Rappoport Development Consulting Services Awarded Arborist Sub-Contract on SANDAG Project

Jeremy Rappoport, President of Rappoport Development Consulting Services LLC (RDCS) is pleased to announce that the company has been awarded a sub-contract agreement with Kimley-Horn and Associates (KHA) for the San Diego Association of Government (SANDAG) project South Bay Bus Rapid Transit project (SBBRT).

The South Bay Bus Rapid Transit is currently in planning and will eventually be a  21 mile service connecting the Otay Mesa international border crossing with downtown San Diego via eastern Chula Vista. The SBBRT project is being designed and built through SANDAG, the San Diego Association of Governments. SANDAG hired Kimley-Horn & Associates for engineering and environmental planning services for the SBBRT project, currently planned to go into service in late 2014.

The first segment of the project involves design and construction of 13-mile Bus Rapid Transit line between downtown San Diego and the Eastern Chula Vista. The route will use East Palomar Street, I-805 and state route 94 for the BRT line. The new line is expected to provide Chula Vista, National City and San Diego residents with a fast, frequent, reliable high quality transit service along arterial “transit only” lanes.

The SBBRT project will bring high speed dedicated rapid transit bus lanes and elevated platforms for easy and quick loading and unloading. The goal is to offer a mass transit alternative  along a corridor and area that currently does not have one. The BRT service will make it faster and easier for commuters to use mass transit because the specially constructed buses will use “transit priority” lanes, combined with traffic signal improvements, fewer station stops and real time passenger and bus information.

East Palomar Street is a major arterial street with an east-west alignment. A portion of the SBBRT is currently being designed and engineered by Kimley-Horn and Associates, a national design, engineering, and environmental engineering and consulting firm, with local offices in San Diego. The high speed bus lanes are designed to be constructed in the existing median strip and median planters that exist along East Palomar Street. New bus stations will also be built in close proximity to the high speed bus lanes for easy, safe egress and access to the buses.

East Palomar Street medians and right of ways contain over 1,500 existing trees and palm trees along a 3.5 mile portion of the SBBRT alignment. Plans call for demolition and removal of all trees within the medians and the right of ways. KHA sub-contracted with Rappoport Development Consulting Services for environmental consulting services including certified arborist, horticulture and landscape consulting services. RDCS will provide  tree inventory summarizing the quantity of various tree species, tree condition, and maintenance needs. The findings will be summarized in an arborist report including analysis and recommendations for disposition of the existing trees. Additional scope includes tree labeling,  developing an opinion of costs, tree related specifications, details and best management practices.

Portions of East Palomar Street were developed anticipating the design and construction of future bus lanes within the medians. In those areas where the bus lanes were anticipated, trees were planted within the outside portion of each median to accommodate new lanes within the median between rows of trees, and it is hoped many of the existing Mexican Fan Palms can be re-used with minor relocation within the newly design medians. In older portions of East Palomar Street, the future high speed bus lanes were not planned for and existing medians contain trees located in the center of the median that will have to be removed. The street width must be widened within the north and south right of ways to accommodate the new bus lanes within the center of the street.

The current street tree plantings along East Palomar Street are dominated by two trees, Pyrus calleryana, known as the Bradford Pear and Washingtonia robusta, the Mexican Fan Palm. Secondary trees include Koelruetaria bipinnata, the Golden Rain Tree and Corymbia ficifolia, the Red Flowering Gum. In general, the street tree theme has a formal emphasis with trees planted in centered row alignment. The Bradford Pear is a heavily used street tree in Chula Vista. The tree goes deciduous through the winter then produces a massive profusion of white flowers in the late spring. While an extremely showy tree during flower, after it flowers it becomes a shade tree and can be boring when overused.

The Mexican Fan palm is iconic to the City of Chula Vista and Southern California in general. Most of the palm trees are 17 to 25 feet tall and provide a architectural form the palm is famous for. It is anticipated most of the existing palm trees will be reused in the new bus lane street tree planting.  A certain number of the palms will remain in their current location while others are relocated to select areas of the project.

RDCS is certified by the California Department of General Services as a small business enterprise. RDCS LLC set a precedent being the first certified arborist consultant approved by SANDAG to the SANDAG A&E Bench (Architectural and Engineering).

With this designation from SANDAG, RDCS continues to raise awareness about the importance of our urban forest and the positive attributes a certified arborist and professional horticulturist can bring to a public works project. Jeremy Rappoport, President of RDCS expects to team with the in house landscape architectural team and various project stakeholders in developing and selecting a new, exciting and climate appropriate street tree palette for the SBBRT project.

RDCS LLC is an approved small business on call sub-consultant for Master Engineering, Architectural and Environmental consulting firms throughout California. Jeremy Rappoport, President of RDCS LLC, is a former director of land development, land development manager, purchasing agent, landscape and grading superintendent for public and private master development companies and homebuilders. Jeremy is a C-27 California landscape contractor and professional horticulturist, with a B.S. degree in Ornamental Horticulture from California Polytechnic University, Pomona.

Mr. Rappoport combines credentials as a certified arborist, certified tree risk assessor, C-27 landscape contractor and decades of land development expertise with a B.S. degree, continuing education and training to provide commercial, professional tree, plant, landscape and land development consulting