South Farmersville Boulevard Safe Routes To Schools Project

City of Farmersville, CA

South Farmersville

 

The City of Farmersville’s South Farmersville Boulevard Project is a pedestrian and bicycle improvement project, as well as a transit project. The Project improves pedestrian and bicycle safety by addressing deficiencies near places of employment, schools, and neighborhoods.

The Project’s location is South Farmersville Boulevard, the main north-south arterial in the City, and extends from just south of Visalia Road to the southern City limits, approximately ½-mile. The Project is in the direct vicinity of Snowden Elementary (approximately 450 students in grades 2 and 3). Roy Park and a senior housing community are also adjacent to the Project, as well as commercial and residential uses. A lack of contiguous sidewalks at this location forced students and others, including seniors, into the street or shoulder with no vehicular separation such as a raised curb. There were a narrow shoulder and no safe clearance for pedestrians or bicycles.

The Project included the design and installation of:

  • Approximately 1,700 linear feet of sidewalk
  • Five (5) ADA-compliant curb ramps
  • New pedestrian refuge median at the existing Snowden Elementary School crossing
  • Two (2) new transit stops
  • A new transit turn-around location
  • Signing; and Pavement Delineation
  • New Class II bicycle lanes

The existing Snowden Elementary School crossing was approximately 58 feet wide and vehicles typically travel between 35 and 45 mph in the area. The new pedestrian refuge median allows the students to cross half of the roadway and provides a safe area at which to remain before crossing the other half of the roadway.

There were previously no transit stops along South Farmersville Boulevard because the buses had no way to turn around. The project constructed a bus turnaround location which now allows for two transit stops on South Farmersville Boulevard. Seniors previously had to walk to transit stops on Visalia Road (approximately ½-mile) to travel to medical appointments, shopping, etc. With the new transit facilities adjacent to the senior housing community, it is much easier for the seniors to obtain transit service allowing them more freedom and independence.

QK provided engineering design and drafting, land surveying, utility coordination, right of way designation, environmental compliance, construction staking, and construction management and field observation services for the project.

Glaze Avenue

City of Exeter, CA

Glaze Avenue

 

The City of Exeter’s Glaze Avenue Project (Project) was a shoulder stabilization project which constructed approximately 31,000 square feet of pavement to provide shoulders along a mile-long segment of Glaze Avenue between Belmont Road and State Route (SR) 65 (Kaweah Avenue). Glaze Avenue is the southern-most roadway in the City of Exeter. A park, as well as residential, industrial, and agricultural uses, are adjacent to the Project. The roadway width was as narrow as 15 feet in some locations prior to construction.

The additional paving allowed for full-width, vehicle travel lanes, as well as shoulders striped as Class II bicycle lanes to provide bicycle connectivity across the southern end of the City. Project construction also included utility relocations, storm drainage, signing, and pavement delineation. The Project was funded by the Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality (CMAQ) Improvement Program, toll credits, and local funds.

South Valencia Boulevard Sidewalk Project

City of Woodlake, CA

South Valencia Boulevard Sidewalk Project

 

The South Valencia project was initiated by the Dolores Huerta Foundation in an effort to construct ADA improvements on the southern portion of the City that would provide a safe pathway for pedestrians, and school children.

QK provided engineering design, utility coordination, land surveying, right of way, construction engineering, CEQA compliance, and biological services for the South Valencia Sidewalk Project along Valencia Boulevard from Bravo Avenue to Deltha Avenue. Street improvements included the design of one half-mile of the curb, gutter, and sidewalk, seven (7) ADA accessible (ADA compliant) pedestrian curb ramps, two cross gutters, asphaltic concrete, 50 drive approaches, and tie-ins to meet ADA standards, new storm drain system, and signing and pavement delineation modifications. Additionally, 22 palm trees lining S. Valencia Boulevard and a small grove of eight eucalyptus trees were removed.

QK biologists conducted bat roosting surveys and eagle/raptor nest surveys of the project site to determine whether any bat species were present within the disturbance area of the trees. A survey was also conducted for the presence of any existing active or inactive raptor nests that may be used during the 2017 nesting season. During construction, QK is providing staking and field observation services for the project.

Garden In The Sun Park

City of Arvin, CA

Garden In The Sun Park

 

Creating recreational areas in the City of Arvin is essential for the quality of life and promotion of healthy living. In 2010, the City of Arvin was awarded a Proposition 84 Park Grant which provided the means to construct a new park in the center of the City. The 5-acre park is near the City’s proposed civic center and the Jewett Square mixed-use development. The park fronts the newly completed Walnut Street alignment –a big step to improving the traffic and pedestrian circulation within the project vicinity and connecting Arvin High School to the City’s main thoroughfare, Bear Mountain Boulevard.

QK assisted the City of Arvin in developing a comprehensive park project and construction plans incorporating proven sustainable solutions. Conceptual drawings and construction plans and specifications were prepared for the entire project.

