The state has just awarded another ~$13,000,000 in funding to our county for active transportation projects.
That's the good news. The bad news is that some very strong applications for needed projects in the North County were not funded. The California Active Transportation program funding is both significant and tricky to secure, especially for communities that do not already have strong ridership.
Here are the projects that were funded:
City of Santa Barbara
- Downtown De La Vina Street Safe Crosswalks and Buffered Bike Lanes
- U.S. 101 State Street Undercrossing Active Transportation Improvements
- Lower Eastside Community Connectivity Active Transportation Plan
- City of Goleta
- County of Santa Barbara
Projects that were not funded included:
- County of Santa Barbara- Santa Maria Levee Path to Guadalupe
- Solvangs' Sunnyfields Spur path connection
- City of Santa Maria Battles and Blosser bike route
What conclusions can we draw from this last round of funding awards?
- The City of Santa Barbara is the model for strong community planning processes, and staff follow up to secure funding for desired projects. Our residents will be enjoying the benefits of numerous, connected multi-modal projects to come.
- The San Jose Creek bike path is alive! This critical bit of bikeway and non-motorized infrastructure will be invaluable for goodland residents. It only has a small fraction of its needed funding awarded, but, this is a foot in the door for this long dreamed after project.
- The Santa Ynez valley needs to push forward with its regional bicycle and pedestrian plan, just as the City of Santa Maria is also doing. Strong plans should help secure future rounds of funding.
- We need to work with our state representatives to help secure more funding for aspiring bike and walk friendly cities in our north county. It seems that communities without strong current ridership have a special challenge to jumpstart their bikeways. Perhaps 'leapfrog' type funding could be made available to communities like Santa Maria and the SY Valley once they complete strong bike plans.
In our bodies ATP is the energy currency that keeps us moving forward. For the state of California ATP keeps our bicycling and walking projects moving forward. In this case, the ATP of California's Active Transportation program, such funding has made long held dreams possible. We are extremely fortunate that our fair state elected to maintain strong transportation funding by defeating proposition 6 and in creating SB1 initially. This funding paired with ambitious local bicycle master plans has the potential to move this community to the forefront of livable, bikeable communities, where transportation is affordable, healthy, and easily accessible.