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City’s budget funds variety of beneficial projects

Posted: August 30, 2013 2:00 a.m.
Updated: August 30, 2013 2:00 a.m.
 

A few weeks ago I wrote about some of the bigger capital improvement projects included in the 2013-2014 fiscal year budget.

The process to create the city’s annual budget spans several months and includes public hearings and meetings.

With a limited amount of funding, we work hard to make sure that we are spending your tax dollars wisely and that we are leveraging them with grants and other monies whenever possible to benefit all areas of the city.

Beautification

One of our budget focuses remains the city’s community-wide beautification plan, which includes enhancing all gateway entrances to the city.

This year, through grants and with the participation of our funding partners, we are able to provide significant upgrades to the Sand Canyon Road and Highway 14 on- and off-ramps.

It is our goal to replicate these same types of improvements in the future along other on- and off-ramps connecting to Highway 14, like those completed on Lyons Avenue and Magic Mountain Parkway.

These projects are funded through grants and partnerships, so the city is always working with other organizations to identify funding sources to facilitate these projects.

I want to note that with most of these gateway improvements, Santa Clarita typically partners with other land-owning public entities. In some cases the land adjacent to the freeway is privately owned, and therefore the city does not have control of the property and its aesthetics. 

This is the case at the southwest corner of Sierra Highway and Newhall Avenue where the city has approved a plan for a future development. Once the property owner is able to move this project forward, the development will dramatically enhance the intersection and gateway into and out of our community.

Until specific funding is secured for the on- and off-ramps at Newhall Avenue, we are working on several enhancements to the street, including the potential installation of raised landscaped medians from Sierra Highway to Main Street.

The primary purpose of the median is beautification, but it will also reduce traffic conflicts and improve flow and safety along this heavily-traveled corridor. 

The median will be complemented by way-finding, directional monuments and signage, similar to the attractive way-finding signage on Magic Mountain Parkway, Valencia Boulevard, and McBean Parkway.

Special district and capital improvement project accounts will fund the signage and way-finding projects, which we are working to complete in the next two years.

Transit Enhancements

Providing convenient and reliable access to public transportation remains a high priority for Santa Clarita. Right now, we are working to improve heavily-used bus stops across the Santa Clarita Valley.

Each year we look at the most heavily used bus stops in need of enhancements and then, based on available funding, work with our capital improvement team to install extended sidewalks, benches, shelters and improve ADA access where applicable.

Twenty-seven bus stops have been identified for improvements, and 12 of those are located in Newhall.

With this year’s budget we are adding a bus shelter along Newhall Avenue from Sierra Highway, bringing the total number of enhanced bus stops along Newhall Avenue to six of nine total stops.

We will also be updating bus stops at Shadow Pines Boulevard and Grandifloras Road, Wiley Canyon and Calgrove Boulevard, Seco Canyon and Bouquet Canyon, and Tournament Road and McBean Parkway.

The McBean Regional Transfer Station is a priority this year for the city and Metro as we work to provide more convenient access to regional employment centers in the greater Los Angeles area.

Recognizing that our Park-and-Ride locations are also critical for many residents, we are looking at improvements to the 80-space Park-and-Ride location at Newhall Avenue and Sierra Highway, which was previously owned and maintained by CalTrans but is now owned by Santa Clarita.

We are aware of the heavy use of the Park-and-Ride location at Newhall Avenue and Highway 14 and are working with our capital improvement projects team to secure funding to increase parking and aesthetics at this location in future years.
For a complete look at the city’s Fiscal Year 2013-2014 budget, please visit www.Santa-Clarita.com/budget.

Marsha McLean is a Santa Clarita City Council member and can be reached at mmclean@santa-clarita.com.

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