Interview with Ahmad R. Ansari, P.E. Public Works Director/City Engineer

This interview went so well. Mr. Ansari was very gracious to take the time to answer these questions and I felt educated by this interview and I have attended many council meetings and know some of the cities inner workings still some of this I didn’t know. Thus the reason I am doing these interviews so that the community can share in the wealth of knowledge.

RIALTO-NOW – Your department is responsible for the trees in the public areas and right of ways. Does that also include trees on people’s grass easements (the grass area between the sidewalk and street)? If so what are the procedures when the trees lift the sidewalks and the sidewalks have to be replaced and home owner irrigation is damaged in the repair?

MR. ANSARI – The “grass easement” referred to, in your question is called Parkway Area and is within the Public Right of Way. Yes, the City is responsible to prune tree roots intruding and leading to sidewalk upheaval. The procedure is that all such areas citywide are regularly inspected by Public Works crews and a list is maintained. We then repair the areas that are smaller using own maintenance forces, and the rest is included in our annual Concrete Repair Program as part of a bid out Capital Improvement Program (CIP) project. All this includes any repair to sprinkler systems. If you are aware of any sidewalk upheavals or root intrusion, please report it by calling our number (909) 820-2608.

RIALTO-NOW – Are there any major tree trimming projects coming up that residents should be aware of?

MR. ANSARI – Not sure what you mean by “tree trimming projects”. The tree trimming service is a maintenance program which is ongoing. The City uses outsource contractor West Coast Arborist. Again, if there is any specific area or areas, please report it.

RIALTO-NOW – What is the protocol that residents should follow when they find potholes or deformities in the streets?

MR. ANSARI – We have had a very successful pothole repair program since 2008. With the goal of “No Pothole Left Behind”, we actively repair them all in a timely manner using our own forces. Again, if you have a location in mind, please report it. In addition, we have had a computerized Pavement Management System (PMS) since 2008 that identifies streets in need of major pavement repairs. Such streets find their way to either of the two annual CIP projects we have citywide, one being Street Overlay and the other Street Slurry Seal program.

RIALTO-NOW – In reference to graffiti I’ve noticed that not all graffiti is removed by the private contractor, some is removed by city staff, a bulk is removed by the private contractor & some seems to be outside of anyone’s power. Can you help us better understand this process?

MR. ANSARI – Generally, smaller less intensive graffiti is removed by our own crews called Graffiti Task Force, and larger more intense markings by our outsource contractor, GPC. Graffiti on private property is removed by the City ONLY if it is clearly visible from a street or public right of way. Abating graffiti from private property is always most challenging due to access constraints, obtaining permission from the owner and unique colors that require more time to match the paint to avoid having to paint the entire surface. Again, reporting is the key. Our Graffiti HOTLINE is (909) 820-2670.

RIALTO-NOW – What regulations are there for local businesses that allow their parking lots to be over-run with graffiti?

MR. ANSARI – This question should be directed to the City’s Development Services Department, Code Enforcement Division at (909) 421- 4962. Public Works can certainly help (as has in the past) when the graffiti is visible from the streets.

RIALTO-NOW – What is the current protocol for real estate companies that allow their for lease signs to be marked up with graffiti?

MR. ANSARI – This question should also be directed to the City’s Development Services Department, Code Enforcement Division at (909) 421- 4962.

RIALTO-NOW – The intersection of Baseline and Cedar has become a problem. Cars traveling north bound on Cedar Ave wait until the last moment to jump over to the left lane for through traffic. This causes unsafe driving and people are getting rear ended. What are some Steps your department plans to or can take to help correct this problem.

MR. ANSARI – The traffic safety and function of traffic engineering is handled by my engineering staff and by our Traffic Engineer, Shirjeel Muhammad who is a City employee and a registered TE by the State of California. I will have Shirjeel look into this location and get back to you with an explanation or a plan of action.

MR. MUHAMMAD – Thanks for bringing this important safety concern to our attention. The current lane designation on Cedar is to protect unsafe merging of traffic north of Baseline due to street narrowing.

You will be pleased to know that the City is currently in a process of Designing Ayala Avenue widening project north of Baseline. The construction time for the project can take up to 6 months due to Environmental clearances and Funding procurement. Once Ayala Avenue is widened, the lanes on Cedar south of Baseline will be restriped to provide for 2 thru lanes.

RIALTO-NOW – Tell us a little about yourself. Where you grew up? How you found
yourself in Rialto?

MR. ANSARI – I grew up as a child overseas, immigrated to the United States when I was a teenager to complete my High School, and later became a US Citizen. I attended a private boarding Catholic High School called Villanova Preparatory School in Ojai, California, half way between Los Angeles and Santa Barbara and graduated in 1979. I then attended college at the University of Southern California (Go SC! Fight on! J) from 1979 to 1984 and obtained my degree in Civil Engineering & Architecture and did graduate studies in Structures. After working for two private firms from 1984 to 1985, I started my public service with the City of Burbank (1985 to 2000). I then served the City of Pomona (2000 to 2005), then the City of Perris (2005 to 2007) and currently serving the City of Rialto since April 30, 2007. I am a registered Professional Engineer in Civil with the State of California since 1994. I have been serving at Director and/or Director/City Engineer capacity since 2005. I am happily married with two great sons, 20 and 17, one attending his third year in college and the other a senior in High School. I am VERY excited to celebrate Rialto’s 100th Centennial coming up in November, not only because I take pride in personally designing the Downtown Walk of Fame, the Stars and the Monument, but because my own birthday and Rialto’s is only 6 days apart! I will be 50 years old right on 11-11-11.

RIALTO-NOW – Anything else you might think the citizens of Rialto and our readers should know?

MR. ANSARI – I would just like to thank you for the questions and the interview, and add that, as the City’s Public Works Director/City Engineer, it has been a pleasure serving Rialto and the Community. Rialto has great people, smart leaders and great staff. I feel that with our department’s mission of “Customer Care” and “Same Day Response” in mind, we have not only improved the City’s infrastructure over the past 4 years, but also have implemented efficient, systematic and responsive programs and processes in place for our citizens to benefit from, be aware of, and be involved in. With the current state of economy getting more and more challenging every day, it’s often hard to be everywhere all the time.
We hope with positive involvement from the public, guidance from our elected
officials and hard work by staff, we maintain and continue to meet the
expectations and effectively provide the services that the community needs and


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