Redesigning Main Street in
Willits, CA

With assistance from Fehr & Peers, the City of Willits recently approved the Main Street Corridor Enhancement Plan to promote a more lively, pedestrian-oriented downtown commercial core. The plan identifies improvements for Caltrans’ upcoming relinquishment of Main Street  to the City upon completion of the US-101 Willits Bypass project. Fehr & Peers helped design streetscape improvements to enhancing traffic calming and circulation, pedestrian and bicycle safety, emergency vehicle access, and safe routes to schools.

How will Main Street improve?

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Continuous buffered bike lanes linking downtown, Willits High School, and Baechtel Middle School

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Enhanced crosswalks, bulbouts, and landscaping throughout downtown

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Pedestrian-scaled lighting and street furniture

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Traffic calming to reduce speed

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Wayfinding signage to facilitate parking access

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Iconic gateway treatments including a planned roundabout

Community Visioning Process

In coordination with WRT, GHD, and the Local Government Commission, Fehr & Peers supported a robust community visioning process that included a weeklong charrette and living preview of potential streetscape improvements. The charrette was incredibly well-attended from a broad cross-section of Willits’ 5,000 residents – including community meetings of over 200 attendees, nightly open studios, walking tours, focus groups, and dozens of people dropping in each day. This grassroots approach played a critical role in developing relationships and trust, helping refine design solutions and show progress based on constructive feedback. The living preview built upon community ideas to illustrate how bike lanes, bulbouts, and parklets could reshape downtown. The proposed design resulting from this process achieved broad community support and was unanimously approved by the City Council.