Saturday, October 23, 2010

City of Fairfield celebrating transportation accomplishment & new auto store opening

Celebrating transportation accomplishments, new store opening

By Sean Quinn | | October 22, 2010 19:41

Since 1998, the Solano Transportation Authority has recognized individuals,
programs, activities, and projects that have contributed to improving the
quality of life in Solano County by delivering transportation projects that
ensure mobility, travel safety, and economic vitality.

Our Public Works Department has submitted nominations to the STA in a number
of categories. In reading the completed nomination forms, I had a chance to
reflect on all the work that has been accomplished this past year. Let's
celebrate their accomplishments:

The team responsible for delivering all of the city's capital improvement
projects consists of three engineers and three inspectors. In 2010, this
team will advertise and award nine transportation projects valued at an
estimated $5.9 million and will complete nine additional transportation
projects worth a total of $54.6 million. These projects range in size, with
the largest estimated at $26 million and the smallest valued at $145,000.

Transportation projects represent only a portion of the city's total capital
improvement program, which also includes capital projects for water, sewer,
drainage, parks, and public buildings. The ability to complete this volume
of projects is particularly noteworthy given that Fairfield, on average, has
historically completed 10 projects per year with an average annual total
value of $8 million.

Transportation projects that have recently been completed or are nearing
completion are the North Texas Street/Interstate 80 interchange, North
Connector, and McGary Road projects. These three projects will greatly
enhance our quality of life and set the foundation for a vibrant local

The North Connector and McGary Road projects are vital links that now make
it possible for bicyclists to connect to Vallejo and the rest of the Bay
Area. For automobiles, these two projects are especially important as they
provide alternative routes to I-80. Of note, McGary Road is part of the Bay
Area Ridge Trail network and links hiking trails in Solano County to trails
throughout the Bay Area and provides better access for Fairfield residents
to Lynch Canyon.

The North Texas Street/I-80 Interchange Project, which I have written about
in past columns, is a source of economic vitality in our community. In
addition to the future Lowe's, with the interchange and related roadwork
completed, the city is generating considerable interest in development
opportunities in the area. Stay tuned for future announcements.

Projects under construction that will have a lasting impact on our community
include the Red Top Road Park and Ride Lot and Auto Mall Parkway
Reconstruction and Widening projects.

The Red Top Road Park and Ride Lot project consists of the construction of a
220-space surface parking lot across from Sunnyside Dairy for residents to
connect to regional mass transit and ride sharing opportunities. The park
and ride lot will also help facilitate the first phase of the
I-80/Interstate 680 improvements.

The Auto Mall Parkway Reconstruction and Widening project consists of
improving an old county road, which is a key segment of Auto Mall Parkway.
The auto mall is a key economic engine in our community and has consistently
generated a significant amount of the city's sales taxes.

Regardless of the outcome of the STA annual awards, I want to draw attention
to the success of our Public Works Department.

Finally, on the economic front, if you haven't visited North Texas Street
lately, you will be surprised to see that our newest addition, Wal-Mart, is
nearing completion. The 200,000-square-foot store, which is located at the
corner of North Texas Street and Atlantic Avenue, is anticipated to open
this fall.

City leaders hope the new store will have a positive impact on the
surrounding area by generating traffic and reinvestment. In addition, later
this year and early next year, Wal-Mart will be sponsoring two small
business seminars that will be coordinated by the Small Business Development
Center on what it takes to compete with large retailers.

Sean Quinn is city manager of Fairfield.