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California City Solutions: Hayward Turns Commuter Corridor into Safe and Sustainable Street Vision

March 27, 2015
This story is part of an ongoing series featuring Helen Putnam Award entries.
 
The 2014 entries are available on the League’s website as a resource for cities in a searchable database called California City Solutions. Hayward’s Route 238 Corridor project was submitted in 2014 for the Public Works, Infrastructure and Transportation award category.
 
Hayward-LoopMapLarge.jpgFor more than 40 years, Route 238 in Hayward was a highly congested regional commuter corridor. Traffic accidents on Route 238, I-580 or I-880 near Hayward reroute commuters through the Mission-Foothill-Jackson corridor, frustrating local residents and businesses that regularly rely on that roadway. In 2003, the city of Hayward started a corridor improvement project to relieve congestion. Lasting more than 10 years from concept to completion, the Route 238 Corridor Improvement project is the city’s largest capital improvement project in history.
 
The Route 238 Corridor Improvement project extends more than five miles within the city limits from north Foothill Boulevard at I-580 south to Mission Boulevard at Industrial Parkway. Deteriorating buildings lined long portions of the roadway and more than two miles of overhead utility lines obstructed access and sight lines. Median islands were mostly concrete and most street trees were stunted, dying or long gone.
 
The city formed a working group, comprising public and private stakeholders to develop a plan, which was first met with opposition from the community. Several extensive public meetings, stakeholder meetings, and council presentations were held to give the community a chance to share feedback on number of major project revisions, including traffic calming measures to the adjacent local schools and retirement community.
 
Caltrans relinquished control of Route 238 to the city in June 2010. Construction began in August 2010. The working group coordinated with Caltrans for the right-of-way relinquishment and with Alameda-Contra Costa Transit District (AC) Transit for the revision of bus routes. Community members and downtown merchants were invited to give feedback throughout the construction process during monthly project status meetings. The Hayward Planning Commission, Alameda County Transportation Commission (CTC), Central County Transportation Forum, and Hayward Chamber of Commerce were also informed of the project’s status.
 
City staff partnered with a transportation engineering company to manage construction to create a critical path method based schedule that mitigated issues beyond the team's control by re-sequencing and modifying phasing and staging. This included weekly meetings to review progress and plan the upcoming weeks with the contractor and utility company to coordinate utility undergrounding and relocation efforts.
 
A number of improvements were designed to relieve traffic congestion and improve traffic flow in the corridor. The "Hayward Loop" is one major component. It starts at the Five Flags intersection at Jackson, Mission and Foothill Boulevards. The multi-lane one-way loop goes north on Foothill Boulevard, left onto A Street, then left onto Mission Boulevard, and returning to the Five Flags intersection. This mini-loop solution resulted in astonishing cost savings, a reduction in right-of-way needs, and minimized disruptions to businesses downtown.
 
The city’s primary objective focused on solving existing and future traffic demands and reducing congestion and greenhouse gas emissions. A coordinated adaptive traffic signal control system allowed the city to adjust cycle lengths, splits and offsets on a cycle-by-cycle basis depending on the changing traffic demands along the corridor. A state-of the art fiber optic signal interconnect system connects each traffic signal with a closed-circuit television camera and video detection system, centralizing traffic operations which are located within City Hall. The fiber optic interconnect system has additional bandwidth to accommodate future expansion needs along Mission Boulevard and Jackson Street corridors. The city can monitor the traffic conditions at each intersection, making adjustments to keep traffic moving efficiently.
 
The city created customized traffic signal bridge structures at several of the major intersections that eliminated the need for multiple traffic signal poles and signal equipment. Improvements helped to enhance and promote pedestrian, bicycle and roadway use include new wider sidewalks, curb and gutters, median islands and bay-friendly landscaping. New traffic signals and controllers at 28 signalized intersections feature audible pedestrian pushbuttons, pavement reconstruction, and new signing and striping Warm mix asphalt construction methods (used for the first time in the city of Hayward) created lower asphalt mix temperatures, resulting in decreased use of construction equipment, producing less greenhouse gas emissions.
 
Pedestrian and bicycle improvements along Foothill Boulevard in downtown Hayward have pedestrian-friendly 14-foot sidewalks and a dedicated bike lane. Older sidewalks and intersections were reconstructed throughout the corridor and new sidewalks were constructed where needed to follow current ADA requirements and provide safer accessibility for residents. Community artists painted murals on building and retaining walls. Anti-graffiti programs promoted by the city are painting traffic signal enclosures with colorful themes that enhance the walking experience.
 
Several features help lower energy and maintenance costs long-term, including 1,000 new dimmable LED street lights and 680 new trees that offer shade, significantly reducing heat from pavement surfaces and building exteriors. The project's LED streetlight conversion efforts were the start of a city-wide LED streetlight conversion program that recently won an award from the Silicon Valley Leadership Group for "Turning Red Tape Into Red Carpet." Additionally, the project was recognized by the American Council of Engineering Companies 2013 Engineering Excellence Award, The American City & County 2013 Crown Communities Award, and APWA Northern California Chapter Transportation project of the Year Award.
 
Nineteen buildings on or near the Hayward fault line were demolished to accommodate roadway widening, which were used by the Hayward Fire Department for training prior to demolitions.
 
The completed Route 238 project was fully operational to live traffic in June 2013. Hayward’s recent studies of traffic between Mission Boulevard/Industrial Boulevard and Foothill Boulevard/Mattox Road indicate that travel times are less by 30 percent during the morning commute and 20 percent during the evening commute than travel times measured in 2003. Compared to 2009 prior to construction, fewer accidents have occurred within the corridor.
 
The Route 238 Corridor Improvement Project was paid primarily with Alameda County Measure B funds, the half‐cent transportation sales tax passed by voters. The project came in under budget at $105 million compared to the $111 million that was authorized. The project transformed a barren looking road into a beautifully landscaped facility that now provides for pedestrians, bicyclists, transit, trucks, and cars.


 
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