Blog

Forward Motion, October 2019

Mobility 21 to Co-host Holiday Reception
Honoring California Transportation Commission

Please join the Greater Riverside Chambers of Commerce, Inland Empire Economic Partnership, Inland Action, Mobility 21, Monday Morning Group, RCTC and SBCTA on Wednesday, Dec. 4 for a holiday reception honoring the California Transportation Commission (CTC).

Wednesday, Dec. 4, 5:00 PM – 7:00 PM
The Atrium at the Riverside County Administrative Center

Registration
$35 Private Sector
$10 Public Sector, Nonprofits, Students, Elected Officials
Click here to register

Sponsorship
$500 – Event Sponsor: Includes logo on event marketing and one complimentary ticket
$250 – Small businesses and nonprofits only: Includes logo on event marketing and one complimentary ticket


Mobility 21 Advisory Board Member Spotlight:
Hasan Ikhrata
Executive Director
San Diego Association of Governments

Considered one of the preeminent transportation planning experts in the nation, Hasan Ikhrata is the Executive Director of the San Diego Association of Governments (SANDAG). SANDAG is the leading research, planning, and transportation agency for the San Diego region. The agency builds consensus; makes strategic plans; obtains and allocates resources; plans, engineers, and builds public transportation, and provides information on a broad range of topics pertinent to the region’s quality of life. Agency policymakers are elected officials from each of the area’s 18 cities and the county. Hasan leads a staff of about 350 professionals who develop public policy initiatives for elected officials on numerous issues encompassing population growth, transportation, environmental management, economic development, municipal finance, binational coordination, and public safety.

Hasan has over 30 years of public and private sector transportation planning experience in the region. As Executive Director of SANDAG, he directs day‐to‐day operations of the agency and implements policies set by its governing board. In addition, Hasan is the Chief Executive Officer of the SANDAG Service Bureau, the nonprofit public benefit corporation chartered by SANDAG.

Hasan has received several awards and honors from various organizations and agencies including the American Society of Public Administration, Southern California Leadership Council, Orange County Transportation Authority, Orange County Business Council, League of California Cities, City of Los Angeles, State of California Certificate of Recognition, Association of the San Bernardino County Special Districts, the Building Industry Association, regional chapters of the Women’s Transportation Seminar and numerous others.

Hasan holds a Bachelor’s and a Master’s degree in Civil and Industrial Engineering from Zaporozhye University in the former Soviet Union; a Master’s degree in Civil Engineering from UCLA, and a PhD Candidacy in Urban Planning and Transportation from the University of Southern California.

Prior to joining SANDAG in 2018, Hasan worked for Southern California Association of Governments (SCAG), Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) and South Coast Air Quality Management District (SCAQMD).

Hasan is an adjunct professor in the business school at California State University, Northridge.


Mobility 21 Advisory Board Member Spotlight:
Stephen J. Polechronis
Senior Vice President, Regional Business Line Leader – Transportation
AECOM

Stephen Polechronis is a transportation industry executive and project manager with extensive transit project management experience, including development, design, and construction of light rail, heavy rail subway, and commuter rail projects. His project management experience includes complex multi-disciplinary assignments at all stages of project development from concept to commissioning.

Concurrent with his project work, Stephen has held a number of executive positions with AECOM Transportation including his current assignment as AECOM’s Transportation Regional Business Line Leader in Greater Southern California and Nevada. Previously, Stephen had responsibility for the development of AECOM’s Latin American transportation initiative, business development in AECOM’s Western Region, was Director of West Program Management, West Coast Unit Manager, Western United States Transit Director, and West Coast Regional Manager of Business Development. He has held positions with both P&L and business development responsibility.

Stephen was the recipient of the 2016 Honorable Ray LaHood Man of the Year Award, Women’s Transportation Seminar, Los Angeles Chapter, is active in APTA, CMAA and the Central City Association of Los Angeles.


Mobility 21 Summit Sponsor Spotlight:
MBI

For more than 30 years, MBI Media (MBI) has been committed to assisting the transportation industry with innovative engagement strategies and communication campaigns that include everything from traditional public outreach methods to digital and multimedia production.

