EDITOR: We are writing to express our concern over the new proposed parking development on Water Street, and to offer another solution altogether: turn all of Water Street into Petaluma's River Walk.

Petaluma is in a time of transition. With the two new shopping centers in development, our community needs to carefully consider long lasting changes.

One way to combat attrition of downtown activity is to make our town a destination, one with unique attributes and experiences.

Water Street is a hidden gem. With careful planning this area could be Petaluma's version of an Italian Piazza, a Parisian Seine cafe and kiosk destination or the San Antonio River Walk.

We mention these three destinations because they speak to community, history and culture.

We know Petaluma is rich in these areas and believe we should invest in creating a location where we can gather.

Our families and friends desire a welcoming downtown location on our beautiful tidal slough to stroll, have a pre-dinner cocktail, a morning coffee and to connect with each other.

One only needs to see Water Street Bistro's and Dempsey's packed patios to witness our river town's desire to engage with the water and community.

While we understand the merchants' desire for more parking, we know there must be a better location. Our river town has long turned its back to the water, but we now have the opportunity to reverse a portion of our downtown to face the river.

Citizens of Petaluma, if you feel strongly about this issue, please join the conversation at the Pedestrian and Bicycle Advisory Meeting on Wednesday, July 11 at 6 p.m. at City Hall.

Hope to see you there.

KELIN BACKMAN, ELIZABETH HOWLAND AND VANESSA HAUSWALD, Owners of Clementine Eco-Events and Directors of Rivertown Revival.