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Do It All!
Ann Gardner | Via Latina

Construction at 4th and Camino del Mar extends the sidewalk south to a path to the bluffs and Carmel Valley Rd. A 6-foot wall will separate Los Arboles from the street.
Photo Ann Gardner.
Click to enlarge.

When bids for construction of Phase One of the Downtown Streetscape came in over budget last month, City Council decided unanimously to reject the bids and instead go out to bid for the complete Downtown Streetscape next fall. No more phases. “Let’s bid out the whole project,” the Council said mentioning several possible advantages: economies of scale, further evaluation by the Finance Committee, potential grant funds, and the 2019 budget. The decision was a relief for speakers who feared the higher bids might cause a delay in the downtown plan which has been on the books since 1996. Undoubtedly their concerns contributed to the Council’s decision. Zach Groban, chair of the Business Services Advisory Committee stressed the points he had made in his letter to the Council:

“As the chairman of the BSAC I wanted to reaffirm our position on Streetscape. I understand the bids have come in higher than excepted. Unfortunately, there aren’t a lot of “Extras” to be removed from this project. Streetscape has been put off for over 20 years and the side effect of that is the increased construction cost. This is a shovel-ready project that is important to the residents and is vital for creating a vibrant Del Mar. We think there is a silver lining in the fact that the bids came in high; it’s a good opportunity to request more money to expand the first phase of Streetscape. Also, we would like to seek full funding of the whole project to make sure all blocks are done. Finally, given the timing of construction and how late in the spring it is, the project needs to be pushed to the fall because starting this in the summer months—our busy season—would be problematic.”

Jim Watkins, long time community entrepreneur, agreed; he emphasized several points:

1. By doing the project all at one time, as soon as possible, there is less overall distraction.
2. By doing it all at one time there can be significant cost savings.
3. The sooner the Streetscape is completed, the sooner the Community will enjoy all of its benefits.

Phase One covered streetscape improvements from ninth to 11th street only, whereas the complete Plan extends to just north of 15th street at the Plaza’s underground parking entrance. The improvements focus on safety for walkers such as enhanced medians and cross walks, bulb outs and landscaping, and consistent sidewalk paving with evening lighting to encourage pedestrian activity along Camino del Mar. The Council asked staff to come back in September with plans for soliciting bids on the complete plan with expectations for construction to begin after the busy summer season, Winter 2018.

In the meantime construction of a new sidewalk and multi use-pathway along the west side of Camino del Mar beginning at Fourth Street is moving forward on schedule with completion expected by June 1.

Go to delmarsandpiper.org to see the Downtown Streetscape plans.


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