MBI takes pride in a rich company culture, composed of our team of unique professionals from various cultural and ethnic backgrounds. They reflect the many different communities and individuals found across the state of California and contribute their own experiences and insight to every project we touch.

Celebrating our 30th anniversary in 2019, it has been an especially busy year for the MBI team.

We have assisted transportation agencies and municipalities on projects across California. These ranged from countywide transportation planning initiatives to leading public outreach efforts on major highway, rail, and port projects.

Whether it be working with a client to create a brand-new outreach campaign’s imagery and feel, strategizing how to engage and educate neighborhoods with sensitive project information, or filming and producing special educational/informational videos, MBI has all the necessary engagement tools to successfully continue helping the region move into the future of transportation.

We look forward to continuing our work with Mobility 21 and all its member agencies as we begin a new decade here at MBI.

MBI is certified as a 100-percent Woman-Owned Business Enterprise (WBE), Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE), and Small Business Enterprise (SBE). Headquartered in Covina, California with additional offices in Downtown Los Angeles, Orange County, and San Jose, California.


Metro Reopens the A Line (Blue) on Saturday, Nov. 2

Metro announced the reopening of the A Line (Blue) on Saturday, Nov. 2 and will offer passengers three days of free rides from Saturday Nov. 2 throughout Monday, Nov. 4 on the A Line.
The New Blue Improvements Project is designed to increase Blue Line reliability with four new switches and new tracks that will reduce service interruptions and extend the life of the line. The project also enhances safety through an upgraded train control system and new overhead power system.
Customers will see station upgrades such as new digital screens that will provide information on train and bus arrivals, digital artwork, new station identifiers and wayfinding signage, repainted stations and refreshed landscaping.

The Willowbrook/Rosa Parks Station will also be reopening on Nov. 2 after being closed the past nine months for a complete renovation, including a longer platform, new lighting, better connections to the surrounding community and new security center and bike hub. Work will be continuing on some elements of the project beyond Nov. 2 but the station — one of the busiest in the Metro system — will be ready again for passengers!

The A Line is the first rail line to employ the new naming convention in which Metro Rail and Bus Rapid Transit Lines will be named with letters and colors to better help riders navigate a growing system. The remainder of the system will transition to the new naming convention when the Crenshaw/LAX Line opens. 

Metro will hold three sequential community celebrations on Saturday, Nov. 2 beginning at 10 a.m. at 7th St/Metro Center at The Bloc, followed by the Watts Celebration at 103rd St & Graham Av, near the 103rd/Watts Towers Station and the Downtown Long Beach Station.

The New Blue Improvements Project is a $350-million renovation as part of Metro’s State of Good Repair program. The modernization of the line began in January 2019. The project was divided into two segments. The southern segment from downtown Long Beach to downtown Los Angeles was completed on June 1, when work on the northern segment began.


SCAG Releases New TDM Strategic Plan

The Southern California of Governments recently released a major new document in the regional transportation realm: the SCAG Transportation Demand Management (TDM) Strategic Plan and Final Report. It provides a thorough and detailed examination of best practices for TDM from around the country, as well as a guide to support and enhance local implementation. As part of the TDM Strategic Plan, SCAG also released an updated “TDM Toolbox of Strategies,” a guide to practical applications of the various ways TDM can be implemented in the SoCal region.

Counties, municipalities, transportation commissions, transportation management associations and authorities, and large employers can use the Toolbox to think about the ways they can reduce single-occupancy car commuting by choosing from a menu of options. Since one size does not fit all, it is beneficial that stakeholders can choose the strategies that work best for them. The Plan and Final Report will be an important and enduring part of the regional effort to reduce congestion and GHG emissions and improve air quality in Southern California. It also serves as a guiding and implementation document for SCAG, its member agencies and stakeholders, and informs the development of the soon-to-be-released Connect SoCal plan (the 2020-2045 Regional Transportation Plan and Sustainable Communities Strategy).



