During Tuesday’s City Council Meeting, city staff members presented a mid-year update regarding the Capital Improvement Program (CIP). During the presentation, staff reported that $12 million in grant dollars will be used to help fund this year’s 30 CIP projects, some of which are scheduled to be completed or advertised for construction over the next six months.
“I am very pleased to see our staff continuing to aggressively pursue grants to help make our streets safer for both pedestrians and motorists,” said Lancaster Mayor R. Rex Parris.
The CIP has utilized grant funds to successfully complete projects such as the Avenue J Median Project which allowed for the construction of landscaped medians between Challenger Way and 20th Street East. This traffic safety improvement project eliminated significant cross traffic resulting in a safer corridor for the public.
Grant funding secured through the Proposition 1B State-Local Partnership Program Fund will support the upcoming 25th Street East Realignment Project slated to begin in March. The project will widen the intersections of Avenue J and Lancaster Boulevard to allow for safer crossing movements for pedestrians along 25th Street East.
In addition, Surface Transportation Program Local (STPL) funds have been used to purchase materials to upgrade a number of city signals. Via this funding source: 225 video detection cameras were installed; 600 signal batteries, 900 signal heads with countdown timers, and 3,800 red yellow and green LED light bulbs have been replaced; and 100 pedestrian push button audible devices have been installed. City staff installed all of the new equipment, therefore allowing for a maximum amount of the $1 million funding to be used toward the procurement of new supplies.
The city has also placed a focus on improving access around local schools through the CIP. For instance, the Valley View Pedestrian Improvements Project will begin in June. This project will provide paved pedestrian access east and west of the school’s boundaries. In addition the Miller Elementary School Pedestrian Improvements Project is currently underway along Avenue K-4 and 20th Street West. Pedestrians will have continuous access to the school, and features such as bulb outs will reduce crossing distances once the project is complete. Additional school-related projects will: add sidewalk and curb ramps; install LED equipped stop signs; refurbish striping and marking; and create bike lane improvements.
“We as a council are pleased to see a furthering of our relationships with the school districts,” said Lancaster Vice Mayor Marvin Crist. “These improvements not only improve the infrastructure and aesthetics of our city, but also provide for increased safety and accessibility for our community’s children, parents and educators.”
The CIP also contains many projects which will provide further sustainability for the city, such as the Pavement Preservation Program. During the summer of 2013, under the Pavement Preservation Program, 29 lane miles were resurfaced by city staff, saving 60 percent of what the same services would have cost if contracted out. This year, the city plans to resurface 85 lane miles of local roads. In addition, the Recycled Water Conversion Project at Lancaster City Park will help alleviate the city’s dependence on potable water for irrigation purposes. This project should be on line this spring.
Thanks to the Capital Improvement Program, a number of city facilities, including the historic Western Hotel on Lancaster Boulevard, have been rehabilitated. This year, the Cedar Center is also being refurbished through the CIP. Once the facility is complete in late spring, it will host theater, museum, and art classes for the community.
As Lancaster continues to encourage job creation and economic success, the CIP has also allowed for the construction of areas such as Avenue K-15, as well as Morton Way which serves as the home of the new Morton Manufacturing plant.