12122017Tue
Last updateTue, 12 Dec 2017 10am

News

Covington bike/pedestrian project slows traffic, mail deliveries

LACI
Megan V. Winslow / Los Altos Town Crier
Cyclists, above, make use of the new Covington Road bike lanes Thursday morning. Workers, below, smooth concrete for the lane on July 6. The project along Covington involved replacement of sidewalks, curbs and gutters.

The city of Los Altos met its target date for completing the Covington Road bicycle/pedestrian improvement project, wrapping up major construction last week.

“As is the case for most projects, we anticipate there will be some punch-list items which will be taken care of in early August,” said Susanna Chan, the city’s director of public works.

The project, along Covington between Miramonte Avenue and Eastwood Place, involved replacement of sidewalks, curbs and gutters.

New signage and striping and Americans with Disabilities Act-compliant ramps were also part of the $387,462 project, awarded to contractor Wattis Construction Co. of San Jose. The Los Altos City Council approved the contract in April.

The project resulted from a 2010 Blach Neighborhood Traffic Study. It’s meant to increase “mobility and safety” for students traveling to and from Blach Intermediate School, according to a city staff report. Improvements include a sidewalk gap closure on the south side of Covington, bike lanes on both sides of the street and 10-foot-wide lanes.

Work impacted six residences in front of where the construction took place. Although the city sent residents notification letters, the work obstructed regular delivery of mail and, in one case, garbage/recycling totes from being rolled to the curb.

Resident Roger Skinner said the work interrupted his garbage and mail service.

“I had to go to the post office to get the mail,” he said.

“As far as we know, only one resident missed the garbage service one time as a result of the project,” Chan said. “We have not received any other complaints about garbage services. Mail delivery is a little bit more complicated.”

Chan said that in the past, for similar projects, mail carriers would deliver mail on foot if they were unable to access the mailbox from their trucks, or contractors would take the letters and packages from them and drop them in the mailbox.

“It appears that this practice is no longer allowed,” she said. “Mail carriers will not get out of their trucks, and they cannot give the mail to the contractor either. Affected residents have had to go to the post office to pick up their mail during construction.”

After the sidewalk and driveway work was completed two weeks ago, residents began receiving mail again.

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