A controversial streetscape project for Chula Vista’s downtown will come before the city council April 13.
The project involves narrowing a portion of Third Avenue to a single lane and removing trees in cement planters. According to project manager Gary Williams, the Third Avenue redesign will take place between H Street and Madrona Avenue, though “with competitive bids may extend to F Street.”
The design proposal includes narrowing Third Avenue just north of the H Street intersection, though Williams says, “We haven’t completely bought off on that.” Medians will also be built to slow traffic.
Some residents have expressed concern that constriction of traffic on Third Avenue will divert vehicles to residential streets like Second Avenue. Williams says the goal of the project is to create walkability and to “unclutter the streetscape.” He says the tree canopy will be maintained by planting new trees and that the number of parking spaces will not be reduced.
Controversy also stems from the project cost: $3,700,000. There are those who would rather see money spent on projects such as a music venue that would attract more people and contribute to the revitalization of Third Avenue. But Williams says the grant money from SANDAG is specifically for “Smart Growth” and is predicated on deemphasizing car traffic and increasing pedestrian traffic.
Money will also come from the Chula Vista Redevelopment Agency and from the Federal Recovery Act. Though the plan is “99.9% complete,” Williams said that the City is still involved in public outreach.