The City of Carlsbad Transportation Department has been honored as the region’s Agency of the Year by the San Diego chapter of the Institute of Transportation Engineers for initiating projects and methods that have made transportation a top priority and have transformed the city’s “transportation culture.” The City of Carlsbad Transportation Department was formed in 2010 as part of a citywide reorganization, and in the last 36 months has formulated a mission, values and vision that have improved safety and mobility for Carlsbad residents and visitors. “This award represents the City of Carlsbad’s continuous effort to improve our transportation system,” said City of Carlsbad Transportation Director Skip Hammann. “Our staff expanded our view of transportation beyond moving people, goods and services, to improving the quality of life for everyone who lives, works and plays in Carlsbad. Carlsbad is a great place and we’re working to make it even better.” And Dawn Wilson, president of the San Diego chapter of the Institute of Transportation Engineers, said, “The City of Carlsbad has taken a leadership role in providing innovative transportation solutions to improve the quality of life of the residents of the San Diego region. Through the use of policy and project implementation, the city has successfully demonstrated what a commitment to improving the life of its residents can do to the overall quality of the region.” In its award, the institute noted three major areas where the department progressed “from good to great” in 2012:
- The “livable streets” program,
- Creating a “Traffic Signal Program and Traffic Management Center,” and
- Applying a “best value analysis” to the department and projects.
The “ livable streets” concept acknowledges that streets are an important part of the livability of today’s communities and ought to be for everyone, whether young or old, motorist or bicyclist, walker or wheelchair user, bus rider or shopkeeper. The Transportation Department initiated or participated in more than a dozen projects that enhanced the livability of Carlsbad’s streets. Samples of livable street projects are:
- The Carlsbad Residential Traffic Management Program, which provides cost-effective solutions to reduce speeding and cut-through traffic on residential streets while involving the public and local residents in the decision making process.
- Carlsbad Boulevard pedestrian safety improvements between Carlsbad Village Drive and Tamarack Avenue, which involved the installation of five pedestrian medians and other measures to give pedestrians a safe refuge in the center of the road, so they can cross in stages.
- § A “pedestrian scramble” intersection at Carlsbad Boulevard and Carlsbad Village Drive, which allows people to cross the intersection in any direction, even diagonally, while all traffic stops. The “scramble” intersection, a first in North San Diego County, provided a win-win solution for pedestrians and motorists by making it easier for pedestrians to cross, and for motorists to turn right during a vehicle-only phase. Watch a video of the “Carlsbad Scramble.”
- § La Costa Avenue safety improvements, which reduced the number of travel lanes, added a bike lane, and installed speed feedback signs to address safety issues while enhancing the area’s residential character. Vehicle speeds were reduced along La Costa Avenue between El Camino Real and Rancho Santa Fe Road, making the roadway safer for motorists and residents who live along the roadway corridor.
- The planned redesign of the Carlsbad Boulevard/State Street intersection, which will make it safer for vehicles, pedestrians and bicyclists. This project will involve construction of a roundabout and installation of a new trail, sidewalk and bicycle lanes.
- “Light the Village,” in which the Transportation Department partnered with the local business community to light up trees along Carlsbad Village Drive between Carlsbad Boulevard and Roosevelt Street, and along State Street between Carlsbad Village and Grand Avenue. “Light the Village” is a part of Village Works, a joint venture ofUrban Place Consulting Group, the Carlsbad Village Association and the City of Carlsbad to continue the revitalization of downtown Carlsbad.
The award also honors the city’s Transportation Department for implementing a new traffic signal system, which recently linked 130 traffic signals to a new transportation management center where city traffic engineers optimize Carlsbad’s traffic flow by synchronizing the city’s traffic signals. Transportation staff used new technology and an innovative partnership with private firms to deliver this complex project on schedule and under budget. The system provides live video feeds of traffic at each intersection so that engineers can remotely monitor and address traffic congestion to reduce commutes. Based on a before-and-after study, this project improved peak-hour traffic flows by 20 to 30 percent along the major corridors in Carlsbad. Watch a video about the new traffic management center. The Transportation Department also undertook an intensive services analysis that included an audit to ensure that it performs its tasks at the highest quality for the best value. “This effort shows our strong commitment to providing excellent service at the best value to our community. As a result we have implemented measures to improve operations and maintenance to better utilize public funds,” Hammann said. The department’s dedication to excellence has helped improve the City of Carlsbad’s bottom line. In July the Transportation Department succeeded in winning four Active Transportation grants from the San Diego Association of Governments, worth a total of $1.25 million. The four grants are designed to improve connectivity and make city streets safer for motorists, bicyclists and pedestrians, and help continue economic revitalization of the downtown Village. The grants will leverage approximately $600,000 city funds into $1.85 million.