Orange County Transportation Authority officials receive the American Society of Civil Engineers’ 2019 Project of the Year award for the Interstate 5 HOV Improvement Project on Oct. 5, 2019. From left: Charlie Guess, Jacobs Construction Management; Behrooz Pirzadeh, Caltrans Senior Resident Engineer; Hamid Torkamanha, OCTA Senior Project Manager; Daniel Cronquist, ASCE Los Angeles Section President.

OCTA Wins Award for ‘Construction Project of the Year’

The Orange County Transportation Authority has earned the award for
Construction Project of the Year for the Interstate 5 HOV Improvement Project between Avenida Pico and Avenida Vista Hermosa.

The $230 million improvement project, which added 6 miles of carpool lanes in each
direction to the I-5 freeway, was selected among projects from seven branches in the Southern California region for its unique technical achievements, complexity and engineering features.

The award is given by the Board of Directors of the Los Angeles Section of
the American Society of Civil Engineers. Officials presented the award at their annual Installation of Officers and Awards Brunch on Oct. 5 at the Hyatt Regency Long Beach.

The project, completed in 2018, added carpool lanes in each direction between Avenida Pico in San Clemente and San Juan Creek Road in San Juan Capistrano, significantly easing traffic congestion in those areas. It also improved freeway on-ramps and off-ramps, and it reconstructed the Avenida Pico interchange for better access and traffic flow.

The improved section of the I-5 freeway is traveled daily by nearly 250,000 drivers, who have seen improved travel times through that 6-mile area, which had been a notorious traffic bottleneck during rush hours and on weekends when drivers traveled to and from San Diego County.

Additional improvements continue on the I-5 in south Orange County, including through the cities of Mission Viejo, Lake Forest, Laguna Hills, Laguna Woods and Laguna Niguel. Improvements are being funded using state and federal funds, and Measure M, Orange County’s half-cent sales tax for transportation improvements, also known as OC Go.


Typical weekday morning commute traffic on northbound Interstate 15 near Temescal Canyon Road.

Studies Underway to Improve Mobility on I-15 from Corona to Lake Elsinore
Public Comments Encouraged, Oct. 21 to Nov. 22

For several years, RCTC has heard from frustrated I-15 drivers, who are seeking roadway improvements south of Corona in Temescal Valley and Lake Elsinore.  In response, RCTC is moving forward as quickly as possible on a proposed project to offer traffic congestion relief and improved mobility in this area.

RCTC, in partnership with Caltrans, is conducting preliminary engineering and environmental studies for the proposed Interstate 15 Express Lanes Project Southern Extension. RCTC is leading development of the project and is urging public participation.

The proposed project would add capacity to I-15 by extending the 15 Express Lanes, currently under construction, by an additional 14.5 miles, from Cajalco Road in Corona, through Temescal Valley, to State Route 74 (Central Avenue) in Lake Elsinore. RCTC and Caltrans propose adding two tolled express lanes in both directions within the I-15 median to accommodate increasing traffic volumes. No existing lanes would be converted to express lanes.

The agencies will be preparing an Environmental Impact Report and Environmental Assessment to comply with state and federal requirements. As part of this process, a 30-day “public scoping period” will run from October 21 to November 22 to give the public the opportunity to comment on the scope of the project and the environmental studies that will be conducted.

Open houses will be held in Temescal Valley, Corona, and Lake Elsinore as noted below. Although no presentations will be held, the open houses will allow visitors to view exhibits, ask questions of project team members, and submit comments. Content each night will be the same, so please attend the meeting that is most convenient for you, any time between 6 p.m. and 8 p.m.

  • November 12: Temescal Valley Elementary School, 22950 Claystone Ave., Corona
  • November 13: Eagle Glen Golf Club, 1800 Eagle Glen Pkwy., Corona
  • November 14: Ortega High School, 520 Chaney St., Lake Elsinore

There also will be an “Online Meeting” with the same exhibits as the in-person meetings and opportunity to submit comments. The Online Meeting will be available from October 21 to November 22.

