area. The city spent $1.7 million in grant money for wider sidewalks, decorative pavement, streetlights, bollards, benches, and landscaping.
The improvements also include a new three-cent fountain2.
While these features are quite nice, my favorite part of the promenade is the new 340-foot3 mural lining the empty lot on the southwest corner of Depot and Third Streets. The piece is called "Meet Me Downtown!" and was painted by Morgan Bricca, a Los Altos artist.
The mural shows scenes from Third Street's past and future. My favorite scenes share the city's vision for the promenade.
If the artist's renderings are to be believed, Third Street will be the future home of the city's farmers' market and summer music series. I'm guessing it will also play a major part in the various annual celebrations: Mushroom Mardi Gras, Fourth of July, and Christmas.
M and I will have to make a point of wandering downtown more often to see if the vision and reality align.
My only quibble with the promenade is that it's still open to vehicular traffic. If it were up to me, I would restrict street use to pedestrians and cyclists all day, every day, not just during special events. Then again, if it were up to me, I would designate the entire downtown area a car-free zone.
You can see a few more mural photos on Flickr.
1 I don't normally allow swear words on this journal, but I made an exception here under the condition the offending word would be disguised. Hence, the inappropriate use of Latin.
2 I have recently adopted a fountain-rating system based on the amount of money I would be willing to toss into a fountain if I were someone who made wishes and didn't believe it would be coin cruelty to throw one into a pool of lukewarm water without a flotation device.
3 I would claim I reached this figure by counting the number of steps I took and multiplying by the length of my stride, which I know by heart, but that would be, in some people's views, "lying". In the name of truth, here is a link to the article I used as reference.