The Coast News Group
A new arch marking the entrance into the Paseo Santa Fe corridor from Civic Center Drive. Courtesy photo

Vista celebrates new arch and city upgrades

VISTA — After more than two decades, the city of Vista’s vision to revitalize the downtown corridor along South Santa Fe Avenue has reached fruition. The area, known as Paseo Santa Fe, encompasses the stretch of road along South Santa Fe Avenue between Vista Village Drive and Civic Center Drive.

Construction on the final phase of the Paseo Santa Fe improvement project has been completed with the project contractors finishing minor construction items as part of the project punch list by early 2021. The northbound side of the road has been opened, allowing for the flow of two-way traffic along the corridor.

A new arch marking the entrance into the Paseo Santa Fe corridor from Civic Center Drive was unveiled Dec. 15 to signal the completion of the project. The arch is topped with a hummingbird, which is the city’s official bird and the Main Street arch was updated to match the new arch.

The Paseo Santa Fe corridor is now anchored by two arches, marking the entrance from Civic Center Drive and the other from Main Street.

“This is a very momentous occasion in the city of Vista,” said Mayor Judy Ritter. “The newly finished Paseo Santa Fe corridor complements our downtown district and enhances our community. Our local downtown businesses and neighborhoods will benefit, as well as those who drive along the newly refurbished street.”

Courtesy photo

A sculpture titled “Portal” was installed on Dec. 14 in the third roundabout, at Pala Vista Drive. The “Portal” artwork depicts a hummingbird inside of an arch with flowers on each side of the structure’s base and was created by local artist Alex Gall. The full construction of the roundabout is expected in the winter of 2021/22, due to difficulties with purchasing an adjacent private street easement.

“While the benefits are considerable, the city understands the construction has impacted residents and businesses,” said Ritter. “We appreciate the public and local business owners’ patience as we worked to improve the downtown core. This vision has now become a reality and will have long-lasting benefits for our community for years to come.”

The city’s vision is to fill the area with retail/shops/restaurants topped with living spaces to revitalize the downtown area. Construction took place in three stages. Phase I was completed in 2016. Phase II was completed in May 2020 and the majority of the work for Phase III has been completed.

The concept was to create a pedestrian-friendly thoroughfare by narrowing the road from four lanes to two, adding wide sidewalks, public art, gathering spaces, and creating roundabouts to slow traffic.