Last night, the Goleta Redevelopment Agency (RDA) met at the Goleta Valley Union School District building and to discuss plans to extend two small roads east of Highway 217 to intersect the highway.

The meeting was scheduled to approve the appointment of preliminary service contracts for the project.

“It’s been some time since we brought this project to [the RDA],” Steve Wagner, community services director, said. “There’s been a lot of work and preparation and meetings and consultations with Caltrans and the project team.”

According to the agenda report from the Goleta Community Services Dept., funding for the expansion project was set aside in 1998 as part of the State Transportation Improvement Plan. The plan then was to extend both Ekwill Street and Fowler Road to intersect Highway 217 and to construct graded intersections on the highway.

“Some time after that there were objections raised by UCSB regarding the at-grade intersections,” Wagner said. “We found out that the city could not go forward with that project unless the concerns that UCSB raised were somehow dealt with.”

The staff spent August through October 2003 in meetings with Caltrans and the Santa Barbara County Association of Governments. According to the agenda report, the meetings were held to reach a consensus on how to approach the engineering and environmental planning stage of the project.

The results of these meetings were three scenarios, presented by Wagner in a staff report to the RDA. The scenarios outlined various plans for proceeding with the project, which involve additional environmental studies and a possible Caltrans Project Study Report.

The RDA did not vote on the appointment of the contracts at last night’s meeting. Instead, they tabled the issue pending additional information from the Community Services Department concerning the connections to Highway 217.
– Caitlin Adams