The hundreds of students who walk home from school on Santa Maria Avenue every day will soon be safer because the Alameda County Public Works Agency (ACPWA) is building sidewalks on the crowded, busy street.
The project “will enhance pedestrian and traffic safety to and from the Castro Valley High School,” according to ACPWA.
This change is greatly needed, as the student population of CVHS surpasses 3,000 and many of these students have been walking home on dirt and asphalt pathways. For years parents and students have been expressing concern over the students’ safety during the busy traffic hours before and after school.
The current sidewalk situation is especially dangerous in the rainy seasons, during which large puddles can form in the dirt paths, forcing students to walk into the street.
“It’s a mess,” said senior Eviana Picado-Garcia. “Sometimes the cars would drive by too closely and splash muddy water on us, and often we’d have to walk in the street if the path was too muddy.”
The project will include sidewalks with curbs, gutters, bicycle routes, pedestrian ramps and trees.
Students and parents should expect traffic delays during project construction. The agency warns of lane closures and restricted parking, but also notes that advance notices of closures will be given to residents and business owners along Santa Maria. Road closures, project map layout, and further information can be found on the ACPWA agency at http://acgov.org/pwa/updates/projects/santamaria.htm.
The project is set to begin in summer 2017. “That’s our target date,” said ACPWA Associate Engineer Bond Ng. “We will try to plan construction for when school is not in session. We’ll work with the school’s academic calendar.”