AS Beat Reporter
On Oct. 18, the Isla Vista Community Services District (IVCSD) created a project to temporarily paint bike boxes, crosswalks, designated scooter boxes, and sharrows on Pardall Street. This pop-up event was brought up and created because IVCSD wanted to receive live feedback from residents to see which additions were helpful for residents and which were not. The Bottom Line (TBL) spoke with members of the IVCSD who were in charge of the stations at the event to get some insight into the feedback they received during the demonstration.
Sydney Casler mentioned that IVCSD received a grant from the California Air Resources Board and was able to proceed to the next steps of this project. This project took months of preparation until it was time for the demonstration. IVCSD collaborated with Santa Barbara Metropolitan Transit District (MTD) and the Isla Vista Youth Projects to create the Pardall pop-up demonstration event.
From March to April, they surveyed residents of Isla Vista (I.V. to ask them about transportation barriers people had. They received about 1000 responses and most of them mentioned that the streets on Pardall were pretty dangerous for drivers, cyclists, and pedestrians alike.
There were three stations set up down Pardall Street. The first station was set up at the start of Pardall. Many volunteers stood at the station handing out flyers with a QR code to a survey and answering any questions people had about the demonstration.
The second station was in front of the Pardall Center. Sydney Casler was in charge of this tent, where volunteers came to check in for their shifts and anyone could come with comments or concerns.
At the end of Pardall street, the third station also had more volunteers passing out flyers and collecting feedback from I.V. residents. Each end of Pardall had a different road structure, so that could also play a part in the response people gave.
Anna Olsen, a second-year political science major, was a volunteer who shared a few thoughts about the whole event. She told us that while this project was happening, it seemed like there were positive reactions and people were excited about it.
As a student, Olsen mentioned that she has experienced being both a driver and a cyclist in I.V. and that “it is not super clear who has the right of way.”
She said, “I think it’s good that we are implementing safety measures.”
Upon observing the demonstration, TBL also spoke with Spencer Brandt, who is the president of the IVCSD Board of Directors. He shared a few words about his thoughts on the demonstration. From his own observations, he said that residents who came up and provided feedback about the demonstration mentioned that they found the bike boxes useful.
He told TBL, “[The] feedback that the residents are providing is going to make it more possible for us in the future to have tangible transportation improvements in Isla Vista.”
Fiona Salsich, the mobility plan outreach coordinator at IVCSD, shared a bit about her role and how she became involved in this project. Salsich graduated with an environmental studies BA degree in 2021 and she was looking for something related to her field. She was very interested in sustainable transportation and being able to participate in this project and fulfill her role as an outreach coordinator allowed her to be able to cater to residents’ concerns about road safety.
She also mentioned that the bike boxes and crosswalks had very positive reactions. She shared that she saw one girl pass by who was very excited about the crosswalks. Since this pop-up event was made temporarily for one day, Salsich shared her thoughts on how random this can be for someone in I.V. who did not hear about the pop-up event.
She said she “really wanted to make sure that [IVCSD was] not disrupting the flow of traffic and making people confused.”
Seeing firsthand how unsafe the streets of I.V. can be, these temporary changes made some improvements to street safety for residents.
To learn more about the Isla Vista Community Service District, please visit their website for more information.