By Kendra Chandler, Director, ULI OC/IE
“It is important for us to be good stewards of our resources, think outside the box, and work together to operate what we have, link it to the local system and keep the economy going strong,” Malcom Dougherty, Director of the California Department of Transportation, in his announcement of Caltrans’ new mission vision and goals.
I had the opportunity to meet with Yatman Kwan, Branch Chief, System Planning-Travel Forecasting-Freight Mobility of Caltrans District 12 – Division of Planning and Local Assistance, and his colleague Marlon Regisford, also from the Division of Planning, at the local Orange County office recently to discuss Caltrans’ local goals and objectives and to see if there were synergies and opportunities for partnership between our two organizations/agencies.
Caltrans has been undergoing somewhat of a culture change, says Kwan. Regisford explained that one of Caltrans’ main objectives is having a forward-thinking vision of how to share the highways and ensure regional connectivity moving forward. For example, Caltrans distributed their “Complete Streets Implementation Action Plan 2.0” in late 2014 that includes 109 additional action items to further integrate complete streets into all Caltrans functions and processes.
One of the action items from this plan is the development of a state bicycle and pedestrian plan which is exciting, since here locally the discussion of active transportation is a hot trend topic that is being discussed within several of our initiative councils as well as at the executive board level. Caltrans also released “Main Street, California – A Guide for Improving Community and Transportation Vitality” which promotes that “…well-conceived main streets function efficiently as multimodal transportation facilities, and are important civic spaces that support vibrant community life and ecological health” which is a parallel message to what ULI encouraged through the UrbanLand article “Making Downtowns What They Used to Be”.
Kwan and Regisford have made great strides in their education and outreach efforts at the public sector level, by informing cities about the funds available through Caltrans to implement active transportation within their city. However, we all agreed that there are other opportunities with the private sector and development community that can be achieved through continued engagement through ULI and we look forward to creating those collaborations between both groups.