The park’s design includes the following features:

  • Feature fountain at park’s main entry with decorative tile surfacing, seat walls, and planters
  • Large concrete entry plaza
  • Tot Lot (engineered wood fiber play surface and concrete curbs)
  • Splash pad (proposed for a later phase of development)
  • Restrooms building
  • Storage and equipment building
  • Gazebo with game tables and large concrete surface chessboard
  • Picnic arbors
  • Monument sign
  • Grass volleyball court
  • Loop trail, concrete walks, and nearby planter areas
  • Benches, picnic tables, drinking fountains, bike racks, and trash receptacles
  • Loop trail, concrete walks, and nearby planter areas
  • Benches, picnic tables, drinking fountains, bike racks, and trash receptacles
  • Drought tolerant plantings in the botanical garden
  • Mural walls at the west perimeter block wall
  • Exercise stations with DG (decomposed granite) surfacing
  • Site lighting
  • Safety bollards at park entry drop-off
  • Bio-Retention Cell for drainage
  • New water-efficient irrigation system for the entire park

The park’s ribbon-cutting ceremony took place on September 22, 2017, with a marching band, cultural dancing, and numerous food and specialty booths tucked between the stately palms on Walnut Avenue. Walnut Avenue was designed to be an extension of the park with community celebrations, farmers’ markets, art fairs, and other special events located on the newly opened street.

Hanford General Plan Update, EIR, Zoning Ordinance Update, Subdivision Ordinance Update & Infrastructure Master Plans

City of Hanford, CA

Hanford General Plan Update

Due in large part to the success of QK’s APA award-winning Hanford Downtown East Precise Plan and our team’s experience with the preparation of policy documents, the team of QK and Zumwalt-Hansen & Associates was selected to prepare a comprehensive General Plan (GP), Zoning Ordinance (ZO) and subdivision ordinance update, as well as the supporting environmental review/reports for the City of Hanford.

The purpose of a General Plan Update is to serve the City for the next 20 years, comply with state, local, and federal regulations, and provide the community with a vision for the City’s future, as well as guidelines for the way land will be developed and used. QK led the public outreach efforts and guided the discussion with the Citizen’s Advisory Committee and led several key discussions about the Citizens’ wants and needs for the GP. Those discussions led to actual policies in the GP.

Four important and distinctive features included:

  • Goals, objectives, policies, and programs for elements in land use and community design; transportation and circulation; open space, conservation, and recreation; health and safety; public facilities and services and environmental justice;
  • An extensive public engagement/outreach program including a city-wide bus tour and 14 meetings with the 20-person Citizen’s Advisory Committee;
  • Preparation of a program-level Environmental Impact Report (EIR);
  • A ZO update that reflected the City’s desire for a “Red Carpet, not Red Tape” approach.

Development of the GP and the ZO coincided with the construction phases for the California High-Speed Rail, recent State laws like Senate Bill 375, California’s Sustainable Communities and Climate Protection Act and regional planning efforts like the San Joaquin Valley Blueprint. The GP and the ZO reflect the new State laws as well as changes in housing preferences. The EIR was certified, and the General Plan and ZO were adopted by the City Council in April 2017.

As an extension of the GP/ZO update process, QK concurrently prepared the Infrastructure Master Plans for sanitary sewer, potable water, and storm drainage. By including these Master Plans into the scope of the overall project, infrastructure planning occurred simultaneously with the GP update process. This proactive strategy eliminated a problem that too often plagues cities; a GP update identifies areas for development, and then later it’s discovered that the City cannot efficiently provide services.

Throughout the project, QK also provided grant writing support in coordination with components of the GP. The grant writing team was successful in procuring nearly a quarter-million dollars of funding early in the process that helped reduce the need for using general funds to finance the GP update.

New Well, Tanks, Booster Pump Stations, and Pressure Sustaining Valves

City of Chowchilla, CA

New Well, Tanks, Booster Pump Stations & Pressure Sustaining Valves

The City of Chowchilla (City) faces challenges familiar to many California small and rural cities, which often serve disadvantaged communities with limited resources. City officials and staff in these communities put their hearts and souls into their service, and as we see here in the Valley every day, this type of leadership can lead to great advances that benefit the public far into the future.

Since a previous infrastructure analysis for the City showed significant deficiencies in its water system, the City knew it needed to make a big change. But thinking forward, it didn’t seem enough to the Council and Staff to simply put a band-aid on the structural problems. They didn’t want to just fix things that needed immediate repair. They wanted to commit to the delivery of energy-efficient infrastructure across the board so that their constituents would know that their contributions as ratepayers are being wisely invested in their long-term future, instead of short-term remedies.

It was this total commitment to water and energy efficiency that led City leaders to find Johnson Controls, Inc. (JCI), which was then able to assist City staff not only in planning for a clean and green future but with the creative financing of that plan that included public funding. Since City Council and Staff know that water is the lifeblood of their community, it was determined that an initial major step on the City’s path to sustainability should be in its water system.

The City has several aging wells and an elevated water tank that is no longer in use. Many of the wells have old equipment and controls that require constant attention and adjustments based on the seasonal water demands. The growing population and water demand of the City have only exacerbated the existing issues of insufficient well capacity, inadequate storage for peak hour and fire flow conditions, and the inability to pressurize the entire system.

