What’s The Construction At Alabama Street, Redlands Boulevard and Colton Avenue in the City of Redlands?
June 5, 2014 Leave a comment
My office is on Colton Avenue between Tennessee and Redlands Boulevard. That is confusing to people, because Colton Avenue dead-ends into Redlands Boulevard. I tell visitors to exit the 10 at Tennessee Street instead of Alabama Street, because getting to Colton from Alabama without mentioning Industrial Parkway. It is about to become less confusing, and more
Here is a blurb on what’s happening from the City of Redlands’ blog, and I will add detail about the project based on my experience working with the City.
Work to improve traffic on the City’s busiest intersection will begin this month as contractors begin construction on the intersection of Redlands Boulevard and Alabama Street and reconfiguration of Colton Avenue at Redlands Boulevard.
The approximately $4 million construction project will realign the intersection of Redlands Boulevard and Alabama Street, the City’s busiest intersection with more than 24,000 vehicles passing through the crossing daily. The realignment will eliminate a 22-foot offset as Alabama Street crosses Redlands Boulevard and widen both streets adding a third northbound lane and additional left turn lanes in each direction on Alabama Street.
The project will also realign an unorthodox and difficult merger of Colton Avenue and Redlands Boulevard, creating a signalized T intersection just east of the Redlands Boulevard/Alabama Street intersection. In addition, the project will improve drainage in the area and replace all street lighting with energy-efficient LED equipment.
Here’s some background behind the press release. The press release says “busiest intersection” but it is the worst intersection in the City (with the possible exception of California Street and Redlands Boulevard that has its own challenges). The current level of service (LOS) is “F.” The challenges to the Alabama/Redlands/Colton Intersection are many.
The first is that the intersection is fairly close to the Alabama Street off-ramps of the Interstate 10 Freeway. On the other side of the freeway is the popular Citrus Plaza, and the two shopping centers on the other side of Alabama Street straddling Lugonia.
The intersection itself is quite busy, with a 7/11 and a K-Mart on the southwest corner, a McDonalds and Del Taco on the northwest corner, a Chevron on the northeast corner, and a Big 5 anchored strip mall on the southeast corner.
Alabama Street is offset at the intersection, and south or northbound vehicles on Alabama Street have to veer. The realignment should fix this problem.
To compound the problems, the intersection is very near an unused spur line for the BNSF Railroad. Not a great problem at the moment, but the right-of-way is controlled by SANBAG, and it is slated as the site of the proposed San Bernardino-Redlands Passenger Rail Line which is proposed to link Redlands with Metrolink (but not without a transfer at the San Bernardino transit center).
To compound the problems, there is a signalized intersection at Industrial Parkway that can be a busy intersection. Tri-City Plaza and two car dealerships are nearby.
To compound problems even more, we have what the City’s press release calls “an unorthodox and difficult merger of Colton Avenue and Redlands Boulevard.”
When I started as the Assistant City Attorney for the City of Redlands in 2006, the project was alive but not funded. I had a minor role with the project, but by the end of my time in 2010, the project may have been alive, but it was not really progressing. The plans had been drawn earlier (the press release says it was around starting in 2003), and even then the City was using a consultant to obtain right-of-way. By the time the project was bid in 2013, because of difficulty with some landowners, less lanes than originally planned will actually be built.
The City of Redlands badly needs this project because the intersection (at least on Alabama) is a nightmare during the morning and evening rush hours.
For a few months, though it’s going to get a lot worse before it gets better.
I will follow-up with a post regarding a photographic survey of the intersection and its environs today.