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Cities eyeing $360M for bike, walkway projects

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The California Department of Transportation is planning to distribute $360 million over the next three years to projects that promote biking and walking, and San Diego municipalities are looking for a piece of the pie.

Caltrans said Thursday that it is asking cities and counties throughout the state to submit applications for biking and walkway projects that need funding. The money will come from the state’s new Active Transportation Program.

“Today’s transportation system is about more than just highways,” Caltrans Director Malcolm Dougherty said. “Active transportation projects are a good investment and will help achieve mobility, safety and greenhouse gas reduction goals for California.”

The program will receive about $120 million from state and federal budgets each year for the next three years.

Coleen Clementson, principal planner with San Diego Association of Governments, said SANDAG plans to submit applications for two bikeway projects and two walking trail projects.

The Interstate 15 Commuter Bikeway is a $9.3 million project that would put in place bike lanes, signs and associated construction work between Adams Avenue to Camino Del Rio South in Mission Valley.

Construction on the project could begin as soon as mid-2015. Caltrans is coordinating the project with the city of San Diego and SANDAG.

The Bayshore Bikeway would connect Southeastern San Diego, Barrio Logan, the San Diego Bay and downtown San Diego for everyday, nonmotorized travel.

The $13.6 million project would also include construction of bike facilities along a 1.78 mile stretch.

The Coastal Rail Trail San Diego at Rose Creek is a $17.2 million project, and the Coastal Rail Trail Encinitas is a $5.1 million project that will go from Chesterfield to G Street.

“All areas of the county could benefit from new bike and walkways, especially areas that lead into schools,” Clementson said.

SANDAG is planning to take to take these four projects to the board of directors on April 25 and then submit the applications to Caltrans.

“We are trying to design facilities that will make people feel safe and create facilities where people can bike to work and school and not just bike for recreational purposes,” Clementson said.

The California Transportation Commission and Caltrans will review the projects based on established guidelines and selection criteria, and the Transportation Commission will allocate funding in August and November to the most worthwhile projects.

Forty percent of the funding will go to metropolitan planning organizations in urban areas.

Small urban and rural regions will receive 10 percent, and the remaining 50 percent of the funds will be awarded to projects statewide.

Last year Gov. Jerry Brown signed Senate Bill and Assembly Bill 101, creating the Active Transportation program, which distributes funding for human-powered transportation projects and programs.

The new program replaces a patchwork of small grant programs with a comprehensive one that is more efficient.

Another benefit is that funds can be directed to multiyear projects to make greater long-term improvements to active transportation.

Caltrans' recently released the California Household Travel Survey found the percentage of California residents walking, biking or using public transportation on a typical day has more than doubled since 2000.

Nearly 23 percent of household trips were taken by walking, biking and public transportation. In 2000, that share was only 11 percent.

Local and regional transportation agencies have until May 21 to submit their project applications to Caltrans.

For more information, visit www.dot.ca.gov.

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