The Foster City levee improvement project to protect homes and infrastructure from rising sea levels is proceeding on schedule and making good progress, with Bowditch Middle School student dropoff plans facing changes due to construction.
City Manager Peter Pirnejad said construction teams had made significant progress in the last two months, and the city was happy with the project timeline.
“We haven’t run into any significant issues, and as a result, have made tremendous progress. We are on a good path to improve the levee and get it complete and delivered to the residents of Foster City to enjoy an asset that will provide a benefit to many residents today and long into the future,” Pirnejad said.
The update was part of an Aug. 5 community outreach meeting to discuss construction progress, back-to-school plans and general safety reminders involving the project. The levee work started in October 2020 and will last through 2023. It includes temporary trail sections closures and road closures during the time. Foster City voters passed Measure P in 2018 to issue $90 million in bonds for the project.
Pirnejad said the complexity and long timeline of the project could lead to public frustration. However, he noted it was critical to protect people and infrastructure from sea level rise.
“So thank you to the entire community for your patience as this construction project continues,” Pirnejad said.
Several questions remained about dropoff plans for students attending Bowditch Middle School at 1450 Tarpon St. Foster City is recommending using detour routes instead of Beach Park Boulevard while construction and closures occur. There will be no left turns onto Beach Park Boulevard or from Beach Park Boulevard at Tarpon Street and Swordfish Street during school pickup and dropoff times, which run from 7:30-8:30 a.m. Monday through Friday, and 2:30-3:30 p.m. during the week.
The city is also suggesting people use designated dropoff meeting areas at Marlin Park and Sunfish Park, where students can safely walk to school. There will also be an increased police presence in the area. The city wants the public to be aware of more students on bicycles using the streets to come and go to school. The school year starts Aug. 12.
Councilmember Patrick Sullivan noted he was an avid bike rider and felt it would not be safe in the area for a young student riding to school or multiple bike riders. He also said neighbors still had questions about dropoff and pickup points at parks, noting that their close nature concerned neighbors trying to leave in the morning.
“Some of the neighbors had some concerns of dropping so many kids off at a park at a certain time,” Sullivan said.
The councilmember also asked how the school district, contractors and police would work together to reduce congestion. Bowditch Middle School Principal Caleb Bowers noted the hybrid model in the spring at the school saw 350 students return and gave the school a trial run to plan for 1,000 students. Bowers said 8-8:20 a.m. would be the most affected time in the morning, with school starting at 8:25 a.m. After school would be most congested around 3-3:20 p.m., with school getting out around 1 p.m. Wednesday.
“We want students and parents to arrive a little bit earlier if possible. Usually, if you get to school before 8 a.m., traffic is pretty light,” Bowers said. “We want to use multiple areas to avoid the Beach Park Boulevard area. We don’t want students riding bikes on it, and we want to avoid parents making left-hand turns on to Beach Park Boulevard.”
The levee improvement project resumed work June 7 on the Phase One area of Port Royal Drive to Shorebird Park. As part of the project design, two small bridges will be built at the crossings to and from Belmont and Redwood Shores. Sheet pile cap pours for Phase 1 and Phase 2 areas continues. Crews are also working on embankment fill operations near Baffin Court and Shorebird Park. The bridge access point near Baffin Street or the one near Rock Harbor Lane will remain open to the public during construction.
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