Friday, September 26, 2014

Glendale CDD Best in California

From the left: Principal Urban Designer Alan Loomis, Director Hassan Haghani, APA CA 
President Brooke Peterson & Senior Planner Kristen Asp . 
The California Chapter of the American Planning Association (APA) recognized the City's Community Development Department as the #1 Department of its kind in the entire state of California. The award comes after the Los Angeles Chapter of APA recognized the department as the best in Los Angeles County. Under the leadership of Hassan Haghani, CDD stands above others because it provides innovative, high‐quality, and effective planning and outreach services to the community. CDD has successfully continued to improve its level and quality of service despite significant downsizing due to the economic recession and dissolution of redevelopment.

In 2007 Hassan Haghani became director of Glendale’s Planning Department. He embarked on a mission to transform the department into a design‐centered, goal‐oriented, community‐supported agency that was integrated both internally and with other City departments providing related community services. Starting in 2010, the Planning Department merged with the Neighborhood Services, Housing, Redevelopment, and Building & Safety Divisions to form the current CDD. The integrated Department now contains full in‐house teams addressing planning, urban design, community outreach and engagement, neighborhood problem solving, housing development and housing services, building regulation and the implementation of key community development projects.

This recognition comes as no surprise since each of the Department’s divisions have been recognized regionally for their exceptional programs.  CDD has won numerous awards including the Beacon Awards for sustainability, AIA California Chapter Urban Design Award, LA Conservancy Awards, and the California Building Officials’ Building Department of the Year Award. Additionally, CDD has received the SCAG Compass Blueprint Presidents Excellence Award twice since it’s inception in 2007 (past awards).

APA is an independent educational organization that provides leadership in the development of communities by advocating excellence in planning, promoting education and citizen empowerment.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

City Receives $2.1 Million in Pedestrian/Bike Safety Grants

The City of Glendale was awarded two State Department of Transportation grants which will transform the way pedestrian safety is addressed in the City. The Active Transportation Program grants totaling $2.1 million will help the City implement recommended improvements outlined in various city plans including the Safe & Healthy Streets Plan, Downtown Mobility Study, Downtown Specific Plan and the Greener Glendale Plan. These grants will allow for the creation of comprehensive policies and infrastructure to improve pedestrian safety in a coordinated and centralized effort. 
Citywide Pedestrian Plan - $500K 
Funds will be used to create a comprehensive plan, identify viable bicycle and pedestrian corridors, assess intersections with high pedestrian/bicycle accident rates and target improvements at specific intersections.

Safe Routes to School (SRTS) Improvements Project - $1.6 million
Funds will be used to improve pedestrian and bicycle infrastructure along heavily traveled routes to the following schools:
• Hoover High School
• Toll Middle School
• Keppel Elementary School, and
• Along East Chevy Chase Dr. which connects six schools in southern Glendale to the Adams Square Park, Library and Business District.

SRTS Improvements will include enhanced accessibility and ADA compliance, repairs to damaged infrastructure and will provide trees and bicycle lanes or sharrows.

Safety for pedestrians and bicyclists is one of the City’s highest priorities. These grants will allow for a comprehensive approach to improving conditions by dedicating staff resources, implementing proactive community outreach efforts, updating policy and improving physical infrastructure.