UP THEY GO: Pedestrians walk up the Santa Monica Pier bridge before recent renovations. (File photo)

UP THEY GO: Pedestrians walk up the Santa Monica Pier bridge before recent renovations. (File photo)

CITY HALL — Remember the new Santa Monica Pier bridge that’s been in the works for 15 years? Well it’s still in the works.

City Council will select a design or two to pass on to the environmental study phase at Tuesday’s meeting.

City Hall floated the idea of improving the current bridge, which was built in 1939, back in the late ‘90s. In 2006, city officials circled a proposal to rehabilitate the current bridge but Caltrans said it wouldn’t be eligible for federal funding.

Traffic on the bridge is a problem, city officials said. About 3,667 people cross the bridge on busy weekends, according to the 2006 proposal. Traffic is expected to get worse with the coming Expo Light Rail Line, they added.

In 2010, council voted to apply for federal funding for a bridge replacement project. Last year, the funding was authorized through the Federal Highway Administration and council selected a consultant. Earlier this year they approved temporary upgrades to the bridge’s sidewalks to keep cars and pedestrians separate.

Tomorrow, city officials will present four designs, two of which they are recommending for environmental study.

The first widens the bridge by 70 percent to 58 feet, allowing cars and pedestrians more room.

The second recommended design replaces the current bridge with a similar bridge meant only for bikes, pedestrians, and limited delivery or emergency vehicles. It includes a second bridge at Moss Avenue for vehicles. The public and the Pier Control Board favored this design at previous presentations, city officials said.  This design would cause traffic impacts at Moss Avenue, but improves flow at the Ocean Avenue and Colorado Boulevard intersection.

City officials are also asking for an additional $400,000 to complete the environmental review, bringing the total spent on the design process to $1.25 million. Once the project is complete, city officials said, the Federal Highway Administration will reimburse that cash.

The final design is expected to be complete by fall of 2016. Construction will take 12 to 18 months.

 

Food trucks

 

Council could approve the inclusion of permits for off-street food trucks on Main Street in the Zoning Ordinance.

In 2010, the California Heritage Museum began hosting City Hall-approved food truck events on Tuesday nights. The weekly event, which draws 400 to 500 people, raises funds for the museum.

Last year, council approved a survey of anyone impacted by the food truck events.

Almost 60 percent of food truck patrons surveyed were Santa Monica residents.

About half the businesses on Main Street reported a change in sales and 28 percent of restaurants reported a decrease in sales. About 44 percent of restaurants felt that the food trucks were in direct competition with them.

City officials noted that taxable sales on Main Street have increased 16 percent in the time since the food trucks were introduced. The findings, they said, suggest that the food truck events have no significant negative impact on Main Street businesses.

Therefore, planning officials are recommending that council allow the authorization of three-year permits to food truck venues on Main Street.

Food trucks would be allowed to operate one night a week, Monday, Tuesday or Wednesday, from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m.

 

Tax collection

 

Council will vote on an ordinance that would allow the Finance Director to publish the names of companies with outstanding taxes, and to waive taxes and debts deemed uncollectable.

Three circumstances allow a debt to be deemed uncollectable: The debtor must be dead or impossible to locate; the business must be dissolved or liquidated; the cost of further collection efforts must exceed the recovery amount.

A company can be added to the public delinquency list if they have outstanding debts of $5,000 or more.

If that list were published today, it would name 20 businesses with total debts to City Hall of more than $310,000.

 

dave@smdp.com

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