Tuesday, August 14 , 2018, 9:23 pm | Fair 72º

 
 
 
 

Local News

Santa Barbara City Council Approves Funding for Milpas Street Sidewalk, Lighting Project

Project, with a $1.26 million price tag, is scheduled to start construction in mid-November

The Santa Barbara City Council approved funding for a Milpas Street lighting and sidewalk infill project Tuesday. It includes safety improvements at the Union Pacific Railroad crossing at Milpas Street. Click to view larger
The Santa Barbara City Council approved funding for a Milpas Street lighting and sidewalk infill project Tuesday. It includes safety improvements at the Union Pacific Railroad crossing at Milpas Street. (Brooke Holland / Noozhawk photo)

Sidewalks and street lights along Milpas Street and Calle Puerto Vallarta in Santa Barbara’s East Beach neighborhood could be installed by April of the year.

The Santa Barbara City Council this week voted unanimously to award a $1.26 million contract to Lash Construction to build the sidewalk and access ramps, and install lighting and landscaping along Milpas Street and Calle Puerto Vallarta between Indio Muerto and Cabrillo Boulevard.

The contract with the Santa Barbara-based construction company will also include safety improvements at the Union Pacific Railroad crossing at Milpas Street.

Lash Construction, which submitted the lowest of five bid proposals, expects to start construction in mid-November, city engineer Brian D’Amour said.

He said the project's purpose is to fill missing links of sidewalks and create a safer path of travel and secured routes to nearby schools and surrounding areas. 

During public comment, Ana Rico, an Eastside neighborhood resident and employee of the Coalition for Sustainable Transportation, said she experienced the traffic dangers of walking at night in the area.

“A lot of people play at the Dwight Murphy Park, and when the time changes, it gets dark,” Rico said. “Sidewalks are needed because at night time, they (motorists) don’t see you. Sidewalks with lights — I think it’s the best thing ever.”

D’Amour said about 70 percent of the funding comes from the state's Active Transportation Program Grant, or ATP.

The remaining money is being funded by Measure A reserves, the city's Traffic Signal Maintenance Program funds and Streets Capital Program.

The project will build sidewalks and install lighting along Milpas Street and Calle Puerto Vallarta between Indio Muerto and Cabrillo Boulevard. Click to view larger
The project will build sidewalks and install lighting along Milpas Street and Calle Puerto Vallarta between Indio Muerto and Cabrillo Boulevard.  (Contributed photo)

A large portion of the city costs is the traffic signal work, D’Amour said.

The improvement project was planned to be completely funded by the ATP grant, but city staff encountered unanticipated expenses because of stormwater treatment requirements and the railroad crossing improvements. 

The cost also went up through negotiations with the Tri-County Produce property owner to dedicate property along the Milpas Street frontage to the city, in exchange for the construction modifications to relocate onsite parking displaced by the project — bringing the total project cost to $1.62 million.

Councilman Jason Dominguez applauded city staff for the project and said it helps ensure safe pedestrian travel.

“I think it adds a necessary and significant level of safety improvement to this area with a very high pedestrian, bicycle and vehicular traffic,” Dominguez said. “This is an area where there are lots of near misses and a few accidents.”

The project also implements objectives from Santa Barbara’s adopted Pedestrian Master Plan and Bicycle Master Plan.

Noozhawk staff writer Brooke Holland 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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