Monterey Bay Area transportation agencies have won three major and highly competitive grants, with the help of Ecology Action, that will benefit our community for years to come. Our partners in the City of Santa Cruz, City of Watsonville, and the Transportation Agency of Monterey County collectively won $32.7 million to implement active transportation infrastructure projects—think building a bike/pedestrian bridge, Rail Trail improvements, Safe Routes to School, etc. Dollars from these grants will hit the ground in the fall of 2021 and provide funding for four years. We are thrilled to have won such a high percentage of funding for our area—an impressive 7% of State funds went to the Monterey Bay region, even though our two counties only represent 1.7% of California’s population.
The California Transportation Commission recently approved these projects through the federally and State-funded Active Transportation Program (ATP). ATP received 454 total applications from jurisdictions across the state, and yet only 49 applications were funded. Ecology Action worked closely with local partners to help secure these funds and ensure that our youth and adult safety education and encouragement programs were included in the collaborative proposals.
Here’s how the awards break down:
- Santa Cruz City Public Works Department: Awarded $9M for constructing Segment 7, Phase 2 of the Rail Trail from Bay Street to the Santa Cruz Wharf, which will create 0.8 miles of paved, car-free pedestrian, bicycle, scooter, etc. path for the Santa Cruz community. This infrastructure funding includes an innovative “vertical” program at Bay View Elementary School, providing active transportation education and encouragement at every elementary grade level for the first time in Santa Cruz County. In addition, this grant provides funding for adult bike safety education.
- Watsonville City Public Works Department: Awarded $11.7M to build a landmark bike/pedestrian bridge over Highway 1 so Pajaro Valley High School Students can safely walk and bike to school. The project also provides bike lanes and cutting-edge intersection improvements connecting to the bridge, as well as bike/pedestrian improvements at all the feeder elementary and middle schools. Funding for safety education and encouragement for local kids at all seven schools in the Harkins Slough/Green Valley area is also included.
- Transportation Agency for Monterey County: Awarded $12M for bike and pedestrian improvements on Broadway Avenue in Seaside. The 1.3-mile project will transform Broadway Avenue from a 4-lane road plagued by speeding and crashes to a walkable and welcoming 2‐lane road with curb extensions, buffered and protected bike facilities, roundabouts, and Safe Routes to School improvements. Funding for safety education and encouragement for local school kids is also included.
The last two awards are a product of a multi-year planning effort led by Ecology Action in collaboration with the transportation agencies and jurisdictions. We are so proud of our long-term efforts to help make Monterey Bay a more safe, enjoyable, and bike- and pedestrian-friendly environment. Thank you and congratulations to all of our partners and the hundreds of residents who have supported this important work. Breaking news: Rumor has it that there may be additional funds added to the ATP funding pot which may be awarded to two additional projects in our region—so stay tuned, there may be another win for safer, more walkable/bikeable communities in our region.