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May 8, 2018

Over $1 Million of State Funds Awarded for Walking & Biking Improvements

SANTA CRUZ COUNTY, CA—January 31, 2018. Ecology Action, in partnership with Santa Cruz County Health Services Agency, the Transportation Agency for Monterey County, the City of Watsonville Public Works, and others, announced that they have secured over $1 million in CalTrans Sustainable Communities Transportation Planning Grants to improve bicycling and walking for children in schools throughout the Monterey Bay Area.

This grant funding is made possible by SB1 (the gas tax increase), which provides additional funds for a variety of much-needed transportation projects throughout California. SB1 provides approximately $100 million annually for bike and pedestrian improvements and local, regional, and statewide transportation projects. “This partnership with active transportation advocates and public works makes the health and safety of students a top priority,” says Jessica Randolph, the Public Health Manager for Santa Cruz County Health Services Agency. “We are proud to be part of this innovative project impacting students at over thirty schools in the county.”

Ecology Action will work in partnership to develop community plans for bicycle and pedestrian improvements specifically around targeted school sites in the city of Watsonville, the urban unincorporated areas in the County of Santa Cruz, and the cities of Marina and Seaside. Plans will identify barriers to safe and convenient active transportation and guide improvements that will encourage safe biking and walking, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and improve student health. “Making biking and walking to school safe, convenient, and comfortable for elementary school students helps build strong, sustainable, and livable communities,” says Piet Canin, the VP of Transportation for Ecology Action. “We are excited to be a part of this collaborative effort.”

In 2014 and 2012, Santa Cruz County was ranked the worst in the state for bike crashes and fatalities by the California Office of Traffic Safety, and the Vision Zero initiative reports that a pedestrian, bicyclist, or motorist is severely injured every three days. “With this grant, we look forward to partnering with Ecology Action to make streets safer and healthier for children in Seaside and Marina,” says Debbie Hale, Executive Director of TAMC. “In these communities, kids are being hit by cars at a higher than average rate, so there is a need to supplement bike and pedestrian safety education with improved sidewalks, crossings, and paths to their schools.”

Ecology Action and its partners will be engaging with community members in the planning process to solicit feedback on what transportation improvements they would like to see around the targeted school sites.

Additional partners include: Santa Cruz County Public Works, Scotts Valley Public Works, the City of Seaside and City of Marina Public Works Departments, and the Monterey County Health Department.

For more information, please contact Jeanne LePage, Senior Program Specialist, Ecology Action at jlepage@ecoact.org or (831) 515-1344.

 

About Ecology Action

Ecology Action’s mission is to help people act now so that all people and the planet thrive. The non-profit consultancy partners with utilities, local and federal government, foundations, and communities to help residents to conserve water, use alternative transportation, protect water quality, and save energy. Founded on Earth Day in 1970, Ecology Action is passionately driven to empower individuals, businesses, and communities to take action today that benefits the economy, our health, and the environment. To learn more, visit www.ecoact.org