The Coast News Group
Carlsbad Community

Carlsbad advances transportation efforts

Transportation is one the biggest issues in and around the city. 

Over the past 15 years, the dynamics of civil engineering and transportation have undergone a significant change due to new state and local laws and policies aimed at reducing emissions, alternate forms of mobility and new technologies, according to Marshall Plantz, the city’s transportation director.

“These actions by the state and then by City Council have resulted in changes in how we manage our transportation assets,” he added. “It’s helpful to recognize and consider issues such as regional growth, our location relative to where the growth is occurring and the layout of the regional transportation network for each mode of travel.”

The city’s Public Works department manages the assets in various forms from planning, funding, designing, constructing, maintaining and operating.

As for planning, Plantz said city staff will build a Sustainable Mobility Plan, which will include transportation impact analysis guidelines and a mobility element. It will also feature updates to the 2007 Bicycle Master Plan and 2008 Pedestrian Master Plan, to name a few.

The end goal is incorporate nine master plans into one plan, Plantz said. The city also received a $300,000 grant from Caltrans, which will offset some of the cost of the plan.

Efforts on the Sustainable Mobility Plan began last year and staff will return to the City Council for final approval later this year. The plan will identify existing and future networks as well as travel patterns and include a geographical information system evaluation, along with stakeholder feedback.

As for transportation impact analysis, three types of street typology — arterials, arterial collectors and industrial streets — are used to determine which are subject to analysis.

Additionally, the analysis will look at vehicle miles traveled, road capacity, intersection operations and quality of facilities for pedestrians, bicycles and transit.

“The analysis tools are designed to be straightforward,” Plantz said.

Funding comes from several sources and accounts for $8.5 million of the city’s annual funding. One of the biggest sources is SB 1, known as the Gas Tax, and the previous gas tax totals $4.4 million per year, while $3.1 million comes from TransNet and $1 million from the trash transfer station host fee.

The city’s roads, meanwhile, are categorized as “very good,” according to the pavement management program. The city uses $3.7 million per year to maintain its roads including slurry seal, overlay and localized repair projects.

Traffic signals are another source of continuous improvement. The city currently has 45 2070 Advance Transportation Controllers installed, with another 135 to be upgraded by 2020.

The controllers give the ability to more effectively manage traffic flow and provide more connected cities opportunities. 

In addition, the city has its own app, Carlsbad @ Your Service, where residents can upload photos of problem areas and directly send to the city to address.