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File #: 2020-7902   
Type: Consent Calendar Item
Body: City Council
On agenda: 5/19/2020
Title: Adoption of Resolution Authorizing the City Manager to Execute a Cooperative Agreement with the California Department of Transportation to Complete the Project Approval and Environmental Document (PA&ED), Plans, Specifications and Estimate (PS&E) and Right-of-Way (ROW) for the Central Avenue Safety Improvement Project. (Transportation 91815)
Attachments: 1. Exhibit 1 - Agreement, 2. Resolution, 3. Caltrans Letter, 4. Public Comment Read into Record

Title

 

Adoption of Resolution Authorizing the City Manager to Execute a Cooperative Agreement with the California Department of Transportation to Complete the Project Approval and Environmental Document (PA&ED), Plans, Specifications and Estimate (PS&E) and Right-of-Way (ROW) for the Central Avenue Safety Improvement Project. (Transportation 91815)

 

Body

 

To: Honorable Mayor and Members of the City Council

 

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

 

The purpose of this report is to seek City Council authorization to execute a Cooperative Agreement (Agreement) between the City of Alameda (City) and the California Department of Transportation (“Caltrans”) to complete the Project Approval and Environmental Document (PA&ED), Plans, Specifications and Estimate (PS&E) and Right-of-Way (ROW) project phases of the Central Avenue Safety Improvement Project, which is a Caltrans requirement.

 

BACKGROUND

 

The Central Avenue Safety Improvement Project is a plan to improve public safety and reduce motorized vehicle speeding consistent with the City Council’s Vision Zero Policy, to reduce greenhouse gas emissions consistent with the City Council’s Climate Action Plan, and to improve mobility on a 1.7 mile segment of Central Avenue consistent with the City Council’s Transportation Choices Plan and General Plan Transportation policies.

 

The City has been working on the proposed plan for over seven years, and staff is working to place the City in a position to begin construction in 2022.  The slow pace of the project is partially due to the fact that half of the road segment is a State Highway and that the City is relying on approximately $12 million in Federal and State funding for the project. 

 

The project began in 2013, when the City Council approved a Community-Based Transportation Planning (CBTP) grant application to Caltrans. The City won the $232,000 grant.  In February 2016, the City Council approved the design concept for the Central Avenue project between Main Street/Pacific Avenue and Sherman Street/Encinal Avenue except for the Webster Street area. The City Council directed staff to continue the design development process with Caltrans and to work with neighbors and other stakeholders in the vicinity of Webster Street to evaluate improvements.

 

In October 2016, the City Council approved a federal grant application submittal to the Alameda County Transportation Commission. The City won the grant and had $10.8 million in combined grant monies, which funded the construction of the project.   In June 2017, the City Council approved $557,000 of the Central Avenue local match monies for fiscal years 2017 to 2019.

 

In April 2018, the City Council authorized the City Manager to execute a cooperative agreement with Caltrans and a contract with CDM Smith to prepare the Caltrans required Project Initiation Document (PID). In November 2019, the City Council approved a CDM Smith contract amendment for the project approval and environmental phase (PA&ED) and the final design, known as the plans, specifications, and estimate phase (PS&E).

 

The project includes Class II bicycle lanes (on street marked bike lane) along the eastern portion of the corridor between Eighth Street and Sherman Street/Encinal Avenue, a Class IV two-way bikeway on the south side of the street along the western portion of the corridor between Main Street/Pacific Avenue and McKay Avenue, a “road diet” with a center two-way left-turn lane, shorter and higher visibility pedestrian crossings, safety improvements at intersections, accessible on-street parking and curb ramp modifications, bike racks, signage, drainage improvements, green stormwater infrastructure and bus stop improvements including bus stop boarding islands, where needed. The staff and consultant team are currently working with Caltrans staff to evaluate designs for roundabouts at four different locations along the corridor.  Staff plans to return to Council this summer for final environmental and design approval.

 

DISCUSSION

 

The Agreement between the City and Caltrans establishes the responsibilities for each agency in the preparation of the Project Approval and Environmental Document (PA&ED), Plans, Specifications and Estimate (PS&E) and Right-of-Way (ROW) project phases of the Central Avenue Safety Improvement Project.  As described in the Agreement, the City is responsible for preparation of all documents and is the designated lead agency for review of the plans under the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA). Caltrans will provide design oversite and quality control and will complete the review of the plans under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA).

