The Isla Vista Project Area Committee met last week to discuss current and upcoming projects under the I.V. Master Plan.
The Master Plan is a long-reaching measure that addresses infrastructure, transportation and zoning issues in I.V. Following completion of the first major undertaking — the Pardall Road streetscape renovations finished last year — the committee is looking toward future projects designed to revamp the remainder of Isla Vista.
According to the PAC, improvements on El Embarcadero are next on the list, including installing more efficient water drainage systems, upgrading power lines and beginning sidewalk repairs.
Sidewalk modifications will eventually extend to other areas of I.V. as well, but will not be completed for several years.
The Master Plan is expansive but, according to Hildegard Lagerquist — an I.V. resident since 1961 — the changes in I.V. are a much needed improvement.
“When I first got to Isla Vista, it was mostly vacant lots,” Lagerquist said. “These changes are creating a community. It seems as if this organization is doing a very good job of shaping this community into something better.”
The committee has been working with local businesses to include outdoor dining at I.V. establishments. The program includes allotting permits to allow sidewalk dining, with the goal of creating a more comfortable eating atmosphere.
“Through projects like this we are hoping to take advantage of the work we have been doing to improve downtown Isla Vista,” Santa Barbara County Redevelopment Agency Manager and committee member Jeff Lindgren said.
Moreover, designers of the Master Plan are also considering the installation of four different solar lighting systems in I.V.
“The idea is to test the four different models we have right now and to choose the best and install more of that model in I.V., ideally spreading it throughout the entire town,” Lindgren said.
In response to increased use, the Santa Barbara Metropolitan Transit District (MTD) is planning to expand the bus route through Isla Vista. The improvements include three brand new buses and additional stops along the bus line. According to county research, the number of individuals who use the bus systems has risen and the committee hopes to accommodate this increase.
“We only have the data from Fall 2009 and a little bit of December, because students had to go home for break, but so far we are seeing a large increase in ridership,” Lindgren said.
PAC members hope to get a car share project off the ground in 2010 as well. A three-year pilot program is due to launch in March, and will start with the installation of three stations downtown and along Camino Pescadero in I.V.
According to Lindgren, the car share centers will not take away any of the limited parking in Isla Vista. Instead, the old MTD bus stops will be renovated into pods for the cars.
“We will not be taking any existing parking,” Lindgren said. “This could be a deal changer for students worried about transportation once they get to school up here.”