The American Public Works Association has recognized the city of Santa Clarita as having the best project of the year, among other recognitions, city officials recently announced. Santa Clarita was awarded five prestigious public works awards in 2018 by the association, a nonprofit aiming to promote professional excellence and public awareness of public works. From the association’s High Desert Branch, which includes the Antelope, Victor and Santa Clarita valleys, the city received the “Outstanding Public Works Project of the Year” award for the Old Town Newhall Parking Structure and the “Best Environmental Project” award for the completion of the Heritage Trail from Gateway Ranch to Wildwood Canyon. Santa Clarita also earned a trio of awards from the association’s Southern California chapter for enhancing pedestrian safety and traffic flow through the use of electronic blank-out signs under the “Creative and Innovative” category. For transportation, the city’s Newhall Ranch Road bridge widening project and the Heritage Trail for recreational and athletic facilities also received awards. “To be awarded for a wide range of initiatives, including capital improvement projects, traffic and pedestrian safety measures and the building of new trails, shows the city’s commitment to enhancing the quality of life for all residents in Santa Clarita,” said Kevin Strauss, communications specialist with the city. This year’s public works awards are not the first to recognize the city for excellence in such projects. In 2017, the city was honored for its Golden Valley Road bridge widening project over State Route 14 and for the Open Space Trails Volunteer Program. “I’m extremely proud of our Public Works Department for always going above and beyond to make projects innovative and to enhance public safety,” said Mayor Marsha McLean. Each project comes with the overarching goal of improving the city for its residents. To support the parking demand of a transforming Newhall, a 371-stall parking lot, with rooftop space for events, opened for all in May. A partnership among the city, high school students and the Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy helped develop and construct the Heritage Trail. At major crosswalks, railroad crossings and intersections, the city is using electronic blank-out signs to improve traffic flow and travel time, as well as reduce vehicle queues and improve pedestrian safety. And, city officials say the bridge widening project over San Francisquito Creek has helped improve safety for motorists, cyclists and pedestrians through the busy stretch of Newhall Ranch Road.