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City makes progress on bicycle lanes
bike lanes pic
The City Council unanimously approved an agreement with a Sacramento engineering group for the development of a Bicycle Master Plan. - photo by CANDY PADILLA / The Journal

Although a long process yet lies ahead, Turlock bicyclists can expect added bike lanes around town, as the City takes a positive step in what many have said to be “the right direction.”

On Tuesday evening, members of the City Council unanimously approved an agreement with Sacramento engineering group Alta Planning and Design for the development of a Bicycle Master Plan.

As part of the City’s Active Transportation Plan, the development of a Bicycle Master Plan and a Pedestrian Master Plan would equip the City with a detailed guide showcasing areas that need improvements for both bicycle and pedestrian transit.

Turlock bicyclists packed City Hall during the meeting, with some offering suggestions as to where improvements might be needed.

And although the Council had no intention to vote in opposition to the agreement, many citizens in attendance felt the need to express their deep appreciation, such as Turlock resident Elizabeth Clays.

Nearly four years ago, Clays and her family decided to make bicycles their main means of transportation around Turlock – a decision that Clays says made her fall in love with Turlock.

“What I gained far surpassed that which I gave up,” said Clays, who said that most trips are within a three-mile radius. “What I realized though is that Turlock is a great place to live. And I grew to love it.”

While riding a bicycle around town instead of driving has significantly benefited her life, Clays shared that she believes there is still room for improvements in providing safe infrastructure.

Agreeing with Clays was 9-year-old Logan Ladd who, like many others, shared his experience of feeling unsafe while riding around Turlock.

“It’s a little scary when I ride my bike,” said Logan. “Sometimes there are no bike lanes at all, and I’m concerned for others who ride their bike in Turlock.”

According to City staff, a portion of the project includes developing a Safe Route to School diagram and plan for each of the K-12 schools within the city. Once developed, these plans will be provided to the school district for distribution to staff, students, teachers and parents to increase student safety on their way to and from school. Additionally, developments through the agreement are said to help promote walking, jogging, bicycling and other forms of transportation as an alternative to vehicle travel, resulting in healthier lifestyles and decreased harmful emissions.

While the agreement with Alta Planning and Design is in the amount of $136,975 for developing the projects, the City of Turlock General Fund will remain unaffected.