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Monday, February 18 , 2019, 11:02 am | A Few Clouds 53º


City Council Authorizes Design Contract for Redevelopment of Cliff Drive Intersection

Tuesday's meeting is dedicated to Santa Barbara filmmaker Mike deGruy, who died in a helicopter crash; a memorial service is planned for Sunday

The Santa Barbara City Council on Tuesday approved the design costs for the redevelopment of the Cliff Drive and Las Positas intersection.

The council authorized a $69,665 contract with Penfield & Smith for peer review and preliminary design.

The estimated total cost of a roundabout is $1.96 million, while a traffic light would cost about $1.08 million.

City staff said another option would be to add a second southbound left-turn lane on Las Positas, which experiences the most congestion during peak driving hours.

“That would provide some interim relief to drivers if Caltrans accepts the proposal, but thinking 20 to 30 years down the road those improvements would not likely suffice,” according to city staff. “But it would definitely provide a relief for the several-minute wait right now.”

The intersection, which is owned and operated by Caltrans, has the worst Level of Service rating and causes substantial delay during the morning and evening peak hours, according to the city.

“This has been a really important project for that area of town for a long time, and to get to this point where we are ready to take the next steps in study and evaluation is really important,” said Councilman Grant House, adding that they need need to get the project right in terms of scale and meet the needs of local interest.

The Streets Capital Fund under Measure D will cover the cost of a preliminary design. A $750,000 STIP grant can be used for the construction phase, and city staff will pursue additional grants to fill in the gap if need be. If additional grant funding isn’t available, the final design will match available funding.

It is expected to take about eight months for completion of the design contract.

Also at Tuesday’s meeting, the City Council adopted the recommendation to become the “successor agency” for the recently dissolved Redevelopment Agency and will handle business left behind by the agency, such as paying back bond debt and finishing constructions projects already in progress.

However, it remains uncertain what will happen to projects the city has saved for but hasn’t yet broken ground.

While adjourning the meeting, Santa Barbara Mayor Helene Schneider dedicated the meeting to Santa Barbara filmmaker Mike deGruy, who died in a helicopter crash Friday in New South Wales, Australia.

DeGruy, 60, was in Australia to scout locations for an upcoming documentary project.

Memorial contributions may be made to Santa Barbara Middle School, Heal the Ocean and the Mobile Bay Keeper.

A memorial service will be held at 3 p.m. Sunday at Fess Parker’s DoubleTree Resort, 633 E. Cabrillo Blvd. in Santa Barbara. 

“He was a big part of the Santa Barbara International Film Festival and a big part of this community,” Schneider said. “We give our best to his wife and family.”

Noozhawk business writer Alex Kacik can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

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