The Transportation Agency presented their 22nd 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:
Individual Award: Amir Attia, Associate Professor, Graphic Design, California State University, Monterey Bay (CSUMB); Gabby Lazarcheff, Monica Ocampo, CSUMB Design Students
Amir Attia worked with CSUMB graphic design students to develop designs for the first traffic gardens in Monterey County. In addition to meeting regularly with the Transportation Agency and other safe routes to school partners over a two-year period, Professor Attia attended the King City Steering Committee meeting to hear direct feedback from community members. The project was done in partnership through the Sustainable City Year Program designed to give students real-world experience and help local agencies with projects. The traffic gardens designed by Amir and his students, Gabby Lazarcheff and Monica Ocampo will help teach traffic safety and driving skills to hundreds of students across Monterey County.
Business Award: Boyds Asphalt Services
Boyds Asphalt Services striped 13 traffic gardens across Monterey County in Fall 2023. These are the first traffic gardens to be installed in Monterey County, and Boyds Asphalt, and particularly, Justin Estassi, went above and beyond to help TAMC staff navigate this new type of project. Boyds prioritized the traffic garden project to get it done in a narrow timeframe to help meet the Transportation Agency’s grant deadline. They also worked side-by-side with TAMC staff to adjust traffic garden designs in the field as needed.
Program: “Better Bus Network”
During the COVID-19 pandemic it became clear to Monterey-Salinas Transit that social inequalities existed in their distribution of transit services. As a result, the agency took a step back and re-examined their mission, vision, and values to gain a better understanding of their purpose in the community and for their employees. After much self-examination, Monterey-Salinas Transit better defined their purpose and developed a simple statement that reflected their vision and values: “MST is “Connecting communities. Creating opportunity. Being kind to our planet.” With this new focus, their vision guides that all that they do supports their goal to do better for their passengers who depend on them every day, and this was the basis for the re-examination of their services and the creation of the Better Bus Network.
MST launched the Better Bus Network in December 2022, after almost two years of research, planning, and community outreach. The Network is a redesigned transit system focused in areas where service was needed most-in historically disadvantaged and underrepresented communities. As a result, MST riders save time, save money, and save our planet through faster, more frequent, and more reliable service.
Project: California Avenue Pedestrian Crossing at Marina Heights Drive
California Avenue is a three-lane north-south major collector in the City of Marina. Marina Heights Drive is a newly constructed roadway that was constructed as part of the Sea Haven development project.
The three-legged intersection of California Avenue and Marina Heights Drive is stop-controlled on Marina Heights Drive with dedicated left and right turn pockets. The speeds are over 40 mph on California Avenue, and the nearest crosswalks are 1,300 feet to the south and 2,300 feet to the north. With the new development project to the east and Marina High School to the west, a safe and accessible crossing was needed.
The California Avenue Pedestrian Crossing at Marina Heights Drive project included the installation of a crosswalk and two new ADA compliant curb ramps on the south side of the intersection with a Pedestrian Hybrid Beacon signal. In addition, improvements included curb, gutter and sidewalk work, pavement markings and striping.
As a result, this project which is an important link for alternative modes of transportation between residential areas, Marina High School, and regional bike routes, creates a safe and accessible crossing across a busy high-speed roadway in the City.
Project: Marina Parking Lot Improvement Project
The Marina Parking Lot Improvement project in the City of Monterey focused on rehabilitating failing pavement, improving pedestrian safety, lighting, traffic flow circulation, and providing environmental improvements. The design took into consideration the needs of all users and provides one user experience across both lots.
The redesign of the parking lot created an opportunity to relocate and widen the recreational trail in the area between Figuero and Washington Streets. By relocating and widening the trail crossings, the City has reduced pedestrian and bicycle exposure to vehicles and eliminated the multi-lane at the Figueroa exit of the parking lot providing a safer and more comfortable experience for trail users.
The relocation and widening of the recreation trail included raised crossings and rectangular rapid flashing beacon warning systems, which improved pedestrian and bicycle visibility access. Although there are now more Rec Trail crossings, each crossing has less conflicting vehicle traffic than the single former trail crossing did. Two of these crossings are single lane, one-way crossings, so trail users now only need to look in one direction for on-coming traffic.
Project: King City Downtown Streetscape Project
The King City Streetscape project is a comprehensive placemaking and beautification project on Broadway Street in the city’s core historic downtown area. The project implements the major components of the downtown Streetscape Master Plan developed through years of planning and public input efforts. The design concepts are also associated with Blue Zones Project Monterey County, which incorporates build environment enhancements to improve public health through the creation of a more active pedestrian-oriented environment.
The King City Streetscape Project included new and expanded corner bulbouts, decorative crosswalks, and reconstructed medians. The result is a more pedestrian oriented area that improves safety and access a revitalization of the downtown area, and the beautification of the area through landscaping and public art.
The Streetscape project offers an enriched streetscape experience for those users who currently ventured to downtown King City, while attracting more people to visit the historic Broadway Street neighborhood.