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State government awarding millions for Central Coast active transportation projects

 A rendering of the Isla Vista Bike and Pedestrian Improvements Project.
Isla Vista Community Services District
A rendering of the Isla Vista Bike and Pedestrian Improvements Project.

Central Coast governments and agencies are receiving millions of dollars in funding for public health and safety upgrades.

It's part of the California Transportation Commission’s Active Transportation Program, which supports projects around California encouraging people to use environmentally-friendly modes of transportation like walking and biking.

$80 million is going to Santa Barbara County for projects in Santa Maria, Lompoc, Santa Barbara and countywide CalTrans projects.

They include new pedestrian and bike paths in Westside Santa Barbara, a school corridor including the Allan Hancock College campus in Santa Maria, and an area of high-density, low-income housing in Lompoc.

In SLO County, the city of San Luis Obispo is receiving $6.95 million in state funding to make safety upgrades to the Higuera Street corridor.

Its goal is to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and improve public health, especially in disadvantaged populations.

SLO’s funding will go towards street improvements along the Higuera Street corridor between Marsh Street and Los Osos Valley Road. They include accessibility and safety upgrades for walking, bicycling, and driving.

An active transportation outreach event at Pardall Road in Isla Vista.
Sydney Casler, Isla Vista Community Services District
An active transportation outreach event at Pardall Road in Isla Vista.

The city said it will also fund improvements to bicycle and pedestrian links near the Higuera Street corridor to create safer routes to Hawthorne Elementary and Laguna Middle School.

The project funding will also be supplemented by another $750 thousand grant from the San Luis Obispo Council of Governments. That additional funding will support the Higuera project as well as a new pedestrian crossing at the intersection of South Street and King Street near Hawthorne Elementary.

The city says these projects are in early design and will include more public outreach opportunities next year, leading to an anticipated construction in 2024 or 2025.

Outside of cities, there are other newly-funded projects on the Central Coast including about $17 million to reconfigure the Highway 46 interchange near Shandon. Highway 46 East will eventually become a four-lane divided expressway from Highway 101 in Paso Robles to Interstate 5 in Kern County.

Funding is also going to Monterey County, including for the Monterey Bay Sanctuary Scenic Trail Network which CalTrans said connects 10 schools, one college, 18 parks, 13 public beaches, four libraries, two community centers, and several housing projects.

The money is part of Senate Bill 1, which provides $5 billion in transportation funding annually shared between state and local agencies.

More information on transportation projects funded by SB 1 is available at, and more information on the Active Transportation projects is available here.

KCBX News is run by News Director Benjamin Purper and overseen by Program and Content Director Marisa Waddell. Gabriela Fernandez and Amanda Wernik are the current reporters. Posts by "KCBX News Staff" reflect collaborative writing and reporting from multiple news team members and may include work from Benjamin, Gabriela, Amanda and newsroom interns/volunteers.