The Transportation Planning Award of Merit from the San Diego Planning Association is presented to the City of National City Engineering & Public Works Department for their work on the City of National City plan of Integrating Neighborhoods with Transportation Routes for All Connections (INTRAConnect). Supported by the Caltrans Sustainable Transportation Planning Grant in 2018, INTRAConnect works cohesively with the city’s SMART Foundation PLAN (Safe Multi-modal Accessible Routes to School, Work, Shopping, Parks, Services and Transit) to prioritize needed transportation and infrastructure enhancements while focusing on sustainable benefits to bolster disadvantaged communities of National City.

INTRAConnect builds upon the need for self-supporting neighborhoods and intended goals of reducing both vehicle miles traveled (VMT) and greenhouse gases (GHG). One way the project fulfilled that was with the conceptualization of “10-minute neighborhoods” that incorporates the components of origins, destinations, and connections. The idea of a ten-minute neighborhood is that residents can reach their essential destinations in their daily and weekly trips within a 10-minute walking distance. Furthermore, the project encourages infill and mixed-use developments to holistically increase multi-modal transportation that dually supports local business and reduces GHG emissions. These neighborhoods also have the benefit of helping lower-income residents and the elderly who cannot afford or rely on driving.

To fulfill its goals, extensive analysis and Geographic Information Systems (GIS) were used to classify high priority areas that were graded as suitable 10-minute neighborhoods. In addition to this, eighteen community outreach events were held to engage various stakeholders and discuss community needs. Further calculations were utilized in estimating investments and identifying needed improvements for areas like high collision corridors. With these cumulative analyses along with scrutinizing factors of land use and zoning, potential projects and priorities were set to balance the right blend of origins and destinations between neighborhoods and businesses. Together, these concepts assimilate transportation improvements and provide a future framework for other projects that will comprehensively progress residents’ safety and well-being.

The plan epitomizes many fundamentals of planning with their layered approach, tactful analysis, and thoughtful collaboration. In devising an extensive conception of improving mobility and public safety, INTRAConnect lays a solid foundation for prioritizing and transforming one of the lowest socio-economic areas of San Diego County into more self-sufficient and sustainable communities.

Link to the plan: