California Transportation Agency Gears Up for Bike Month; State Continues Push to Expand Active Transportation Options

Sacramento – California State Transportation Agency Secretary Brian Kelly and members of his staff kicked off the “May is Bike Month” statewide employer challenge with a group ride into work this morning.  The Agency is committed to encouraging alternative modes of transportation and hopes other Departments and Agencies will join the Bike Month challenge.

“May is Bike Month” is an annual competition that promotes bicycling in California by allowing employers and individuals to log commute, errand and recreational bike miles during the month of May. In 2014, state agencies and departments recorded more than 550,000 miles of cycling during the month.

According to a recent survey by the League of American Bicyclists, Californians are increasingly embracing bicycling as a healthy and environmentally-friendly transportation mode.

California recently moved from the nineteenth to the eighth most bike-friendly state. As of 2014, the state ranked fourth nationally for the percentage of travelers who commute by bike. Since 2005, Californian commuter cyclists have increased by 64 percent.

The California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) is committed to pushing the state’s biking numbers even higher. The most recent Caltrans Strategic Management Plan – a five-year document that acts as a roadmap for innovation and modernization in the department – lays out ambitious targets for increasing active transportation in the state. By 2020, the plan would see statewide bicycle usage triple and pedestrian and transit usage double.

A number of programs are underway to help the state meet those goals.

Significant funding support is provided through the Active Transportation Program.  Created in September 2013 with the signing of Senate Bill 99 (Chapter 359, Statutes of 2013) and Assembly Bill 101 (Chapter 354, Statutes of 2013) by Governor Brown,  the ATP consolidated a number of federal and state programs with a focus on making California a leader in active transportation.

In 2015, the ATP provided approximately $215 million in funds for 114 Statewide and Small Urban and Rural program projects. An estimated 88 percent of the funding directly benefits disadvantaged communities. An additional $143 million in ATP funds went to 93 Metropolitan Planning Organization projects.

Project applications for the next round of funding are being accepted through June 15. Approximately $240 million in state and federal funding is available. For more information, including guidelines to apply and eligibility requirements, visit http://www.dot.ca.gov/hq/LocalPrograms/atp/cycle-3.html.

In addition to the ATP, the state is also exploring opportunities to integrate complete street design– making streets accessible and safe for all modes of transportation, not just cars – into regular road rehabilitation programs. In 2014, Caltrans released the Complete Streets Implementation Plan 2.0, which included 109 action items to enhance the state’s multi-modal transportation network to meet the needs of all users. Caltrans’ Main Street California is one example of an informational toolbox for designing State Highway main streets in a manner that promotes multimodal access, livability and invigorates the vitality of local communities.

Los Molinos
State Route 99 runs through Los Molinos as a main street and connects two major population centers in the area, Chico and Redding. Caltrans initiated a successful traffic calming project on the busy roadway. The addition of bold markings, colored and textured concrete and flashing lights now allows cyclists and pedestrians to more safely cross the busy street.

Another important piece of the complete streets effort, is Caltrans’ development of a State Bicycle and Pedestrian Plan. This comprehensive plan would be the first-ever state plan dedicated to supporting active modes of transportation and safe bicycling and walking in California. The document will serve as a guide for connecting intercity rail to public transportation, accommodating bicycles and pedestrians on the State Highway System, and supporting local government efforts to develop save active transportation networks.

For more information on “May Is Bike Month,” including the latest mileage data, visit: http://www.mayisbikemonth.com

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