Airport Way Streetscape Beautification Project
City of Stockton Department of Public Works
Kjeldsen, Sinnock & Neudeck, Inc. (KSN) was retained by the City of Stockton in September 2005 as the prime design consultant for the Airport Way Streetscape Beautification Project – Phase 1 (Project), which encompasses a 1.7 mile length of Airport Way in the City of Stockton. The Project limits are bounded on the north by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard (formerly Charter Way), and on the south by Carpenter Road. Airport Way is the primary north-south thoroughfare connecting downtown Stockton and the Stockton Metropolitan Airport, and serves as the City’s southern gateway. Maintenance and improvements within the public right of way along the Airport Way corridor in this important commercial district had been neglected for years. This Project is the first phase of a multiphase redevelopment project to beautify and enhance the Airport Way corridor, and to improve the commercial viability of the businesses in the area.
This segment of Airport Way was identified as part of the South Stockton Redevelopment Project Area, and the Airport Way Corridor Action Team (ACT) was founded by City and County staff, non-profit agencies, community groups, school staff, residents, property owners, and business owners from the Project “to revitalize the neighborhood, plan for change, and implement urgent actions required for the long term success and economic stability of the area,” as their mission states. The ACT developed a Strategic Action Plan to address the needs and concerns of the neighborhood. One of the primary Strategic Action Plan goals is to improve the appearance along Airport Way between Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard and Carpenter Road, and to provide pedestrian friendly and Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) compliant facilities.
In June 2004, the recommendations of the ACT prompted the City to commission a streetscape beautification master plan, which focuses on improving: 1) pedestrian, bicycle and vehicle circulation, 2) neighborhood aesthetics, and 3) access to public transit. The resulting master plan incorporated a continuous streetscape tree canopy; gateway architectural features; enhanced pedestrian features including colored crosswalks and meandering sidewalks buffered from the street; bike lanes; and enhanced pedestrian and bicycle access connections to commercial areas and to the Duck Creek bike path.
KSN was the prime design consultant on this Project to design and implement the improvements identified in the master plan. The primary design elements of this Project were street and landscape improvements within the existing right of way, including decorative hardscape, landscaping, irrigation, median curb, street curb, gutter and sidewalk, traffic signal installation at the intersection of Airport Way and Second Street, signal interconnect, street lighting, utility relocations, public art elements, paving and drainage.
KSN performed and coordinated all design tasks required for the documentation of the civil improvements including project control and geometrics, topographic mapping, storm drainage modifications, utility relocations, median curb, street curb, gutter and sidewalk construction and signage, striping and traffic control. KSN provided utility research and coordinated the relocation, replacement, and modification of existing utilities to accommodate the project improvements. KSN also provided all surveying, mapping, right of way engineering, and construction staking required by the Project.
This Project included relocation and undergrounding of many of the utilities within the Project limits. Close coordination with multiple utility companies was essential to ensure that all undergrounding was completed by the utility providers prior to the commencement of construction.
The Project’s design included the removal of a free right turn lane off of Dr. Martin Luther King Boulevard onto southbound Airport Way. This uncontrolled turning movement was a significant safety concern for pedestrians and bicyclists attempting to cross the Airport Way/Dr. Martin Luther King Boulevard intersection. The City’s accident records for this particular intersection showed there to be an unusually high accident rate related to this uncontrolled turning movement. The removal of this turn lane created an opportunity to construct a significant and unique public space at the southwest corner of the intersection, and now features a 40-foot tall stainless steel sculpture installed on an elevated pedestal in a landscaped berm constructed in the area left vacant after the demolition of the free right turn lane, turning a former safety concern into a community showpiece. The sculpture’s design was influenced by the cultures and ethnicities found in the community, and was selected by members of the ACT as part of a juried national competition.
KSN also developed a special median design maintain routes of emergency egress adjacent to the fire station, incorporating a drive-over curb designed specifically for the fire equipment used by the fire station on First Street, while discouraging access by standard vehicles.
The construction schedule for the Airport Way project coincided with the construction of a second similar, intersecting project at Second Street. A single contractor was awarded both projects, improving continuity during construction of the two projects. The Second Street Improvement Project constructed a new street with curb gutter and sidewalk within a previously unimproved right of way, and also improved access to the San Joaquin County Fairgrounds. Both Projects affected accessibility to the County Fairgrounds during the annual fair, so close communication and coordination with the fairground personnel was required to maintain access to the fairgrounds.
The completion of the Airport Way Beautification Project – Phase 1 has significantly improved the public’s perception of this important commercial corridor. The Project has transformed a neglected, drab, and dreary street into an attractive and pedestrian friendly commercial venue. The Project improvements are expected to encourage the public to use the Airport Way corridor more frequently by improving pedestrian use through accessible bus stops, sidewalks, and bicycle routes. The presence of more people out and about will help to discourage unwanted behavior, and help to improve security and create a greater sense of community in the Airport Way corridor.
This high profile community project demonstrates how engineers working closely with the community and local businesses can create a successful project that addresses everyone’s concerns and needs, minimizes inconvenience, revitalizes a previously neglected neighborhood, and results in a project that the client, the community, and the engineering profession can all take pride in. A comprehensive public outreach program kept the community informed and up to date on the Project’s scope and schedule, with periodic mailers and press releases distributed, and with the design team leading numerous public meetings with the community and the Airport Way Corridor Action Team. The input from the community resulting from these meetings was incorporated into the Project whenever feasible. KSN was able to exceed the City of Stockton’s needs for the Airport Way Streetscape Beautification Project – Phase 1, staying on schedule and within budget, and is pleased to have been a part of this worthy Project. The estimated cost of the two mile project corridor is $5,000,000.
This Project earned KSN a 2009 Project of the Year Award in the Parks and Trails Category from the American Public Works Association. The Project has been so successful that the City has retained Kjeldsen, Sinnock & Neudeck, Inc. for further phases of the Project. Phase 2 is currently under construction, and design of Phase 3 is nearly complete.