For more than five years the City of Riverbank has been petitioning Caltrans for a Crosswalk/Pedestrian improvement on Callander Avenue adjacent to St. Frances of Rome Catholic Church, where there have been many safety concerns from the community, the church, city staff and the city council. The City Council unanimously approved the maintenance agreement for the Complete Street Project with Caltrans and work is slated to begin late summer or early fall.
During the meeting held at the end of June, City Manager Sean Scully addressed the council and stated, “This is actually a fairly standard agreement that Caltrans requires on any improvements that are made not by Caltrans to their right of way. I think it is indicative of why this project has taken so long to complete. There has been some frustration from the community and the church and also council and also staff about how long it has taken us to get approval for this.”
Development Services Administration Manager Kathleen Cleek and her team designed the crosswalk and obtained the funds for the project. The project is funded entirely by the city and grant funds.
“It will be a major improvement to that roadway,” remarked Scully. “It’s one of the most dangerous and least walkable areas of the entire highway system that runs through town.”
The area of Highway 108 has a high volume of pedestrians that come and go from the Church and according to Scully there have not been many pedestrian improvements in that area.
Scully added that Caltrans has placed a number of requirements on the City before they could begin construction, which included the maintenance agreement for the approved roadway landscape area.
“So essentially their position is that if it is not a Caltrans initiated project they require that whatever local jurisdiction does along the roadway that jurisdiction takes responsibility for maintaining it, keeping it clean, repairing it if there is a major problem and also assuming some level of risk that relates to any potential liability that may result of the project,” Scully said.
Now that the council has approved the maintenance agreement and Caltrans has given the final approval to move forward, the city will begin bidding construction on the project.
The fiscal impact Scully noted is difficult to evaluate. However, the area is less than two blocks so the costs should be less than $5,000 annually, which would be designated from the Gas Tax fund or the General Fund.
Mayor Richard O’Brien thanked Cleek and Scully, for their “tenacity” and thanked Councilmember Darlene Barber-Martinez, and Councilmember Cal Campbell for their “resolve” in bringing this crosswalk project to fruition as this has been a goal for several years.