Main Street in Mammoth is a mess and it always has been.
It borders on OMG and rolls right into a state of serious LOL.
The “highlights” of Mammoth’s signature, 1.5-mile street are four service stations, two liquor stores, a discount mall and a couple of sports shops.
There’s nowhere to walk, even if someone would want to (foolishly) try, and the pavement of the street itself is wide enough to land small aircraft.
Making it even weirder is that the town doesn’t even own the actual street because it is, after all, a state highway—the ugliest, most embarrassing stretch of state highway this side of Fresno.
It does not have to be that way, though, which is why we were stoked to read through all 105 pages of the town’s Main Street Plan, stamped into being by the Mammoth Town Council at its Wednesday night meeting.
We’d pooh-pooh the plan as yet another pitiful pipedream, except the timing seems right these days, and we sense a political will behind it, too.
More than that, the Main Street Plan has funding options to consider if it wants to move, step-by-step, into an eventual marriage between the resort area (Village, ski area) and into a holistic whole.
The plan clearly explains that there are state, federal and other grants available for projects that upgrade alternative transportation modes. Transit stops, bike facilities, parking, multiuse paths and signalized pedestrian controls are examples of facilities that state and federal grants could help fund.
Federal grants that might be applicable include the Surface Transportation Program (STP) and/or Transportation Alternatives Program (TAP).
State grants include the Highway Safety Improvement Program (HSIP), Local Transportation Fund (LTF), and the newly activated Active Transportation Program, which includes programs such as Safe Routes to Schools.
From its own town coffers, the plan asks for a careful look at Measure A (the TOT) funds, along with incoming monies from Measure R (recreation), Measure U (mobility) and Measure T (transit) revenues as they continue to stream into the long-range economy.
Specifically, it asks town leaders for Measure R money to help build public plazas and green spaces, walkways and any improvements of existing recreation-based facility, whatever it might be.
Measure U money could come into play for planning and construction of pedestrian right-of-ways, installation of public art, along with projects for mobility (sidewalks, finally), recreation, arts and culture.
Measure T money could be tapped for improved transit stops and service, according to the approved plan.
This is not an overnight, DIY project. It took years for Mammoth’s Main Street to deteriorate into the dilapidated disorder that it is now. It will take years to pull it into life.
The difference is that before now, no one had the slightest clue as to how to do that.
Alongside that grim assessment, we as a community gave up hope for Main Street long ago.
Now, however, when someone suggests that the main stem through Mammoth is a hopeless joke, we at least can say it does not have to be that way, and there’s a plan.
The challenge is in making it come to life.
For that, we’ll need strong political will from our future leaders, and a strong commitment from the business community.
We wouldn’t exactly put a strong bet on that happening, but at least we now have a standard by which we can hold their feet to the fire.