In her April 3, 2023 letter to the Mayor and City Council, the City Manager asked that the Hopkins Corridor Project be placed on hold for a variety of reasons. I am here today to ask that you not consider that hold as a reason to defer the repaving of Hopkins any longer.

The Hopkins project, brought about by Councilmember Hahn’s request for a Placemaking Study, was, among other things, intended to “…identify improvements to be integrated into the paving and bicycle infrastructure work already scheduled for this area.” At the time, repaving Hopkins was scheduled for 2023; there was no bicycle infrastructure work scheduled, though Hopkins was on the city’s Bicycle Plan to be studied for a possibility Class IV Cycle Track.

Staff later added consideration of the cycle track to the scope of the work as a cost saving measure, reasoning that it would be less expensive to include it at the time of repaving than to retrofit it later. But there was a problem with that logic: it assumed the cycle track to be a matter of fact, not a matter of study.

Yet the cycle track introduced several difficulties to the process, not the least of which were the safety concerns about fire evacuation on this city designated evacuation route. We have recently heard from Fire Chief Sprague that the consultant’s report addressing this complication is not due for another year.

The question then becomes whether it is reasonable to hold up the long-scheduled repaving of this badly deteriorated street. In Public Works Director Garland’s memo to you for today’s meeting, the following is written under ENVIRONMENTAL SUSTAINABILITY AND CLIMATE IMPACTS (pg. 89): Streets in good condition are lower stress and improve safety for those who bike, walk, or use public transit, thus are important for promoting non-automobile trips and lowering greenhouse gas emissions consistent with the City’s 2009 Climate Action Plan and Climate Emergency Declaration.

Waiting an undetermined amount of time to take advantage of these benefits is counterproductive. If, at a later date, Council decides to approve the cycle track for lower Hopkins, it can be added at even lower cost through the use of the equipment used in pilot projects. At a community meeting Farid Javandel said it not only would be a lot less expensive to use that type of infrastructure; it would also be possible to remove it if it proved ineffective and disruptive or, even worse, unsafe.

We therefore urge you to restore Hopkins to the 2024 paving plan. If funding for projects in the equity zone is an issue, repave only the segment of Hopkins from Gilman to Sutter, which is rated poor on the PCI Index, and reassign the dollars associated with lower Hopkins to it. But Hopkins needs to be and should be repaved next year. Nothing about the Hopkins Corridor plan should be standing in its way.