The City is divided into two zones – the east and west sides of town, with HWY 99 running through the middle. Because the east side of town is positioned at a higher elevation than the west, the City was inundated with citizen complaints regarding the lack of pressure on that side.

So, when one of the City’s main wells went down, the long-awaited need for an updated system became urgent. As a result, the project design included drilling a new well and installing a 750,000-gallon storage tank at the City’s existing corporation yard that could be filled at night and pumped out during the day. The new well is equipped with a Variable Frequency Drive (VFD) which allows flexibility of speed at which the motor runs to adjust the flow rate of the well. A new booster station was also installed at this site, equipped with three VFD pumps that automatically adjust to meet the varying demand.

The design also included the installation of two Pressure Sustaining Valves (PSVs) – in the center of the two 12-inch main water lines that connect the east side to the west side. The PSVs only allow water to pass through in one direction unless certain pressure conditions are met. This ensures that the higher elevation side doesn’t lose pressure due to the water wanting to flow downhill.

Lastly, a solar panel array was installed on-site to not only provide power to the new facilities but some of the existing City buildings as well. In total, the combination of the new well, storage tank, booster pump station, PSVs, and solar panels ensure that the City’s water delivery system is operating efficiently, with the pressure necessary to satisfy the demands of its citizens, and the storage required to meet peak demands or to take the well offline for maintenance.

Cameron Creek Colony Emergency Water Supply Project

City of Farmersville, CA

Cameron Creek Colony Emergency Water Supply Project

The Cameron Creek Water project involved multiple agencies, groups, and individuals to get the project constructed without undue delay. It was a true team effort of the City of Farmersville, Tulare County Board of Supervisors, Tulare County Resource Management Agency, Tulare County Local Agency Formation Commission, Self Help Enterprises, Quad Knopf, Inc. (QK), and West Valley Construction. California State University Fresno and BSK provided additional support during the outreach and preliminary engineering, respectively.

QK provided the engineering design of 7,262 lineal feet of 8-inch water main, installation of 6 fire hydrants, 10 control valves, and 106 new water services to provide domestic water service to Cameron Creek Colony without an impact on Farmersville’s budget or without incurring a debt service that the severely disadvantaged community could not afford. Construction Management was also provided for the project.

How Does Urban Planning Continue in a Global Pandemic? Meet QK’s Virtual Counter

Qk Virtual Counter

How Does Urban Planning Continue in a Global Pandemic?

 

By Jessica Bispels, Associate Planner

 

Meet QK's virtual counter

Few things are unaffected by the COVID-19 pandemic. While people continue to see changes in their workplace, their schools, the way they purchase goods, and even the way they interact with others, it is clear that for Planning departments, the show must go on. But how? Planners oftentimes work collaboratively, and direct, often face-to-face communication with government officials and the public they serve is an integral part of the Planning profession. Beginning early Spring of 2020, this became a little challenging. And answering the call by the cities we serve to continue our work as closely as possible to a “business as usual” environment, while adhering to safety protocols, QK developed the capacity to assist planning departments with a program we like to call … Virtual Counter.

Virtual Counter is a program designed by QK Planners and IT professionals that uses Microsoft® Bookings and Teams technology to enable to the public to schedule appointments with Planning staff from the comfort of their homes and offices. Our Virtual Counter has access to Planning staff schedules and allows the public to choose and lock in private appointments. Appointments are blocked out in one-hour intervals and can take place via phone or video. QK has implemented a Virtual Counter for the City of Selma, California as part of our on-call Planning services and we are finding great success for both the City and its citizens.

At QK, we understand how important it is for Planning departments to continue to be accessible and available to the public. We also recognize how important it is to get creative and make sure every voice is heard and every concern addressed, while safely maintaining physical distance. Virtual Counter  meets those needs, and is also beneficial for people who previously found it difficult to physically come to the Planning department for face-to-face interaction.

And we don’t think Virtual Counter stops at the end of the pandemic. We foresee the success of Virtual Counter continuing even after the pandemic is over. We believe it to be potentially invaluable for cities and counties to offer a hybrid approach to working with Planning departments where members of the community and land developers will be able to schedule in-person, video, or phone meetings that fit their needs and schedules.

Is your city interested in customizing QK’s Virtual Counter for your Planning department?  Call Principal Planner Steve Brandt today at (559) 733-0440, and learn just how easy it is.

On-Call Environmental Services

Panama-Buena Vista Union School District, Bakersfield, CA

On-Call Environmental Services

San Joaquin kit fox (SJKF) is an endangered fox subspecies native to the San Joaquin Valley region of California, and in the past, has burrowed underneath portable classrooms at district schools. QK works with the school district to obtain coverage under the Metropolitan Bakersfield Habitat Conservation Plan (MBHCP), to find the foxes a safe home. We also provide a districtwide SJKF awareness training program for students and staff and conduct protocol monitoring to identify SJKF activity and exclude kit foxes from atypical dens on school property.

By coordinating our efforts with the City of Bakersfield and associated wildlife agencies, we proactively identify issues as they arise, monitor SJKF activity, and help to create a safe environment for the students and staff, while protecting one of California’s indigenous species.