The Golden Valley City Council voted Sept. 3 to reject all bids received for 5 miles of proposed bike lane improvements. City staff members plan to reopen bids in 2020.
City officials had anticipated that the improvements would cost $325,000. However, three bids ranged from $332,000 to $422,000. Marc Nevinski, the city’s director of physical development, explained at the council meeting that even though a bid had been significantly close to estimates, the city engineer did not recommend awarding the project to that bidder.
According to the League of Minnesota Cities, cities awarding bids must generally choose what’s called “the lowest responsible bidder.”
In the lLeague’s words: “The phrase ‘lowest responsible bidder’ does not mean the lowest bidder, but the lowest bidder who is most likely to do faithful, conscientious work and promptly fulfill the contract according to its letter and spirit.”
If a bidder has demonstrated issues with “financial responsibility, integrity, ability, skill, and likelihood of providing faithful and satisfactory performance,” then the city may pass on the bid, the League reported.
Nevinski added that bids were likely high due to delays in the planning process. The five bike line sections, chosen by a citizen task force, had met some objections from some residents, particularly a stretch along Olympia Street, Nevada Avenue and Sandburg Road where on-street parking would be lost. Feedback at a mid-June open house led to a spirited July city council meeting, where council began to pursue compromise options.
Councilmember Steven Schmidgall reaffirmed at the Sept. 3 meeting that the planned designs for Olympia Street would maintain parking “along the entire length” of the road.
The project was expected to begin this month or October, with completion in November.
The 2019 project was one step of a multi-year plan to add bike lanes in the city, per the city’s ongoing street capital improvement plan. The city does not plan to delay future plans, so will take on both the 2019 and 2020 bike lane projects in 2020.