For more information or to visit the Online Meeting and submit comments, visit rctc.org/15expsouth


SR-241/91 Express Lanes Connector Project Moving Forward

The Foothill/Eastern Transportation Corridor Agencies Board approved an agreement this month (called a “Term Sheet”) that is the first step in constructing a tolled connector between the 241 Toll Road and the 91 Express Lanes, in partnership with the Orange County Transportation Authority (OCTA), the Riverside County Transportation Commission (RCTC) and the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans).

The Term Sheet sets the stage for much-needed traffic relief as soon as possible, while ensuring the project integrates smoothly – and supports – other projects planned in both Orange and Riverside counties. The Term Sheet is scheduled to be considered by the OCTA board later this month and the RCTC board will consider the item in November. Caltrans District 12 in Orange County and District 8 in Riverside County have agreed to the path forward for the project.

“We are so happy to announce that all of our agencies, along with both Caltrans Districts 12 and 8, have joined together to make the 241/91 Express Connector a reality,” said Christina Shea, Chairwoman of the Foothill/Eastern Transportation Corridor Agency Board of Directors. “The project will benefit drivers throughout Southern California, regardless of whether they’re taking toll or free roads.”

Pending OCTA and RCTC board approvals, this lays the groundwork for investing approximately $600 million in near-term traffic relief solutions, including:

  1. A direct connector from the eastbound 91 Express Lanes to the northbound I-15 in Riverside County.
  2. The State Route (SR) 91 Corridor Operations Project (COP), which adds a westbound general-purpose lane between Green River Road and SR-241.
  3. SR-91/SR-71 Interchange Improvements, which includes a new two-lane direct connector from eastbound SR-91 to northbound SR-71 and realigns the existing Green River Road to connect to northbound SR-71 and eastbound SR-91.
  4. The SR-241 / 91 Express Lanes Connector

“As the mayor of Orange and a board member for both OCTA and TCA, my focus has been on improving commutes, enhancing safety and reducing congestion on both SR-91 and SR-241,” said Mark Murphy, F/ETCA board member. “Thanks to all these agencies, including Caltrans and RCTC, we can accomplish all three goals through our collaborative efforts in Orange and Riverside counties.”

The Term Sheet is a result of several months of discussions on appropriate timing of the 241/91 Express Connector project and to ensure that the agencies could maximize effectiveness in project delivery and operations, while minimizing impacts to commuters during construction. This overarching framework now allows the agencies to work on more detailed agreements, including specifics on funding, construction, operations and use of excess toll revenue.

“The planned improvements on the SR-91 and the SR-241 will bring relief to the hardworking commuters in my District. I am proud to have helped broker a deal with OCTA and other transportation agencies on this long, overdue project. Easing traffic in this congested area will enhance the quality of life for the people living in Anaheim Hills, Yorba Linda, Orange and for all of Orange County,” said Third District Supervisor Don Wagner.

Spelled out in the term sheet, TCA will fund the 241/91 Express Connector, Caltrans will construct the project, and OCTA and RCTC will operate the connector to integrate it into the 91 Express Lanes system. Construction of the tolled connector would begin in 2023, following completion of the 91 Express Lanes / I-15 Connector and the SR-91 COP projects.

The 241/91 Express Connector will provide commuters the convenience and reliability of additional travel choices by allowing them to utilize either the available managed lanes on the 91 Express Lanes and 241 Toll Road or the general-purpose lanes, depending upon where they live and work.

Together, all of these projects are an effort to keep pace with the imbalance between housing in the Inland Empire and jobs in Orange County and to encourage ridesharing and public transportation as a way to reduce congestion. Workers commuting into Orange County each morning and returning home to the Inland Empire every night will benefit from having increased options, including the flexibility to choose to drive on the Toll Roads and the 91 Express Lanes.


Help Transform Beach Boulevard!

Help the Orange County Transportation Authority (OCTA) and the State of California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) design a better Beach Boulevard by taking a short survey. This study is assessing existing traffic conditions and developing alternative pedestrian, bicycle, auto, and transit solutions from the coast to Whittier Blvd. Go to www.octa.net/beachstudy for more information.


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