The award-winning, world famous Southern California Section of ITE is the largest Section in the Western District, boasting over 700 members, including 150 student members. We are also one the largest Section’s internationally. Our Section includes Los Angeles and Orange Counties, an area that encompasses approximately 13 million people. Los Angeles is often ranked #1 in the US for traffic congestion. Locals may view that as an embarrassment, but we view it as a challenge and job security.
The Southern California Section is a leader in our profession. A few years ago, at a Pro Bike Pro Walk Pro Place Pro Anything But Cars Conference in Long Beach, many jokes were made at our expense because of our car-oriented attitude. I am happy to say that, today, we are actively creating alternatives, promoting education and implementing new projects on this topic. For example, many of our members are on the cutting edge of the connected and autonomous vehicle front. This topic has been presented at several of our luncheons in the past few years. Another example is SoCal Section members and ITE International Past Presidents Rock Miller and Zaki Mustafa, leading the way in design and implementation of numerous livability projects, including separated bikeway, green bike lanes, scramble crosswalks, bus-only lanes, and parklets.
Our members realize that there is a diminishing returns when adding more lanes, and we continue to produce outside-the-box traffic engineering solutions. Our activities, tours, and overall engagement challenge our members to continue exploring ways to improve all transportation modes, not just cars. We are honored to have members that are mentors for students and young professionals, and we are proud to have our members recognized locally, regionally, nationwide, and internationally.
This year the Southern California Section implemented a new sponsorship package program. We simplified our sponsorship packages that offer discounts for sponsoring all of the events over the course of the year. These were designed to save the sponsor’s time and money. By collecting sponsorship money upfront, we can then budget our events accordingly. The program has been a huge success and almost filled the entire year’s calendar immediately.
Our large student participation is a testament to the Section’s dedication to our six local student chapters. To encourage extensive student involvement at all our meetings, we have heavily discounted student rates. Additionally, the Southern California Section grants scholarship money to our local university chapters through a competitive Student Presentation Night.
I am proud to call the Southern California Section my home. We are excited for our upcoming 2017 events, and I hope to see you in San Diego this June at the Western District Annual Meeting!
By Jay Dinkins, PE
SoCal Section President