Friday, March 23 , 2018, 1:07 am | Mostly Cloudy 54º


Local News

City of Goleta Plans Massive Sidewalk Transformation in Old Town Neighborhood

City Council wants to make sure sidewalks are installed on at least one side of every street

Every street in the crowded Old Town neighborhood would end up with a sidewalk on at least one side under a $3.8 million project planned by the city of Goleta. Click to view larger
Every street in the crowded Old Town neighborhood would end up with a sidewalk on at least one side under a $3.8 million project planned by the city of Goleta. (Joshua Molina / Noozhawk photo)

The city of Goleta plans to install sidewalks on several streets in Old Town as part of a dramatic transformation of the city’s oldest residential area.

Many of the streets in Old Town, the neighborhoods between Fairview and Kellogg avenues, have no sidewalks, a situation that Goleta officials say poses a safety hazard.

The lack of sidewalks means pedestrians must walk into the roadway to get anywhere because cars are parked on the streets, against bushes and up against front yard properties.

“The goal of the project is a sidewalk on one side of the street everywhere,” said James Winslow, senior project manager, at Tuesday's Goleta City Council meeting, where an update was given on the project. 

Every street will have a sidewalk that is at least five feet wide, Winslow said.

Before development ballooned on the north end of Goleta, Old Town was the original land of Goleta expansion, the first area to replace the many fruit groves that several of the streets, Mandarin, Orange and Pine, are named after.

But it has evolved into the densest area of the city, with multiple families packing mostly single-family homes to share the high cost of housing in the area.

It’s a mild stroke of luck to find a parking space on the street at any point during the day and night, and it’s not uncommon to see children, senior citizens and people in wheelchairs walking in the middle of the road.

Plans also call for rear-in angled parking, where motorists back into the space, the removal of dozens of trees, and drainage improvements.

In areas where property owners have laid bricks, stone slabs or other sidewalk materials, the city will require that those they remove from the encroachments, at the owners' expense.

The city has some $3.8 million set aside for the project.

Old Town Goleta homeowner Claudia Dato said the city should consider financial assistance to the homeowners who must remove the makeshift sidewalks installed in front of their homes.

“A good majority of the residents probably can’t afford to do that,” Dato said, adding that some of the encroachments were added by different homeowners generations ago.

Goleta resident James Kyriaco said he is cautiously optimistic about Goleta’s plan to install more sidewalks in Old Town.

“It is a fundamental thing for a city to have walkability,” Kyriaco said.

He noted that in order to get to Nectarine Park in Old Town, one must traverse into the street. The sidewalks are necessary for the public good, he said.

“We’re losing some threes, but it’s necessary,” Kyriaco said. “We’re losing some encroachments, but it’s necessary.”

Goleta plans to send out letters and walk door-to-door to let residents know about the upcoming changes in 2018, followed by design in 2019 and construction in 2020.

“It’s going to be a great project,” said Goleta Mayor Paula Perotte, but it is going to come with a lot of work.

Noozhawk staff writer Joshua Molina 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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