National City has been very proactive in the development of a complete streets program in their downtown area. Leveraging various grant funding programs, including SANDAG’s Smart Growth Improvement Plan grants, the City identified six blocks for an intensive downtown retail shopping district and another six blocks of pedestrian improvements and connections to the trolley station. Through the grant prepared by KTUA, a number of alternative street cross sections were developed for evaluation. The preferred alternative included a reduction in the number of traffic lanes, modified medians and pedestrian bulb-outs, along with street trees, innovative stormwater management facilities, historic lighting, banners, and street furnishings.
A key feature of the project is the integration of a storefront improvement program, utility undergrounding, and the redevelopment of two blocks of infill projects with live work lofts, ground floor open market space, artist lofts, and other residential development, including eight story rentals with inclusionary affordable housing. The project ties together Kimball Park, Heritage Row, City Hall, and Morgan Plaza with A Street and 8th Street as the centerpiece of the project. A full range of pedestrian safety improvements, lighting and bike facilities encourage non-motorized mobility. Mixed uses and an efficient use of land, close proximity to several training and educational facilities, and support from bus and light rail transit contribute to the smart growth principles and represent a valuable opportunity to support the existing businesses in the community.