Photo By: Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Cars and cyclists mix at the busy entrance to Foothill Crossing Shopping Center on Homestead Road. A stoplight is scheduled for installation at the intersection.
The Los Altos City Council last week unanimously approved an additional $535,328 for upcoming construction along Homestead Road.
Citing the need to improve safety for residents walking and cycling in the area, the council approved the additional funds to extend a 10-foot-wide asphalt pathway from Fallen Leaf Lane to Stevens Creek as part of the Homestead Road Safety Improvement project.
According to a city staff report, the project originally called for the pathway to extend from El Sereno Avenue, near the Foothill Crossing Shopping Center, to Fallen Leaf Lane only. The additional funds will enable the construction of two median islands and an in-pavement lighted crosswalk near the intersection of Fallen Leaf Lane and Homestead Road, among other elements.
The city will use vehicle registration fees, traffic impact fees and $177,100 redirected from the Fremont Avenue Traffic Calming project to fund the additional work. More than $1 million of the project is already paid for through Highway Safety Improvement Program and Proposition 1B funds.
Prior to casting her vote, Councilwoman Megan Satterlee said the project, which also calls for the installation of a traffic signal at Homestead Road and the Foothill Crossing Shopping Center entrance, is sorely needed in the area.
“South Los Altos sometimes feels they don’t get the dollars spent on beautification that other parts of town like San Antonio (Road) and downtown might be getting,” she said. “So I am perfectly happy to spend the money there. I think it’s going to make a big difference in this area.”
The council’s vote came after Los Altos Public Works Director Jim Gustafson outlined the additional safety options for the project, noting that the funds would partially cover a funding gap. Gustafson’s report to the council stated that the lowest contractor base bid came in $300,000 above the city’s estimate for the project, expected to begin in May and take seven months to complete.
Councilwoman Jeannie Bruins noted that the project should at minimum include connecting the pathway, the medians and the lighted crosswalk to provide enhanced safety measures for pedestrians and cyclists – including many students – who travel the route daily.
Echoing those sentiments, Satterlee said she supported redirecting money from the Fremont Avenue Traffic Calming project – which in part calls for the installation of roundabouts – to help fund added safety elements such as the pathway connection.
“That’s a critical link,” she said. “I think that, especially given where we are on the Fremont project, I have no concern at all about redirecting those funds to this project.”