Livable Communities Newsletter
Vol. 12, No. 46
May 2018
Quick Links

Welcome to Our Spring 2018 Livable Communities Newsletter! 
 
This past year, two new chief transportation engineers were named in the cities of Oxnard and Ventura, each of whom have the daunting task of keeping track of all things transportation related. From fixing potholes, timing streetlights, and repairing sidewalks to adding crosswalks and bike lanes --  if it makes a street great, these are the engineers behind it.  In Oxnard, Justin Link, P.E., T.E., QSD was named as the new Transportation Services Manager, and in Ventura, Jeff Hereford, P.E., T.E. was named as the new Principal Civil Engineer for Transportation.  In this issue, Vanessa Rauschenberger, Director of Planning and Marketing for Gold Coast Transit District writes an introductory article, and then in the next two articles shares the responses to a series of questions that she asked both Justin and Jeff to answer.  Through these answers we can learn more about these talented engineers, what their projects are, and how they are working hard to keep our city streets more livable for years to come.
 
What you see below are responses in an abbreviated  form, but there is both rich detail and a collection of pictures that add significantly to the interviews when you utilize the link at the end of each.  The linked articles are not long, and they are fascinating.  Please "click through" to the full set of answers.

Let us know what you think by contacting us at info@CivicAlliance.org.
 
Thanks, 
  
Stacy Roscoe 



Making our Streets Great

by Vanessa Rauschenberger

When we think about what makes our cities "great" we usually think about the architecture, parks and green spaces that are pictures on our city postcards.   However, the reality is that the most valuable land area of most cities - often taking up nearly half of the public sphere, are the spaces made up by our local streets. Streets are sometimes looked at with disdain as functional necessities, but when a street is designed really well it has the potential to turn spaces into great "places."
 
When our kids are able to walk to school because the traffic is calmed, when our potholes get filled and bike lanes are added to give us options for getting around, the condition of our streets has a big impact on how we experience our cities. Our streets not only keep us moving from A to B, but they are spaces that can bring us together, help our communities thrive and make our cities more livable.
 
With funding from SB 1-the Road Repair and Accountability Act of 2017 (which implemented a gas tax last November), increased investment in our streets now has the potential to be a game changer for Ventura County, as it will enable our region to address significant maintenance, rehabilitation and safety needs. With the future SB 1 in limbo due to repeal efforts, it's important for us to take time to appreciate the work that goes into making great streets and how they contribute to the quality of life in our region.
 
This past year, two new talented chief transportation engineers were named in the cities of Oxnard and Ventura. In Oxnard, Justin Link, P.E., T.E., QSD was named as the new Transportation Services Manager, and in Ventura, Jeff Hereford, P.E., T.E. was named as the new Principal Civil Engineer for Transportation.  As technology changes and populations age, they are the ones working to make sure our cities keep up with the challenges of moving more people in new ways.   From making sure traffic lights are timed just right, to providing alternative mobility options and making streets safer, they are the experts when it comes to transforming our city streets to meet the needs of the future.
 
In this transportation themed newsletter, I hope our readers will get to learn more about the work our transportation engineers are doing to improve our streets and help make them more livable for us all.
 
                                                                                                                                                                   Vanessa Rauschenberger
                          Director of Planning and Marketing 
Gold Cost Transit District




















An Interview with Justin Link
Transportation Services Manager, City of Oxnard

For more details on each answer, go to the link below.........

1.  Tell our readers about your background. How did you decide to go into the field of Transportation Engineering?...................
 
2.  Do you have a favorite local street?   What makes it great?
 
I really love walking down A Street in Downtown Oxnard. There is a sense of place with all of the shops and restaurants. There are wide sidewalks for pedestrians, angled parking so you can stop and stay a while (with the added benefit of slowing cars down -- a form of traffic calming) and, with slower speeds, a bicycle-friendly street, too. It's the closest thing to a Complete Street that we have in Oxnard...........  

3.  What current projects are you working on in your city that are most exciting to you?
 
The City is working on a lot of exciting projects right now. We have arterial street maintenance projects, whole-neighborhood pavement overlays, and intelligent transportation system projects. The most exciting, though, is probably the Rice Avenue at Fifth Street Overhead..............
 
4.  How does transportation engineering contribute to making more livable communities?
 
Transportation, at its very basic core, is about access. Without streets and roads, there is an inability to get from point A to point B. That is why it is so important that we invest in our infrastructure, with funding sources like the Gas Tax (Senate Bill 1) and Measure O in the City of Oxnard........... 
 
5.   As our population ages, how will that impact mobility needs in your community?

The need for access doesn't wane over time; it may even increase with age. That is where our transit operators become invaluable. When the population ages to the point where a driver doesn't feel comfortable behind the wheel anymore, paratransit or dial-a-ride becomes crucial............ 
 
6. What are some challenges you face in designing "streets for all ages/abilities" and "complete streets"?

The biggest challenge of complete streets is balancing the needs of all road users with a limited amount of space and funding. While we aspire to add bicycle and pedestrian to facilities to our major roads originally design to carry vehicle traffic, it is difficult, and sometimes unwise, to mix peds and bikes with vehicles..........
 
