The Turlock City Council approved a rehabilitation plan for West Main Street on Tuesday that will save most of the trees on the north side of the historic thoroughfare, while preserving street parking on both sides of the roadway.
The Council’s action on Tuesday moves forward the City’s first Measure L (Local Roads First Transportation Funding) project. The project will have two phases and crews are expected to break ground in August.
Phase I will include West Main Street from just past S. Walnut Road to West Avenue South. The roadway will receive an overlay, similar to what was put on Monte Vista Avenue, and all of the medians will be replaced with all but two median openings closed for better traffic control. The median openings that will remain are located in front of Evergreen Packing between Soderquist and Tully roads and the one adjacent to a truck tire shop between Clifford and Alaska.
The City will also install a wrought iron fence in the median adjacent to Osborn Two-Way Immersion Academy, similar to the one in front of Turlock Junior High School, to encourage pedestrians to use the designated crosswalks.
Former City Council member and Osborn parent Mary Jackson requested on Tuesday that the City install a lighted crosswalk at the Soderquist and West Main Street intersection to further enhance pedestrian safety.
“We have a huge traffic issue…,” said Jackson, who said she planned to request the same thing from the Turlock Unified School Board of Trustees.
Curbs, gutters and sidewalks will also be replaced as needed along the Phase I roadway, according to Principal Civil Engineer Nathan Bray.
While there has been some discussion on the median openings along Phase I of the West Main Street project, most of the public input has been focused on Phase II that includes West Avenue South to Lander Avenue and the future of the 100-year-old sycamore trees that line West Main Street.
The City held three public meetings to present options for the Phase II area of roadway — and received vastly different consensus on what direction they should go.
At the Jan. 27, 2016 meeting, the consensus was to save all of the trees and take out the street parking to make more room for the landscape strips. At the March 29, 2016 meeting, the public had a “polar opposite” opinion on what should occur, according to Bray. At the second meeting, public consensus was to save the street parking at all costs.
The third and final meeting, held Feb. 1, saw 20 of 24 participants choose Option 2, a compromise plan which keeps parking on both sides of the street while saving as many as the historic sycamore trees as possible.
The Option 2 has all three of the sycamore trees removed on the south side of West Main Street, which would eliminate the current landscaping strip on that side and allow the road to shift to the south. Approximately four trees on the north side of West Main would also be removed due to making pedestrian sidewalk crossings Americans with Disabilities Act compliant.
Bray told the City Council on Tuesday that Phase I of the project will include lane closures, but maintain traffic along West Main Street, but due to the total reconstruction needed on Phase II the roadway would be completed closed and traffic diverted while work is being done.