SLO and Santa Barbara Counties included in $1 billion state funding for active transportation projects
The California Transportation Commission awarded $1 billion for walking and biking projects for disadvantaged communities throughout the state last week.
This will fund 93 new projects, including developments in San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara counties. The recent grant is part of the 2023 Active Transportation Program, a state senate bill that is funding walking and biking improvements statewide.
Cities in Caltrans District 5, which spans from Santa Barbara to Santa Cruz County, will see such improvements. This is a historic moment for Caltrans District 5, which has finally been approved for funding after applying to the program several times.
“This is the first time Caltrans has ever received Active Transportation Program funds,” said Caltrans Public Information Officer Alexa Bertola, “This is an extremely competitive program, so we are very pleased to have been awarded the funds.”
The city of San Luis Obispo will receive $6.95 million of this funding for improvements on the Higuera Street corridor. According to the City of SLO, these projects will focus on biker, pedestrian and driver safety.
“This is one of the highest priority projects we heard from public outreach,” said SLO City Active Transportation Manager Adam Fukushima, “They tell us that they like to bike and walk but just don’t feel safe doing so next to high speed traffic.”
The Higuera corridor project will include protected bike lanes, pedestrian crossing enhancements, traffic signal upgrades and measures to reduce speeding and unsafe driving.
Santa Barbara County received $80 million to fund seven projects, including walking safety improvements near elementary schools.
“We have something special here in the Central Coast that our efforts to work collaboratively as a region with local residents, nonprofits, and local governments to really knuckle down and advocate for why it is important for the state to invest in our communities,” said Santa Barbara County Association of Governments Public Information Manager Lauren Bianchi Kleman.
To find out about the other transportation projects happening in the state, you can visit the Caltrans website.