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Wednesday, January 23 , 2019, 2:20 am | Fair 40º


Goleta Officials OK New, More Visible HAWK Pedestrian Crossings in Old Town

Hollister Avenue crosswalk projects aimed at improving safety in front of Goleta Valley Community Center, at Orange Avenue intersection

A new crosswalk going into Old Town Goleta near the Goleta Valley Community Center is supposed to give peace of mind to pedestrians and drivers on the always-busy Hollister Avenue.

The pedestrian-activated flashing beacons and reflective paint will soon be replaced by a High Intensity Activated Crosswalk, or HAWK system, the main difference being that signs and red lights will hang over the street instead of closer to the sidewalk.

City officials will also be moving the crosswalk about 100 feet to the east, closer to the Hollister Avenue eastbound bus stop in front of the community center.

Officials hope the relocation will reduce or eliminate the way buses obstruct views for pedestrians and cars.

The City Council voted unanimously Tuesday to direct staff to begin collecting bids for the project.

“I’m excited to see this finally happening,” Councilwoman Paula Perotte said. “We’ve been talking about this for quite a while.”

Nearly 24,000 vehicles travel on the five-lane street each day — there's a turn lane in the middle — sometimes unable to see the flashing lights or other times just not stopping.

Just one speaker showed up to the public hearing. That resident shared his support for the project as someone who bikes and drives down Hollister Avenue often.

Construction could start as soon as May, with expected completion in June, said James Winslow, the city’s senior project manager.

The project has a $193,119 budget and is funded mostly by a $179,900 Federal Highway Safety Improvement Program grant. Goleta had to match $20,000.

Staff submitted a request to Caltrans last month to initiate the construction phase of the project.

Winslow said the reconfiguration would also improve visibility for those entering the community center’s parking lot, including the students participating in programs at the United Boys & Girls Club of Santa Barbara County.

He said the city was working to repair much of the cracked sidewalk near the project.

“The faster we can do this, the better,” Mayor Pro Tem Tony Vallejo said, noting attendance at the Boys & Girls Club has tripled.

The Hollister crosswalk project will be coordinated with a similar effort to install a HAWK system on Hollister at Orange Avenue, farther to the west.

City staff is working on right-of-way and final design for the Hollister and Orange project, and anticipates opening the bidding for that project in March or April.

Noozhawk staff writer Gina Potthoff can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

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