12
AUG
0

More governments are using a Pay for Success (PFS) model to provide funding to improve social conditions. First, the vast majority of social spending in America is done by government and philanthropy and is comparatively tiny for just about any issue you can think of — poverty, education, recidivism, homelessness, wellness, etc.  The information revolution is finally reaching government, giving us a low-cost way to see if people’s lives are improved by the programs that governments fund. PFS is about reallocating utility dollars away from services that don’t work and toward those that actually do bring about improvement in people’s lives. So one way to think about PFS is to ask the question “Is there an outcome and performance feedback loop connected to the money?”  PFS is not about the finance or capital market.  It is about “reallocating utility dollars.” Do you think utilities should use the PFS model when delivering funding to external organizations involved in social enhancements program?

 

Michael Simpson

Public Works LA

Principal Environmental Engineer


08
AUG
0

As we continue to pursue water sustainability in our municipalities, the overarching question remains the same: do we continue with our current wastewater treatment practices or is it time to turn to new on-site technology? The City of Los Angeles is home to the largest centralized water reclamation/treatment system in the west coast consisting of 6,700 miles of sewer lines and four treatment plants. Currently, the City operates at approximately 60% of the treatment plants capacity.  With water conservation policies, municipalities all over California are dealing with the effects of low-flows in sewer pipes such as odor, grease accumulation, and conveyance material degradation. Decentralization of wastewater treatment would lead to wastewater being locally managed and treated (on-site). With new wastewater treatment technologies on the market, a push to implement local treatment sites has generated interest. However, this brings up additional challenges in operation and maintenance responsibilities, water quality monitoring, and solids disposal, which would add additional strain to the centralized system. Given that the City of Los Angeles has invested in a multibillion dollar infrastructure to treat wastewater centrally, should a movement towards on-site water treatment continue in urban cities?  Give us your thoughts on this issue and let us know what are some of the advantages and disadvantages of these two opposing philosophies.

 

Michael Simpson

Public Works LA

Principal Environmental Engineer


01
AUG
0

Looking at the way we currently plan our cities’ future development, do you wonder if the Planning Department and Water Utilities are on the same page for creating water resilient cities? Urban water systems keep our cities healthy, safe, and livable. But too often our water systems exemplify the linear “take-make-waste” paradigm common to modern cities.  In the past, this linear approach was acceptable, affordable, even best practice.

 

For years, many forward thinking practitioners and scholars have been calling for an integration of land use planning and water management and there are instances where coordination already occurs.  Despite the examples, integration remains uncommon. In terms of innovation theory, the integration of land use planning and water management has been initiated by innovators and used by early adopters, but integration has not “jumped the chasm” to be mainstreamed by practicing professionals. Until that happens, many innovative water solutions will remain more of an exception than the rule.

 

How can we as APWA professionals interact with Planning and Water Utilities to initiate actions for planners and water professionals to work early on in the process to develop resilient, water sensitive and vibrant communities?  Water, wastewater, and stormwater professionals can weigh in on this issue, by Aug 5, 2016 and have a chance to win a mini–iPad by taking a 20-30 minute survey about ways to improve the state of collaboration between these sectors. The survey is conducted by the University of Arizona and sponsored by the Water Environment and Reuse Foundation (WERF) and the Water Research Foundation. Please use this link:

https://uarizona.co1.qualtrics.com/jfe1/form/SV_e51cWZ33FeYmay1

 

Michael Simpson

Public Works LA

Principal Environmental Engineer


05
JUL
0

I’ve been a transportation professional for almost 40 years, working from California to Florida over that period. During my career, I’ve experienced the completion of the interstate system, the associated rush to expand suburban living yielding more and longer commutes, and now the emerging focus of many of those same communities to re-energize their pre-1970’s urban areas into livable, economically viable and multimodal places where residents can work, live and play without ever owning or using a car.

 

Across the country there is increasing dialogue about the nation’s failing transportation system and the need to plan and implement long-term transportation solutions that are sustainable, less impactful to the environment and community, and inclusive of all roadway users. Land use is becoming more integrated with street and transit systems and just in the last 10 years over 900 state and local governments have adopted “complete streets” policies to ensure that their communities offer increased transportation alternatives to all modes of travel and ages and abilities of travelers. More complete street systems expand the value and reach of strained government budgets and can transform communities in a powerful way.


The National Complete Streets Coalition says that Complete Streets are “streets for everyone.” Unlike more traditional car-centric solutions, Complete Streets are multi-purpose, supporting safe and efficient transportation for all users: pedestrians, bicyclists, motorists (both car and truck) and transit riders of all ages and abilities. Complete Streets are tailored to suit the unique needs of cities and their residents and roadway users.

 

As explained in a May 2016 APWA Reporter article, Making Streets Complete for Community Sustainability, in urban areas these streets typically include sidewalks, bike lanes, bus lanes, public transportation stops, intersection crossing opportunities (via enhanced crosswalks, curb ramps and sidewalks), median islands, accessible pedestrian signals, curb extensions, narrower travel lanes, roundabouts, and more. No user’s safety or access is compromised for another user.

 

I’ve recently been spending time working on a number of projects for the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT), who adopted their Complete Streets Implementation Plan in 2015. FDOT is committed to consistently planning, designing, constructing, reconstructing and operating a context-sensitive transportation network that is balanced to safely serve all modes of travel. The whole implementation initiative is scheduled for completion in December 2017, and it’s exciting to already see the impact: a variety of safety, health and economic benefits that are enhancing quality-of-life for residents across the state.

The Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) Complete Streets Policy and new Complete Streets Implementation Plan helps provide safer, context-sensitive roads by putting "the right street in the right place." Just last month, I assisted Smart Growth America and the National Complete Streets Coalition in providing multimodal complete streets training to a number of agencies in the Orlando region. These in-depth workshops are helping state, regional and local agency staff evaluate where and how Complete Streets could be incorporated throughout the region, including discussions about land use context, transportation context, implementation strategies and public involvement.

 

It was exciting to see that so many different projects across the Orlando region have the potential for Complete Streets elements to be introduced: large and small projects, high-budget and low-budget projects, maintenance and new capacity projects, and complex and simple projects. These workshops represent a major paradigm shift in the way states and communities approach transportation projects. Rather than tackling a project with a primary goal of addressing existing problems, generally associated with motorized transportation issues, agencies are thinking more holistically. The Complete Streets concept encourages us to let the end users inform our decisions and to think long-term and big picture about how better planned and designed streets can contribute to more healthy, livable communities and improved quality-of-life.


In summary, I’m encouraged to see so many state DOTs, cities and neighborhoods considering the value of Complete Streets from so many different angles, and I’m confident that we’ll continue to see a steady increase in these types of projects for many years to come. Across the U.S. communities of every size are working hard to create sustainable transportation networks that more safely connect people and places, and for transportation professionals, there’s no more important goal.

 

Marshall Elizer

Gresham, Smith and Partners

Senior Vice President


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