SOLANA BEACH — The Highway 101 Streetscape project entered a new phase Feb. 25 after City Council unanimously authorized an agreement with Nasland Engineering to provide preliminary designs for the redevelopment.
The project is part of the Highway 101 corridor specific plan that was adopted in June 2003. A design plan created by MW Peltz Associates, a landscape architecture firm in the city’s Cedros Design District, was approved in March 2006 and will be used as a guideline.
“That was a design study,” Mayor Mike Nichols said. “This is an engineering study. This is the next step to take it from the visions and the dreams of that community outreach process to making it become a reality.
“The long-term economic sustainability of the 101 is dependent on implementing this type of master plan that will encourage a vibrant, energetic business district — a very pedestrian- and bicycle-friendly environment so that we can encourage people to walk the community and not just drive it,” he said.
“It’s going to enhance and reflect our coastal community character,” Nichols said. “We are excited.”
Under the contract Nasland will conduct base mapping, a full traffic analysis of the Highway 101 corridor as well as adjacent streets and a drainage study.
“There are major drainage problems in the corridor,” City Engineer Mo Sammak said.
Nasland will also provide preliminary and schematic design plans and hold three public workshops in late 2009 and early 2010. The scope of services also includes an environmental analysis and assistance with the California Coastal Commission permit process.
Sammak said February 2010 is his “best estimate” for a final plan to be presented to council for direction and the Coastal Commission for approval.
According to the staff report, the procedure to find the most suitable company for the job was a “true qualification-based selection process.” Fee proposals were submitted in sealed envelopes that were not opened until the most qualified company was selected.
Six of 12 companies that submitted proposals were deemed qualified for the project. Their consultants were interviewed by a panel of city staff members and a member of the Encinitas Planning Department because that city recently underwent a similar process.
Three of the six were selected for a second round of interviews conducted by city staff, as well as Nichols and Councilwoman Lesa Heebner, who make up the Highway 101/Cedros Avenue Development Committee.
According to the staff report, both interview panels determined Nasland was the most qualified. The fee proposals for the top three companies were then opened and negotiations with Nasland were held to settle on a final scope of work and fee proposal.
Sammak said the San Diego-based engineering company has experience and expertise in streetscape design. Founded in 1959, its clients include the cities of San Diego, National City and Imperial Beach.
“We wanted to have a project manager who is capable of dealing with this … challenging project,” Sammak said. “They are well-qualified.”
“Nasland really did stand out to us as the company to work with,” Heebner said.
Nichols said the 2005 price tag for the entire streetscape project was about $15 million. “Not an easy pill to swallow,” he said. “There are areas that provide opportunities to adjust along the way.”
The Nasland contract was awarded with a stipulation not to exceed $347,198. That money will come from the city’s share of state Proposition 1B transportation bond funds.