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Buses, Bikes and Broadband Gain Santa Monica's Consent



By Jorge Casuso

February 15, 2012 -- The Santa Monica City Council approved contracts Tuesday that will expand its fiber optic network, lay the groundwork for major changes to the Civic Center and pave the way for bikes and buses to roll along more smoothly.

In an effort to take a byte out of high-tech demand, the council voted to authorize the City Manager to modify Santa Monica's contract with nLayer Communications, Inc. to increase the bandwidth in order to service the growing number of customers using the City’s lit fiber services.

The Illinois-based company currently provides IP Transit to provide internet connectivity for the City’s internal network, Library network, and City Wi-Fi hot zones. In addition, the City connects businesses to the internet through the City’s fiber optic network, providing tech, entertainment, and other businesses broadband at wholesale rates from nLayer and other Internet Service Providers.

"As lit fiber customer demand has increased substantially, the existing contract amount and term requires modification to procure additional IP Transit for recently acquired lit fiber customers," staff wrote. The contract is not to exceed $367,000 for a five-year period.

In another item approved on consent, the council voted to boost its contract with JAS Pacific, Inc. to provide technical services to evaluate the Chain Reaction sculpture and analyze grading and drainage plans for The Village, a major residential project at the Civic Center, and the adjacent Palisades Garden Walk.

City officials are recommending that "Chain Reaction," the iconic 26-foot sculpture of a mushroom cloud by Pulitzer-prize-winning cartoonist Paul Conrad be dismantled due to public safety concerns. ("Santa Monica Arts Commission Paves Way for Dismantling of 'Chain Reaction,'” February 3, 2012)

The latest of $60,000 amendment to the contract with JAS Pacific brings the total amount paid by the City to $2,674,000. In addition to technical services, the firm provides support for plan check, inspection, and permit administration services during periods of staff vacancies and peak workload demands

In a separate consent item, the City hiked by some $36,000 the amount it pays Toronto-based IBI Group, Inc. to provide transportation engineering design and planning services to implement additional bike facility plans as a part of this year’s annual resurfacing program.

With the construction of IBI Group's designs completed before to the grand opening of the new Downtown Bike Centers last year, the firm will now develop design plans for additional bicycle facilities citywide.

City planners have identified bicycle lanes and shared lane markings called for in the recently adopted Bicycle Action Plan (BAP) that, "if designed in a timely manner, could be implemented as a part of the current Annual Street Resurfacing Project at minimal cost to the resurfacing program," staff wrote.

"This would result in cost savings in excess of $50,000, as a separate procurement would not be required to install new bicycle facility striping at a later date," staff concluded.

In another item approved on consent, the council also rejected two bids to provide tire leasing services for he Big Blue Bus after City officials "determined that the bid documents erroneously neglected to indicate the number of wheels per bus type," according to staff.

"Tire leasing has been a standard practice in the transit industry since the 1940’s and a common practice at the Big Blue Bus for at least 40 years," staff wrote in their report. The City will reissue a revised Notice Inviting Bids clarifying the requirements.

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