Some lucky Isla Vista pedestrians may soon find themselves walking on that latest modern convenience: the concrete sidewalk.
The county Public Works Dept. is currently installing 550 feet of handicap-accessible sidewalk at the intersection of Camino Pescadero and Sabado Tarde Road. Construction began in mid-December and the Public Works Dept. expects the project to be completed by the end of this week. The construction is part of a county plan to add more sidewalks in I.V. as funding becomes available to the department. Approximately 1,300 feet of sidewalk has been installed since the summer and the next addition will likely be on Sabado Tarde Road between Camino Pescadero and Camino Corto.
John Buttny, assistant to the 3rd district supervisor, said the project is intended to create pedestrian safety, especially areas used by school children.
“We’re trying to create a network where you can get across town and not have to walk in the streets,” Buttny said.
Some homeowners do not want the sidewalks to be installed due to the loss of existing landscaping. Buttny said the county has the right of way in front of recently built houses, but for older lots, the county must compensate the homeowners or replace the landscaping.
Ron Bensel, a public works engineer, said the department has not yet been in contact with the landowners affected by the current construction.
“There were some trees removed prior to construction, and we will work with the property owners to replace them,” Bensel said. “When we removed them, we sent out letters to the property owners and they have yet to respond, and we can’t really plant a tree without their response.”
After the trees were removed in November, residents posted signs that read “I love trees” in protest of the construction.
“Once the tree was gone, all hope was lost,” third-year business economics major John Irwin said. “But there’s always paddy wagons here, so the new sidewalk will give them a place to sit kids down.”
Some other residents of the 6600 block of Sabado Tarde Road complained about the construction and said that when the crew was pouring cement, they were unable to park or pull out of the driveway. A few said the construction caused noise early in the morning, but most were happy to have a new sidewalk.
“I like the look of the sidewalk as opposed to the look of mud and dead grass, but it seems like it should have been done before we got back,” said Mike Nu