 

As described above, the funding is in place and available for the City to fulfill its obligations for the next phase of project design that will be implemented through the proposed Agreement with Caltrans. Staff is requesting that the City Council authorize the City Manager to execute the Cooperative Agreement (Exhibit 1).

 

ALTERNATIVES

 

The Council may consider the following alternatives:

 

1.                     Authorize execution of the agreement as recommended.

2.                     Authorize execution of the agreement with amendments.

3.                     Delay authorization or deny authorization to execute the agreement, which would delay or terminate the project.

 

FINANCIAL IMPACT

 

The initial concept phase of the Central Avenue Safety Improvement Project completed between 2014 and 2016 was funded by a Caltrans CBTP grant with matching funds for a total of $221,550. The Caltrans’ required PID phase, which was finished in April 2020, was funded with local transportation funds for $557,000. The remaining pre-construction work of environmental clearance and design drawings totals $2.5 million, and is funded by a Federal Active Transportation Program grant for $480,000, Measure B and BB Local Streets and Roads monies for $1.3 million and the General Fund for $748,000, consistent with the approved Capital Improvement Program for fiscal year 2019-20. The costs are higher than other corridor projects because an extra level of coordination is required for projects on the State Highway System and because the City has obtained Federal monies, which means the City must adhere to Federal reporting requirements.

 

Construction, which is expected to start in 2022, is supported by two Federal grants for the project in the amount of $11.7 million, when including the required local match monies. In total, the project will cost approximately $15 million with 74 percent coming from Federal and State grants and 26 percent coming from local monies.

 

MUNICIPAL CODE/POLICY DOCUMENT CROSS REFERENCE

 

The Central Avenue Safety Improvement Project is consistent with the following City documents:

                     The Safety and Noise Element of the General Plan (Policy SN-5) states: “Ensure that the City prioritize public safety through the implementation of a Vision Zero policy to reduce annual pedestrian and bicyclist fatalities and serious injuries resulting from collisions with faster moving vehicles and unsafe street design.”

                     The Transportation Element of the General Plan lists Central Avenue as a transit priority street, a bicycle priority street and a truck route, in school and recreation zones and as an island arterial, and lists other priorities that are addressed in the Central Avenue concept such as multimodal, safety and environmental improvements and considering needs for individuals with disabilities.

                     The Pedestrian Plan identifies the Central Avenue improvements as a priority.

                     The Bicycle Plan identifies the Central Avenue bikeway project as a high-priority project.

                     The Transportation Choices Plan lists the Central Avenue project as a Vision Zero Safety Improvements and Traffic Calming priority.

                     The Vision Zero Policy that focuses on eliminating fatal and severe injury collisions, and is the citywide guiding principle for transportation planning, the design of streets and sidewalks, and the maintenance of the public rights-of-way making safety as the highest priority when balancing competing needs and demands for space within the public right-of-way.

 

ENVIRONMENTAL REVIEW

 

This action is exempt from CEQA pursuant to CEQA Guidelines section 15061(b)(3).   

 

CLIMATE IMPACTS

 

Transportation is the largest source of greenhouse gas emissions in Alameda, resulting in about 70 percent of our totals at this time.  This project will further the implementation of the following City planning documents: Climate Action and Resiliency Plan (2019), Transportation Choices Plan (2018), Bicycle Plan Update (2010), and the Pedestrian Plan (2009) which highlight the need for sustainable transportation such as increased bicycling and walking and for the reduction of driving so as to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

 

RECOMMENDATION

 

Adopt a resolution authorizing the City Manager to execute a Cooperative Agreement with Caltrans to complete the PA&ED, PS&E and ROW for the Central Avenue Safety Improvement Project, which is required by Caltrans.

 

CITY MANAGER RECOMMENDATION

 

The City Manager recommends adoption of the resolution authorizing the City Manager to execute a Cooperative Agreement with Caltrans.

 

Respectfully submitted,

Andrew Thomas, Planning, Building and Transportation Director

 

By,

Gail Payne, Senior Transportation Coordinator

 

Financial Impact section reviewed,

Nancy Bronstein, Interim Finance Director

 

Exhibit:

1.                     Agreement

 

cc:                     Eric Levitt, City Manager