Construction drawings for the street are being finished up and should be available to the public soon, said John Oskoui, the assistant city manager and director of public works.
The project calls for bus stops, trees, medians, plants and new asphalt.
The goals of the redesign are to make the street look better, increase traffic flow and to get residents to get out of their cars and walk around in shopping areas, city officials said.
The 3-mile stretch through Downey is the busiest in the city with 35,000-to-40,000 daily vehicle trips. But the famous drag is cracked, disorganized and has no center median for much its length throughout the city. And the current design has six lanes but allows parking along the sides of the road.
In Downtown Downey, the designers will make the street look distinct, with plans for colored concrete and light posts, among other decorations, Oskoui said.
“Once drivers get to the downtown area, they certainly are going to know they are in different place where they can get out and dine, and wine in some cases, and go shopping,” he said.
Starting sometime around September, construction crews will slowly work their way eastward to completely overhaul the boulevard from Old River School Road to Brookshire Avenue. Construction on the western section of the road is expected to take last about 6-7 months. After a 5-6 month break, the city will finish the rest of the road to the eastern border of the town for the second phase of the project.
Traffic will be slow during much of the construction period.
Worried that businesses might be hurt by the loss of parking, the city has held meetings with shop owners up and down the boulevard. After hearing from owners, engineers decided to make more breaks in the center median so cars were able to turn left into businesses.
The business community so far hasn’t expressed opposition to the proposed street improvement. The topic hasn’t been brought to the attention of the leadership at the Chamber of Commerce, and it hasn’t come up at recent meetings.