Construction crews recently began work on a $284,000 Portola Avenue project to construct a new pathway.
According to Los Altos Assistant Civil Engineer Kathy Small, the project calls for construction of a new 5-foot-wide sidewalk, plus curbs and gutters, on the southern side of Portola Avenue, between Egan Junior High School and Westminster Lane. Small called the new sidewalk the “missing link” that connects existing sidewalks along the street. The city is also installing a new crosswalk as part of the project at the shared intersection with Carmel Avenue.
The construction area in question did not have a sidewalk, which created potential safety concerns for students walking to school who would venture onto the street shoulder in their attempts to avoid motorists. The street is typically known as a heavy-traffic area during the school year. According to GreenTown Los Altos, a September 2013 survey revealed that more than 200 students biked to school – with another 41 walking along that route. Those numbers combined represent nearly half of all students surveyed by the group.
Small said the new sidewalk would make the area safer for pedestrians, cyclists and motorists alike. Students at nearby Santa Rita School should also benefit from the added sidewalk.
“That’s a big part of it – for the kids to have that access,” she said.
Small expects the vast majority of the work to be completed in August, just ahead of the opening of the 2014-2015 school year for Egan and Bullis Charter School.
Two-way traffic flow will remain open during construction. Motorists, however, can expect some delays during regular weekday work hours between 7 a.m. and 5:30 p.m. On-street parking will be restricted in the immediate construction area for the duration of the project, Small added.
– Diego Abeloos