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3 OC cities among 8 jurisdictions across SoCal to split $2.5 million to address mobility, air quality challenges

The Orange County cities of Stanton, Laguna Woods and Garden Grove are among eight jurisdictions across Southern California to receive Smart Cities funding to address congestion and air quality challenges.

The Southern California Association of Governments (SCAG) on Thursday (July 1) approved the awarding of $2.5 million, in total, through its Sustainable Communities Program (SCP) and Smart Cities & Mobility Innovations initiative. A major element of the Smart Cities initiative is to support innovative solutions to the mobility and air quality challenges associated with parking, freight and last-mile deliveries, and commerce at the curb.

Stanton and Garden Grove will receive a portion of the funding to develop their curb management plans. In Laguna Woods, the money will be used to support its mobility technology plan.

“Innovative efforts such as those underway in Stanton, Garden Grove and Laguna Woods will go a long way toward improving quality of life in communities across Southern California while also recognizing the growing importance of goods movement and e-commerce on our regional economy,” said Clint Lorimore, President of SCAG and an Eastvale City Councilmember. “We’re proud to support the groundbreaking work that’s occurring at the local level, and look forward to the positive, lasting impact these projects will have.”

The Smart Cities concept uses information and communications technology to manage assets, resources and services efficiently, while addressing challenges and improving the quality of living within a community. To qualify for SCP Smart Cities & Mobility Innovations funding, individual projects needed to address specific program goals, such as creating dynamic, connected, built environments that support multimodal mobility and reduce reliance on single-occupant vehicles; reducing greenhouse gas emissions and improving air quality by reducing driving alone, idling or searching for parking; and allocating curb space and other public resources more equitably.

In Stanton, the city will complete an inventory and field study of the street network to collect data and inform curb space management in residential, commercial, and industrial neighborhoods. This information will inform a Citywide Curb Management Plan complete with engagement, partnerships, policies and implementation strategies aimed at improving safety and quality of life.

In Laguna Woods, the city will develop a Mobility Technology Plan to define strategies and actionable steps to establish new mobility service capabilities, particularly for senior and disabled populations, and focuses on the prospective future implementation of autonomous vehicle technology. The Mobility Technology Plan will serve as a guiding resource for jurisdictions with similar mobility interests.

In Garden Grove, the city will study existing parking, curb management, and curb conditions which impact seven Environmental Justice areas. The project will include policy review, curb inventory, best practices, and utilization and issues analyses. The study will provide recommended policies and action plans to mitigate disproportionate negative environmental impact caused by parking challenges in target areas.

Over the next several months, SCAG staff will work with each of the jurisdictions to help develop plans, scopes of work, timelines and budgets.

In addition to the three Orange County cities, other jurisdictions to receive SCP funding are:

In the Inland Empire: The City of Rialto, for its Smart Cities plan for warehousing and logistics.

In the Coachella Valley: The City of Desert Hot Springs, for its downtown and light industrial parking plan.

In Los Angeles County: The Los Angeles Department of Transportation, for the use of data and technology to inventory and manage curb space; the City of Long Beach, for its curb space management study; and the San Gabriel Valley Council of Governments for its GoSGV e-bikesharing program.

Three other jurisdictions were identified as potential awardees, should additional funds become available: the City of Culver City, for its Fox Hills Area parking management plan; the City of San Clemente, for its parking management plan; and the City of Torrance, for its parklet program.

Kome Ajise, SCAG Executive Director, said the Smart Cities & Mobility Innovations funding will help individual communities address their mobility and air quality challenges, while modeling innovative solutions for others to consider.

“The world is changing at a pace unimaginable just a few years ago. For cities and our region, the challenge is not only to keep up with this extraordinary rate of change, but to make sure we’re evolving the right way and building a better world in the process,” Ajise said.

This article was released by the Southern California Association of Governments.