Carl W. Bengtson
It is the mission of the Streetscape Section of the Department of Engineering and Public Works to provide well designed, safe and sustainable beautification in the medians of unincorporated area thoroughfare roadways in order to supplement the urban forest and to enhance our environment. Beautification typically consists of trees, but may also include sod and remotely controlled and monitored irrigation systems. We strive to enhance the driving experience for those traveling the beautified roads, through the design, implementation and maintenance of appropriate, aesthetically pleasing enhancement projects, in a cost-effective and responsible way.
Administrative and Design
The Administrative and Design functions of the Section provide general oversight and control of the Section's day-to-day activities, as well as program planning. There are both in-house landscape architecture and irrigation design and computer drafting capabilities, along with oversight of consulting landscape architectural firms. This function encompasses all necessary coordination with utility companies, permitting agencies and appropriate other organizations to ensure that the projects prepared and overseen by the Section are fully implementable. This function also includes the review of all plans for landscaping in the right of way that have been proposed by others.
The Construction Coordination function is responsible for the implementation of projects that are planned and designed under the Administrative and Design functions. This includes working with annual landscaping contractors to locate and secure acceptable plant materials, as well as overseeing the contractor's installation of the projects. Projects are monitored throughout each project's one year warranty period to ensure that any trees that have failed will be replaced by the contractor at no cost to the County as is required by warranty. In some cases, projects consist of, or may include telemetry controlled irrigation systems that are remotely controlled and strictly monitored to ensure efficient use of water, compliance with water use regulations, permitting requirements, and safety standards. Whenever possible, irrigation systems utilize appropriately-sized and permitted wells, or when it is available, reuse water as sources for irrigation water.
Maintenance Oversight and Maintenance
The Maintenance Oversight function is applicable on certain County roads where trees have been installed under this program for the oversight and direction of annual highway landscaping maintenance contractors to ensure that they are conforming to the requirements of their contracts with the County. In addition to many requirements which include fertilizing and tree trimming, typically, such contracts provide for regular mowing and trimming of the road rights of way that are under contract. Contract maintenance also includes a requirement for litter pick-up on each service visit by the contractor. Staff-performed Maintenance is provided to accomplish periodic structural tree trimming, as is required to promote healthy, wind-resistant tree growth. Maintenance may also include re-staking, transplanting or re-planting of trees. We have made significant advances in implementing a Geographic Information System (GIS), which among its many capabilities, enables us to effectively schedule and monitor maintenance events, track warranties, and the histories of our resources (trees and irrigation facilities). The GIS also serves as a tool that helps us to respond quickly and effectively to streetscape matters involving the public´s safety.
The Irrigation function is accomplished in two basic fashions:
- Supplemental truck watering is provided on an as-needed basis for trees that were installed under the "Trees Only" program. This is accomplished by staff using County-owned water trucks;
- Where telemetry-controlled irrigation systems have already been installed, such systems are maintained by staff to ensure that they are operating safely, effectively, efficiently, and in strict compliance with all current water use regulations.