Fidel Garcia likes to be active and bikes to work rather than driving, when he can. It's a five mile trip from Garcia's northeast Turlock home to his work in the southeast part of town. His teenage daughter also occasionally bikes from home to school at Turlock High. While Garcia has seen improvements over the past few years in the bikeability of Turlock's roadways, there's always room for more.
"I'd like to see the bike lanes as safe as possible," said Garcia.
Input from families like the Garcias is what the City of Turlock is seeking before submitting applications for the next round of Active Transportation Program funding.
In September, the City was notified it was selected to receive $1 million in Active Transportation Program funding for two projects — improvements to bicycle lanes on Christoffersen Parkway and installing sidewalks and bike lanes on W. Linwood Avenue, near Cunningham Elementary School.
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. 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 City received funding under Cycle 2 of the program.
According to Wayne York, Transportation and Engineering supervisor, letters of support from the public for the Christoffersen and Linwood projects went a long way in helping the City win the grant money in Cycle 2.
The City will be submitting grant applications in June as part of funding for Cycle 3, of which Turlock is qualified to compete for up to $216 million. The City is once again looking to residents for input and support to make the applications as competitive as possible.
Specifically, the City is looking for suggestions for possible projects —which can be all infrastructure, like building bike lanes and adding sidewalks, or non-infrastructure, like education programs and enforcement, or a combination of the two.
"We've had a lot of feedback on infrastructure, a lot of sidewalks and bike lanes seems to be the running theme," said York.
One transportation hot spot in town is around Osborn Two-Way Immersion Academy on the corner of W. Main Street and Soderquist Road.
"We have received a number of complaints from a variety of different people. We have significant safety issues at Osborn," said York.
The City does have a list of potential projects already prioritized through its Active Transportation Plan, which was adopted by the City Council in September 2015. The Active Transportation Plan includes projects, standards, policies and programs designed to encourage and support biking and walking in the community. The Plan includes 120 miles of bicycling paths or lanes, with 21 bikeway corridor projects.
The City has held three public meetings seeking input, with a fourth scheduled for 6 p.m. April 7 at City Hall during the next Planning Commission meeting. However, residents can also submit suggestions by calling 668-6039 or at www.bikewalkturlock.com.