The Galveston Intermodal Transportation Committee on Wednesday received an update regarding the progress on restoring the island's trolley system.
"The project is moving along pretty well,”
reported transportation consultant John Carrara of The Goodman Corporation. Listen (59:13)
He went on to explain that parts of streets in Downtown Galveston have been restored with concrete pavement which is anticipated to be more durable in the long run and repairs to the tracks are being made and the work on track switches at 22nd and The Strand will be done between the Lone Star Rally, which takes place this weekend, and Dickens on the Strand in early December.
The committee discussed options for how to retain the historic appearance and accuracy of the areas damaged by the trolley project.
Some of the street pavers will be damaged in the process of rebuilding the trolley tracks. Chair Janet Hoffman suggested that new bricks in a matching color should be used to fill in where the historic bricks are damaged in an interlacing pattern.
Concerns over the area being a historic area were voiced and the significance of the pavers remaining accurate to the historic period. Catherine Gorman, Assistant Director/Historic Preservation Officer-Planning Department for the City of Galveston said, “I would think you can interlace with the new bricks. It’s unrealistic to think you can salvage all the old bricks.”
Cararra said that the trolley vehicles are in the second step of a two-step process for restoration from damage incurred during Hurricane Ike and he is hopeful that the city council will award a contract for the restoration in December. The vehicles are anticipated to be ready by 2018. FEMA funds will be used for the repairs.
The committee voted unanimously to approve a 2017 meeting schedule, which allows for meetings every other month.
The 2017 meetings will be scheduled for January 11, March 1, May 3, July 12, September 6 and November 1. Meetings will continue to be held in room 204 of Galveston City Hall at 11:00 am
Carrara also provided a report on the progress of the Seawall Boulevard streetscape improvements, stating that the project is 30 percent complete. He reported that seven locations have completed underground work and the pavement has been restored and a landscaped structure is in place at 81st Street and Seawall. Also, five prefabricated restrooms and bicycle racks have been delivered and a prefabricated bus shelter is expected later in November. Completion is expected by the end of the month.
The committee asked to have the matters regarding National Bike Month, which is observed in May, further discussed at the next meeting.
Kyle D. Hockersmith, Director of Public Works for the City of Galveston, explained that funding for bicycle lanes on streets running east to west comes from the city and TxDOT funds are needed for streets running north to south.
Carrara explained meetings are happening between the city, county and TxDOT.
“Things seem to be moving in the direction of more funds,” said Carrara.
The master bicycle plan will be on the forefront of future committee meetings.
Hockersmith requested committee support in thoroughfare planning and the committee agreed to add thoroughfares to future agendas.
The committee will hold its next meeting on January 11, 2017 at 11 a.m.