“Building stuff is like instantaneous gratification to me. Whether I'm paving roads, evaluating neighborhoods for safety for the kids or working to get our arterial roads to function more efficiently, I enjoy it all.”
— John Neville, Engineer with Marin County Public Works
Marin’s county roads handle hundreds of thousands of vehicles daily, and when they are well-maintained they help keep our economy humming. John Neville has been an engineer with the Marin County Department of Public Works for 14 years, and over that time he’s helped make Marin’s roads the safest in the nine-county Bay Area.
FIVE QUESTIONS WITH JOHN:
1. As an engineer in the County’s traffic division, what kind of work do you do?
I evaluate Marin County maintained roads for pedestrian, bicycle, and vehicular safety. My department maintains the traffic signs and signals, traffic striping and traffic calming improvements around the county.
2. What kinds of problems do you solve most frequently?
We look at speeding complaints, parking problems, roadway congestion, safe bicycle passage and school children's path of travel to school.
3. Is there one particular project or accomplishment you would say is emblematic of your work?
In the past couple years we have placed some radar feedback signs around the County to address speeding concerns. The sign installed on Lucas Valley Road was effective in lowering the prevailing speeds by almost 20 miles per hour. We don't expect these kinds of results everywhere, but in this case we had a pronounced impact on an entire neighborhood through an innovative solution.
4. What do you consider a victory on the job?
Being able to serve our constituents with a high level of professionalism requires newer and more innovative ideas. I consider it a victory when the Department can serve the public at the level that they have come to expect in spite of the difficult budgets and impacted workloads.
5. What would happen to your clients if your department were downsized or eliminated?
Road safety is continually changing in Marin for a variety of reasons. The miles an average American drives has doubled since 1990, Marin's median age is increasing, car technology continues to evolve, there are ever larger number of bicyclists on Marin's roads... Meanwhile most of Marin's roads were designed and built prior to 1960. Yet Marin County has the safest roads in the nine bay area counties. That safety record would be very difficult to maintain without the efforts of my division.