Plans to spruce up Palo Alto's California Avenue retail shopping district got a boost after the city received a coveted $1.5 million VTA Community Design and Transportation grant.
The grant was awarded at the Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority's board of directors meeting on Dec. 9, according to Jaime Rodriguez, Palo Alto's chief transportation official. The city previously applied for VTA funding in June and was turned down.
The grant will pay the lion's share of the $1.7 million project; the city will add $500,000 in matching funds. Streetscape improvements would include a European-style boulevard with two lanes, a park/plaza at the east end near the Caltrain station, additional landscaping, kiosks, bicycle parking and a 20-seat mini-plaza near Ash Street. The plan would redesign diagonal parking.
Three other improvements would require separate funding: lighting ($500,000), a permeable-paving area for the diagonal parking ($400,000) to reduce runoff and street resurfacing ($500,000), which is already funded and will take place in the next two years, Rodriguez said.
The Planning and Transportation Commission will consider staff recommendations for a negative declaration on an Environmental Impact Report (EIR) in late January.
The public-comment period for the negative declaration is through Jan. 18, 2011. Written comments may be submitted to Clare Campbell, planner at Clare.Campbell@cityofpaloalto.org.
The City Council is scheduled to vote on the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) negative declaration recommendations for the project and vote on the capital improvement budget appropriation on Feb. 7.
Construction could be approved by March 2012 after public hearings and council approval, Rodriguez said.