By Emily Rasmussen

After 10 years in the works, the Verdugo Street Beautification Project took another step forward as the San Juan Capistrano City Council voted to approve its conceptual design and to go forward with requests for final design services, at its meeting on Tuesday, June 19.

The beautification project will widen sidewalks, install landscaping, enhance paving, light and street furniture, “to provide for a more pedestrian-friendly” downtown adjacent to the train station, a city staff report. The theme in the designs are to bring a more inviting street corridor for visitors by train, in addition to those parked, walking to restaurants, movie theater and shops downtown.”

“All of the existing elements are great there,” said Brian Hannegan, RRM Design Group project manager. “It has everything that you’d want in a project, so we’ll be borrowing a lot of those elements to make this project happen using the existing street lights and just bringing those elements into the sidewalks and connecting Camino Capistrano through Verdugo Street, into Los Rios district.”

The new design plan includes larger trees with wider sidewalks, which also provides “bulb” street corners on Camino Capistrano which extend curbs and is intended to make pedestrian crossing safer.

The project design was done in collaboration with stakeholders and businesses affiliated with the Verdugo Street area.

The current budget for final design and construction of the project is $1.8 million.

The project design was passed 4-1, with Councilmember Pam Patterson opposed.

In about one year, this will come back to City Council to award construction contracts, with construction taking approximately six to nine months, said Tom Toman, assistant Public Works director. With the new elements, it’s projected that Verdugo could be done in June 2020.

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