Orange County Branch Newsletter

June 1986

President's Message

Transportation in Southern California


By Steve Marvin

Transportation in Southern California, and specifically Orange County, holds the key to our present and future quality of life. Community organizations, in an effort to halt or at least slow development, cry for 'roads first* while the construction industry pushes on with necessary development to meet an ever increasing need. At the same time that new facilities and methods of transportation are conceived and constructed, ever increasing loads"on existing facilities hasten their demise. Roadways and highways fail under heavier trucks and concentrations of buses inconceivable during the initial design process. Maintenance dollars diminish with decreased fuel consumption while construction costs continue to increase even in a time of nominal inflation.

Civil engineers seldom get public recognition for accomplishments, but are quick to be singled out when a perceived flaw in design may have contributed to the premature failure of a Public Works project. Witness criticism of freeway capacity, storm drains in Huntington Beach, toxic waste clean-up in Fullerton, airport expansion in Newport Beach, shoreline storm damage, landslides in Laguna Beach, or the age-old pothole on our many roadways and streets. As Civil Engineers we interface with other engineers, architects. Public Works Directors, City Managers, planners, etc. During these exchanges, practical compromises are formulated, incorporating sound engineering principles and professional judgement to meet the conceptualized need, while not losing sight of economic realities. This sharing of ideas has shaped and will continue to shape the face of Orange County.

The June Joint Meeting of the Los Angelss Section/Orange County Branch provides the opportunity to informally discover the LACTC and OCTC perception of transportation needs in our region. Your attendance will not only be informative, but will demonstrate Orange County ASCE*s concern for transportation issues as they effect us personally and professionally. Mark your calendars and travel the short distance to Norwalk.

The May Student Night Meeting was well attended and well received. It marked one of the few times in Student Night history where ASCE members and guests were at least equal in number to the student attendees. Those members who attended the evening's activites and the recently completed Pacific Southwest Conference were treated to the enthusiasm of future engineers. Based upon the interest generated during this meeting, the future of ASCE is bright. If you missed the meeting, mark your calendar for next year and be reminded of what originally prompted you to become a Civil Engineer.