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Del Paso Boulevard to get a makeover this summer

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The Del Paso Boulevard corridor between Globe and Baxter avenues will be getting a makeover this summer in a $1.5 million dollar streetscape project set to begin in May.

The project will include safety improvements at intersections and new on-street parking to the 1000-block of Del Paso Boulevard, according to city Department of Transportation Assistant Engineer Matthew Johns.

The city received federal community development grant funds in 2009 to construct streetscape improvements between Arden Way and State Route 160.

Before construction could begin, the project had to go through various stages of planning, design and environmental review. The project got the final go-ahead from the City Council Tuesday.

Johns said the project includes removing and replacing sections of curb and sidewalk, enlarging the wells surrounding trees along the boulevard and adding an irrigation system to promote growth of the trees.

“One day it’ll have something of a shade canopy from those trees, similar to what you see in Midtown,” Johns said Friday.

The street improvements will also address safety needs along that corridor, Johns said.

There will be a new traffic signal system at the intersection of Southgate Road, Colfax Street and Del Paso Boulevard, on the corner in front of the Sacramento News & Review building at 1124 Del Paso Boulevard.

Currently, there are stop signs at the side streets (Southgate and Colfax) and a marked crosswalk, but Johns said the improvements will include a traffic light and pedestrian controls at the crosswalk.

“Pedestrians will be able to cross when traffic is completely stopped instead of trying to judge when it’s clear,” Johns said. “It will make the intersection safer and hopefully will prevent accidents.”

Fran Barker, a member of the Del Paso Heights Improvement Association and a longtime community advocate, said that the planned improvement project will be a benefit to the area.

“We definitely appreciate whatever improvements can be made to our environment,” Barker said Friday. “Especially safety improvements.”

Barker said that, over her more than 50 years of advocating for her Del Paso Heights neighbors, she has watched many improvement projects go in – but not the ones she feels are most important.

“Beautification seems to come before safety,” Barker said.

One concern for Barker is the lack of lights on the smaller residential streets that tend to get very dark, making it difficult for people to navigate the streets at night.

“With the crime rate where it is, safety is so important,” Barker said. “We should have streetlights. That’s elementary, Dr. Watson.”

Additional streetlights are part of the upcoming project, Johns said, although they will not be installed on the smaller residential streets. They will be put in along the southern end of the corridor, nearing State Route 160.

The project is expected to take nearly four months to complete, Johns said.

Melissa Corker is a staff reporter for The Sacramento Press. Follow her on Twitter @MelissaCorker.

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