Wed08202014

News

New concept for downtown plaza in the works


Photo By: Courtesy of City of Los Altos
Photo Courtesy Of City Of Los Altos

A new concept for Community Plaza calls for its reconstruction in front of Wells Fargo Bank, creating a new intersection that includes a right turn from Main Street onto State.

Downtown Los Altos’ Community Plaza may be in line for a face-lift in the future.

According to Los Altos Assistant City Manager James Walgren, city staffers presented a conceptual redesign of the plaza – located at the corner of Main and State streets – last week at a Parks and Recreation Commission (PARC) meeting.

The proposal calls for the plaza to be reconfigured by extending over existing roadway on State Street to the front of Wells Fargo Bank. A new intersection would then be constructed, with State Street realigned as a right turn off Main Street at Citibank.

Walgren cautioned that the concept is preliminary in nature and called the idea “a rough concept to this point just to get the conversation going.”

“The Community Plaza right now is underutilized,” Walgren continued, adding that iterations of the redesign were initially developed by city staff a couple of years ago. “If we’re going to have a community plaza, we want one that is successful.”

The current design – intended to replace the one one created 20 years ago – includes a water feature, seating areas and clusters of tree-lined areas. He added that the design is hardly set in stone, noting that several additions – or subtractions – could take place over time. For example, Walgren said, the redesign could include a food kiosk or a play area for children instead.

He added that other features, such as removable bollards, could also be included, which would allow the city to block off a section of State Street for events like the weekly Farmers’ Market.

Walgren added that while he hasn’t received any specific estimates from engineers, the project would likely cost $3 million to $5 million and may be funded through existing or future parking in-lieu fees collected by the city.

“It’s money that can be reinvested in this plaza,” he noted.

Walgren conceded that the concept still has several hurdles to clear and could be a long way from becoming reality. He noted that the city has yet to engage in discussions with local bank representatives about the idea. He added that PARC is expected to make a recommendation on the project – as well as other park projects – in April.

If recommended by PARC, the concept would move on for consideration by the city council as part of its annual Capital Improvement Program review in May.

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