What do you call a meeting where 10 elected officials from five different cities are in the same room meeting with all those cities’ development directors, city managers, and county representatives? Impossible. And yet, it’s happening.
Every one of the five cities in the region will be sending two city council members, a city manager or representative and development directors to meet August 30th at 10:00 in the Community Center at Temecula City Hall. The herculean effort by all 5 of the region’s city managers to get all these people in one place at one time will culminate in a collective understanding of what the EDC and the region is trying to accomplish through Regional Branding.
“This is not a rookie effort,” said EDC director, Doug McAllister. “We know we need the support of all five city councils and members to gain support for the idea of issuing a Request for Proposals that will detail how to cohesively market our corner of California and include every city in that proposal.
“We’re not asking for money,” he said. “We want everyone to understand the scope of what we’re trying to do.” The goal would be consensus on a joint Request for Proposals.
The Regional Branding initiative will be for marketing professionals as well as the general populace since this “is not an individual effort,” said McAllister. “It’s a very important and significant event. We need massive input from everyone!” The result should be a joint RFP that all the cities can support.
The meeting will be August 30, at 10:00 in the Community Center at Temecula City Hall.
For more information, call Doug at the EDC offices: 951-694-9800.
At the August meeting of the Board of Directors for the Economic Development Coalition, information regarding Interstate 15 and the progress being made to ease traffic was presented by speaker, Pat Thomas, Public Works Director/City Engineer for the City of Temecula. Thomas spoke to a packed room at the Economic Development Coalition Board meeting during its regularly scheduled meeting and described what Phase 2 and Phase 3 of the French Valley Interchange will look like, among other things.
His topic was, “Traffic and the I-15 Corridor.” Thomas was representing the “Move I-15 Through Temecula Valley” regional taskforce, a taskforce comprised of representatives from the five regional cities of Lake Elsinore, Menifee, Murrieta, Temecula, and Wildomar; from Pala, Pechanga, and county and governmental entities, such as CalTrans and Camp Pendleton.
“Our focus,” said Thomas, “is on unity and collaboration among all parties, and to work towards decision making and implementation to ease the problem of traffic on the I-15 Corridor.” He was invited to speak to the EDC board to educate Board members as to what is at stake, said EDC Director, Doug McAllister. “It’s important that government hears from the private sector to help them make good decisions.”
A report on the progress of the Temecula Parkway Interchange at I-15 noted that construction should be completed by the end of this year. The $200 million French Valley Interchange will likely begin as early as 2020, the caveat being that funding for this phase comes in part from the new gas tax implemented by the state legislature in 2017. If the ballot measure known as Proposition 6 on the November 2018 ballot is passed by a majority of voters, the gas tax will be repealed and the bulk of funding for the French Valley Interchange dissipates.
Of note was Thomas’ report that from data mining, officials now see that most of the traffic that bogs down in and around Temecula’s portion of the I-15 is actually traffic that is heading to—or coming from—cities north of Temecula. Because of cell phones and GPS capabilities, data mining companies can tell where travelers are coming from, where they are going and how often each car makes that trip for the entire length of Interstate 15.
The plans for the French Valley Interchange include adding two lanes to northbound 15, beginning at the Winchester road north onramp and a “fly-over” connector from that point to northbound 15 that will keep traffic from becoming tangled with traffic trying to head north to Interstate 215. Phase 3 will be the overpass over the freeway that will complete the French Valley on-and-off ramps and add additional lanes to the 15 in both directions.
Sticking points described by Thomas included the fact that CalTrans admitted that they do not construct “capacity enhancing projects” such as adding lanes to ease traffic. They explained that the regional partners are tasked with doing those kinds of developments. CalTrans will, however, add auxiliary lanes between exits, such as truck climbing lanes. These are dubbed, “operational improvements.”
Also, the city of Temecula did make a bid for Federal funding through a long and complicated proposal process where it was competing with cities across the States for a piece of the pie from a $200 Billion Federal allocation. Going up against behemoths such as Chicago and Los Angeles, Temecula held its own for two go-rounds before being eliminated. Thomas is not discouraged, however, and said the city will try again next year and the next, if necessary.
Other city projects related to improving the traffic on Interstate 15 include:
- Western Bypass
- Diaz Road Widening
- Overland Drive Extension and Bridge
- Butterfield Stage Road, Phase 3
- Ynez Road Widening
- Fiber Optic Communication/Traffic Signal Coordination System Upgrade
The EDC is a membership organization comprised of area businesses and corporations. “The Economic Development Coalition is a place for business leaders who want to be involved in the Region’s positive growth and influence the direction in which we are going. Through the dedicated efforts of our members, our organization addresses our Regions unique challenges, and fosters the growth and success of our local economy,” said McAllister.
For more information, please contact Doug McAllister at the EDC offices, 951-694-9800, or Pat Thomas at the City of Temecula, 951-506-6153.