The J Street project fumble

J Street Fumble Modesto CA

Tune in tonight at 93.3, or online at http://tobtr.com/s/10875091 and our comment line is 209 846-1814

What will become of J Street?  Don’t ask the City Manager – Joe Lopez in not prepared.

On Joe Lopez’s’ first major request of council, he showed that he is ill-prepared to present a major proposal.  With over a year in the interim status, filled with crisis after crisis (think overspending), we were hoping he would have matured to the role of City Manager.  No so.

We “probably were not ready to bring it forward” to the council,

Indeed. The Modesto Bee reported that the City Council was expected Tuesday to consider a J street modification, but interim City Manager Joe Lopez said the proposal was pulled from the meeting agenda because “several council members needed more information before they can make a decision.”

From the people who bought you DoMo,

With the same crowd that brought you DoMo, a proposal was set to made to remake J Street — a major downtown thoroughfare — into what supporters call a destination street that will slow and reduce traffic while drawing in people to walk and shop along the street.  This will reduce it to two lanes. (The street now is two or four lanes and includes a center turn lane.) It also would replace the parallel parking along the street with diagonal parking and add curb extensions at the intersections.

Not everyone agrees

The Bee claims opponents say that Modesto’s downtown is not the same. They say it’s a government center dominated by offices. And some J Street businesses worry about how their bottom lines would be harmed by the construction.  We agree – this is another grab at resources to enrich and enhance a single square mile of Modesto at the expense of the rest of Modesto (45miles)

It is not even complete

The Bee reports the city would need to find the additional money to complete the street’s transformation with trees and other landscaping and amenities. The city report states Modesto has applied for a $2.4 million state grant and should know by November whether it will be awarded a grant.

It has to be frustrating/awkward

At the same meeting where Joe Lopez is crowned City Manager after 12 months, he shows that he is not capable of a complete project projection involving major funding.  Council members will have to scour every packet in extreme detail until confidence is gained in the new City Manager who should have learned in his year of on the job training) recently.

Falling into the same old trap

Here we go again – hurry up and rush a project through before the City runs out of funding  (The 1.5 million grant funding for the design phase expires in June of 2019)”Staff needs to begin the design as soon as possible; otherwise, the grant deadline will not be met and there will be a loss of the grant funding.”

Complete funding is uncertain

The proposal put forth by Lopez does not even cover the required to complete the street’s transformation with trees and other landscaping and amenities. The city report states Modesto has applied for a $2.4 million state grant and should know by November whether it will be awarded a grant.

City council oversight

Thank goodness Council was sharp-eyed on this staff report from Lopez – it is so disappointing that the first proposal from Joe Lopez was not ready for prime time.  Looks like we are in for on more OJT (on the job training).