The Transportation Agency presented their 19th Annual Transportation Excellence Awards to honor community members, programs and projects that make a significant contribution to improve transportation in Monterey County. This year’s awards honorees are:
Norm Groot, Executive Director of Monterey County Farm Bureau, for his support of the South of Salinas (SOS) Traffic Safety Alliance’s mission to improve traffic safety along the US 101 corridor south of Salinas. His engagement in their public outreach provided valuable feedback to help inform any short and long-term improvements along the US 101 corridor south of Salinas.
Amelia Conlen, Transportation Planner, and Gino Garcia, Community Outreach Specialist, Ecology Action, for going “above and beyond” to find creative and safe ways to engage the Salinas community in the Salinas Safe Routes to School Plan through the pandemic. They also led the Seaside & Marina Safe Routes to School planning process which resulted in a $12 million Active Transportation Program grant award for the City of Seaside.
The SOS Traffic Safety Alliance, the grassroots effort led by volunteers who have vested interests in improving traffic safety along the US 101 corridor south of Salinas. By working with elected officials and community members, they have worked to keep this corridor as a priority project which has resulted in several short and intermediate improvements, while awaiting the Project Study Report with its potential long-term solutions.
The City of Marina’s “Reservation Road Cold-in-Place Recycling” project, which is the city’s first use of sustainable pavement recycling. Using the cold-in-place recycling method in this Measure X funded project resulted in a cost savings of $650,000, a reduction of 79% in project greenhouse gas emissions, and an energy savings of 76%. This project was critical since Reservation Road is an integral segment of the City’s downtown corridor and regional commuter traffic. Additionally, motorists will rely on Reservation Road when the Imjin Parkway Widening Project begins construction this year.
The County of Monterey, Public Works, Facilities & Parks, for the Measure X funded Cooper Street Pavement Rehabilitation Project in the community of Castroville. The $500,000 project addressed the needs of Castroville residents and the traveling public by making improvements on a street that was distressed and deteriorated. Improvements included the reconstruction of ramps to meet the newest ADA standards, the installation of a new sidewalk, and restriping the markings on the road to enhance pedestrian and traffic safety and provide a safer route to school for North Monterey County Middle School students.
The City of Salinas adopted a Vision Zero Policy in 2020 and directed staff to develop a Vision Zero Action Plan. “Vision Zero” is a strategy to eliminate all traffic fatalities and severe injuries while increasing safe, healthy, and equitable mobility for all. It is rooted in the philosophy that no loss of life due to road crashes is acceptable or inevitable and therefore sets the goal of reducing fatalities and severe injuries to zero. The Salinas Vision Zero Action Plan was a community-driven process to identify where fatal and severed injury collisions are occurring within the city and reveal emphasis areas where a higher frequency of collisions can be addressed to achieve the goal of zero fatalities and serious injuries most effectively. The Vision Zero Policy will be ongoing until the goal of zero traffic fatalities and severe injuries is achieved. The Vision Zero Action Plan is funded with a state grant, through the leveraging of Measure X funds.
The Salinas Downtown Complete Streets project implemented a road diet on West Alisal Street, converting a 4-lane road to a 3-lane road with buffered bike lanes, resulting in critical safety improvements to all users. Improvements include turn pockets for cars, dedicated space to separate bicyclists from vehicles, safer pedestrian crossings, traffic signal modifications, sidewalks, ADA ramps, storm drains, traffic signing, traffic striping, the installation of a fiber optic communications system for future broadband, and the coordination of Alisal Street traffic signals for improved traffic signal operations. The Salinas Downtown Complete Streets project was an element of the Salinas Downtown Vibrancy Plan and the Transportation Agency’s Marina to Salinas Multimodal Corridor Plan.