Over the next few months, Pardall Road will be undergoing a makeover as a result of infrastructure and aesthetic renovations underway in the town’s commercial district.

The Pardall Road Streetscape project — a series of improvements aimed at easing vehicular traffic in the area and promoting a pedestrian-friendly town center — is the first component of the long-anticipated Isla Vista Master Plan.

The project, which broke ground in early August, includes widening sidewalks along Pardall Road and increasing street lighting and bike parking. Water and sewage systems will be updated, and over 70 new trees will also be planted along Pardall. In conjunction with the project, the roadblock on Pardall was also recently removed.

Until the project concludes in mid-December, through-traffic along the road — especially for private vehicles — will be affected.

According to Jeff Lindgren, a redevelopment specialist with the Santa Barbara Executive Office, the end result of all the construction will be a promenade area along Pardall with more outdoor café space where people can shop and eat.

Since mid-summer, Lindgen said crews have completed most of the underground construction along the street, including replacing defunct waterlines and laying the groundwork for a new drainage system.

“[In past years] if it rained just a little bit there were big puddles at the corners of Pardall at Embarcadero del Mar and del Norte,” said Lindgren. “The new drainage system should help that.”

He said the next stage in the project would be the reconstruction of the sidewalks along Pardall, which will be extended 12 feet outward on the north side of the street in front of Java Jones and Sam’s to Go. Lindgren added that sidewalk construction will take place in three phases, starting at the west end of Pardall before moving progressively east toward campus.

The third phase of construction will take place on the eastern-end of Pardall and will directly impact the houses of Pardall closest to the underpass separating I.V. from campus.

“There will be periods where residents won’t be able to use their driveways or parking spaces,” Lindgren said. “Those affected will be provided with passes for parking on campus if they need them.”

The streetscape project is expected to wrap up at the end of Fall Quarter, allowing students to return in 2009 to a new downtown I.V.

“It will not be anything over the top — not super fancy like downtown Santa Barbara,” Lindgren said. “But it’s going to be a nice change.”

The Isla Vista Master Plan has been under development since 1999, when an advisory board was formed to address the various infrastructure, traffic and zoning problems in the community. After holding over 60 meetings over the next eight years to discuss the plan and garner public input, the IVMP was put before and approved by the Santa Barbara County Board of Supervisors in August of 2007.

Following the Pardall Road Streetscape project renovations, the next Master Plan construction project — slated to begin in 2009 — is a solar-powered parking structure at the northwest corner of the intersection of Pardall Road and Embarcadero del Mar.