Green light to growth: Of­fi­cial mon­i­tors roads

Cedar Park traf­fic sig­nal co­or­di­na­tor Ali Mozd­bar makes sure traf­fic flows smoothly.

Austin American-Statesman - - COMMUNITY NEWS - By mike Parker Cedar Park-le­an­der States­man

On an early week­day at the city util­i­ties de­part­ment, Cedar Park’s new traf­fic sig­nal co­or­di­na­tor Ali Mozd­bar watched a screen show­ing Cy­press Creek Road and Lake­line Boule­vard.

The video showed mul­ti­ple ve­hi­cles stop­ping at the in­ter­sec­tion. Small blue squares sur­rounded the ve­hi­cles on the screen, sig­ni­fy­ing a mo­tion sen­sor pick­ing them up.

The sen­sor traces the num­ber of sec­onds the ve­hi­cle sits at the sig­nal, and whether or not the left-turn ar­row should be ac­ti­vated.

Cedar Park hired Mozd­bar in April af­ter he spent nearly 19 years at the city of Austin as its traf­fic sig­nal co­or­di­na­tor. In that time Mozd­bar has stud­ied, mon­i­tored and ad­justed sig­nal tim­ings that keep peo­ple driv­ing ef­fi­ciently through city streets.

The Cedar Park City Coun­cil added fund­ing for the po­si­tion in its 2012-13 bud­get as it pre­dicted area growth to con­tinue. Coun­cil Mem­ber Mitch Fuller, who backed the hir­ing, said Mozd­bar is the right per­son for the job.

“He’s out­stand­ing. He’s na­tion­ally renowned,” he said. “He un­der­stands this is­sue, and he’ll be of great value.”

The hir­ing is timely, since Cedar Park re­cently penned an agree­ment with the Texas De­part­ment of Trans­porta­tion to take over state-run traf­fic sig­nals within city lim­its. RM 1431, Bell Boule­vard and Parmer Lane traf­fic sig­nals — 27 in all — will soon be un­der the con­trol of the Cedar Park Pub­lic Works De­part­ment.

Ac­cord­ing to the agree­ment, TxDOT will re­im­burse the city $70,251 an­nu­ally for main­te­nance and re­pair costs. Eric Rauschu­ber, city di­rec­tor of util­i­ties, said the agree­ment al­lows for quicker re­sponse times to is­sues and al­lows the city to make mi­nor tweaks.

“We can re­spond to mal­func­tions in a mat­ter of min­utes com­pared to TxDOT, where their crew could be in Fred­er­icks­burg or Gid­dings,” Rauschu­ber said. “They’re good crews, they have good engi­neers, but they’re stretched thin.”

Fuller said the agree­ment al­lows the city to “take our des­tiny into our own hands.”

Dur­ing high-traf­fic pe­ri­ods, Mozd­bar said, ma­jor in­ter­sec­tions be­come syn­chro­nized with other sig­nals to meet that de­mand. But once traf­fic sub­sides, the in­ter­sec­tions re­turn to a “free mode,” or not syn­chro­nized with other lights.

“The cri­te­ria changes quickly,” Mozd­bar said. “In the case of (U.S.) 183, those are syn­chro­nized move­ments. You want to elim­i­nate any stops to make sure they go through all the in­ter­sec­tions. You want it to be green, green, green.”

MIKE PARKER / CEDAR PARK-LE­AN­DER STATES­MAN

City traf­fic sig­nal co­or­di­na­tor Ali Mozd­bar (left) and city di­rec­tor of util­i­ties Eric Rauschu­ber look at a traf­fic sig­nal syn­chro­niza­tion pro­gram at the pub­lic works de­part­ment. The city hired Mozd­bar to im­prove mo­bil­ity on city streets.

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