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Livable Communities
Galveston Intermodal Transportation Committee
by Jim Guidry
Thursday, July 17, 2014

The Galveston Intermodal Transportation Committee, which survived a proposal to “sunset” the committee at the last city council meeting, met on Wednesday to discuss several transportation projects in Galveston. 

John Carrara of The Goodman Corporation updated the committee on the Downtown Intermodal Transportation Terminal that is being constructed on the northeast corner of The Strand at 25th Street, as a project of the Galveston Livable Communities Initiative.  Listen (14:51)

He reported that the settlement between the Port of Galveston and Allen Flores, the owner of the Fadden Building, which is adjacent to the site of the terminal, was approved on May 29, but Turner Construction still has not fully resumed work on the terminal.

“They have been slow to re-mobilize,” Carrara said, explaining that Turner must complete stabilization of the Fadden Building before work on the terminal can resume. “It would be really good if they were completed by the end of the year so that Island Transit can move in there, and out of 20th Street (terminal) and out of the way of the Market Street construction.  I have to say I’m not optimistic at this point that that will happen.”

Carrara reported on a plan to change the schedule for improvements in the Downtown Streetscape Design Project.

“That $900,000 is only enough to build half of the proposed project, which is $1.8 million,” Carrara said.  “City staff wants to do only sidewalks and wheelchair ramps and none of the amenities."

“I would not like to see the entire budget for the streetscape portion of LCI go to only sidewalk enhancements,” said Lesley Sommer, chair of the committee.  “I think that’s short-sighted and I don’t think that’s in the best interest of what the project’s intent actually is.”

The committee voted 4-0 to approve a resolution in agreement with Sommer’s statement for presentation at a meeting with city staff today (July 17).

Carrara reported on issues related to tourist-oriented transit, including the rail trolley system and rubber tire trolleys associated with Seawall Boulevard improvements.  Listen (11:13)

He reported that the Houston-Galveston Area Council has denied funds for rubber wheel trolleys for Seawall tourists, but that the city is making a new attempt.

“We’re trying to set up a meeting that the mayor can attend, to ask H-GAC, “In what way do we not meet the criteria and how can we revise our proposal so that we do,” Carrara said.

Sommer noted the attendance of Council Member Dr. Craig Brown and made an appeal for the track trolley system.

“I find it amazing that we’re even having a discussion about potentially pulling up light rail infrastructure when virtually every other progressive city in the country is scrambling to try to put them in,” Sommer said.

“That’s a point well taken,” Brown responded, updating the committee on talks between the city and the Park Board of Trustees.  “Right now, council is concentrating their thoughts, not so much on rail and rubber tire trolleys, as ‘Who’s going to handle the deficit?’”

Members questioned Brown about the status of the committee, which was considered for “sunset” at the recent meeting of the city council. Listen (9:25)

Brown gave credit to Kathy Modzelewski, a member of the committee who sent an email to the city council members, for reversing the sunset momentum.  Message

He advised that the city published a news release on Wednesday announcing a list of committee appointments that will be filled at next week’s city council meeting.

“And Intermodal Transportation is not on that list,” he said, explaining that until new appointments are made, all members remain in office.  “That means that you are still moving along and are a viable committee.”

Brown said that he personally supports the mission of the committee. 

Sommer stressed the importance of the committee and defended transportation consultant Barry Goodman.

“Goodman gets thrown under the bus a lot in this town,” Sommer said.  “These guys are really amazing.  There are so many dollars that flowed into this community for projects that are so critically important, that only happen because of The Goodman Corp.”  

The ITC is a seven member committee with only four current members, three of whom have served the maximum six years permitted by City Charter.  There are no current applications for appointment to the committee on file in the city secretary’s office.  Norman Pappous, who is the city council’s ex-officio representative on the committee, did not attend the meeting.

Kevin Krahn of AECOM reported to the committee on the Market Street Reconstruction Project and requested suggestions on how to minimize disruptions during construction.  Listen (18:12)

“We’ll work with the city and plan on scheduling a public meeting toward the end of August,” Krahn said.

Also at Wednesday’s meeting, the committee voted unanimously to thank former member Ernest Connor for his service and to wish him “a long and happy retirement”.

There were no other action items on the agenda. Agenda

To listen to the entire meeting Click Here (1:19:35)

Remembering Jim Guidry

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