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City spiffs up Main Street

Downtown Newhall streetscaping project to start

Posted: March 10, 2009 12:24 a.m.
Updated: March 10, 2009 4:55 a.m.

A view of El Trocadero Restaurant on the corner of Main and Market streets in downtown Newhall. Next Monday the city begins streetscaping on Main Street between 8th Street and 6th Street.

Santa Clarita is poised to take another step in reshaping downtown Newhall by spiffing up, or "streetscaping," Main Street.
The work is set to start March 16, and barring any delays is expected to wrap up by July 3, assistant city engineer Curtis Nay said.

City spokeswoman Gail Ortiz said even if the project is not complete by July 3, there are plans to ensure construction does not interfere with the annual July 4 parade through downtown Newhall.

What does streetscaping entail?

Workers from R.C. Becker and Son will replace the sidewalks between 6th Street and 8th Street, adding shrubs, trees, lampposts, planters, trash cans and benches.

At intersections and mid-block crossings, the sidewalks will jut out into the street - so-called "bulb-outs," Nay called them - which slow down or "calm" traffic.

"It's definitely going to look a lot different," he said.

An unseen part of the project is a 36-inch storm drain pipe that will be laid beneath the east side of the street between Lyons Avenue and 5th Street, project manager Monica Fernandez said.

The entire project is expected to top out at $2.8 million, with about $2.3 million of that going to construction costs, Nay said.

Construction work will be a Monday-through-Friday operation, he said.

Nay added that a storefront has been rented at 24261 1/2 Main Street as a community liaison office for local business owners.
The biggest concerns raised over the work have dealt with access to businesses, Fernandez said.

"They want us to get the job done," Nay said.

He said Thursday he was still unsure how vehicle traffic patterns through downtown Newhall will be affected by the work.

"I'm sure it will affect some of the businesses that don't have parking," said Thomas Bayer, who owns Abe's Pawn Shop near the corner of Main and 8th streets. "It's going to be a major change. I think it's going to be wonderful."

El Trocadero Steakhouse at the corner of Main and Market streets will get a one-day reprieve from effects of the work, as the eatery is closed Mondays.

Sabina Fetter, owner of Capelli Salon near the corner of Main and 6th streets, has a long-range view when it comes to the imminent construction.

"That's why I moved down here," she said. "Because of the streetscaping and redevelopment."

A resident of the Santa Clarita Valley since 1975, Fetter opened her salon about a year and a half ago.

She said if R.C. Becker installs enough signs letting motorists know businesses are still open, shops should see little financial hit as a result of the streetscaping.

The streetscaping is the second major phase in the city's plan to redevelop the aging downtown Newhall community into a pedestrian-friendly, mixed-use neighborhood that will draw visitors from both inside and outside the Santa Clarita Valley.

Putting the Downtown Newhall Specific Plan - approved in 2005 - into action began last year with the addition of angled parking on Main Street (formerly San Fernando Road) and stop signs at every intersection through the downtown area.

After the streetscaping, the city's next major project is the construction of a multimillion-dollar library at the intersection of Main Street and Lyons Avenue.

"I'm kind of hoping the construction will cause curiosity," Fetter said Thursday. "Everybody's got a bad perception of this area. We've got to bring Newhall back to the way it used to be."


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