Main Street Improvement Project
In an effort to revitalize our Downtown, you will soon see trial modifications to a section of Main Street (between Beach Street and Riverside Drive) as the lanes are reduced from four lanes to two lanes with center turn lanes, addition of bicycle lanes, center medians with plantings, and corner treatments for pedestrian safety. This project is intended to create a more welcoming environment for people to stop, shop, eat, and socialize in our community. To achieve this, we will implement measures to slow traffic , improve pedestrian safety, and add some beautification features to our downtown . The purpose of this three- to six-month trial is to obtain input from our residents on this project. Please call 768-3073 or 768-3113 to express your opinions over the proposed changes for downtown Main Street.
Below are links to some helpful videos/articles that help explain the “road diet” studies that support the Downtown Improvement Project:
- Moving Beyond the Automobile (video)
- The Federal Highway Administration on “Road Diets”
- National Association of City Transportation Officials
- Urban Land Institute
If you would like to see the original proposed project information, you can do so by clicking on the links provided below:
- You can view the Staff Report, Main Street Improvement Drawings, & Construction Estimates here
- You can view the Staff Report from September 23, 2014 City Council meeting
- You can find the minutes of the July 7th meeting here.
- You can view the video of the July 7th City Council Meeting here.
- You can listen to the audio of the July 7th City Council Meeting here.
A City Council subcommittee has been actively discussing modifications to the downtown to bring new vitality to the area. A Downtown Task Force has been working on the process for the last 24 months. One of the major modifications being discussed is changes to Main Street’s configuration, including the reduction in travel lanes from 4 to 2 with a center turn lane. In March of 2014, the Council hired BFS landscape architects to craft a conceptual plan for the section of Main Street between Riverside Drive and Beach Street to provide a model for the reduced lane configuration for future improvements when Highway 152 is relinquished to the City. BFS was selected because of their past work with the City on the Downtown Master Plan.
In September of 2014, City Council adopted a resolution authorizing the City Manager to enter into a contract with BFS and an engineering firm to complete the construction documents required to move forward with the construction of these improvements. It was determined that coordination between City engineering Staff, for design elements and landscape design details by BFS provided most economical way to move forward with project design. The project design drawings and specifications have been completed and are available to go out to bid.
Concept Plan Summary
The Main Street Construction Plan and Final Concept Plans include a reduction of travel lanes between Riverside Drive and Beach Street from 4 lanes to 2 lanes. There is a transition lane configuration between Riverside Drive and First Street, and between Beach Street and Peck Street. The completed transition of the lane configurations begin with the installation of landscaped street medians and bulb- out cross walks that allows reduced travel distance across Main Street for pedestrians and reduce the time required for pedestrian movements. The reduced lane configuration provides space for three landscaped medians with entry signage, additional parallel parking, and bike lanes. The improvements maintain a majority of the center turn lane. The intersection of Second Street and Main Street has been reconfigured to allow a center turn lane from Maple Street to Main Street to allow the removal of split phase timing of the existing traffic signal, necessary to maintain existing traffic flow on Main Street. The plan also includes new bulb-outs at First Street, the Civic Center, Second Street and Peck Street to allow easier pedestrian crossing of Main Street. The Project is intended as a demonstration project for the remainder of Main Street if Highway 152 is relinquished. Additional Council review will be required for the next steps of the process to consider relinquishment of Highway 152.
These improvements are intended to help slow down cars in the area and provide a safer, more comfortable pedestrian experience. The improvements reflect the experience of many jurisdictions that have improved downtowns’ shopping experiences by reducing street widths and creating destinations that are attractive to residents. During the Task Force process, numerous examples of lane reductions, and streetscape improvements were examined to determine the impact on downtowns including: Santa Cruz, Livermore, Willow Glen, Mountain View, Los Gatos etc. Additionally, the Task Force conducted a field trip to Morgan Hill and Gilroy to see how improvements helped the downtowns. These examples have encouraged the Task Force to identify the significant improvements encouraged by the Downtown Concept Plan prepared by BFS. Since that field trip Morgan Hill has reduced the lanes to one in each direction with a center median and turn lane.
The Sustainable Cities Collective and the Urban Land Use Institute both have studied the economic impacts of improving pedestrian safety and making changes similar to those proposed and note that adjacent business activity increases by 41% on average when projects like this are completed. Additionally, Walk Score has studied property values adjacent to pedestrian improvements and have concluded that a one point increase in Walk Score will result in an average increase of adjacent property values of $1,000. The changes proposed will result in a significant increase in the area’s Walk Score. The City is also considering the creation of an entertainment district to encourage more restaurants and entertainment facilities to help attract more residents to the downtown. These streetscape improvements are intended as a catalyst to make it more attractive for businesses and residents alike.
During the Conceptual Design phase the City Council Adopted a Mitigated Negative Declaration that outlined potential traffic impacts of implementing the project and determined that the addition of the Center turn lane at Main Street and Maple along with the removal of the split phase timing at the intersection would allow similar capacity of this section of Main Street, without significant traffic disruption, but help slow traffic down. This improvement has been integrated into the project design as required by the Mitigated Negative Declaration
BFS has presented the Conceptual Plans twice at the Downtown Task Force and at a community workshop on July 9, 2014. This event was attended by approximately 100 people and the plans and concepts were well received. The final plans were presented to the task force on April 23, 2015 which were also accepted. A final community meeting is scheduled on July 1, 2015 of which the results will be reported at the Council meeting.
The total estimated cost for the project is $460,000 (attachment 2). Funding for this project is from Economic Development funds already set aside in the approved 2015/16 budget. The estimated period for construction of this project is September through December, 2015. Plans and Specifications are on file in the City Clerk’s office.
Implementation of this phase of Main Street modifications is expected not to exceed $520,000. $460,000 is already budgeted from the Economic Development Fund and more may come from CDBG funds as part of a current allocation of the CDBG Action Plan.