Modesto council members on Tuesday gave the green light for a $247,500 study on potential improvements to the Crows Landing Road corridor.
The city landed a state Environmental Justice Planning grant to pay for the study, which will focus on improving safety for pedestrians, bicyclists and motor vehicles along the busy corridor in south Modesto.
The city also applied for funding from the California Department of Transportation to study improvements to the southern part of McHenry Avenue but was denied, staff said.
According to city reports, much of Crows Landing Road lacks curbs, gutters and sidewalks. And that makes the wide thoroughfare more dangerous for people who are walking or riding bikes.
On the night of June 16, a 10-year-old girl suffered major injuries when struck by a vehicle on Crows Landing as she rescued her brother who was riding his bike in traffic. She was released from Children's Hospital Central California in Ma-dera on June 25 and has required additional medical treatment.
Pedestrian safety is a concern near Shackelford Elementary School and in the surrounding community, where people routinely walk from their homes to stores and eateries in the Crows Landing commercial strip.
City Planning Manager Patrick Kelly said the roadway striping is poor and some driveways are too close to intersections. The study could consider aesthetic improvements for the corridor, land use planning to spur economic activity and proposals to develop the former Modesto Tallow Co. site.
Another goal is to set a vision to make Crows Landing a more vibrant commercial corridor. After hiring a consultant for the study, the city plans to hold workshops to hear ideas from business owners and residents.
The grant only will pay for the study; officials will need to seek other funding for improvements. The planning will focus on the area from South Seventh Street to Whitmore Avenue.
Councilman Dave Geer said he is telling Crows Landing merchants and other people about the planning effort and expects to see public participation.
Crows Landing is a southern gateway for Modesto and carries a lot of traffic going to and from the Stanislaus County offices on Hackett Road and employers in the area.
Portions of the Crows Landing corridor are within the county and city jurisdictions, and the corridor is within Modesto's general plan area. The county will need to have some participation in the project.
Paul Caruso, owner of Caruso Shopping Center on Crows Landing, said he's keenly aware of two things about the area: There's a lot of traffic on Crows Landing Road, and people who live in the area are walkers.
"Either they don't have cars, or their homes are close enough that they walk to the market or other businesses," said Caruso, a former county supervisor. The large number of pedestrians makes safety a key issue. The study should consider whether there are enough streetlights along Crows Landing, he said.
Bee staff writer Ken Carlson can be reached at email@example.com or (209) 578-2321.
MODESTO COUNCIL WATCH
The Modesto City Council took the following action Tuesday:
Approved budget adjustments to account for $4 million in unexpected general fund savings from last year and $506,000 in recent employee concessions. The city will put $1.75 million in the workers compensation fund and spend $326,860 to restore four positions that had been cut to balance the 2012-13 budget. More than $2 million in savings will be carried forward; city leaders are considering options for spending savings derived from employee concessions.
Heard a report on the citys performance in the areas of public safety, parks and recreation, public works and other departments
Approved an annual evaluation report to the federal government on administering $3.3 million in community development and emergency shelter grants. The funding paid for these and other items: food assistance for almost 135,000 people, Senior Center improvements, the start of construction on the 76-unit Archway Commons affordable housing complex and removal of the 17th Street water tower.