Coronado City Council Starts Long Path Toward Decision Regarding Relinquishment Of SRs 75 And 282 - Coronado Eagle & Journal | Coronado News | Coronado Island News: Coronado City News

Coronado City Council Starts Long Path Toward Decision Regarding Relinquishment Of SRs 75 And 282

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Posted: Friday, February 15, 2019 5:27 pm

Relinquishment by Caltrans of the state routes they own within Coronado, 75 and 282, has been bandied about locally for years. The most recent development dates to Feb. 21, 2017, when the City Council directed City Manager Blair King to ask Caltrans to assess the possibility of relinquishment. As Caltrans is wont to do, their formal response certainly wasn’t rushed and followed 20 months later, in October 2018.

The broad brush strokes of the Caltrans Plan are an offer to pay Coronado $16.95 million to take over the operation of the highways delineated above, in perpetuity, in ‘As-is’ condition. They are offering the highways in three segments and in theory, Coronado could select one, two, all or none of the following options:

• The Silver Strand Segment-City Limits to Tulagi Road for $3.45 million

• The Orange Avenue Segment-Tulagi Road to the Toll Plaza $9.1 million

• The 282 Segment-Third and Fourth Streets from Alameda Boulevard between Third and Fourth Streets for $4.4 million.

Specifically on the agenda for the Feb. 5, 2019, meeting of the Coronado City Council was an expenditure by the city of $40,000 for an analysis and review of the Caltrans proposal by the Fermanian Business & Economic Institute at Point Loma Nazarene University. This organization has a history of preparing the annual Military Economic Impact Study on behalf of the San Diego Military Advisory Council and as a result knows Coronado well.

The second part of the motion was to authorize the city’s Public Services and Engineering Department to initiate a Request for Proposal (RFP) for consultants to conduct a peer review of the Fermanian Relinquishment Report. A total of $150,000 had already been budgeted as part of the FY 2017-18 Capital Improvement Program and is available for these purposes.

During the course of the presentation and discussion of this agenda item, King outlined a Relinquishment Time Table, as viewed from the City’s perspective:

• Information Gathering and Analysis – Now through August 2019

• Consultation and Negotiation with Caltrans – Fourth Quarter 2019 to First Quarter 2020

• Final Decision to Accept/Decline Ownership-First Quarter 2020 to Second Quarter 2020

• State Legislative Action

There is a very real question regarding how much change could be implemented on the streets, even if they were owned by the city. King noted the following after a question from Councilmember Mike Donovan, “In terms of speed limits for example, I would say it is highly unlikely the speed limits would change very much under Coronado ownership than what it is under the State’s ownership. The speed limit methodology is proscribed by law and it is pretty black and white on how it’s done. On the other hand, Caltrans would not accept the ‘smart signals’ we proposed for the entrance to the Amphibious Base. Caltrans did allow us to take ownership, so we already own those signals there. That would be an example of something that was achieved by city ownership that could not have been achieved by Caltrans ownership.”

With relinquishment would come all of the related costs of the highways. Donovan enumerated the various costs he thought should be included in the Fermanian Relinquishment Report. “The liabilities, in addition to operations and maintenance. In the last 10 years how many lawsuits did they have, how much did they have to pay out and what were the legal costs? We may have to hire additional engineers or contract out for support. It’s looks to me like the road maintenance numbers are low and we need to know how many staff hours are needed to support the streets.”

A reminder of the small, integrated world in which we live came forward during public comment on this agenda item in the person of Naval Base Coronado Community Plans and Liaison Officer Anna Shepherd. She said, “State Routes 75 and 282 are part of the National Highway System as Strategic Highway Network Connectors, a system of public highways that are a key part of national defense access and continuity and emergency capability for movements of personnel and equipment in both peacetime and war. The connectors to this system are additional highway routes that link military installations and ports, like the Tenth Avenue Marine Terminal, to strategic highway corridor network. Many installations have multiple access-egress routes to the system, but the connector should be the most direct and highest functioning class roadway. So we are dependent on these connectors for movement of our personnel and trucks. The trucks typically have to go through Imperial Beach and up the Strand. A lot of stuff is not allowed to go over the Bridge.” She later added that NAS North Island has 20,000 people going through the main gate every day. 

And just because it’s good for everyone at the bargaining table to know where they stand Shepherd said, “The southern part of State Route 75 on the Strand is owned by the Navy and an easement is provided to Caltrans. We would like to request the city coordinate with us and to consider the impacts to the Navy, both beneficial and potentially negative, in its analysis and how the existing designation of a connector will continue to apply if the city does accept these facilities into their system.” Listening to her presentation, I got the sense the Navy wasn’t looking for a drastic change in the way SR 75 and 282 are operated.

The council voted to fund the study and the subsequent peer review by a 4-0 vote, with Councilmember Marvin Heinze absent from the meeting.

During most city council meetings, consideration of a new parking plan for the 1000 Block of C Avenue would have been the headline event. The plan is required prior to construction of a variety of new properties owned by Kleege Enterprises, one of which is the old El Cordova Garage property, designated to become a Buona Forchetta Italian Restaurant. The property in total is bordered by Orange Avenue, Tenth Street and C Avenue, but does not include the building at the corner of Orange and Tenth Street.

The parking plan calls for a total of 29 spots, creatively carved into 11 valet parking spots, 11 standard-sized spots, five compact-sized spots and two ADA accessible spaces. According to the staff report, “All the self-parking spaces, except for the two ADA spaces, the valet spaces and two standard spaces, are proposed to be angled parking, while all valet spaces and the ADA spaces are proposed to be 90-degrees.”

Several speakers spoke on behalf of the project, including property owner Bruce Kleege. A couple of speakers noted that valet parking as a concept hasn’t worked well in Coronado over the years. But as Mayor Richard Bailey pointed out, “What is before us tonight is a parking plan. It’s fair to question a parking plan and compact spaces. But the simple question is if what is before us is legal?” The council passed the parking plan by a 4-0 vote.

In other Council actions:

• The Council reappointed Howard Somers to serve a second three-year term on the Transportation Commission. Appointed to a full three-year term on the Transportation Commission was Jason Paguio and appointed to complete a partial term that will expire Feb. 29, 2020 was Alexander E. Jackson.

• The Council heard the results of the survey conducted by the city staff regarding the Permit Parking Zone in close proximity to NAS North Island. They then decided to leave the trial suspension of the zone ‘as is’ for the duration of the current council and to suspend ongoing surveying of the area. The council did add Palm Avenue between Third and Fourth Streets to the zone. Also, staff will remove the sign poles in the permit parking zone areas where the program has been indefinitely suspended.

The next meeting of the Coronado City Council will be held Tuesday, Feb. 19, 2019, at 4 p.m. City Council meetings are held at City Hall located at 1825 Strand Way in the City.

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