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$13 million project to transform Shell Beach Road is ready to begin

A rendering shows how the Shell Beach Streetscape Project aims to increase pedestrian and bicyclist mobility with an 8-foot-wide pathways along they highway side of Shell Beach Road.
A rendering shows how the Shell Beach Streetscape Project aims to increase pedestrian and bicyclist mobility with an 8-foot-wide pathways along they highway side of Shell Beach Road. Pismobeach.org

A $13 million plan to transform Shell Beach Road into a business-friendly corridor that's safe for pedestrians and cyclists is moving forward, after more than a decade of planning.

The Shell Beach Streetscape Project was unanimously approved by the Pismo Beach City Council on Tuesday, and construction will begin in late August. Work is expected to last until the end of 2019.

"It is transformative for the community," City Manager Jim Lewis said. "It's good for health, retail and families and will revitalize downtown Shell Beach."

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The Shell Beach Streetscape Project will move overhead utilities underground, install new streetlights and build a multi-use path. Kaytlyn Leslie kleslie@thetribunenews.com

The project will revamp the 18-block stretch of Shell Beach Road between Dinosaur Caves Park on Cliff Avenue and Shell Beach Elementary School on Terrace Avenue, according to a city news release.

The goal of the remodel is to promote business in the area and provide more room for safe, non-vehicle transportation options. All businesses along Shell Beach road will remain accessible throughout construction.

The project will reconstruct the roadway, improve accessibility and crosswalks and install an 8-foot-wide multipurpose path for pedestrians and bicyclists along Shell Beach Road.

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Pismo Beach received a $600,000 state grant toward planning and permitting the path. However, paving the path and new road will cost more than $1 million alone.

As part of the remodel, the city will add landscaping, trees, fences, trash and recycling receptacles, lighting, benches and bike racks. The estimated cost of the pathway will amount to roughly $4.3 million.

As a result of the pathway, there will be nine fewer street-side parking spaces available on Shell Beach Road. To compensate for the loss, the city has purchased a lot that will provide 16 more parking spaces.

The city will also upgrade existing water infrastructure and relocate overhead utilities underground. Some $4.1 million in funding is available through the PG&E rule 20A program to underground existing overhead utilities. The water infrastructure updates will be funded by the City's Water Enterprise Fund.

The General Fund and Half-Cent Sales Tax Revenue were authorized by Pismo Beach to pay for the rest of the expenses, according to the Pismo Beach website.

The streetscape discussion began in 2005 among the Shell Beach Improvement Group, composed of business owners and residents. In 2007, the group joined with Pismo city staff to begin formal planning, and two years later the project was approved as part of the Pismo Beach Master Plan.

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