More in Business:
By Mike Hazlip—
Following concerns voiced last year about part of a $23 million improvement project on Auburn Boulevard, the manager of a local auto body shop says the city has worked with the business to alter plans that would have cut off partial access to the shop.
Nor Cal Auto Body Manager Brenda Riffe told The Sentinel in a phone call Tuesday that city staff had visited their location multiple times to understand how planned changes to the center divide would affect deliveries to their business. The business first raised concerns about the planned changes during an October 2021 meeting of the Auburn Boulevard Business Association (ABBA).
As previously reported by The Sentinel, the initial plans called for an extension of the left turn lane median along southbound Auburn Boulevard. The extension would have prevented southbound tow trucks coming from I-80 from accessing Nor Cal Auto Body, a move that would impact the business financially, Riffe said.
City staff changed the plans to end the center divide just south of Nor Cal Auto Body’s property, according to Riffe.
Economic Development and Communications Manager Meghan Huber said the city takes business needs into consideration during large projects such as the Auburn Boulevard Complete Streets plan.
“For large transformative projects like Auburn Blvd Complete Streets Phase 2 the City begins outreach early and often to understand ingress and egress needs of businesses and property owners and make a proactive plan,” Huber said.
Riffe called the city’s response a “positive experience” and said it is important for businesses to be involved in community organizations where their concerns can be heard.
“I think part of the good community that we live in is the people themselves,” Riffe said. “Not just the people serving the city, but the people who live here and work here too, because they are participatory. Of course we would like more participation and more voices heard.”
Huber said the city continues to seek input from businesses along Auburn Boulevard during the planning phase of the project in order to “minimize impacts” as the project moves forward.
Plans for the second phase of improvements to Auburn Boulevard, which will extend from Rusch Park to the Roseville border, show new center medians with designated turn lanes to be installed along most of the corridor.
Plans also include undergrounding of overhead utility lines, installation of bike lanes and wider sidewalks, upgrading signals, adding decorative street lighting, planting of new landscaping and trees, upgrading storm drains, roadway resurfacing, enhanced transit stops and a new gateway sign over the boulevard.
Business owners have expressed support for the project as a way to improve the visual appeal of the boulevard. The city’s vision is to transform the boulevard into a “destination” spot to attract shoppers and diners.
More information about the project is posted on the city’s website. Comments on the city’s plan can be sent to the city’s Auburn Boulevard Corridor Team, at ABCS2@citrusheights.net.
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