About twenty years ago, Woodland’s downtown Main Street partially received a pedestrian-friendly make-over — a new streetscape with improved, decorative sidewalks and streetlights, tree plantings, and a little later on, benches, bike racks and other improvements — between Elm and Third Streets.

Today, another phase of this pedestrian-use & beautification program is being pursued by means of federal money, with a relatively modest municipal funding match.

The city’s Redevelopment Agency is presently preparing to submit a Community Design Grant application for federal funding through the Sacramento Area Council Of Governments (SACOG), a regional (six county) regulatory / planning authority — for the purpose of continuing this multi-phased project by extending such streetscape improvements from Third Street to East Street.

The grant application is due on September 4, with a prior, informational workshop scheduled for an August 13 meeting of the Historic Woodland Downtown Association “in order to receive community input on the design process.” A preliminary design is being produced by a relevant consultant.

The Woodland City Council adopted a required resolution supporting this grant application on July 21. The City has twice previously received funding from this SACOG administered program ($494,000 for improvements to East Street proximate to the Casa del Sol project in 2004, and $100,000 for the Lemen Street alignment project in 2008).

___  Planning Commission Presentation & Memorandum  ___

In a July 16 Memorandum to the Woodland Planning Commission, Redevelopment Manager, Cynthia Shallit, explains that: “City and Agency staff believe that streetscape improvements along Main Street will promote development that leads to fewer vehicle miles traveled and more walking, biking, and transit use.”

The Main Street Pedestrian and Streetscape Improvement project: “involves installing new [antique] streetlights, bike paths, bus stops, bicycle [racks and bikeway signage], landscaping, [decorative] sidewalks, landscaped medians, bulb outs, a new traffic light, [enhanced] crosswalks, [banner hangers, refuse receptacles] and other improvements designed to support an accessible mixed-use district linked to new infill developments along the Main Street corridor.”

The July 16 Memorandum relates that; “City Staff believe that [this multi-phased project] would be a good candidate [ – ] the City’s most competitive proposal [ – ] for these [federal] funds and promotes the SACOG Blueprint Principles of providing a safe and aesthetically pleasing pedestrian environment while supporting development of the properties bordering this section of Main Street.”

Woodland Senior Planner (within the Redevelopment Agency), Dan Sokolow appeared on behalf of Shallit during the Planning Commission meeting of July 16, presenting relevant material about this grant application and taking questions, as an informational item on the panel’s regular agenda.

___  Current Project Phase Excludes Sections of Main Street  ___

The current project phase excludes new curb, gutter and sidewalk from the north side of Main Street between Third Street and where Fifth Street intersects with Main Street, as well as the south side of Main Street east of Fifth Street.

The northwest corner of Main and Fourth Streets is excluded from that intersection’s bulb outs.

Tree plantings are planned for installation: between Third and Fourth Streets, at the northeast corner of Main and Fourth Streets, at the southwest corner of the intersection of Main and Fifth Streets, and on the north side on Main Street between Freeman Park and Sixth Street.

___  Federal Grant Requires Matching Municipal Funds  ___

The overall cost of this proposed project phase is about $1.1 million.

$150,000 of Redevelopment Agency bond funds — plus about $44,000 from existing Agency budget allocations for streetscape improvements within the Capital Improvement Plan — combine at around $194,000 to comprise a — 17.74 % match — with federal dollars — of the total (estimated) cost of the project phase.

At least a 11.47% funding match is required by the SACOG Community Design Grant process.

Starting date for construction is planned for Spring of 2010, with completion by Winter of the same year.

___  Qualifications of Project  ___

Sokolow provided the city planning panel with a Pre-Submittal Letter and Information Summary — on a format provided by SACOG — which justifies the project and lists the various costs associated with each component.

This Summary describes that this project qualifies under SACOG’s “Blueprint [planning principles:] by increasing the use of Main Street for pedestrians and bicyclists; focusing streetscape improvements in an urban, infill area to support and attract new development on vacant and  underutilized properties that are near or border Main Street from Third to East Streets; creating a ‘green’ space by providing landscaping and eventually a shade tree canopy that will lessen the heat island effects of concrete and asphalt concrete surfaces; and using streetscape design elements to establish an aesthetically pleasing landscaped corridor on Main Street[.] While not directly related to the Blueprint principles, the median islands on Main Street will narrow the roadway and are intended to support a “traffic calming effect” in combination with other improvements planned for Main Street.”

___  Associated Private / Public Development  ___

This project phase is described in the SACOG Informational Summary as being — “associated” — with four potential development projects along Main Street, from Third to East Streets.

They are:  the potential (and priority budgeted) new Yolo County Courthouse — perhaps combined with a parking structure; plus, two projects sites of Paul Petrovich, the already entitled Rite Aid store on the northwest corner of East and Main Streets, and the block bounded by Main, Third, Fourth and Court Streets (focused on the old Electric Garage building, now Hoblit auto dealership), where the current Downtown Specific Plan (DSP) indicates an opportunity for a multiplex theater.

In a relevantly comprehensive paragraph, this Summary expresses that:

“Woodland’s [DSP] identifies an opportunity for the construction of a parking structure in the downtown in an area that is near or adjacent to the [ ] site [of] the Main Street Pedestrian and Streetscape Improvement project. The parking structure is expected to serve users of the new courthouse, the future multiplex movie theater, and other visitors to Woodland’s downtown.”

___  Major Cost Items in Current Project Phase  ___

Several interesting (even curious) cost items are contained in this SACOG Informational Summary.

A new traffic signal — cost: more than $320,000 — is planned for Main and Fifth Streets.

Pedestrian “actuation” (activation) of this new traffic signal will cost an added $60,000, for a total of — over $380,000 — to signalize this single intersection.

About $340,000 is budgeted for three items: 1,135 feet of new sidewalk and exposed aggregate strip, 1,135 feet of electrical line for lighting in tree wells, and 1,135 feet of drip irrigation hose for tree wells and bulb outs.

The interesting aspect of these three budget items — is that they all estimated to cost the same amount: $113,500.

Related budget figures indicate that laying enhanced sidewalk, installing electrical line and running drip irrigation hose — (somehow) all cost $100 per linear foot — to incorporate within this phase of the project.

Apparently (yet perhaps unbelievably), identical lengths of: special sidewalk, electrical cable and irrigation line are extremely similar with regard to their cost within project construction.

Eleven tree wells are priced at $8,800, and seven bulb outs are $84,000.

Various crosswalk (stripping) treatments and (parking, bikeway) signage totals about $50,000.

___  Added Project Items — Outside Scope of Current Phase  ___

Stamped concrete, median islands (5,000 sq. ft.) will cost an estimated $625,000, at $125 per square foot; however, this element of the project is proposed for an “add[ed]” phase, apparently outside the specific scope of this SACOG grant application.

$43,000 for street furniture (seven garbage cans at $1,200 apiece, ten benches at $2,000 each, twenty banner-hangers at $500 apiece, ten planters at $1,500 each, and five bike racks costing a total of $3,000) is also listed within the preliminary project budget description as an “add [-on].”

Perhaps, “add[itional]” funding may become available to bring these future options within even the current phase of this project; with that being the reason for including them on the periphery of this application.

“Antique street lights will be installed on Main Street in the stretch from Third to East Streets,” relates the Informational Summary. “Funding for this [portion] of the project will be provided through [a federal] Community Development Block Grant and SACOG Federal Stimulus funds.”

Yolo Bus will be installing a nine-foot, lighted bus shelter with garbage can — at Freeman Park — (an improvement already planned and funded by Yolo Bus).