Grunion Gazette - Long Beach

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Vista Street Requires More Money For Bike Boulevard

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Posted: Wednesday, August 25, 2010 1:17 pm

    Although additional construction and excavation are required on Vista Street to complete the bike boulevard’s traffic circles, the project is on schedule to be completed in October.

    Tuesday evening, City Council approved an additional $70,000 contingency for the project’s contract with MG Construction & Development so concrete could be removed underneath the street and clay soil could be excavated.

    Mark Christoffels, deputy director of public works, said the additional contingency would increase the $659,746 contract cost by approximately 10%. Sufficient Proposition C (Los Angeles County transportation dollars collected from tax revenue) money currently is budgeted in the transportation fund in the Department of Public Works’ budget, Christoffels added.

    “The bids for the project came in low enough and well below what we thought the project would cost that we have money set aside,” Christoffels said. “We don’t have to ask for any additional revenue.”

    On April 20, City Council awarded the contract to MG Construction & Development because the company was the lowest bidder, Christoffels said. The city does not have a list of preferred contractors, he said.

    During construction, the contractor encountered a sizeable amount of clay soil underneath the asphalt street that needed to be excavated, along with an old concrete street that had to be removed in order for landscaping to be installed in the traffic circles being constructed. Christoffels said if the concrete was not removed, the landscaping in the center of the circles would not grow. The clay needed to be excavated because clay expands and absorbs water, and if wasn’t removed before the street was built, the street would buckle over time.

    The bike boulevard on Vista Street between Temple and Nieto avenues will be the first of many planned boulevards throughout the city, said Sumire Gant, transportation programs officer with the city.

    A bike boulevard is a local road or residential street that has been enhanced with traffic calming measures to facilitate safe bicycle travel while accommodating bicyclists and motorists in the same travel lanes with no impact on parking. Gant said the project was proposed at the end of 2008 and met with approval from parents who were seeking a safe route to school for their children.

    The Vista Street boulevard will provide safer access for students of Lowell Elementary and Rogers Middle School on the east end and Horace Mann Elementary on the west end of Vista Street.  To launch the project, Gant applied for grant money from Caltrans’ Safe Route to School program and the Metropolitan Transportation Agency (MTA). Because Vista Street is a residential street, the boulevard did not need approval from state or federal agencies.

    Gant said the boulevard will include the construction of seven 7-foot-wide traffic circles and two roundabouts at Ximeno and Park avenues. A new traffic signal will be installed at the intersection of Redondo Avenue and Vista Street that will force vehicles to turn right onto Redondo Avenue, but bicycles will be permitted to continue straight on Vista Street.

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