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Board Actions - December 2018

SANDAG Executive Director’s Report

I am happy to report on the actions of the SANDAG Board of Directors over my first month as Executive Director and look forward to informing you of the Board’s decisions over the years to come.

During the last few weeks since taking up my new role on Dec. 3, I have been listening to ideas and concerns and meeting with stakeholders. The learning experience has been transformative for both me and my team as we strive toward realizing a vision for the San Diego region, which is to plan and build the best transportation system in the world. As you know, a great transportation system goes hand-in-hand with meeting our housing needs, supporting a vibrant economy, and promoting environmental sustainability.

As we head into 2019, SANDAG staff will be hard at work – with direction from the Board – preparing the draft transportation scenario for San Diego Forward: The 2019-2050 Regional Plan. The plan will meet the necessary state and federal requirements.  And going forward, we are committed to continuing to refine the plan to ensure that innovation and the evolution of transportation technology are fully captured in the document.

Stepping into my new role has been rewarding. I am especially pleased that the Board established two important subcommittees to help create regional solutions in response to regional challenges and opportunities.

The first is the Airport Connectivity Subcommittee, which will study ways to modernize and improve how we access the San Diego International Airport, the region’s vital international hub for travelers and commerce. The second is the Regional Housing Needs Assessment Subcommittee to provide input on how housing units should be allocated to each of our cities and the county. You can read more about the committees below.

Also in my first few weeks, I have toured the 11-mile Mid-Coast Trolley construction site. It is an impressive piece of engineering. You should be very proud of this project – a collaboration between the Federal Transit Administration and SANDAG – as it is the realization of years of planning, partnerships, and vision. I encourage you to tour the project with our impressive SANDAG project team to get an understanding of how great this will be for our region when it opens in 2021.

As you know, big data is driving commerce and planners in a big way. My team and I met with a senior U.S. Department of Transportation representative to discuss the region’s potential involvement in a national big data initiative that would ensure that data analytics gathered by regions across the country are comparable and comprehensive. SANDAG is poised to be the center for big data in our region.

I also met with a U.S. Navy representative to talk about integrating the Navy’s vision for its Pacific Fleet growth into our transportation networks and the airport connectivity studies. The military has been a valuable partner for this region for more than a century, and working with our military institutions is key to successful planning.

Another regional economic asset is our border with Mexico. I met recently with Caltrans Director Laurie Berman and several other stakeholders to discuss ways to move forward with the Otay Mesa East Port of Entry project, which will fuel the economies of our region, the state, and the nation. 

I’d like to congratulate Chair Steve Vaus, the mayor of Poway, and Vice Chair Catherine Blakespear, the mayor of Encinitas, for seamlessly stepping in to take over for former Chair Terry Sinnott, a city councilmember from Del Mar. It was a pleasure to work with Chair Sinnott as I joined SANDAG and through my initial weeks here. I look forward to working with Chair Vaus and Vice Chair Blakespear in the coming years.

I’d also like to extend a congratulations to our Circulate San Diego award winners, the SR 15 Mid-City Centerline Transit Stations project, the SR 15 Commuter Bikeway project, and the South Bay Rapid project.

Best wishes to everyone for a happy, safe, and productive New Year. It is a pleasure to be part of your team.

Hasan Ikhrata
SANDAG Executive Director

December 21 Board Business Meeting

Regional Housing Needs Assessment Subcommittee

Directors unanimously approved the formation of a Regional Housing Needs Assessment (RHNA) Subcommittee to provide input and guidance during the development of the RHNA Plan.

The subcommittee will make recommendations to the SANDAG Board on how to allocate housing units to each jurisdiction in the RHNA Plan.

To prepare its recommendations, the subcommittee will build consensus around a methodology that achieves the goals of the Board and meets State law. The subcommittee also may develop incentives for jurisdictions to implement their recommended housing allocations.

Subcommittee membership will include SANDAG Board members and be chaired by SANDAG Board Vice Chair Catherine Blakespear.

Membership is intended to include representatives from each SANDAG subregion and jurisdictions of various sizes. The subcommittee will meet as needed and conclude upon the

Board’s adoption of the RHNA Plan and any related incentives. The RHNA Plan is scheduled for adoption in October 2019.

