The Galveston Intermodal Transportation Committee voted 3-1, with Paul Schnitger opposed, on Wednesday to endorse five projects as priorities; and to recommend that the city council ask that four of them be submitted to the Houston-Galveston Area Council which has issued a call for projects for inclusion in the Transportation Improvement Plan. Listen (7:37)
The list had been approved at a previous workshop meeting of the committee:
- 61st Street IH-45 Direct Connect Ramp which is generally known as the 61st Flyover Project
- Extension of 61st Street to Harborside Drive
- A direct connection ramp from IH-45 to Harborside Drive
- The Asphalt paving overlay of Seawall Blvd. from Ferry Road east to Boddecker Road
- The purchase of five (5) 40-foot long buses for Island Transit
“I don’t support the ramps to I-45 from 61st because I think it’s going to be a very bad thing for the people who live on Offatts Bayou,” said Schnitger said, explaining his vote against the priority list. “I think that we can solve the problem, or at least alleviate the problem, with signalization there on 45, at least for the people going northbound from 61st.”
Transportation consultant Barry Goodman said that the purchases of the buses for the Island Transit fleet can be included in other funding packages. Thus, it was not included in the recommendation for inclusion in the TIP.
In an unrelated announcement, Goodman reported that the H-GAC Board of Directors on Tuesday approved funding for new buses to expand the Victory Lakes Park & Ride operation. Galveston Fleet Manager David Smith provided a photo of one of the new buses that will be operated by Gulf Coast Center.
Galveston Park Board of Trustees Executive Director Kelly de Schaun addressed the committee about the park board’s Tourism and Business Development Transportation Study, then the board voted unanimously to ask Galveston City Council to designate the ITC as a partner with the park board on the project. Listen (3:22)
John Carrara of the Goodman Corporation updated the committee on the Downtown Intermodal Transportation Terminal and the Streetscape projects that are part of the Livable Communities Initiative. Listen (18:27)
Andrew Gallagher of the Department of Public Works updated the committee on the schedule for the Market Street, 43rd Street and 53rd Street Reconstruction Project. Listen (3:42)
“By next time I will be able to tell you whether the bids were high, low or do we have money left over?” Gallagher said. “You know, are we optimistic that we will do a lot of Market Street, or are we only going to do a half or two-thirds of Market Street.”
“Are you holding money back for change orders and contingencies on 53rd and 43rd?” asked Janet Hoffman.
“That’s an interesting thing,” Gallagher said. “I’ve never been successful in getting anybody at the City of Galveston to do that.”
Gallagher noted that when he worked for the City of Houston they appropriated 113 percent to allow for contingencies.
“There will be some money there, but it’s a big issue,” Gallagher said. “I just don’t like the way they run construction projects in Galveston.”
The agenda included a discussion of each member's goals, but the meeting adjourned before that item was reached. Thus, Schnitger provided his goals to the members who remained after the adjournment; and later distributed them by email to those who were not there. Goals
Committee member Addie Pappous and her husband, Galveston City Council Member Norman Pappous, the council’s ex-officio representative, were absent. The next meeting will be on December 17.