Dan Watson A student waits on the sidewalk as traffic heads for West Ranch High School on Valencia Blvd. on the first day of school in Stevenson Ranch on Thursday. 081612

City staff recommends $1.6M to improve traffic flow

The city of Santa Clarita is looking to invest $1.6 million in the 2019-20 fiscal year specifically toward improving traffic flow, officials revealed Tuesday.

City Manager Ken Striplin gave council members and commissioners a presentation on the overall proposed budgeting, offering a closer look at how much money is recommended to go toward its priorities.

Traffic congestion has remained one of the largest and toughest issues Santa Clarita continues to face, placing it as one of its budget priorities under Building and Creating Community.

“Is there anything else we need to be doing that we’re not already doing to improve traffic flow in the city?”

While there are several aspects of challenging a solution, Striplin said some of the largest issues are capacity and a lack of roads.

“The engineering staff has done a tremendous job going and looking at our existing system and figuring out how do we squeeze enough capacity on the roadways that we currently have?”

Current efforts have centered on the city’s Intelligent Transportation System. The total recommended budget for phase six of the ITS is $1.6 million. This investment will allow for new signal coordination timing at 174 intersections, additional fiber optics to create communication redundancy and enhance the existing adaptive signal performance, which helps provide real-time data to the traffic center.

The adaptive system “automatically (adjusts) signals based on the traffic that’s on the roads,” said Striplin, who added that Canyon Country has been one of the first areas in the Santa Clarita Valley which has experienced changes in traffic signals to help improve traffic flow.

The system’s capability to detect stations will collect data 24 hours a day, seven days a week to help engineers better understand traffic patterns, Cesar Romo, traffic signal system administrator, said in December when explaining phase six of the ITS.

The city has already invested about $15 million to the ITS, according to Striplin.   

For Sierra Highway, a total budget of $565,000 is recommended to incorporate it to the city’s adaptive traffic-signal system.

“We need to build roads. We are in the process of developing and increasing two roadways,” Striplin said, referring to the Dockweiler Drive extension project and the Via Princessa extension project.

This fiscal year, the City Council will look into the projects, said Striplin.

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