The recent controversy over the "BLVD" sign at Boulevard Burgers made me look at some things that had totally not drawn my attention previously. One such was how dark and dull the Boulevard is at night. Except for the Village, some gasoline stations, Safeway and Lucky and a few lighted signs, it is almost like driving into an dimly lit tunnel. Even the Caldecott Tunnel is brighter than our Boulevard
One argument against the "BLVD" sign was that we don't need to look like Las Vegas. Compared to what we have now, maybe we should look at least a little like Las Vegas. Driving down the Boulevard last night I was impressed with how dark and dreary it is, especially west of San Miguel Avenue. Due to the majority of the signs being flat against the buildings and mounted relatively low on the building fronts, even if they are lighted, their visibility is very low both day and night. With the possible exception of "Norman's", "Dino's" and the village sign, it is very difficult locate businesses, even in the daytime, particularly if you are driving.
A good example of an unobtrusive but highly visible sign due to its positioning and lighting is not on the Boulevard but at Al's Food Market on Somerset Avenue. It creates a bright spot at night and the market is easily located. Perhaps we need more of this type of signage on the Boulevard.
The current signs are surely the result of compliance with the 1993 General Plan, a plan that was ostensibly, in part, the result of citizens' input. Maybe it is time to make some changes and brighten up our community and its Boulevard. Maybe more businesses would be attracted to Castro Valley if we were better lit and more vibrant at night. Maybe then we would get the restaurants and pedestrians that were envisioned when we widened the sidewalks as part of the Streetscape.