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Fremont - Mission Boulevard Streetscape

Client: City of Fremont and Nolte & Associates, Inc.

Mission Boulevard needed streetscape improvements with a light touch to complement historic Mission San Jose and adjacent shops (many serving the nearby Ohlone College campus), as well as to provide basic drainage. The resulting design added decorative streetlights between parked cars to help “pinch down” and reduce the visible street width.

Mission Boulevard’s pedestrian scale was strengthened by shifting streetlights off sidewalks into parking lanes.
 

Before

Mission Boulevard had rural charm but lacked storm drainage, curbs, ADA access, and pedestrian-friendly lighting.

  • The street’s lack of storm drains, curbing and consistent sidewalks had rural charm but was substandard and noncompliant with the ADA.
  • Sections of Mission Boulevard to the north and south were 5 lane wide high speed arterial highways.
  • Residents and local businesses had previously opposed widening of the road and had successfully convinced the City Council to retain its 3 lane width.
  • Local groups feared improvements would introduce an arterial look not sympathetic to Mission San Jose and surrounding historic buildings.

Assignment

  • Through a community workshop process, design and implement basic storm drainage, sidewalks, street trees, and furnishings for a one mile long segment of Mission Boulevard on a limited budget. 
  • Enhance the street's pedestrian-oriented scale and detail to support the historic character of the Mission San Jose district and its visitor-based economy.

Outcomes

  • The project design began in 1996 and construction was completed in 1999, on time and within budget. 
  • At modest cost, the streetscape added warm-white metal halide lighting, historically compatible pedestrian-scale light fixtures, benches, and trash receptacles. 
  • Existing roadway height “Mission Bell” streetlights were retained and post-top streetlights were supplemented in between. 
  • New streetlights and street trees were strategically placed to visually “narrow” the perceived road width and increase lighting to benefit pedestrians and bicyclists.

In collaboration with:

MTH Engineers, Inc, Fehr & Peers Associates, Inc, ISC Group, Inc.