The city will spend $1.8 million to add sidewalks to a halfmile stretch of Los Feliz Drive near Conejo School Road.
Approved by a 5-0 vote of the City Council on Aug. 31, the construction represents the final step in a decadelong effort to improve pedestrian safety on the narrow street used by students to get to and from Conejo Elementary School.
Work is expected to begin this month and last through June 2022.
Phase one of the project, which covered Skyline Drive to Conejo School Road, was completed in 2016.
The need for sidewalks on Los Feliz was first identified in January 2011 when representatives from the Public Works traffic engineering division, the Thousand Oaks Police Department, Conejo Valley Unified School District and the traffic commission met at Conejo Elementary to observe traffic and pedestrian conditions.
“This missing sidewalk has been requested by the community, and the city is responding,” Deputy Public Works Director Nader Heydari said in his presentation to the council.
While Los Feliz’s eastern end (near Skyline) is comprised mostly of auto body repair shops, its west side is home to several high-density apartment buildings built in the last 15 years. Many of the families who live there send their children to Conejo Elementary, a majority-Hispanic school of around 400 students.
Principal Erica Ultreras told the Acorn the school is already reaping the benefits of nearby street improvements, especially the addition of a turning lane in front of the campus so parents can pull into the parking lot without blocking traffic on Conejo School Road.
The sidewalk across the street from the school has also been renovated with the addition of railings and beautification work, benefiting families who walk to campus. The upcoming work will be completed on Los Feliz along Beyer Park, which borders the southern end of the school.
“We’re very appreciative and look forward to seeing the outcome,” Ultreras said. “We really appreciate working with the city. This process has cemented how important it is to have good communication between the district and the city.”
In addition to adding sidewalks, Oxnard-based Toro Enterprises, which won the contract with a bid of $1.5 million, will be responsible for replacing 2,000 feet of aging, 6-inch water line with a 10-inch water main, “which will provide improved fire protection and domestic water supply for the entire neighborhood,” Heydari said.
“In total, this is a great project for the community, and public works is excited to move it into the construction phase,” he said.
While some on-street parking will be lost to make room for sidewalks, spaces will be added in other locations, Heydari said, resulting in a net gain of nine curbside spaces.
No protected trees will be removed during construction, although 22 will be encroached upon, the engineer said. An arborist will monitor the trees during the process.
Half the cost of the project will be covered by a grant from Caltrans’ Active Transportation Program, created in 2014 by Senate Bill 99 to encourage increased use of active modes of transportation, such as walking and biking.
Information and construction updates are available at www.toaks.org/losfeliz.