Back in September, RTC was pleased to share some good news for the Golden State, announcing that $43 million in funds had been approved for 20 trail projects through the state’s new Active Transportation Program (ATP). This first round of programming for statewide and rural projects was a big step forward for creating more bikeable and walkable communities.
On Wednesday, Nov. 12, California took yet another substantial step forward by approving $133 million worth of regional ATP projects—including more than $54 million for 24 trail projects across the state. Many of these trail projects benefit disadvantaged communities, and some also provide safe routes to school and key connections to transit.
In southern California, where a large number of projects were approved, ATP funding will help close several critical gaps in the Orange County Loop, a 66-mile regional trail system that makes it possible for residents to walk and bike to some of California’s most scenic beaches and inland destinations.
The Los Angeles River Bike Path is also moving forward with new construction, having secured funds for the Owensmouth-Mason segment near the headwaters of the Los Angeles River.
It’s important to note that the ATP funds active-transportation plans, as well, such as the San Gabriel Valley Active Transportation Planning Initiative, which landed in the winners circle in this round. The San Gabriel Valley Greenway Network will eventually connect 150 miles of bikeways and trails along rivers, creeks and washes to create a world-class greenway system!
Other notable trail projects that received funding include:
- Mather Rails-to-Trails Project in the City of Rancho Cordova: This project constructs a Class I multi-use trail alongside a Union Pacific spur between the Sacramento Regional Transit Mather/Mills Light Rail Station and the Mather Field Airport. The project will enhance mobility in this high-transit area for people traveling to the rail station, the Sacramento Veteran’s Administration Hospital, nearby business parks and residential areas. The project will also eliminate a barrier to walking and biking by providing a dedicated bicycle and pedestrian facility across busy U.S. Route 50.
- City of Modesto Class 1 Bicycle Path: This soon-to-be 2.2-mile trail will provide a much-needed link for walkers and bicyclists between the east and west campuses of Modesto Junior College (MJC). There is currently no reasonably safe route for walkers and bicyclists to commute between the two primary MJC facilities; currently, those wishing to go between campuses must cross over State Route 99 and some active railroad tracks.
- San Francisco Bay Trail, Pinole Shores to Bay Front Park: This project involves constructing a half-mile section of the San Francisco Bay Trail by extending an existing paved trail east from Pinole Shores and over some railroad tracks via a new bridge—to connect to an existing path in Bay Front Park. The project will shorten the trip to the park from four miles on streets to one mile via the trail.
The funds approved for trails in the regional half of ATP comprise 41 percent of the total funding awarded last week—a testament to California’s acknowledgement of the importance of trails in creating better transportation options for people of all ages.
We at RTC are pleased to see these steps toward better walkability and bikeability statewide. We will continue to monitor the progress of these great projects and how they impact the lives of residents and visitors by creating healthier, safer ways to get around!