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