City of Bishop Public Works continues to court community input on proposed upscale upgrades to the Warren Street corridor.
Although the project won’t break ground for several years, the look of the completed project is taking shape on project drawings and an environmental analysis is also in the works. Progress can be greatly furthered by community feedback, said Director of Public Works David Grah. “Public input is a continuous process.”
Through the project, the city strives to improve the full length of Warren Street with a variety of additions and improvements: new pavement, curbs, sidewalks, trees and planters, street lights and benches and other seating areas. Fountains, public art, banners and public restrooms might also be incorporated.
Some of these enhancements will be located in pocket parks, similar to Talmage Park at the corner of Main and Academy streets. Improvements will also include bulb-outs at almost every intersection. A bulb-out, explained Grah, involves a slight narrowing of the street and the installation of curbs that bulb out into the street.
“To help visualize these areas, surveyors have recently painted (white) dots on the street pavement to show about where these features would be located,” Grah said. Pavement markings are readily visible at Warren Street intersections at Lagoon, Academy and Pine streets.
The city also plans to work with Sierra Business Council, which is interested in the positive commercial impact that the Warren Street Improvements project is anticipated to have on downtown Bishop. SBC will create three-dimensional mock-ups of full-sized trees, benches and other proposed amenities to be situated on Warren Street. SBC would be “temporarily building a little piece of the project,” said Grah.
SBC established a tentative late-spring completion date for the mock-ups. However, given the potential for strong winds and other unforgiving weather common at that time of the year, Grah has suggested late May or June instead. He is scheduled to meet with SBC representatives on Tuesday, Nov. 6.
If the $4 million budget – funded by state gas tax revenues – permits, the blocks on side streets between Warren and Main streets will also be improved. Those streets are South, Lagoon, Church, Academy, Pine and Elm. In the meantime, formal environmental analysis and documentation work for the project has commenced.
Public project hearings will be held to collect citizens’ input on the project. Specifically, residents and property owners on or near Warren Street will receive individual mailers, although everyone is welcome, said Grah.
In early 2013, an environmental hearing will be held to inform the public of the results of an environmental analysis of various factors in and around Warren Street: plants, animals, air quality, noise pollution, socioeconomics and public services. The hearing, required by law, will be another opportunity for the public to “formally make in-person comments,” Grah said.
“In the next few weeks Public Works will announce a planning workshop to be held between mid-December and early January,” said Grah. Its “specific intent will be to identify the public’s preferences with regard to all the various features of the project … It takes several years to complete a project like this” and citizen-feedback is most effective upfront. If citizens get involved now, “during the planning stages, they have more chance to have meaningful input about what sorts of fountains, benches, street lights they are interested in seeing on Warren Street,” Grah added.
Citizens will be kept in the loop and can give their input in a variety of ways. Public Works is compiling an e-mail contact list of persons interested in being kept abreast of the project; to be added, send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org . Public media, such as newspaper and radio, will announce hearings, workshops and other meetings. Information updates will be posted to www.ca-bishop.us  and photo updates can be seen at the City of Bishop’s www.facebook.com  page. Public Works can also be contacted at 377 West Line St., (760) 873-8458 or by e-mail.