SAN JUAN CAPISTRANO A long-planned $1.94 million project to beautify Verdugo Street to provide a nicer sense of arrival and more pedestrian-friendly features around the train depot could be pared back or eliminated under a proposal that will go to the City Council on Tuesday, Aug. 1.
The plan, as described in a city staff report, would provide wider sidewalks, enhanced pavement, new landscaping, lighting, street furniture and a more pedestrian-friendly atmosphere around the train station, the historic Los Rios District and downtown.
The city had planned to pay for it with Redevelopment Agency financing, until the state government decided in 2012 to dissolve Redevelopment Agencies. Those agencies used to set aside a portion of property taxes paid to the state to be used for local improvements.
The Verdugo Street plan went through extensive process to build design and stakeholder consensus from 2007 to 2009, and the City Council selected a design concept. But an economic downturn and the scuttling of local Redevelopment Agencies kept it from proceeding, city staff said.
The concept lived on. A 2014 traffic circulation study led to two refined concepts, one of which would introduce a slight curve in the street. The concepts were presented to the business community in 2015, but the project never was brought back to the City Council, staff said. In 2016, the City Council gave the project a low priority.
This year, council members asked for more information about the Verdugo Street project including the possibility of reallocating some of the funds to other street upgrades around town.