Work is progressing on the 4th Street renovation project, and it has been brought to the point that we can see what a good addition it will be to the community. It will be an arterial from Sunset Avenue to Lake Street, improving access to the freeway, to downtown, to the government complex and to the east of Sunset and to Pine Street to the west. It will improve traffic flow to Howard Road, taking some of the pressure off Yosemite Avenue.
It also will provide a long-range opportunity for development along 4th Street east of the Union Pacific tracks. With the improvement of traffic flow, developers and investors are likely to take a new look at 4th Street and the opportunities it could offer for new stores and multifamily housing. Some of the older buildings along that street are well past their prime. The traffic improvements brought by the improved 4th Street will make the land those older buildings sit on more valuable.
This project, and the Ellis Street overcrossing, are good examples of well-thought-out small projects that work and look to the future. They allow a freer flow of traffic to and from both sides of the city across State Route 99 and the UP tracks, which ends the isolation of certain neighborhoods. Large tracts of buildable land in the northeast part of town are increased in value and utility by their having faster access to more of the city.
The next big project being talked about is the rerouting of traffic from State Route 145 out of the city with a loop road that would connect with Avenue 12, which is now being improved to handle a lot more traffic on its bridge over the SR 99 freeway. That won’t happen overnight, of course, but when it does, you will see an entirely renewed Madera traffic pattern.