Goleta is hoping that a handful of newly completed Public Works projects will make pedestrian movement safer in its Old Town neighborhood.
The upgrades include the High-Intensity Activated Crosswalk signal across Hollister Avenue next to the Goleta Valley Community Center, signal improvements at Hollister and Orange avenues, and a path-lighting project along the side of the community center.
At a community center event Thursday celebrating the projects’ completion, the city also launched an Old Town public-parking program with Community West Bank.
“Old Town’s the heart of Goleta,” said Mayor Pro-Tem Tony Vallejo. “We need to make sure we make it welcome to everybody, and we need to make sure we support merchants so that they can continue to provide great services, great food and everything else in Old Town.”
The path-lighting project grew out of safety concerns with children walking through the narrow corridor from Hollister Avenue to the Boys & Girls Club at the back of the community center.
The project involved installing a new sidewalk and drainage swale along the path as well as the removal of old fencing.
“This walkway’s going to be a big improvement so (children are) safe getting to the Boys & Girls Club back there,” Vallejo said.
The High-Intensity Activated Crosswalk signal, or HAWK signal, is pedestrian activated and replaced flashing beacons on Hollister with new signs, signals and repainted road striping.
The set-up has lights over the lanes which remain dark unless someone pushes the button to cross the street. Once activated, the lights will flash yellow, then flash red and then turn a solid red.
Cars must come to a full stop just as they would at any other red light, and proceed only when it’s safe, said sheriff’s Sgt. Greg Sorenson.
Orange Avenue, near Fairview Avenue, now features pedestrian-activated “Rectangular Rapid Flashing Beacons” along with new road stripping, signage and sidewalk improvements.
The solar-powered beacons work like the traditional flashing yellow lights, except they have a strobe effect similar to emergency vehicles.
The Old Town stretch of Hollister Avenue is an especially busy one, with some 26,000 cars passing through each day, said Goleta Public Works Director Rosemarie Gaglione.
By 2030, she said, that corridor could see about 30,000 cars a day.
Old Town’s popularity and the lack of parking lots in the area also put a crunch on parking.
To help alleviate that, the city partnered with Community West Bank, which has a branch and parking lot at 5827 Hollister Ave., to provide 18 spots for visitors to Old Town businesses during daylight hours.
“This is kind of a pilot program to see the kind of usage that we’re going to get,” said Jaime Valdez, the city’s economic development coordinator. “We look forward to doing more of these types of leases with other property owners in the area.”
In January, the city will begin its “Complete Streets Corridor Plan” for the redesign and reconstruction of Hollister Avenue between Fairview Avenue and Highway 217.
The plan will examine possibilities for bicycle paths, pedestrian crossings, the number of vehicle lanes on the road and other transportation infrastructure and streetscape elements, said city community relations manager Valerie Kushnerov.
— Noozhawk staff writer Sam Goldman can be reached at email@example.com. Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.