Santa Monica Lookout
|Santa Monica Hires Gilroy Transportation Engineer||
| By Niki Cervantes
September 22, 2016 -- The former transportation engineer for a farmland-turned-suburban community outside of San Jose has been hired by Santa Monica to lead the City division handling issues that include traffic flow and safety, City officials announced Wednesday.Henry Servin started his new job Monday as the City’s traffic engineer and will lead the Traffic Management Division of the Planning and Community Development Department, officials said.
His key responsibilities involved the regional highway, public transit and California High Speed Rail projects.
“Thank you for the wonderful welcome to the Santa Monica family," Servin said in a statement. "I look forward to working with everyone toward safer and more efficient and accessible streets for all users.”
Servin comes to the job as Santa Monica grapples with record crowding and gridlock on key streets.
City Manager Rick Cole reported last month that downtown this summer has been hit with congestion so extensive the City’s traffic management system was overwhelmed at times, and that residents had started feeling unwelcome ("Record Crowds Jam Downtown Santa Monica this Summer," August 23, 2016).
Although the City has undertaken measures to address the problem, congestion remains a defining issue in Santa Monica. That is especially the case now, with the November 8 election fast approaching.
Congestion and whether it will worsen with the extensive new building planned in the city -– particularly downtown -– is a key election issue in a race that pits four City Council incumbents seeking re-election and six challengers.
Also on the ballot is Measure LV, which requires the public to decide almost all new developments taller than 32 feet. The ballot measure is a reaction to fears in that the City’s development plans will result in even more gridlock.
On his online profile, Servin’s professional goals include developing “major strategies for reducing the effects of global climate change, greenhouse gas emissions, (and) vehicle miles traveled.”
He said he also is focused on “transit oriented development, (and) creation of safe, livable, and sustainable communities.”
Servin received his Bachelors of Science degree in Civil Engineering from San Jose State University, and is a Masters Candidate in Transportation Administration from the same university. He is licensed as a professional traffic engineer as well as a professional civil engineer.
The City’s Transportation Management Division oversees plans for city streets, circulation for special events, signal operations and maintenance, and the use of new tools meant to reduce traffic congestion.
The division has an annual budget of $2.1 million, the City said.
Gilroy has a population of slightly more than 50,000 people -- up from 41,464 in 2000, according to the most current U.S. Census figures. It is in Santa Clara County and has evolved in recent decades from being primarily agricultural to a suburb as well, which is linked to San Jose and the Silicon Valley.
It is also internationally known for its annual garlic festival in July, which organizers say averages attendance of about 100,000 people.
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