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Thursday, December 6, 2012

Quint St Bridge Project moves ahead

On Tuesday morning and Wednesday evening, the Plans and Programs Committee and the Citizens Advisory Committee (CAC) of the San Francisco County Transportation Authority (SFCTA) respectively heard updates on the Quint St Bridge replacement project.  Unfortunately, Plans and Programs heard about it first, and so by the time it got to the Citizens Advisory Committee, the approval had already been given to send the TA Staff's "Option 1" proposal to the full Authority Board.  If (when) approved, DPW will be allocated $352,184 for conceptual design and environmental clearance of the Quint-Jerrold Connector Road, and $49,843 will be appropriated for planning, community outreach, and local business strategy development.

Option 1, as you may recall, would eliminate through access under the tracks along Quint St between Oakdale and Jerrold.  In its place would be an earthen embankment similar to that on either side of the existing bridge.  To restore 75% of service through this area, the proposal includes acquisition of the land to the west of the tracks between Quint and Jerrold and building a connector road.  The reduction in service comes from elimination of the left turn from the new connector onto Jerrold and the doubling of the distance that we'll have to travel to get through this area.  The berm is still being proposed to be a $20M job, while the road construction (and land acquisition) is coming in around $7.3M.  The design work that is going to be done in the next few months will refine these numbers.

I went on record at the CAC meeting last night to confirm that there has been a great deal of push-back from the community, particularly around the possibility that the connector road would never be built.   I reaffirmed that this has always seemed like a decision that was being imposed upon our community and that it was unacceptable that the TA waited two years to inform the community of it's proposal to close the street, by that time making it seem like there was no other option.

It still seems odd to me that part of this connector road proposal has always included the City's Office of Real Estate negotiating with Union Pacific to buy (for about $2.2M) the land next to the tracks that the connector would be built on, but that the vacated portion of Quint St between the bridge and Jerrold Ave would not require a similar purchase by the SFPUC.  Maybe I'm wrong, but in reading the documents from last night's meeting, it sounds like it was only after community members (me included) suggested the PUC pay fair market rate for this land that it was even considered.

So, what does $352,184 and $49,843 get you these days (and which agency leads each part)?

1. Project management, oversight, and coordination (SFCTA): monthly planning, design, and project coordination meetings between all agencies involved (SFCTA, DPW, SFMTA, Caltrain, Port of SF, SFPUC, SF Real Estate Division, and SF Planning Department).

2. Connector Road "30% Design" (SFDPW, SFMTA, Planning, Real Estate) to advance connector road right-of-way negotiations and acquisition and survey and design work (connector and berm), including: refinement of the previous conceptual design; enhancing pedestrian accommodations; identifying landscaping opportunities; incorporating upgraded lighting; improving accommodation for turning movement of large trucks; potentially modifying the proposed intersection of the connector at Jerrold to permit a left turn; modifying the Jerrold Ave intersection to integrate with the Wholesale Produce Market's street reconfiguration; utilities surveys; and environmental soil testing.  Surveys are to be done by February, 2013, while the drawings and new cost estimate should be done by July, 2013.

3. Connector Road Environmental Review (SF Planning): this could be done as early as April, 2013 or as late as August, 2014, depending upon the results of the review.

4. Local Business Outreach: maximize local contracting job opportunities by July, 2013.

5. Conduct Outreach: workshops, notifications, presentations by July 2013.

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