Posted on 09 September 2010.
Downtown Hayward is up to for a facelift.
Hayward redevelopment project begins to take shape
The Heart of the Bay receives a commercial and aesthetic upgrade
Hayward’s Downtown area, long a relic of another era when the automobile was king and Hayward was the happening spot in the East Bay, is receiving a 21st century style makeover that should benefit local businesses as well as welcome back shoppers that have long since deserted the area.
With the recent openings of a new downtown movie theater, Buffalo Bill’s and Bijou restaurants, and the renovations of the Hayward BART station and transit-friendly new apartment buildings the city of Hayward has taken aggressive steps to improve the look and feel of the downtown area.
Now the city has started proceedings for an almost two year period of renovation and restoration that will propel the city into the future.
The Hayward Redevelopment Agency has designated two blocks of Foothill Boulevard for storefront modernization, replacing the colorless, unappealing 1950s era design for more welcoming, aesthetically pleasing designs.
According to a report published by the Redevelopment Agency in March this year, approximately 54,000 vehicles pass by retail stores located on Foothill every day.
It’s hoped that the restoration project, aided by new businesses like Montero’s Market and the Sugar Shack Yogurt & Deli and supplemented by longtime existing tenants Arthur Murray Dance Studio and Felix Formalwear, will help restore the vitality of Foothill Boulevard and its importance as a “retail gateway.”
The City has selected SZFM Design Studio, with 25 years experience in restoration projects in San Leandro, Emeryville and Corte Madera among other Bay Area cities, to oversee the Foothill project, which will include new sidewalks, landscaping and pedestrian lighting, as well as a new traffic signal bridge at the intersection of Foothill Boulevard and A Street.
Pending meetings between city staff, business owners and members of the SZFM studio, work on the project is expected to begin sometime in 2011.
However, the challenge facing those same retailers will be the lack of parking as a result of the most noticeable, impacting portion of the Hayward redevelopment project, Route 238 Corridor improvements.
The city has decided to turn the downtown portion of its three main roads, Foothill Boulevard, A Street and Mission Boulevard, into a one-way traffic system. Foothill Boulevard will become a one-way road northbound, A Street westbound, and Mission Boulevard southbound, completing a downtown traffic loop.
Pedestrians and bicyclists alike will also reap the benefits of expanded sidewalks and landscaping, new bike lanes, and improvements to signage and road intersections. This includes the realignment of the Mission and Carlos Bee boulevards’ intersection that will improve the sidewalks and crosswalks, widen the road on both sides and create an extra southbound turn lane onto Carlos Bee.
According to Kevin Briggs, Route 238 Corridor manager, people will notice the first changes almost straight away, as crews from PG&E, AT&T and Comcast work together to place signal cables and utilities underground from Route 238 all the way to A Street, eventually grounding the utility lines through downtown and all the way south along Mission Boulevard to Industrial Boulevard.
Briggs also stated that the city had conducted an extended community outreach before beginning work on this project to ensure that local area businesses were prepared for the construction and to minimize any disruptions.
The corridor improvement project was awarded to Top Grade Construction on July 16, 2010. However, at the time of writing the city was still awaiting the final schedule from the contractor.
Finally a notice was issued effective Aug. 16 to begin the work.
The Route 238 Corridor Improvement Project is due to be completed sometime in late 2012. The Interstate 880/Highway 92-Jackson Street Interchange is also expected to be finished the same year, which should help alleviate the terrible traffic congestion plaguing Hayward’s freeways during commute hours.
For more information about the projects, visit the City of Hayward Web site at www.ci.hayward.ca.us or call 510-583-3900. The city is also planning on creating Facebook and Twitter pages with updates on construction, delays and other information in the very near future.