By Lookout Staff
October 29, 2013 -- Three Santa Monica Public Works projects have been recognized by the American Public Works Association (APWA) as model projects that enhance the quality of life in their communities.
The organization’s Southern California Chapter gave its 2013 Project of the Year award to Santa Monica projects that encompass recreation, water quality and traffic management “based on performance, unique aspects and quality of life,” APWA officials said.
Tongva Park and Ken Genser Square won for “Recreation and Athletic Facilities,” the Ocean Park Boulevard Complete Green Street Project took the prize for “Storm Water Quality” and the Advanced Traffic Management System won for “Traffic, Mobility and Beautification.”
“We are very pleased and honored that Santa Monica has been recognized for these three exemplary projects that enhance the community assets and positively affect the quality of life in Santa Monica,” Martin Pastucha, the City’s director of Public Works, said in a statement last week.
Tongva Park and Ken Genser Square, which opened last month, won critical praise for integrating meandering paths, drought-resistant landscaping and modern, organic architecture to create an engaging urban oasis.
The project transformed 7.4 acres of industrial land to” reintegrate City Hall with the community” and added 283 trees, public art, a playground and fountains, City officials said. (“Tongva Park is a Unique Experience in Santa Monica,” September 10, 2013)
“Tongva Park and Ken Genser Square will be landmarks for the City and a cultural touchstone for decades to come,” said City Architect Miriam Mulder.
The Ocean Park Boulevard Green Street Project – which includes key components that capture and treat storm water runoff -- was recognized as a model for “its effect on the environment,” according to City officials.
Funded in part by the Clean Beaches and Ocean Parcel Tax, the project also features 1,600 linear feet of landscaped medians, wider sidewalks, new pavement, green-painted bike lanes, 100 new trees and 39 new energy efficient pedestrian lights for enhanced nighttime walking and biking. (“Santa Monica's Streets Are Paved with Green,” January 17, 2013)
The City’s new Traffic Management System allows Fire, Police, Public Works, and Traffic Management staff to monitor major intersections in real time, proving faster response during emergencies.
The project included installing fiber optic cable that offers high-speed internet service to residents and businesses. The system also can be activated to give Big Blue Bus lines longer “green time” at intersections. (“Santa Monica Awards Contract for Fiber Optics, Traffic Cameras and Trees,” February 29, 2012)
“The awards program recognizes regional public works projects and programs that serve as a model for other agencies,” APWA officials said, adding that the organization serves Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside and San Bernardino counties.