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East Campbell Avenue Portal Project Offers Dramatic Effect, Safer Passage

The Campbell City Council saw four separate concept designs for the project that will allow better pedestrian access from downtown to The Pruneyard.

Walking or riding a bicycle from downtown Campbell to  will become a little safer, and more scenic if the city of Campbell is able to obtain funding.

"Our long term goal has been to work with Caltrans to make it extremely pedestrian and bike friendly," Campbell Senior Civil Engineer Lisa Petersen said. "It's always been our goal, it's just been a matter of trying to get to it."

A study session on Aug. 7 discussed the current status of the E Campbell Avenue Portal Project, which will open up the sides of the Highway 17 overpass bridge to offer a safer and more pleasing walk or bike ride to residents and visitors. The meeting also offered four different facade concept designs and the pros/cons associated with each.

Each facade concept will cost about the same to construct, with the first concept—a simpler—design possibly costing slightly less than the three others, Petersen.

"I think what its going to do, if we’re able to make this project come to fruition, is take a bottleneck area, open it up and make it much easier to walk and bike between major shopping centers, downtown and the Pruneyard," Campbell Chamber of Commerce CEO Neil Collins said. "It will make it much easier for whole families to walk or ride their bike as opposed to getting in the car and taking up a parking spot.

"It is also a nice opportunity for a gateway-type project into the downtown for that critical piece between downtown and Pruneyard, which doesn’t have an identity yet," he said.

Originally part of the E. Campbell Avenue Master Plan and the , work on the portals had not been started because of lack of funds.

"It was originally included in E. Campbell Ave. Master Plan and the reason it was included was because it is very uncomfortable to walk under Hwy. 17,"Petersen said. "Traffic is close to the pedestrian and sidewalk is very narrow. That is a major East-West corridor through Campbell."

The city was able to attain $530,000 toward the design element of the project through a VTA Bicycle Expenditure Program grant. As part of this grant, the VTA awarded the city $424,000 and the city matched $106,000.

The city submitted another grant application to the Bicycle Transportation Account in the amount of $756,000, of which it will be responsible for $84,000. Petersen said a response on whether the funds will be awarded is anticipated this fall.

In all, the estimated total cost for the project is $4.2 million, including the construction and design cost, Petersen said.

"The bulk of the money is going to actual building of the tunnels," she said. "It's a huge undertaking. We're taking out the wing-walls on the sides, having to drill through that area, construct new tie back walls and we’re going to be touching a Caltrans structure." 

Tentative schedule dependent on funding:

  • Sept. 18—Campbell City Council Considers Approval of Preliminary Design
  • October 2013—Campbell City Council Approval of final plans
  • Fall 2013/Winter 2014—Construction begins
  • Winter 2015—Construct completed
Patty August 14, 2012 at 11:19 PM
Number 3 is a nod to the past and I like the look and feel of brick along with the art deco relief patterns. This aligns nicely with the Water Tower Plaza building, also that very nice small brick building at the corner of Campbell Ave. and Central, and the new cross walks installed at Winchester and Campbell. (Wish they would do these throughout the downtown corridor!)
Mayra Flores de Marcotte August 14, 2012 at 11:21 PM
Because he was unable to submit his vote, I am copy and pasting his comments via Twitter here: PittaMan: @CampbllPatch Won't let me vote :-( 1st = hospital 2nd = retirement home 3rd = modern castle 4th = clean but kinda boring I vote 3rd!
Kim Carney August 15, 2012 at 12:01 AM
I like 4 because it adds four trees. What about the other side coming out of Campbell?
Terry Anderson August 15, 2012 at 06:08 PM
I like three because of the brick and the nod to the past...not thrilled with the "wagon wheel" relief. What is that suppose to represent?
Milton Dorkenhoff August 15, 2012 at 08:54 PM
I can't believe we're wasting money on this. The city is desperate for money, and yet somehow came up with $106K for the design portion of this project? How many salaries would that $106K have paid? I would also have to ask how much money was spent on the current underpass improvements (paint, new rails, disco lighting, etc). That will have been money thrown away if these new changes are made. With respect to the pictures - why would it say "City of Campbell" at the underpass? It makes it appear that driving through the underpass gets one into Campbell

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