Drivers, bikers and walkers invited to re-envision the Highway 273 corridor

The 16 miles of Highway 273 that stretch between Redding and Anderson offer up a variety of looks. There’s the faded glory of Miracle Mile to the north; the quickly changing Redding downtown anchored by Market Street; and the mix of industrial, retail and commercial that leads to a casino, the Shasta District Fair grounds and a pair of large shopping centers in Anderson.

A well-shaded Market Street between Shasta Street and Eureka Way in the 1930s (now home to Taco Bell and the Americana Modern Hotel). (Photo courtesy Michael Kuker)

The first steps in changing up those looks—and enhancing safety, connectivity and mobility for all users—begins with open-house sessions Wednesday and Thursday in Redding and Anderson.

“We’re at the step where we want to hear from the public, what’s working (on the Highway 273 corridor) and what’s not,” said Michael Kuker, one of two project leaders for the Envision 273 Comprehensive Multimodal Corridor Plan. “I’m really interested in what people have to say.”

Kuker is with the Shasta Regional Transportation Agency (SRTA) and is co-directing the project with Natalie Kinney, a transportation planner with Caltrans District 2. Each agency was awarded $500,000 in state funding to complete the multi-year planning effort. GHD, a global engineering and architectural consulting firm, has been contracted as well.

South Market Street approaching Cypress Avenue in 1959 (Cypress was Highway 44 at that time). (Photo courtesy Michael Kuker)

This week’s workshops are intended to give Highway 273 travelers and residents a chance to speak up, Kinney said. “It’s really important to hear what the public thinks. Do they use it for walking? Driving? Do they live near it? What would they like to see? How often do they use it? These are all important as the project moves along,” Kinney said.

“There are so many different aspects of 273 from Anderson to Redding,” Kinney said, adding that “we want to look at all modes of travel, not just vehicles, but walking and biking and ADA compliance. We want to look at frontage roads and side streets and how they connect with 273 as well. This is for us to look at the whole corridor and really dissect the needs and the priorities.”

North Market Street looking south. (photo by Jon Lewis)

Envision 273 started in February and should be complete by February 2025, Kuker said. After collecting input at the workshops, Kuker, Kinney and GHD consultant Todd Tregenza will get busy analyzing the input while incorporating the results from three or four feasibility studies.

Kuker said a couple of ideas already circulating include reverting all of downtown Redding’s one-way streets back to two-way streets and installing a roundabout at the intersection of Cypress Avenue and Market Street.

“We’ll come up with a couple of proposed scenarios and take it back to the public and say ‘this is what you said, this is what we’re proposing and what do you think?’ We’ll have another outreach event in the summer of 2024, then we’ll do a draft report, take more comments, and then make a final report to guide development of the corridor” for the next 50 or 60 years, Kuker said.

“That’s the thing about planning: you only get one chance to do it right in your lifetime,” Kuker said, adding that much of the 273 corridor is unchanged since it was the old Highway 99 in the ’60s.

North Market Street, the fabled “Miracle Mile,” looking north. (photo by Jon Lewis)

Get involved:

The Redding open house sessions will be from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Wednesday at the corner of Tehama and Market streets and from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Wednesday in rooms 8281, 8220 and 8222 of the Shasta College Health Sciences Center, 1400 Market St.

The Anderson open house sessions will be held from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Thursday at the City Hall Community Center, 1887 Howard St. and again from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Thursday at the community center.

For more information, visit www.envision273.org


Jon Lewis

Jon Lewis is a freelance writer living in Redding. He has more than 30 years experience writing for newspapers and magazines. Contact him at jonpaullewis@gmail.com.

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