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Granite monuments will mark downtown entrances in First Street revamp

Photo Courtesy Of City Of Los Altos Construction crews are scheduled to install monoliths like these in key downtown intersections.

Although downtown visitors won’t see them for several weeks, the Los Altos First Street streetscape project will feature several eye-catching elements, including a rock fountain and large granite monuments marking downtown entrances.

Two monuments planned for the intersection of Main and First streets stand 9 feet high and 3 feet wide. The monuments, or monoliths, as some detractors call them, will sport the names of the streets, steps, landscaping and gas-powered lanterns near the top. One monument, planned for the next phase of the plan near the intersection of First and West Edith Avenue, is 6 feet high, 3 feet wide and inscribed “Los Altos.” It does not feature a lantern.

Beverly Tucker, communications liaison during downtown construction, said the city “went through a long process (for the current streetscape plans) with over 10 public meetings – most in council meetings but some scheduled specifically for merchants, LAVA (Los Altos Village Association) and the Chamber (of Commerce).”

The Los Altos City Council approved the project design by landscape architect David Gates of Gates & Associates of San Ramon in January 2010.

The full First Street plan, available at www.firststreetlosaltos.org, includes numerous upgrades along First, including new trees, a rock fountain on the Plaza Central side near the Main Street intersection, trellises at the intersections, stringed lights across First, wooden and granite seat-wall benches, hanging flower baskets, streetlight banners, new trash and recycling receptacles, and bike racks.

Tucker said construction crews, under contractor Robert A. Bothman Inc. of San Jose, are now working Saturdays to make up for delays due to unforeseen problems that arose during the work. The planned Sept. 15 opening of the First and Main intersection to auto traffic has now been postponed at least a week.

The city will make sure there is no disruption for the Sept. 24 Kiwanis Pet Parade, Tucker said.

Crews have removed the old pavement and concrete, installed new utility lines and storm drains and prepared the subbase concrete layer that holds the asphalt. Two manholes on First, which caused some delays, have been replaced.

Completion of the current $1.4 million streetscape project, along First from State to Main , is scheduled for the end of October.

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