Elevators to Nowhere – the Genesis
This is the third post in a series by our Friend “Fullerton Engineer” describing the elevator addition project at the Fullerton Depot.
So you think the problem with transportation revenue is that there isn’t enough of it? Let’s see what happens when the State of California doles out grant money to localities, in this instance our very own town of Fullerton.
California transportation projects are very often driven by the availability of money spent in pursuit of a social agenda. Car pools lanes with fantastically expensive fly-over bridges? Check. Highly subsidized transit for upper middle class commuters? Check.
Forget that carpool lanes make everybody’s drive worse and that commuter trains only serve a puny portion of the taxpayers that foot the bill. It’s the gesture that counts, you see, and the more expensive the gesture, the more it counts.
Back in 2010, or so, the good folks whose livelihoods depend on putting the plans of our Sacramento social engineers into effect foresaw a big increase in rail transit through the Fullerton train station. But gee, thought someone, won’t that mean making it harder to get all those new travelers to other side of the tracks? The solution? New elevators, and right next to the old ones. Forget the fact that most of the day the existing elevators were unused, or that most people just climbed the stairs; and forget the fact that a sensible set of stairs already existed under the Harbor Boulevard bridge to do the same thing. New elevators made no sense even if the new ridership tsunami was believable: after all – only two trains can stop in the station at the same time, the same as before.
But of course the real kicker was the availability of money from our friends in Sacramento to effect alterations in stations that accommodate “transit” modalities, and so the City of Fullerton was going to grab while the grabbing was good, and never mind that the idea was nonsense and that nobody needed or wanted it.
On December 20, 2011 our esteemed City Council voted to award a design contract to Hatch Mott MacDonald, an engineering firm to “design” two new elevators right next to the existing ones. The contract amount was $358,390, a remarkable amount given the scope of the task at hand – to replicate the existing bridge in two new, one-stop elevator structures. In case you are wondering, $358,000 equates to the billing of one $100 per hour person working on this project full-time, doing nothing else, for 1.7 years.
Here’s the Hatch Mott MacDonald Purchase Order record
And so the City embarked on this ridiculous project. HMM began work in march 2012 after the City had signed a master agreement with the State of California. Someone should have become alarmed the following year when Hatch Mott MacDonald’s design service billings eventually ballooned 28% over budget – almost a hundred thousand dollars. But no one did. It was someone else’s money.
7 Replies to “Elevators to Nowhere – the Genesis”
So the design work began 5 YEARS AGO?
By the time this turkey is done we’ll be using transporters like in Star Trek.
Stay tuned. The construction contract was let 2 years after the design was done. And that was 2 years ago!
So it’s been four years since the design was done. I’ll bet anything this languished until somebody wrangled the M2 bucks. Probably that staunch conservative Shawn Nelson.
Let’s see, the designer suddenly bills $80,000 in one month? Obviously they ran wa-a-a-a-y over budget – somehow – and had to catch up. Did the City Council ever approve this?
Who’s fault is this? We need names.
Names? It won’t matter because whoever would/could get implicated will be retired. That’s how government accountability is calibrated.
Retired or moved on to another government agency.