Bristol Street Widening 

Bristol Street Widening Project

Update December 24, 2014 The City aprised WSNA of plans that have been submitted for development of the property on Bristol North of Washington as part of the Bristol Widening Project. A group of current property owners are proposing to build new offices to replace their businesses lost to the widening. The City plans to present the plan to the General Meeting on January 15th. The plans submitted by the group have been condensed to a pdf which is available here. The images are too large to present here on the website.

Update November 7, 2014 The City has submitted a revised EIR and Specific Plan Amendment. They have also indicated in a meeting with the Artesia Pillar Neighborhood that the project width from Washington to 17th Street will be reduced from 150' to 128'. The Specific Plan Amendment does not show the right turn lane that was agreed upon and the EIR shows no map for that project segment. The City's page on the Amendment is here. Residents have until December 10th to submit comments either in writing or via email to

The documents can be viewed at the Library or at City Hall. WSNA has PDFs available. The EIR is here and the Amendment is here.

Update July 2, 2014 The City Council voted to proceed with the "full take" at the meeting of 7-1. That means the businesses along the East side of Bristol from Washington to 17th will have to relocate.

Update May 5, 2014 The City Council delayed the vote on the project another 30 days.

Update March 12, 2014
The WSNA March newsletter has several articles devoted to the issue. Read it here. The neighborhood Ad Hoc Committee wrote a letter to the city summarizing their position. Read it here. The Council has yet to schedule a vote on the direction of the project. The council must vote to amend the EIR completed some 20 years ago. They will then direct city staff to either proceed with the "full take" which they recommend or to work with the existing businesses on a partial take which dictates a redesign of the project.

Update February 3, 2014
The Santa Ana City Council voted on 2/3 to postpone the vote on the changes to the EIR that will set the direction of the project for 30 days.

Update December 3rd, 2013

In last night’s City Council meeting there was an agenda item critical to Washington Square. In spite of the promises made by Mayor, City Manager and others on November 5th at a meeting in the backyard of the Lutz home, the Council agenized a vote for the project basically “as is”. The promise made 11/5 was to give Washington Square until January to propose reasonable and achievable solutions to the issues with the project before going forward.

This was a political move by our elected officials. It was a fluke that we found out, and without swift and coordinated action by neighbors on the Board, Bristol Widening Committee, and a number of concerned Louise residents, the item would have passed.

Instead, the item was tabled for a later vote. There will be a meeting with the city scheduled and neighbors and other interested parties are invited to participate to resolve the issues with the project as currently proposed.

Update November 2013:The image above is from a the City website several years ago and is what the WSNA board was expecting to be implemented when the Bristol Widening Project reached our neighborhood. There are now mixed signals from the City about what will be constructed from Civic Center to 17th Street and specifically from Washington to 17th. That segment is funded and in the acquisition phase.

The image to the right is the east side of Bristol between Wilshire and McFaden. It's representative of what we expect between Civic Center and 17th Street.

Compare that park-like promenade to the the image below left from a few blocks further north near Brislol and Myrtle. It's representative of what might happen if Washington Square does not hold the City to the promise that was made some twenty years ago.

(from WSNA Newsletter November 2013 written by WSNA President Tom Lutz and newsletter editor JL Jirik) Bristol Street widening is a hot issue with some potentially detrimental outcomes if we do not react now. The project is from Civic Center to 17th and directly impacts the whole neighborhood, Louise street residents in particular.

What we know for sure about Bristol Widening Project:
Funding for Bristol Widening project has been decreased. The original plans called for greenspace with sycamores and a sound wall, not commercial development. At some point these plans were changed without notice to Washington Square board or residents. Long term residents are adamant about remembering the greenspace in the original plan.

At the minimum Washington Square asks for the following Civic Center to 17th:

-Sound wall of the proper height and material for entire length of project.
-Plantings on sound wall, facing Bristol, to further reduce sound and discourage graffiti.
-Trees along Bristol, to further reduce sound and to visually connect with the length of Bristol.
-Right turn lane on Washington at Bristol to alleviate stacking and long wait times for residents turning onto NB Bristol.
-Demolish and remove unsightly, unkempt residential buildings.

Eight business on the Washington-17th stretch have formed a coalition which is lobbying the city to let their buildings remain. The businesses have drafted a plan to reface buildings, reconfigure land use, signage and landscape. However, if the city does NOT approve the variance in planned street width and takes entire lots rather than just frontage; the discussion with the business owners' coalition is moot. So what we know is that we don’t know….yet. But here is what we know about the 8 businesses in the coalition who are attempting to save their buildings.

-The businesses have diverse architecture and color schemes -The businesses have diverse “landscaping”
-The businesses have a long history of non-involvement with us, and a history of deferred maintenance of their properties.
-The businesses do not have a financing plan to cover cost of the extensive improvements and refuse to disclose options.
-Grant monies are not available for projects of this type.

Progress: At a meeting November 5 which was attended by Mayor, City Manager and other "players," some promises were made. Mayor Pulido promised the sound wall (He is on OCTA board and can monitor the project) and residences WILL be demolished. Jason Gabriel is Project Manager and said a right turn lane can happen. Mayor Pulido also stated that utilities will be buried. Please get involved. Email Tom Lutz to do so. A committee has been formed to monitor this issue and communicate residents concerns directly to the City. There will soon (December 2013) be a petition circulating through the neighborhood asking the City to agree to certain goals for the Civic Center to Bristol portion of the project. View the current flyer here.

The coalition has presented plans to show how their existing buildings could be saved from which the image below was extracted. Click here to view a pdf of the whole sheet with callouts.

Update January 2012: The City purchased the dental building at 17th & Bristol and has begun demolition which is expected to take three months. They plan to widen the intersection and install a very attractive walkway. It's expected that the remainder of the property will be developed for retail similar to Walgreens across the street. Click for the full size pdf of the layout and diagram below.

Update March 2011: The phase close to Washington Square is in flux with the state budget.  The city and OCTA are not able to move forward until more funding is avaliable.

The Orange County Transportation Authority approved $225 million for the Bristol Street Widening Project some time ago. With these monies the City was supposed to finish the widening and beautification of the street from Warner Avenue to 17th Street. The improvements included landscaped medians and parkways, three lanes in each direction, improved intersections, and underground utility wires. Construction will be done in four phases. Phase I, from McFadden to Pine is complete, Phase II is almost complete as of March, 2011 spanning Pine to Civic Center, Phase III will span Civic Center to 17th Street, and Phase IV will span Warner Street to St. Andrew.

This project will obviously have a major impact on our neighborhood when it finally reaches 17th and Bristol. When Phase Three is rescheduled, we'll post the plans here.



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