Changes are in the works for the Route 3 bus that travels down Lincoln Boulevard. (Daniel Archuleta)

The City Council will consider approving $516,600 to upgrade Big Blue Bus stops along the Expo route as part of the Sept. 29 consent calendar.

Consent calendar items are often approved as a group without individual discussion. These can be items of routine administration, second readings of items already discussed or simple approvals of contracts where debate is considered unnecessary.

According to the staff report, a contract is proposed with CivilSource, Inc. for the Expo Line Bus Stop Implementation project including survey, design, implementation, community outreach, and construction oversight services.

With the arrival of Expo along the BBB routes, about 220 new bus stops are envisioned. The new and/or upgraded stops will be compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and include “other minimal infrastructure modifications to activate new bus stops in the City of Santa Monica, City of Los Angeles and adjacent unincorporated areas including Marina Del Rey.”

Those modifications include painting red curbs, relocating other sidewalk furniture such as newspaper racks, installing bus stop targets, trimming trees and modifying signs.

Of the 220 possible stops, 76 are in Santa Monica, 144 are in the City of Los Angeles and adjacent unincorporated areas.

The work will be done in partnership with neighboring agencies such as the City of Los

Angeles Department of Transportation (LADOT), the Bureau of Engineering

(BOE) and the Bureau of Street Services (BSS).

According to the report, “Implementation of the approximately 220 new bus stops will occur in three phases in August 2015, February 2016 and June 2016 in coordination with planned Expo-related Big Blue Bus (BBB) service changes.”

The contract includes a public outreach component. The report said the communication will build on the existing outreach efforts. “Public outreach in this phase will now be focused on a more localized level with the goal of generating awareness of the upcoming service changes designed to integrate with the start of the Expo light rail system, and providing construction notification regarding planned improvements,” said the report.

Staff reviewed two bids for the work and are recommending a contract with CivilSource, Inc., in an amount not to exceed $516,600.

The Big Blue Bus is a division of the City of Santa Monica and the council approves expenditures. However, BBB is funded through local, state and federal grants along with revenue from fares. No general fund money is allocated to BBB projects. Staff said the money to be discussed on Sept. 29 covers administration of the project and actual construction costs are expected to be split between Santa Monica and Los Angeles.

The project is one of many included in the Big Blue Bus Expo Integration Study. According to the study, the seven new Expo stations in the BBB service area are an opportunity for the bus line to attract new riders.

“With many key destinations in the Big Blue Bus service area beyond walking distance from the new stations, and station parking at a premium, first and last mile connections will be crucial to maximizing the benefit of the rail line on traffic congestion and quality of life,” the study said.

BBB has also realigned routes to meet the perceived needs of Expo riders and recently announced changes to fares that bring the system in line with other regional bus carriers.

The City Council meeting will be held on Sept. 29 at 5:30 p.m. at City Hall, 1685 Main St.

editor@www.smdp.com

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