Potholes, cracks, uneven surfaces are all enough to irritate the calmest of drivers.
In Campbell, this is the description of Hacienda Avenue. The Campbell City Council and city’s civil engineers don't deny this. But things are about to change for this tired stretch of road.
At the council meeting on Sept. 6, Vice Mayor Mike Kotowski removed an item regarding Hacienda Avenue from the consent calendar, because he wanted to add a few comments.
"One of the reasons I did this, while all the mad things that are happening—parking, traffic, alcohol policies, cities making mistakes—there's something very good to report," he said. "For those of you who are watching in San Tomas, asking when Hacienda is going to be revitalized, we’ve got a big surprise."
After years of putting the $4.6 million project on hold because of financial constraints, the council received funding that will make this project a reality in the near future.
How They Are Making it Happen
On Aug. 18, the City Council learned that it was being awarded a $2 million grant from Proposition 84 Urban Greening Projects to go toward the Hacienda Avenue "Green Street" Improvement Project.
The city also has an additional $1.6 million in its Capital Improvement Program reserves set aside for this project and on Sept. 6 approved the submitting of a grant application for a $500,000 Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority Community Design and Transportation grant.
If awarded, the city will have to match up to 20 percent of the total dollar amount, roughly $136,000. The city will know if it will receive the VTA grant tentatively in December.
"Like squirrels, we have been putting aside for this project," Kotowski said. "It's something that has been worked on for several years.”
Why Revitalizing Hacienda Has Taken So Long
During the 2007-08 fiscal year, the council approached its public works department to take a look at the major artery and see what could fiscally be done.
The issue with this particular street is the amount of concrete necessary to do a "traditional" revitalization—a complete tear out and replacement. At its widest points, between Peggy Avenue and the Percolation Ponds at Winchester, Hacienda is 66 feet wide.
“Because a portion of this is very wide, to replace the entire amount would be cost prohibitive,” says Fred Ho, senior civil engineer and project manager.
The council approved $120,000 back in the 2007-08 fiscal year for the department to study ways in which it could lower the cost of revitalizing the street and seek out financial assistance through grants.
The types of grants available mostly revolve around green roads, so the department had to think outside the box when searching for a grant they could qualify for.
"We can narrow down pavement width and lower the cost of fixing and maintaining it," Ho said. "The grant will allow us to modify the curbs, narrow down the pavement width, put in bike lanes and other green street infrastructure, like different types of plants out there."
Why This Work Matters
The tentative plans ask for the narrowing of Hacienda at its widest point down to about 50 feet, almost a third of the street.
“The benefit of this work, other than for those who live there, is that Hacienda is a connector street that connects the San Tomas neighborhood with the Winchester neighborhood,” Ho says. “It’s a major corridor and a lot of people will benefit.”
Beyond simply getting rid of the potholes, cracks and uneven spots, the work will also encompass many environmentally friendly improvements.
“With less pavement, it’s going to help lessen the heat island, because there’s less hot-scape to absorb and keep the heat during summer time,” Ho says. “We are also planning on retreading those areas into porous areas so that when it rains, instead of just having the water go straight into the bay the surface gives the water a chance to filtrate into the ground, which is good for our groundwater.”
The only other street improvement project similar in scope in recent years was the Westmont Avenue Improvement Project, back in 2004, Ho says.
“We reconstructed the roadway, put in sidewalk where there wasn’t any sidewalk, narrowed portions between the two Harriet avenues by putting in median islands,” he says. “In scope, this is similar, but Hacienda is a little bigger. I think this is the biggest project as far as size and scope thus far.”
Vice Mayor Kotowski beamed from his seat on the council at the Sept. 6 meeting as he spoke about the long-anticipated project.
"What that means is Hacienda, from Winchester to San Tomas, will become a beautiful corridor, which it's not right now," Kotowski said.
The project will take a minimum of a year to design and then go out to bid within 18 months, said Michelle Quinny, public works engineer.
"Another nice addition and another great thing happening in Campbell," Kotowski says.
Campbell Mayor Jason Baker agreed.
"It’s been a long time coming."