The RHNA Subcommittee is expected to meet within the next month to begin its work. Members of the subcommittee will be announced once all jurisdiction appointments are made to the SANDAG Board of Directors. This typically occurs each year in December and through January.

For more information, visit

Key Staff Contact: Seth Litchney, (619) 699-1943,

Airport Connectivity Subcommittee

Directors unanimously approved the formation of an Airport Connectivity Subcommittee, as well as the use of up to $1 million from the agency’s contingency reserve for consultant-related expenses. The subcommittee will bring together key stakeholders to identify future transportation solutions for improved ground and transit access to the San Diego International Airport.

SANDAG Chair Steve Vaus will serve as subcommittee chair and will appoint membership, which will include Board members from SANDAG, the City of San Diego, the County of San Diego, the Metropolitan Transit System, the North County Transit District, the San Diego Unified Port District, the San Diego County Regional Airport Authority, Caltrans, and the Department of Defense.

Subcommittee membership will be announced after all jurisdictions make their SANDAG Board appointments, which typically occurs in December and January each year.

The first subcommittee meeting is scheduled for January 3, 2019.

It is anticipated that by summer 2019, the subcommittee will present a conceptual framework to the Board for consideration, detailing proposed access enhancements to the airport.

Key Staff Contact: Coleen Clementson (619) 699-1944,

Eastern Hillcrest Bikeways

Directors unanimously approved an amendment to the SANDAG FY 2019 budget to accept $2.2 million from the City of San Diego to fund the design and construction of the Normal Street Promenade as part of the Eastern Hillcrest Bikeways.

The Eastern Hillcrest Bikeways is part of the Uptown Bikeways project, which was approved by the SANDAG Board as part of the Regional Bike Plan Early Action Program in 2013. The 1.1-mile project runs mainly along University Avenue and Normal Street in the City of San Diego, connecting to other regional and local bikeways in the Hillcrest and North Park communities.

In 2016, the Hillcrest Business Association, Uptown Planners, and KTU+A developed a design for the Normal Street Promenade, which is a community-led project that proposes a pedestrian promenade along the west side of Normal Street between University Avenue and Washington Street.

Fore more information, visit

Key Staff Contact: Chris Kluth, (619) 1952,

SANDAG Regional Electric Vehicle Charging Program

On the heels of the one millionth electric vehicle sold in the nation last month, staff presented an update on the development of the SANDAG Regional Electric Vehicle Charging Program. This incentive program, set to begin in mid-2020, will help reduce greenhouse gas emissions by supporting public and workplace electric vehicle charging stations.

Development of the SANDAG Regional Electric Vehicle Charging Program is funded through a Senate Bill 1 Caltrans planning grant. SANDAG received the money to identify best practices, develop program design criteria within a detailed framework, and build a regional incentive program.

The first phase of the program kicked off in May 2018, with a review of existing charger incentive programs and policies around the country. As the agency completes the first phase, interviews will be conducted with existing incentive programs to gain additional insights into program design and operation.

A detailed program framework for the regional incentive program will be developed and brought back to the Board for review in summer 2019. The framework will be flexible to include future program partners, shifts in market needs and/or technologies, and potential program expansions.

For additional information, visit

Key Staff Contact: Susan Freedman, (619) 699-7387,

December 7 Board Policy Meeting

Plan of Excellence

Staff presented a final update on the SANDAG Plan of Excellence (PoE), which is a comprehensive response to requirements and recommendations the agency committed to undertake to fundamentally improve the way it does business.

Introduced in November 2017, the PoE is derived from several sources of recommendations, including input from stakeholders and the Board of Directors, as well as Assembly Bill 805. It was designed to bring about change and will have a lasting and positive impact on the organization.

More than 35 action items in eight different areas make up the PoE. Almost all have been completed or are substantially underway. The few remaining items, like the hiring of an independent performance auditor, are tied directly to upcoming agency activities and will be completed in the near future.

As the PoE draws to a close, SANDAG remains committed to responding to the Board of Directors and stakeholders regarding issues of ongoing improvement.

For more information, visit

Key Staff Contact: Melissa Coffelt, (619) 699-1955,

Next Board of Directors Meeting

The next SANDAG Board of Directors meetings will take place on January 11, 2019, and January 25, 2019.

For more information, visit

Project Manager(s)

For media inquiries, please contact the SANDAG Public Information Office at (619) 699-1950 or