Fremont City
California

Staff Report
1569

ACCEPTANCE OF CALIFORNIA SAFE ROUTES TO SCHOOL GRANT FUNDS - Adopt a Resolution Authorizing the City Manager to Execute Agreement to accept the California Safe Routes to School Grant and Appropriate the Grant Funds of $407,000 to the Blacow Road and Grimmer Boulevard Intersection Improvements Project, City Project No. 8659 (PWC)

Information

Department:Transportation EngineeringSponsors:
Category:Grants

Item Discussion

Executive Summary: The Caltrans Division of Local Assistance invited local agencies to submit applications for funding from the California Safe Routes to School Program (SRTS) in January 2012. Staff responded by submitting a $407,000 application for a traffic signal and pedestrian crossing improvement project at the intersection of Blacow Road and Grimmer Boulevard adjacent to Irvington High School. The City was successful in securing the grant for the full $407,000. In order to initiate this project, staff recommends thatthe City Council adopt a resolution to appropriate the funds to the project account, authorize the City Manager or designee to accept the SRTS grant funds, and execute any documents associated with the grant for the Blacow Road and Grimmer Boulevard Intersection Improvements Project (525PWC8659).

Body

BACKGROUND: The Blacow Road/Grimmer Boulevard Intersection Improvements Project includes the following scope of work:

 

·         Removal of traffic islands (“pork chop islands”) at the four corners of the intersection, including the removal of all the traffic control devices in the traffic islands and placing them behind the new curb. This improvement will require right-turn traffic to stop before making right turns instead of the current yield requirement, and thereby minimize conflicts between right-turn traffic and pedestrians crossing at the corners.  It will also eliminate vehicles colliding with the traffic control devices in the traffic island. 

 

·         Reduction of the curb radii at all the intersection corners, including the expansion of the sidewalk pedestrian refuge area at all the corners. The improvements will reduce the speed of right turns, improve the alignment of curb ramps, reduce pedestrian crossing distances, increase the pedestrian waiting area and reduce conflicts between waiting pedestrians and vehicles.

 

·         Installation of ADA-compliant curb ramps, and pedestrian count-down signals with audible directions and tactile push bottons at all four corners to improve accessibility and safety for pedestrian crossings.

 

·         Upgrading the existing traffic signal system, including replacement of the entire electrical wiring system and contoller cabinet to improve efficiency, removal of traffic signal poles from the medians to eliminate fixed object accidents, replacment of the poles at the four corners with longer mast arms in order to improve signal visibility, installation of LED traffic signal and street lights to reduce operational costs and improve night time visibilty at the intersection, installation of bicycle detection to improve safety, and upgrading traffic signage and striping to improve deliniation and safety awareness on the approaches to the intersection.

 

·         Installation of one additional left-turn lane at each intersection approach to increase capacity for left-turn traffic, including modification of existing median islands, landscape and irrigation improvements, roadway and traffic signal improvements to accommodate the additional left-turn lanes.

 

DISCUSSION/ANALYSIS: The primary purpose of the California Safe Routes to School Program is to provide funds to improve intersection safety and pathways on routes to school. Staff identified the traffic signal modification and pedestrian crossing improvements project at the intersection of Blacow Road and Grimmer Boulevard as a candidate for the SRTS grant. The intersection is adjacent to Irvington High School and is within a block of a shopping center and Irvington Community Park. The intersection provides primary crossing points for students riding bicycles or walking to school.

 

There is high vehicular and pedestrian traffic activity at this intersection, especially during the school peak hour (morning and afternoon) periods. Pedestrian counts at this intersection indicate approximately 1,350 pedestrian crossings at this intersection during the morning and afternoon peak hours. The average number of vehicles crossing this intersection from Blacow Road and Grimmer Boulevard is approximately 34,000 vehicles per day, with an average of 5,700 vehicles during the morning and afternoon peak hours.

 

The traffic signal was installed in 1981 and contains devices that do not conform to the current California Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices standards.

This signalized intersection was originally identified for intersection improvements in the 2009/10 CIP funding cycle, with $800,000 appropriated to the the project (531PWC8659) by City Council. The original scope of project includes the upgrade of the existing traffic signal system, enhancement of the pedestrian crossing facilities such as the removal of raised corner islands and expansion of the sidewalk area, and the addition of a left-turn lane for each intersection approach, as well as the modification of the left-turn median.  The Safe Routes to School Grant will fund the traffic signal and pedestrian/bicycle facilities improvements of the intesection.  The left-turn lane addition for each approach is not a pedestrian facility improvement but a lane capacity improvement and is not funded by the SRTS funds. The left-turn lane addition will be funded by the original project CIP funds.

 

City staff applied for a $456,100 grant in March 2012, below the $500,000 maximum grant project allowed. The SRTS grant will fund up to 90% of the grant request and requires a 10% local match. The City was awarded a $407,000 SRTS grant for the traffic signal and pedestrian crossing improvements project at the intersection of Blacow Road and Grimmer Boulevard in July 2012. The local match contribution of $49,100 is available in the project’s PWC account 531PWC8659. The addition of the grant funds to the project budget will result in more funding than will be needed to complete the project.  Upon completion, the remaining City funds will be available for reallocation to other priority projects during the project closeout process.

 

In December 2012, the City received the program supplemental agreement for the grant from Caltrans. Council action is now required to adopt a resolution authorizing the City Manager to accept the award and appropriate the grant funds to the project’s PWC account so that staff can begin to implement the project. Staff will return to Council for the approval of plans and specifications and award of the project contract.

 

FISCAL IMPACT: There is no impact to the General Fund. Originally, $800,000 was appropriated to this project in the City’s CIP. The total project cost remains $800,000, with $11,000 spent to date on project development and $154,000 transferred from this project to the Deep Creek Intersection Improvements project, PWC 8698, at the September 18, 2012 Council meeting, Item 2E. The remaining project funds of $635,000 are more than sufficient to cover the required 10% local match of $49,100 for the grant. With the addition of the $407,000 SRTS grant funds, the excess City funding remaining in the account will be available to reallocate to other projects when this project is closed out.

 

ENVIRONMENTAL REVIEW:  Appropriate environmental review will be conducted prior to completion of the design work.

Document Comments

RECOMMENDATION:

1.              Adopt a resolution authorizing the City Manager or designee to accept the Safe Routes to School grant and to execute any associated grant documents.

2.              Appropriate the SRTS grant funds in the amount of $407,000 to 525PWC8659, Blacow Road/Grimmer Boulevard Intersection Improvements Project.