Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Caltrans Backs Innovative Street Design Guidelines to Promote Biking and Walking

In an effort to support the construction of more multimodal local streets and roads, Caltrans recently endorsed the National Association of City Transportation Officials’ (NACTO) guidelines that include innovations such as buffered bike lanes and improved pedestrian walkways.

The announcement makes California the third state in the nation to endorse these new design guidelines. The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) also supports this flexible approach to bike and pedestrian transportation design.

All streets within cities and towns may use the new guidelines. In addition to endorsing the new guidelines for local streets and roads, these guidelines can be referenced for city streets that are part of the state highway system. Caltrans is also evaluating the guidelines for future updates to the Highway Design Manual, the standard for building on the state’s highway system.

Some of the new design features that cities could implement under these new guidelines include buffered or separated bike lanes to separate cyclists from traffic, like this one: 

Bike boxes, which allow cyclists to queue during congested traffic and improve left turn access:

 And flexibility in pedestrian access and sidewalk design to enhance quality of life:

Caltrans’ endorsement of the NACTO guidelines is part of an ongoing effort to integrate a multimodal and flexible approach to transportation planning and design to provide Californians with more transportation choices.

For more info, check out the Caltrans news release here and the NACTO Urban Street Design Guide here.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

The Empire Project: A Virtual Tour

The $355 million Empire Project is a series of improvements to I-5 in Burbank between Magnolia Boulevard and Buena Vista Street. It includes elevating the railroad tracks, building a new interchange at Empire Avenue, reconstructing the Burbank Boulevard Bridge, adding carpool lanes in both directions and more. (Learn more about the project here.)

Visualizing what the freeway will look like post-improvements can be challenging, so we created this virtual tour to help:

Questions? Visit I-5info.com or call the toll-free I-5 Info Line at 855.454.6355.

55-Hour Closure of Southbound I-5 Western Avenue On-ramp in Glendale

Caltrans will close the (eastbound) Western Avenue on-ramp to southbound I-5, 10 a.m. Friday, April 25 to 5 a.m. Monday, April 28 to complete the construction of the curb, gutter, and pavement inside of the on-ramp.

About the Project
This project is building a high occupancy vehicle (HOV) lane in each direction along the Golden State Freeway (I-5) between the Ventura Freeway (SR-134) and Magnolia Boulevard in Burbank, a total distance of 5.4 miles (2.7 miles in each direction).  It is also constructing sound walls and retaining walls.
Funding for this $57.8 million project is provided by Proposition C.  The contractor is Security Paving of Sun Valley, California.  Work began in March 2011 and is expected to be completed in late 2014.

Caltrans reminds motorists to Slow For The Cone Zone and Move Over. It’s the law.

Friday, April 11, 2014

Segment of San Fernando Blvd. Under I-5 in Burbank to CLOSE Permanently in Mid-May

A half-mile segment of San Fernando Boulevard in Burbank will close permanently in mid-May. The closed portion is the segment that crosses under I-5 between the Lincoln Street off-ramp on the east side of the freeway and the Lincoln Street/Victory Place intersection on the west. Check the I-5 website at the end of April for the exact closure date, or call the I-5 Info Line at (855) 454-6335. In the meantime, here are common questions we’re getting about this closure:

So, is this really PERMANENT? Yes. San Fernando Boulevard will be realigned so that it connects directly to Empire Avenue. There will be a NEW undercrossing at Empire Avenue that will open in mid-2017, creating a new east-west link.

Why is this necessary? The closure is part of the Empire Project, which includes elevating the railroad tracks adjacent to I-5. Closing San Fernando Boulevard is necessary to construct temporary railroad tracks that will allow trains to keep operating during construction. More info about the Empire Project is here.

Will ramps be affected? Yes. The northbound I-5 Lincoln Street off-ramp and southbound San Fernando Boulevard on-ramp will be closed permanently. The southbound Scott Road/Burbank Boulevard off-ramp will be closed when San Fernando Boulevard is closed and will be integrated into the new Empire Avenue interchange.

Is there a detour? Yes. A detour will be posted to route motorists around the closure. Here it is:

You can view a larger version of the detour map here.

What about congestion on surrounding streets? Initially, there may be more congestion, but we find that traffic tends to flow more smoothly once motorists get used to taking another route. To ease congestion, Caltrans is working with the City of Burbank to implement traffic circulation improvements on local streets — such as corridor timing and new signals — before San Fernando Boulevard is closed. Buena Vista Street will also be reconfigured to accommodate additional traffic.

Questions? Visit I-5info.com or call the toll-free I-5 Info Line at 855.454.6335.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Delays on Pacific Coast Highway (SR-1) for Maintenance

Caltrans will close one lane of Pacific Coast Highway (SR-1) from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. to repair damaged guardrail along the highway during the following days and times:

Wednesday, April 9
Northbound SR-1 from just north of Topanga Canyon Boulevard (SR-27) to Tuna Canyon Road

Thursday, April 10
Southbound SR-1 from Bay Club Drive to just south of Temescal Canyon Road
Friday, April 11
Northbound SR-1 at Big Rock Road

Minor delays are expected.  Closures are subject to change.
Caltrans reminds motorists to Slow For The Cone Zone and Move Over. It’s the law.

Monday, April 7, 2014

I-5 Full Freeway Closure This Weekend in Burbank (But It's a Short One!)

If you’ll be driving I-5 in Burbank very late this coming Saturday/very early Sunday morning, take note: the entire freeway will be closed for about two hours. Details below.

What: I-5 will be closed in both directions between Buena Vista Street and Lincoln Street in Burbank on Sunday, April 13, 2014, 2 a.m. to 4 a.m.

When: Lane closures will begin at 11:59 p.m. on April 12. All lanes will be closed by 2 a.m. on April 13 and will open by 4 a.m.

Why: The closure is necessary to ensure the safety of motorists and crews while overhead utility lines are removed as part of the Empire Project. More info about the project is here.

Alternate Routes: To avoid delays, consider using SR-170 instead of I-5. Motorists heading northbound on I-5 can take westbound SR-134 to northbound SR-170. Those traveling southbound can take southbound SR-170 at the I-5/SR-170 interchange, and then eastbound SR-134 to pick up southbound I-5.

Detour: A clearly marked detour will direct motorists who are diverted off I-5 during the closure and those seeking to access the freeway from local streets.

Signs: Electronic freeway signs will provide advance warning to motorists to allow them to avoid the closure area if desired.

Questions? Check on out the closure notification here, or call us on the I-5 Info Line at 855.454.6335.

Friday, April 4, 2014

Maricopa Highway (SR-33): A Beautiful Partnership

Maricopa Highway (SR-33) in Ojai
If you’re driving on Maricopa Highway (SR-33) in Ojai, you’ll see an amazing array of purple (close to blue, right?) and gold flowers in the center median near Nordhoff High School.  

Ojai Valley News coverage.


The idea was birthed by two lifelong residents of Ojai, one who works at the Caltrans Maintenance Station in Ojai and another who works for Ojai’s Public Works Department, both are Nordhoff alumni.  They wanted to improve the aesthetics of the center median of the highway, use native and drought-tolerant plants, and show some community and Ranger pride. 

Ojai’s Department of Public Works provided the funds and irrigation and Caltrans provided the plants and support. 

Overall, a great partnership to improve the aesthetics of the highway that many agree is a great improvement. 

Big thanks to all those with the Ojai Department of Public Works that helped make this possible.