[caption id="attachment_43381" align="alignright" width="350" caption="Map shows the proposed future traffic circulation around downtown Napa, now seen as a major issue."][/caption]

NAPA – Napa residents have until Friday to send in their comments on the city’s draft Downtown Napa Specific Plan, a comprehensive document that will coordinate development in the area over the course of two decades, including traffic circulation.

The Napa City Council and Planning Commission will hold a joint workshop on Nov. 15 to review the plan. The meeting is open to the public and will be the last opportunity to offer comment on the draft before it moves forward in the process for adoption.

After the meeting, planners will synthesize the input they’ve received from the public, council and commission over the past two months to create a final plan and a draft environmental impact report for public review.

The draft EIR is expected to be released in December, and a final vote to approve the plan is expected in the spring of 2012, said Julianne Ward, long-range planner for the City of Napa.

When approved, the Downtown Specific Plan will guide development in the downtown area over the next 20 years, applying the concepts from the City of Napa General Plan.

First approved in 1998, the general plan outlines goals for city-wide development through 2020.

A 15-member Downtown Steering Committee composed of residents, property and business owners from the area, has held regular public meetings since June 2009 to help develop the draft plan. The committee has worked with city planners and the city’s hired consultant, Berkeley-based MIG Inc., to create the document that was first opened to comment in early September.

“We’ve had quite a number of people showing up to the steering committee meetings,” Ms. Ward said. “Across the board, most of the comments we’ve gotten have been about the traffic circulation. That’s one issue that people tend to have strong opinions about.”

The plan involves eight chapters, examining different aspects of long-term development downtown. In addition to traffic circulation and parking, other issues are the overall vision, land use and zoning, design guidelines and utilities.

Implementation of the plan will occur in two phases, each expected to last ten years. Phase One is itself divided into two areas—preliminary actions and secondary actions.

Preliminary actions will take place within the first three years, including the possibility of new development fees and zoning that will lay the groundwork for other parts of the plan. Planners will also consider how to approach the preservation of a large number of historic buildings in the area.

The first 10 years will involve significant work on streets and utilities. First, Second and portions of Third and Fourth streets will be converted to two-way streets from Main Street to Jefferson Street, a “first priority for circulation improvements,” according to plan documents. Other improvements include paving, striping, landscaping, signage and traffic signal work.

Streetscapes are also set to receive work, as well as an upgrading of aging utilities and possible improvements to parks in the area. Partial funding has been identified for possible new parking structures in this phase as well, in the CineDome Focus Area and Oxbow area.

The first phase is expected to cost $28.8 million, paid through sources including existing developer impact fees, utility fees, a possible downtown area sales tax or property tax and possible state and federal transportation grants.

Phase two is expected to cost $9.4 million, bringing the total cost of the plan to $38.2 million. That phase involves several public space upgrades, including a conversion of Coombs Street Plaza to “a slow-traffic, shared, one-way street northbound or when the Town Center is redeveloped, to a two-way street, to help restore the grid.”

Those who wish to provide comment on the plan can contact Julianne Ward either through email, jward@cityofnapa.org, or by sending a letter to the City of Napa, 1600 First St., Napa 94559.