City Council approves greatly scaled back 10th Street project

December 28, 2016
Santa Paula News

Just in time for the New Year will be the long-awaited 10th Street, considerably scaled back overtime by funding setbacks after the City Council approved the contract at the December 19 meeting. 

The project was first proposed in late 2011 when the city learned of funding from the state; in May 2012 it was described in a Caltrans press release as a large grant for a transportation enhancement project that would be done in zones. 

Caltrans allocated the city $52,000 from its grant to start the design work for the beautification program.

Initially, the grant was to provide a mural for the Highway 126 underpass for a defined city entryway, ornamental street lighting, landscaping enhancements for the 10th Street facing areas of the Santa Paula Police station, City Hall, and Veterans Park, the latter which would include a bike rack and seating for cyclists. Sidewalk repair, trees, landscaping of museums and other improvements were planned to transform the corridor into a work of art for residents and visitors alike. Decorative pavement was planned for the 10th and Main streets intersection as well as lighting for the historic Moreton Bay Fig — planted July 4, 1879 — at the corner of East Santa Barbara and 10th streets.

The 2012 Caltrans press release noted the project would also include crossing safety improvements and encourage safe pedestrian mobility, “and includes a bicycle path that will, in the future, provide connectivity with a planned 31-mile trail from Ventura to Santa Clarita.” 

When Caltrans reconfigured the grant taking the beauty out of the beautification, the city had short funds to adhere to the original vision.

According to the December 19 staff report presented to the council, the project — still slated for the stretch between the Highway 126 eastbound off ramp and Santa Paula Street — “Was initially contemplated for a complete beautification improvement” that now is confined to a bike trail, pedestrian safety and street improvements.

Now, the $1.3 million project is slated to include new signage and road striping for bikes and pedestrians, ADA approved curb ramps, landscaping, traffic signal changes, concrete repairs, constructing a sidewalk and planting trees.

Vice Mayor Ginger Gherardi asked if “city staff has had any further contact with Caltrans,” about repairing the 10th Street railroad crossing that she noted is sorely in need of upgrading.

Interim Public Works Director-Project Engineer John Ilasin said Caltrans is aware that the crossing “is in bad shape” and has been in communication with the Ventura County Transportation Commission, which is responsible for upgrading other crossings in the city.

“It seem to me if Caltrans is fixing the street,” on both sides and adding improvements Gherardi said one would think they would also fix the railroad crossing using state funds.

Ultimately the council approved Public Works to contract with C.A. Rasmussen for nearly $1.2 million for the project’s construction, Pacific Coast Land Design — which landscaped the bike trail — for design services totaling almost $39,000 and MNS Engineers for construction management. 

The staff report noted that almost $580,000 of the funding comes from a state grant for the work, expected to begin in January.

The original 2012 Santa Paula 10th Street grant was just one from $1.7 billion in funding for transportation projects the state believed would strengthen California’s economy by sustaining and creating jobs and providing congestion relief for motorists statewide. 

“The benefits these projects bring to California are a huge boon to the economy, and the investment in our transportation system will continue to serve motorists for generations to come,” said then-Caltrans Director Malcolm Dougherty in the 2012 press release.

Approximately $872 million of the funding was to be provided by Proposition 1B, a transportation bond approved by voters in 2006. In total and at that time more than $13 billion in Proposition 1B funds had been distributed statewide.

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