From the roads of Seattle to Washington, D.C., Valerie Southern knows America’s infrastructure from east to west and back again. Valerie Southern founded Valerie J. Southern – Transportation Consultant, LLC (VJS-TC), a transportation planning and traffic engineering consulting company, in the Seattle area in 1998 and relocated to the east coast in 2009 as a two-man team with her right-hand man Gary A. Norris, PE, a senior traffic engineer.
An expert in the planning, management and engineering of public transportation systems, VJS-TC’s experience was a perfect fit for the work on the District Department of Transportation’s Anacostia Waterfront Initiative Program as part of CH2M HILL’s management team. The firm’s entree to the team resulted from what Valerie said was strategic networking.
“The largest requirement for being a successful DBE is that you have to network. You have to establish strong relationships with the people who have these visions and are responsible for administering and implementing them,” she said.
Smart networking led to work planning the traffic signals and intersections for Segments 1 and 2 of AWI’s South Capitol Street Corridor Project. VJS-TC analyzed the need for traffic signals at 18 intersections based on existing and projected traffic volumes. With this analysis, the company wrote technical specs to guide the project’s future design-build team in meeting DDOT requirements for construction. This important work also helped the project achieve the 30 percent design complete threshold for Segments 1 and 2 necessary for DDOT to request proposals from design-build teams for project construction.
For all travelers, the design will deliver a high level of service. “The intent is that we’ll have a traffic signal system that responds to traffic flow conditions on the South Capitol Street Corridor and to variations in traffic flow,” Norris said. “Our work will provide a more efficient operation both for pedestrian and vehicular traffic.”
VJS-TC’s work on the South Capitol Street Corridor continues: the team will be designing appropriate street lighting for Segments 4 and 5. “Not only will it be aesthetically appealing but it will also meet the needs of the traffic passing through the area,” Norris said.
Southern is proud of the work her firm has done for this AWI project. “We are assisting the DDOT in helping more people, whether they be citizens or residents or tourists, to enjoy the wonderful visual benefits of walking, driving and biking in the District of Columbia,” she said.