Two cities in Tulare County plan to improve walking and bike lanes with the help of California Transportation Commission grant funding
TULARE COUNTY – New trails were blazed in Tulare, Fresno and Kern counties for walking and bike lanes this month, as well as new or improved road infrastructure.
On Dec. 8, the California Transportation Commission (CTC) announced they would be distributing $1 billion across the state to fund 93 different walking and biking projects for disadvantaged communities. Among these communities are Visalia, Porterville and cities in Fresno and Kern counties. Two-thirds of the projects will implement safe routes for children to walk or bike to school.
“California and our federal partners are continuing to make historic headway in addressing our transportation needs and advancing safety, equity, climate action and economic prosperity,” Caltrans Director Tony Tavares stated. “Importantly, this includes significant investments in infrastructure that allows everyone to access active means of transportation, like walking and biking.”
Visalia will use the funds for their Houston Community Connectivity Project, which aims to create safe routes to schools for students, as well as improve connectivity by filling in missing gaps of sidewalks. They will also create continuous paths, improve safety by reworking crosswalks and curb ramps and adding safer bike lanes. CTC allocated $2.4 million to this project.
“We are very appreciative of the additional funding provided by the Governor and Legislature for this program cycle, which is allowing us to fund dozens of additional projects,” CTC Executive Director Mitch Weiss said. “However, more sustained funding is needed to clear the remaining backlog of critical projects still awaiting funding and support the increasingly ambitious and transformative nature of proposed projects.”
Porterville will be receiving $1.5 million for their Hawk Pedestrian Crossings Project, which will add a high-intensity activated crosswalk in three locations: the intersections of the Sante Fe Trail at Olive Avenue and Morton Avenue, and at Plano Street and Chase Avenue. Installation of the crossings will be used to stop traffic and allow safe crossing for pedestrians.
In Kern County, there will be a roundabout construction project, which will cost $6 million. They will construct a roundabout in Shafter. There will also be a roadway rehabilitation project, which will receive $4 million in funding. This project will rehabilitate pavement to extend service life and improve ride quality on Highway 46 near Lost Hills from 1 mile west of Brown Material Road to 0.2 mile east of Pavilion Way.
In Fresno County: $5.2 million in IIJA funding will construct a concrete median barrier and upgrade sign panels and guardrail on State Route 180 from Clovis Avenue to Temperance Avenue.
The 93 projects make up more than half of the 2023 Active Transportation Program, with an additional $700 million to be awarded in the spring. The Active Transportation Program is the state’s only dedicated funding source for walking and biking projects.
For the 2023 program cycle, the Commission received a record $3.1 billion in funding requests for 434 projects. In recognition of the tremendous need, the program received a one-time $1 billion augmentation in the 2022-23 State Budget as part of a nearly $15 billion transportation infrastructure package.