Street Project Transforms Downtown

Posted on September 24, 2011 by  
Filed under Blog · Tagged: , , ,

I always find it interesting to read stories of Los Altos reported in local papers.  Specifically, how is the essence of the community captured within the story.  Just yesterday, on the front page of the Daily News, Kristen Marschall wrote about the changes happening in Downtown.

I think she did a good job capturing the anticipation of the current effort. Below, is an slightly edited version.  Enjoy …

The fresh asphalt had just finished drying on First and Main streets, and Beverly Tucker was clearly relieved.

Los Altos residents will share that relief on Monday when the intersection reopens, allowing them to come and go from Foothill Expressway to the downtown hub without driving around blocked-off streets.

“We are really pushing to get this done on time,” said Tucker, project information manager, on Thursday. “We want it done before the holiday shopping season.”

The First Street Infrastructure and Streetscape Project — one of many construction sites in downtown Los Altos and the first stage of significant roadwork — was designed to accomplish several street upgrades.

First, it intends to improve the appearance of downtown streets by removing utility poles and the trees deformed by them, and to widen the sidewalk to comply with disability standards.

“You could barely get a shopping cart through, let alone a wheelchair or a stroller,” Tucker said about the west side of First Street.

Power and phone lines were placed underground, and out-of-date storm drains and sewer systems were updated. With the streets slightly higher on one side than the other, Tucker said rainwater runoff will flow to a catchment area, which will direct it to the street’s planters and trees, then to the storm drain and the Bay.

“The impetus wasn’t cosmetic, but the end result is cosmetic,” Tucker said. “It’s one of the first big infrastructure projects the city’s done in a long time.”

Tucker, also the city’s recreation director, designed the website, which hosts weekly updates on the project for residents and business owners. She said the site gets a couple hundred visits a week.

Just south of First Street on Main Street, some businesses are more visible than before. Le Boulanger, for example, has introduced three times as many tables and chairs on the expanded sidewalk and caters to a larger lunchtime crowd, Tucker said.

First Street from Main Street to State Street will be closed until Oct. 31, at which point one-way traffic will be allowed. But the street promises to remain busy as Safeway undergoes a remodel and a developer finalizes plans for 400 Main St.



Leave a Reply