7.  What is the biggest traffic related myth or misunderstanding you'd like to dispel?
 
I think the biggest traffic myth is that video detection cameras have the ability to record your face or your license plate............. 
 
8.  What transportation technologies will have the greatest impact in your city the next 2-3 years? How about in the next 10 years?
 
Technology in transportation is moving so fast it's very hard to keep up! One of the greatest impacts over the next two-to-three years will be adaptive traffic signals. We will be able to program traffic signal corridors (such as Rose Avenue or Gonzales Road) to "adapt" to traffic in real-time to move more vehicles, reduce the number of stops and the amount of greenhouse gases generated.  In the near future, technology will be available in and around Oxnard to tell your car (if it is so equipped) when the traffic signal will turn green and how long you have left to wait.............
 
9. What are some great projects from other cities (either in Ventura County or around the world) that inspire your work in Oxnard?

Any project that leverages technology and creativity to do more with less is always inspiring. The days of adding capacity to carry more traffic will soon be over as available land (and funding) becomes more scarce............
 
10.  Is there anything else you want our readers to know?............
 



An Interview with Jeff Hereford

Principal Civil Engineer for Transportation, City of Ventura


For more details on each answer, go to the link below.........

1.  Tell our readers about your background. How did you decide to go into the field of Transportation Engineering?........
 
2.  Do you have a favorite local street? What makes it great?

My favorite street in the City is Pierpont Boulevard. Pierpont Boulevard parallels the beach with access to a beautiful park to the south, a wonderful bike path to the north, residential and commercial space to the east and west, and of course access to the beach along the entire stretch.........
 
3.  What current projects are you working on in your city that are most exciting to you?

We are working on such a variety of transportation projects that it is really hard to say which one excites me the most. With that being said, however, I am really enjoying the projects related to Active Transportation (walking, biking, and other non-motorized modes). There is so much grant funding available right now that will pay for a wide range of Active transportation...........

4.  How does transportation engineering contribute to making more livable communities?

There are so many ways in which transportation engineering contributes to making a community more livable. Transportation Engineers can incorporate several different bicycle/pedestrian design features into different projects......... 

5.  As our population ages, how will that impact mobility needs in your community?

As our community ages, it will be important to continue our efforts in diversifying transportation options throughout the City. This can be accomplished through the implementation of improving pedestrian facilities and making the City a more "walkable" environment, continuing to improve the safety of the city's roadway network, and providing a robust transit system that can meet the needs of all users..........

6.  What are some challenges you face in designing "streets for all ages/abilities" and "complete streets"?

The City of Ventura has not adopted a complete streets policy so sometimes it is difficult to get designs through the political process before it even has a chance to hit the streets. We are considering applying for a non-infrastructure grant through the Active Transportation Program to assist us with funding a Mobility Plan which would include a complete streets policy.......... 

7.  What is the biggest traffic related myth or misunderstanding you'd like to dispel?

That's a very good question. Probably the biggest myth to dispel is in regards to the installation of stop signs. Here at the City we receive lots of requests to install stop signs and these are usually associated with trying to slow cars down in a neighborhood........... 
 
8.  What transportation technologies will have the greatest impact in your city the next 2-3 years? How about in the next 10 years?

The City of Ventura is getting started on an Advanced Traffic Management System (ATMS) which will completely upgrade the City's current traffic signal system. This includes new traffic signal system software, a new communication system that will utilize fiber optic technologies, and a complete change out of all the City's 137 traffic signal controllers.......... 
 
9.  What are some great projects from other cities (either in Ventura County or around the world) that inspire your work in Ventura?

When I am out traveling around in other cities or I read about project success stories, I really enjoy seeing innovative Active Transportation projects.......... 





A Special Thank You Goes to Our State of the Region Report Sponsors:

Research Sponsor - 
Ventura County Community Foundation

Presenting Sponsor - 
Ventura County Community College District


Domain Sponsors - 

Aera Energy
AT&T
California Lutheran University
California State University Channel Islands
County of Ventura
Gene Haas Foundation
Limoneira
Montecito Bank & Trust
Southern California Edison
United Staffing Associates
VCDSA - Ventura County Deputy Sheriff's Association


Supporting Sponsors -

The Port of Hueneme
Ventura County Coastal Association of Realtors
Ventura County Office of Education

Contributing Sponsors -

City of Ventura Community Development Department
Ferguson Case Orr Paterson LLP
Gold Coast Transit
Maron Computer Services
Procter & Gamble Paper Products Company
SESPE CONSULTING INC.
Stacy and Kerry Roscoe
Ventura County Transportation Commission

Friend Sponsors -

California Lutheran University Center for Nonprofit Leadership
Dyer Sheehan Group, Inc.
Friends of the Santa Clara River
Kate McLean
Sherie and Joe Gibson
Slover Memorial Fund
United Way of Ventura County
Ventura College Foundation

Media Sponsor -

Pacific Coast Business Times