In May, the SANDAG Board of Directors approved the City of National City 8th Street Corridor Smart Growth Revitalization Project for TransNet Smart Growth Incentive Program funds, in the amount of $2 million. This was a competitive process with 43 entries from cities through the region. The National City Smart Growth project earned the highest score and received the maximum allowable grant amount.
The total project cost is $3.5 million. In addition to the $2 million grant, the project will be funded by a $1 million match from SDG&E Utility Undergrounding and a $500,000 local match from the City Tax Increment Fund.
The western portion of the project focuses on the area from the 8th Street Trolley Station to National City Boulevard. Elements for the western project area include new lighting with historic banners and way finding signs, street trees, Class II bicycle lanes, an "Historic Walk and Mural" with decorative safety lighting and railings for the freeway underpass, pedestrian improvements at the I-5 northbound on-ramp, landscaped median islands for traffic calming and access control, and creation of a new plaza at the trolley station with new lighting, furnishings, an information kiosk, enhanced paving and landscaping, and ADA upgrades. At the intersection of National City Boulevard and 8th Street, the project will enhance the National City gateway with new vertical supports for the pedestrian bridge structure, corner bulb-outs, ADA upgrades, new lighting with historic banners and way finding signs, signature palm trees and plantings.
The eastern portion of the project focuses on the area between National City Boulevard and D Avenue. This portion of 8th Street will be narrowed from two lanes in each direction to one lane in each direction with a center turn lane (consistent with the adopted Downtown Specific Plan) to allow for wider sidewalks, corner bulb-outs, enhanced crosswalk striping, ADA upgrades, mid-block landscaped median islands, and alternating angled and parallel parking. To further enhance the public realm, the project will implement new lighting with historic banners and way finding signs, street trees and plantings, an information kiosk, benches, bike racks and other street furnishings.
The project will also deliver a new "Market Square" on A Avenue between 8th Street and 9th Street, where pedestrians can congregate for an expanded farmer's market and street festivals, connecting to Historic Brick Row and Morgan Square. Ultimately, the 8th Street project will invigorate smart growth and revitalize a critical transit/pedestrian corridor for the benefit of local businesses, residents, visitors and the region as a whole.