City Takes on Improvements to Woodside Road

The city will take responsibility from Caltrans for the maintenance of a stretch of Woodside Road.

Due to lack of maintenance consistency from Caltrans, the Redwood City city council last week approved an agreement with the agency to take on maintenance of 1.2-mile segment of Woodside Road.

The section of State Highway 84 will extend the boundaries of a previous agreement to include a stretch from Cypress Street to Highway 101.

City Councilmember Ian Bain said past maintenance of the area, which he described as a entrance to the community, occurred a couple of times each year at best.

“It’s our city image at stake here,” he said.

Four-foot-tall weeds and piles of trash are common in the area that has long been an irritation to nearby residents and an unfortunate image to visitors, Bain said.

“I believe it’s like the front yard for our city,” he said.

The city and Caltrans have been discussing turning over responsibility for many years but only very seriously in the past year, Bain said.

“It’s been a long process dealing with CalTrans,” he said. “It took a few people to really push this through.”

Short-term goals for the area are to clean and maintain a presentable appearance up to city standards.  This includes removal of debris, sweeping, pruning vegetation, and cleaning up spills, litter and animal carcasses on a regular basis.

Community Development Director Bill Ekern said that with a simple and regular maintenance schedule, the area would transform from something of a local embarrassment to a road the community actually wants.

“It’s been a very low priority as best I can tell of Caltrans,” he said.

With a cleaner atmosphere not only will the area look far more presentable, Ekern said, but as the area becomes neater and more visible it will also feel safer.

“As it gets cleaned up consequently it will feel safer,” he said. “It just won’t feel so nasty.”

According to Ekern, the first phase of improvements to Woodside Road will quickly become noticeable to residents.

“In about six months people will be quite impressed,” Ekern said.

The second phase of the overall improvements will include lower maintenance landscaping, though city staff is debating the specifics on landscape materials.

“Right now we want to look more uniform and clean up,” Ekern said. “Then we would come back and say here are the gaps and places we want to make look even better.”

According to Bain, decisions on landscaping would be at least a year out.

Caltrans will reimburse the city for maintenance to Woodside for up to $70,200 each year. However, in order to meet the standards set by the city, estimated costs are expected to be approximately $118,000 annually.

“It’s such a gateway for the city, it wouldn’t be able to meet our expectations,” Ekern said of the $70,000 budget. “We want to meet our standards.”


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Merrily May 29, 2012 at 01:38 PM
Thank you City Council for "going for it!". I was just saying to myself yesterday how, yet again, it was looking terrible at the cloverleaf of ECR.
Cliff Keith May 29, 2012 at 03:24 PM
Thank you Redwood City Council for doing this. This section of Woodside Road has been an eye sore for many years simply because of the low to no priority on the part of CalTrans. The sad part is the taxes I already paid to the State are being diverted away from what they were intended to be used for. Smells of double taxation to me. Boo to you CalTrans. .
Fritzi Lareau May 29, 2012 at 03:44 PM
I so appreciate Redwood City powering through to take this over. And I know with creative, native landscaping and some TLC, this will become a showplace for our city.
Barb Valley May 29, 2012 at 04:29 PM
Where's the $$ coming from?
Reality Check May 29, 2012 at 06:50 PM
Good question Barb. To keep the whole thing revenue/spending-neutral for Caltrans, it seems they should hand over whatever $$ they had been budgeting/spending for this section to RWC.
COH May 29, 2012 at 07:13 PM
It's about time!!! It has been a desgrace far too long! We are Mid-Point in Silicon Valley. Companies are moving in to the downtown area and Mid-Point park. The PRESIDENT was here!! (Thank goodness he entered from 280!!!) Redwood City needs to put its best face forward. How about a few actual Redwood Trees along the median? What a novel idea.
COH May 29, 2012 at 07:17 PM
Oh RWC Patch - why are you so lame? Perhaps a pictrre of the eyesore area would have been a better choice? That picture ^ is on the part of Woodside that is actually pretty nice - the West side of El Camino. I believe we are talking about the ghastly section from 101 to Middlefield. Duh. Sighhhhhhhh.
COH May 29, 2012 at 07:18 PM
WHO CARES!?!?!!? It's something that needs to be done. And has been needed ever since I moved here almost 20 years ago.
COH May 29, 2012 at 07:19 PM
Um - read the article. All the way to the bottom, not just the headline. OY VEY!
COH May 29, 2012 at 07:26 PM
For the clean up portion, can we use Sherrif's Work Program participants? Low level offenders from the Woman's Jail? Some kind of a work release program? Credit toward time served? Re-entry Work training program? It can be a multiple prong approach and save some money and do good at the same time.
Lou Covey, The Local Motive May 29, 2012 at 07:30 PM
They are. That's where the $70K comes from.
COH May 29, 2012 at 07:31 PM
HOw about a community volunteer project to get it started? Close part of it for a day to at least clean up all the years of debris. Say, like from Broadway to Spring St. Re-route traffic around the closed part on to Veterans or Broadway. Provide refreshements and maybe some entertainment. I bet a LOT of Redwood residents have been DYING to get their hands on that eyesore! Me included!
Reality Check May 29, 2012 at 09:01 PM
RWC estimates it'll need to spend $118k annually ... but Caltrans is only kicking in about $70k. So it sounds like RWC will somehow need to cough up another $48k.
dorothea May 30, 2012 at 10:34 PM
Woodside road has been a mess for years. I find it interesting that this comes At the same time that the salt works project is being pushed. Once the initial investment is made why should it continue to cost us 118 grand a year to maintain it?
Reality Check May 30, 2012 at 11:26 PM
@dorothea: maybe the city's maintenance figure is too high or too low. What do you think is a better figure, and how did you calculate it?
dorothea May 31, 2012 at 10:45 PM
it's the city's figure that is in question here . they are the ones who need to answer how they came to it and show the RWC tax payers how they figured it out line by line. $118,000 yearly maintenance fee for that stretch of road...do you believe it. i think we should see an itemized list.
Cdajda June 03, 2012 at 04:31 PM
It's about time !


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