Middlefield to get makeover: Utilities to go underground, streetscape improvements planned

iddlefield Road has a major makeover in the works as both the county and Redwood City embark on making sweeping improvements to the thoroughfare.

Overhead utility lines will be buried underground from Costco to City Hall in Redwood City with council approval of a $361,000 trenching contract awarded in March. In total, the city plans to spend about $3.7 million to spruce up the road.

Improvements could include wider sidewalks, more trees and better lighting.

In North Fair Oaks, the county is to design street improvements from MacArthur to Fifth avenues as a new three-lane configuration, one lane in each direction with a center left turn lane, is proposed for Middlefield.

“The entire stretch of Middlefield will look drastically different in a good way,” said Councilman Ian Bain, who has called for improvements to the corridor since 2003.

The city’s Middlefield Road Improvement Project envisions a safe, walkable street. A second community workshop to discuss the improvements is planned for Wednesday, Sept. 2.

The county plan, as part of North Fair Oaks Forward, is called the Middlefield Road Streetscape Improvement Project with a goal to improve connectivity and reduce mobility barriers for all types of travel, including pedestrian, bicycle, automobile and public transit.

Currently, power lines crisscross Middlefield and the road is “not up to Redwood City standards,” Bain said.

He suspects the city’s investment will spur property owners to also invest in making improvements to the street.

“This is a very visible street and the improvements will create a much better image to our visitors,” Bain said.

It is also a classic example of the city and the county working together to improve the quality of life for residents of both Redwood City and North Fair Oaks, Bain said.

The vision, however, is still be decided, he said.

Redwood City’s Middlefield Road Improvement Project is part of a $29.3 million capital improvement project list the city will undertake in the next two years.

In June of 2013, the San Mateo County Board of Supervisors approved $12.5 million from Measure A funding to redesign Middlefield Road from Pacific to Fifth avenues. The design will include the undergrounding of utilities, new street lights and other streetscape changes.

Streetscape changes approved by the North Fair Oaks Community Council and Board of Supervisors include a three-lane road, wider sidewalks and the addition of bike lanes.

There are still a lot of decisions to be made related to the county project, however, said Supervisor Warren Slocum.

Residents will have the opportunity to share their perspective in a series of community meetings, Slocum said.

“Do they want tree-lined streets or something more open? Do they want to retain the current feel of the street or create something different? Residents will even decide what type of street lights they want,” Slocum said.

“Middlefield will look a lot different and the community will have a voice in how it will look.”

Redwood City is hosting the Middlefield Road community workshop at 6 p.m., Wednesday, Sept. 2, Tapestry Church, 1305 Middlefield Road.

bill@smdailyjournal.com

(650) 344-5200 ext. 102

Article Source: The Daily Journal

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