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Turlock’s effort to boost bike and pedestrian traffic gets more than $1 million in grant funding

POSTED September 17, 2015 9:09 p.m.

The City of Turlock plans to improve bicycle and pedestrian projects around town garnered major support from the government in the form of a grant for more than $1 million, city officials announced Thursday.

Turlock has been selected to receive federal funding from its Active Transportation Program grant applications that are designed to improve biking and walking in the community. The total cost of the tentative projects is estimated at $1.5 million, with a majority of the costs provided through these ATP funds.

“Turlock is fortunate to have committed citizens and City staff that work tirelessly on the development of these transportation projects,” said Mayor Gary Soiseth. “Because of their hard work, Turlock is the only city in the county to receive these funds. The letters of support from citizens was key to obtaining these competitive grant funds and the city-wide input is greatly appreciated.”

The purpose of the ATP is to promote biking and walking trips, increase bicyclist and pedestrian safety, as well as improve health and air quality. The program is funded through a variety of federal and state funding sources. The City submitted two grant applications in June to the State of California as part of the competitive Active Transportation Program, Cycle 2. Applications are scored on their ability to meet the program objectives, their impact, proximity to schools and disadvantaged communities, as well as the cost effectiveness of the proposed solutions.

The first tentative grant award brings many changes and improvements that not only increase bicycle safety on Christoffersen Parkway, but also provides better connectivity to CSU Stanislaus’ campus. The City plans to install protected bicycle lanes along Christoffersen Parkway, supplemented with green pavement enhancements at intersections, as well as constructing a connector between W. Christoffersen Parkway and N. Tegner Road.  There are also plans for bicycle lanes and safety enhancements on Crowell Road and Christoffersen Parkway and intersection improvements at Crowell Road and Ansel Adams Boulevard at the entrance to the CSU Stanislaus campus.

The second tentative grant award will include the widening of a large portion of W. Linwood Avenue, between Lander Ave. and West Avenue South, near Cunningham Elementary School. The City also plans on constructing a continuous left-turn lane to promote safer and more efficient queuing of vehicles, as well as the installation of curbs, gutters, sidewalks, and a bicycle lane along the north edge of the street.

The grant also allows for the City to construct a mid-block, marked crosswalk in front of the elementary school that will include a pedestrian-activated hybrid beacon, which would be the first of its kind in Turlock.

The Christofferson Parkway improvements are anticipated for construction during the summer of 2018, while the expected construction dates for the W. Linwood Avenue improvements is during the summer of 2019.  These dates are based largely on the complexity of the projects and the year in which the funding is provided.

“I believe we were successful in this grant effort due to the collaboration of our Citizens Advisory Committee, other community stakeholders as well as our consultants who all worked together to create and prioritize these important projects,” said Nathan Bray, Principal Civil Engineer with the City.

The Active Transportation Plan recommends 21 bikeway corridor projects, including a path around Donnelly Lake and a Lander Avenue biking lane from Main Street to Linwood. Eleven corridors in Turlock were identified as priorities for pedestrian infrastructure improvements, including closing gaps in the sidewalk network and improving or providing new crossings at intersections.

A third ATP grant application has also been submitted to the Stanislaus Council of Governments that would be to provide curb, gutter, sidewalk and Class II bicycle lane improvements along the west side of N. Soderquist Rd., north of W. Canal Dr. The proposed improvements would benefit neighborhood residents, as well as passengers and students that utilize the adjacent City and school bus stop. The results of that grant award will be in October, as it competes against other regional applications.

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