The California Special Districts Association recently recognized the Isla Vista Community Services District for its Community Mobility Plan — an initiative to develop and implement equity-based, sustainable transportation solutions.
I.V. Community Services District (IVCSD) won the 2022 California Special Districts Association (CSDA) Exceptional Public Outreach & Advocacy award in the Small District category. The association honored IVCSD at its 52nd Annual Conference and Exhibitor Showcase held in Palm Desert, California, on Aug. 24.
“On behalf of the IVCSD, we want to thank the California Special Districts Association for recognizing this work, and to our incredible community partners, we are grateful to bring even more awareness to this project,” said IVCSD Community Engagement Director Sydney Casler in a Sept. 7 press release.
The California Air Resources Board awarded IVCSD with a Sustainable Transportation Equity Project grant of $182,158 to develop a Community Mobility Plan in November 2020. The Community Mobility Plan is being developed in partnership with nonprofit organization Isla Vista Youth Projects, Santa Barbara MTD and Santa Barbara County.
“There’s never been an analysis of Isla Vista’s transportation infrastructure and what can be done to improve it,” said IVCSD General Manager Jonathan Abboud in a CSDA video. “It will be equity-based and focused on getting a lot of community feedback, trying out different projects and then putting those into a priority list to get funded.”
The grant’s stated vision is to empower Isla Vista residents to identify gaps in their mobility ecosystem, experiment with solutions and develop a list of priority projects that will increase access to equitable, affordable, sustainable and safe, multimodal transportation systems, Casler said in the press release.
IVCSD kicked off the project in November 2021 by holding a transportation town hall with over 50 community members in attendance. The event aimed to educate local citizens about transportation initiatives and provide a platform for community input.
In December 2021, the district launched a comprehensive Mobility Survey to gather further input and received over 1,000 responses.
Abboud said they are looking to determine issues of priority through the community input process.
“It’s anything from different crosswalks to help people cross the street easier, bus lanes which we don’t have, bike lanes which we could expand, anything that could help people get around,” Abboud said in a CSDA video.
A Mobility Plan workshop hosted on May 25 offered space for attendees to share feedback and view maps and photos of future improvement ideas. People also discussed the necessity of having a car in Isla Vista.
“The first table activity focused on infrastructure improvements including sidewalks, curb ramps, and lighting. The conversation was centered around safe crossings and how bikers, skateboarders, mobility-aid users, and pedestrians could feel safer and more comfortable,” Casler said in a June 15 press release.
According to Casler, the workshop rounded out with a final activity, where attendees ranked funding for various projects based on priority, including improvements to biking, busing, scootering and parking, as well as pedestrian infrastructure and shared mobility.
For its next steps, IVCSD is gathering information from focus groups to reach community members who may have not participated in the previous town halls or workshop.
A version of this article appeared on p. 3 of the Oct. 6, 2022, print edition of the Daily Nexus.