San Antonio Road frontage along the downtown stretch from First Street to Edith Avenue is a step closer to becoming more visually appealing.
The Los Altos City Council Sept. 22 approved the San Antonio Road Streetscape Design that councilmembers originally reviewed during an April 14 study session.
Residents added their input to the design plan July 16 during a public workshop.
Scheduled in two phases, the project includes Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) accessible and pedestrian-friendly sidewalks and crosswalks along San Antonio Road and an aesthetically appealing screening element along the back of the Parking Plaza 3 buildings.
Phase I – from Edith Ave- nue to the south end of Plaza 3 – will extend along the frontage of Parking Plaza 3 and include decorative crosswalks at Hillview and Hawthorne avenues, Pepper and Cuesta drives and Lyell Street, according to James Walgren, assistant city manager and director of planning, building and engineering.
Although there was agreement that the project would greatly enhance downtown's visual appeal, councilmembers raised other concerns.
"We'll be losing more parking spaces – 13 with this project – in the downtown area," said Councilwoman Val Carpenter, chairwoman of the Downtown Development Committee, which spearheads the revitalization.
Walgren said the plan would completely redesign Parking Plaza 3 along San Antonio Road behind the Main Street retail district. Internal pedestrian crosswalks are included to guide pedestrians safely and conveniently through the plaza. The northern access into the plaza from San Antonio Road will require realignment of the parking spaces, eliminating the 13 spaces, he said.
Other elements include landscaping along Plaza 3's green wall with stormwater runoffs, an expanded tree canopy, traffic-calming measures such as raised crosswalks and beautification at San Antonio Road intersections.
The design coordinates materials and finishes with the work on First Street and the downtown intersections to develop a consistent design theme throughout the area, Walgren said.
Mayor Megan Satterlee said she was concerned about the cost of the project.
Councilmembers and city staff discussed the possibility of the project's price increasing from an initial estimate of $750,000 to nearly $1 million.
Given the city's limited capital budget, plans for Phase II – from the south end of Parking Plaza 3 to First Street – are not under consideration at this time, Walgren said.
Phase I construction, estimated to take three to six months, is scheduled to begin in 2010.