Vallejo Times-Herald - Vallejo Downtown To Get Big Upgrade Due To Federal Grant

Aug 3, 2012
News Articles
By Sarah Rohrs
Downtown Vallejo got a shot in the arm Thursday with news the city has received a $1.15 million federal grant to pay for new sidewalks, landscaping, crosswalks and street pavement.

The money will pay for the third phase of the Downtown Streetscape Project designed to revitalize the area and also improve access to the Vallejo Baylink Ferry terminal.

"This is great news that we've been awarded more money. With this money we'll work on finishing up the design" for downtown improvements, City Engineer Jill Mercurio said.

At the heart of the downtown streetscape project are improvements to make sidewalks and streets more attractive and appealing with planters, trees, benches, better crosswalks, diagonal parking and new pavement.

The city has recently launched the second phase of the Downtown Streetscape Project on Virginia Street between Marin and Sacramento streets which will include sidewalk improvements, landscaping and new pavement, among other things, she said.

Specific improvements have not yet been identified for the third phase, but will be similar to work done in the earlier phases, Mercurio said.

She said it was not immediately clear what improvements would be done to improve access to the Vallejo Ferry terminal but added the overall goal is to make the entire area more "pedestrian friendly."

"It's so you can park anywhere and go to shops and restaurants," Mercurio said. "A lot of this is pedestrian improvements. We put in better crosswalks, and things that make the area more pleasant to walk through, easier to visit and more appealing," she added.

The city has been searching for grant funds to pay for the entire Downtown Streetscape Project, Mercurio said.

Already, the city has received $2.2 million through the federal American Recovery and Reinvestment Act to pay for the first two phases of the project which included improvements in and around Sacramento and Virginia streets.

Both Reps. George Miller, D-Martinez, and Mike Thompson, D-St. Helena, lauded the new grant awarded this week, saying the funds will do much to help downtown and generate jobs.

"It's going to help revitalize downtown, put people to work, and ease traffic by improving access to the ferry and bus service," Thompson said in a written announcement.

"In addition, it will enhance the city's transportation infrastructure which will help spur job creation and economic growth," Thompson added.

The funds will provide improved access to the Vallejo Ferry and bus service through traffic calming measures, brick pavers, new street lights, street furnishings, sidewalk improvements, landscaping, diagonal parking and pavement rehabilitation.

The city is expected to provide matching funds for the project.

Both Miller and Thompson used the U.S. Department of Transportation to give consideration to Vallejo's grant application in early 2012.

The grant was allocated through the Federal Transportation, Community and System Preservation Program.