County Council of Governments receives update on Hollister Pinnacle Highway, San Juan Washington Bridge and Hwy 156 beautification plans.
This article was written by BenitoLink intern Kinsey Canez
August 18 in council San Benito County Governments (COG) in the meeting, nothing agenda The directors talked like Item 6: A presentation by Corby Kilmer, Caltrans District 5 Transportation Arts Coordinator.
At the presentation, Kilmer provided updates on several progressive projects — one in Hollister and two in San Juan Bautista — that seek to beautify cities through public art installations, nature and updated views.
Be part of everyone Clean California InitiativeA program introduced in March by Gov. Gavin Newsom, which provides grants to communities across the state for curbside improvements and litter removal.
“In Hollister, we’re working on a landscaping plan that I know the community has wanted for a long time,” Kilmer said. “It’s extending from Sunset Drive to Santa Ana Road. There’s lots of paving but no landscaping, and lots of sound walls; it’s very hardscape.”
The Pinnacles National Highway is part of the Airline Highway that covers about two miles. The beautification project hopes to transform this stretch of highway into a more visually pleasing and massively connected source for the community.
Design plans for the highway include drought-tolerant planting. “We’re going to put vines on the sound walls, add colorful shrubs, add shade trees and it will all be irrigated with a water-saving drip irrigation system,” Kilmer said. “That system will be powered by solar-powered controllers so it’s also very energy efficient.”
Next on the way is more public art.
At the intersection of Hollister Pinnacles National Highway and Meridian Drive, a sculpture by artist James Peterson will be installed. Peterson was one of about 30 applicants to design a sculpture for the space and advanced to the final round where he presented three different concepts to a panel of community members and the San Benito Arts Council, Kilmer said.
Final plans for the sculpture are still in progress, as Peterson waits to receive community input.
“He will continue to be involved in the community. He’s going to post a sign out there that will have a QR code on it to lead anyone who’s interested to the website he created for the sculpture commission,” Kilmer said.
That website, Kilmer said, will become a place where community members can share their ideas and input for what they want the sculpture to represent.
Hollister City Councilman and COG Director Rolan Resendiz said he was “excited and honored to have someone of that caliber working in our community.”
Hollister Mayor and COG President Ignacio Velasquez requested the installation of accent lights along the corridor and expressed interest in the Hollister Memorial sign being added to the Santa Ana intersection of Pinnacle National Highway.
Kilmer said the project is already $100,000 over its $1.02 million budget — which could prevent approval of new elements like Velasquez’s requests. As for the memorial sign, Kilmer said it needs to be in accordance Gateway Memorial Program.
Two other beautification projects presented by Kilmer are in San Juan Bautista. Those plans include a mural with sculptural elements on the Washington Street underpass by artists Ryan “Yano” Sarfati and Eric “Joeh” Scotness. Yano x ZOUEH. It will improve the area with new sidewalks, nature and fencing.
“Yano and Zoueh’s concept is a wall that will be above the undercrossing walls and girders and that will extend to the sloped pavement,” Kilmer said. “So something that is now very dark and dull gray will be bright and colorful.”
Community outreach will also play a major role in the project with workshops coordinated through the San Benito County Arts Council.
Both projects are expected to be completed by summer 2023, and construction is expected to begin early next year, Transportation Planning Manager Veronica Lezama said.
At the end of her presentation, Kilmer highlighted opportunities for beauty Hwy 156 Improvement Project at Bixby Roundabout and, unlike the Hollister Pinnacles Highway and Washington Street underpass projects, it is in the early stages.
“Your chances are two-fold,” Kilmer said. One route is more artistic, with a sculpture in the center of the roundabout. Another option is a gateway monument to communicate the area drivers are entering.
District 2 Supervisor and COG Director Colin Kosmicki asked to promote Pinnacle National Park in the design. “Something I support is that Pinnacles National Monument is oriented,” he said, “because it’s the gateway to Pinnacles.”
Resendiz suggested a design based on the direction people drive. “If you’re leaving Hollister and entering San Juan Bautista,” he said, “it can say you’re entering San Juan Bautista and identify the mission or what not on that side, and if we can, on the other side. , something to promote Pinnacles or Hollister.”
No matter which option is selected, Kilmer said, it will be “subject to the approval and scrutiny of our traffic safety people. So whatever it is, or becomes, we have to make sure it does what it’s intended to do but isn’t a distraction.”
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