Construction on Saratoga Avenue aims to improve alternative transportation

November 9, 2021 — by George Huang
The road construction plan for Saratoga Avenue, as planned by Fehr and Peers.
Student drivers and bikers observe changes to road conditions.

This summer, the city of Saratoga repainted the 1.3-mile road of Saratoga Avenue from its downtown intersection with Saratoga-Sunnyvale Road all the way to its intersection with Fruitvale Avenue. Along the main road, they also repainted bike lanes and crosswalks.

Saratoga mayor Yan Zhao said the practice of improving bike lanes, crosswalks and handicap access is common with the repaving of major streets. 

However, work on local roads hasn’t fixed all of the problems, several students told The Falcon.

Junior Abhinav Patkar, who drives to school along Saratoga Avenue, described a “huge bump” in the road near the Saratoga Library due to a manhole cover that isn’t properly leveled with the rest of the road. 

Another regular commuter, junior William Zhao, said the repavement has done nothing to improve the quality of the roads for drivers. 

“Though [the lack of improvements] isn’t a huge problem, it seems like an inefficient use of money,” he said. 

The project took a year to design and cost a total of $700,000, according to Mayor Zhao. 

While there weren’t noticeable improvements to the road quality for some drivers, students who bike now say they have more defined bike lanes, which junior Anirudh Iyer said makes him feel safer on the ride to school.

The city’s construction projects — including Saratoga Avenue and future plans on Prospect Road —  are guided by the Circulation Element in Saratoga’s 2040 General Plan

“The update [to the plan] started in 2017 and will sync with the General Plan Housing Element update early next year,” Mayor Zhao said. 

The Housing Element changes will not occur until 2023; however, from 2023 to 2031, the city is being compelled by state law to add 1,700 new housing units, some of which are low-income housing. The goal of the new construction is to promote the use of alternative transportation and to limit future traffic congestion, according to the Community Development Planner Debbie Pedro on an online Q&A.

The goal of the new construction will be to provide “a balanced multimodal transportation network that meets the needs of all users of streets, roads and highways for safe and convenient travel,” according to the Circulation Element.

2 views this week