Another Upgrade to First Street Promenade

From a distance Benicia’s First Street promenade railing looks fine, but on closer inspection, peeling paint and rust from natural elements is apparent. The rust prompted the city to replace the railing with newer material that will better withstand wind, rain and close proximity to salt water. The city fenced off the promenade walkway in July to remove the old railing and prepare to install 200 feet of new railing. Rick Knight, city of Benicia parks and building maintenance superintendent, said the project should be complete by the first part of November, if not before. Once the work is finished, temporary fencing will be removed.

Holding up to the Elements

Measure C tax funding, which voters approved in 2014, will pay for the work. Measure C is a one-cent sales tax that has funded a number of projects this year, including new playground structures, sidewalk repair and police equipment in addition to replacement of the railing. The city has budgeted $237,000 of Measure C funds for the railing work. Made out of cast iron, the first railing was installed in the early 1990s as part of a number of First Street waterfront improvements. “It didn’t hold up that well to the elements, to the salt water and the wet environment, and it started rusting. It was never unsafe but it didn’t look good. It was time to replace it,” Knight said.

Cost Savings Over Time

The new railing will look the same as the old one, and will be made out of solid stainless steel that will better stand the test of time. Once installed, it will be covered with epoxy primer and blue paint, similar to the color on the old one, Knight said. The new railing will not rust and will be able to hold up to the elements, though it will need to be maintained and painted on a regular basis, he added. The decision to go with stainless steel led to a delay in the work and an increase in the cost. However, the new material should save costs in the long run. “If this railing is maintained it shouldn’t ever need to be replaced,” Knight said. Should the city ever need to do any work on the surrounding concrete seating areas, the railing can be unbolted, removed and reinstalled.