Downtown Redwood City will receive a makeover, with a plan to enliven the hotspot that widens sidewalks and adds trees and light fixtures that will improve safety.
The $1.5 million project on El Camino Real between Brewster Avenue and Broadway will improve the look and feel of the downtown area.
“It will be more like downtown,” said Saber Sarwary, Redwood City’s supervising civil engineer. “And [the development will] enhance the appearance more.”
The aesthetic upgrades — and subsequent water main replacement — are part of the Grand Boulevard Initiative, a collaboration of 19 cities in San Mateo and Santa Clara counties to improve the performance, safety and aesthetics of El Camino Real.
The upgrade work, however, will create detours, lane closures and disrupt traffic, causing headaches for businesses along Redwood City’s main corridor for the next six months.
Kerry Eastman, the owner of Ultimate Elegance on El Camino Real between Brewster Avenue and Broadway, said she had hoped work would not begin until the new year.
“It’s definitely hurt business,” she said. “It would’ve been nice if they held off on starting the project until January.”
The entire corridor will be developed in phases, causing lane closures, detours and delays, Sarwary said. Aesthetics work is expected to begin in April and will last through the summer.
The project is being financed through state funds as well as federal stimulus monies.
The construction completed in December, Sarwary said, was a separate water main replacement. Because of the aesthetic project, he said it made sense to replace the 50-year-old pipe before new sidewalks, asphalt and trees were put in.
“We won’t be going in for another 50 years,” he said.
The water main project is expected to cause delays and even street closures for short periods of time.
The 99 Cent Store on El Camino Real has already lost 40 percent of its business, store employee Ly Tan said.
The store sits in the middle of the block where work is being done.
But Tan said it will all be worth it after the redevelopment is completed.
“We suffer now,” she said. “But we will be the winners in the end.”
The Grand Boulevard Initiative includes Mission Street in Daly City, El Camino Real and The Alameda in San Jose:
19 Cities working together on Grand Boulevard Initiative upgrades
2 Counties through which El Camino Real runs
43 Miles in Grand Boulevard Initiative
$1.5 million Funds for improvements on El Camino Real, between Broadway and Brewster Avenue in Redwood City
Sources: Redwood City, www.grandboulevard.net