Highland projects approved

More than $13 million is being awarded to six active transportation projects in the Inland Empire, giving another major boost to local efforts to increase safety and access for people walking and biking.

The California Transportation Commission this week approved the regional spending plan, developed by the Southern California Association of Governments (SCAG) and transportation agencies in each of the six counties SCAG represents. In all, more than $56 million is being awarded to 25 active transportation projects under the regional plan.

“Active transportation is having a transformational impact in terms of health, accessibility and the sustainability of our communities, and is an essential element of our region’s long-term mobility plans,” said Alan Wapner, an Ontario City Council member and Second Vice President of SCAG. “Providing safe options for walking and biking is critical to the success of our growing transit network and fundamental to the operations of our increasingly integrated transportation system. We applaud the Transportation Commission and local transportation authorities for helping to make these projects a reality.”

Among the programs in Inland Empire that will receive funding:

• In Highland, construction of 9,020 feet of improved bike paths on the west City Creek levee between Base Line and Alabama Street, and the widening of 3,080 feet of Alabama Street to accommodate bike lines between 3rd Street and the south city limits. Funding approved: $3.17 million.

• In Redlands, the East Valley Corridor Interconnect Project, connecting bicycle routes throughout the community. Funding approved: $2.06 million.

• In the Coachella Valley, development of the CV Link, a 50-mile multi-modal transportation path connecting eight cities and the lands of two Native American tribes. Funding approved: $5.58 million.

Jan Harnik, Mayor of Palm Desert, said funding for the CV Link will create economic opportunities and help position the region as a leader in green transportation infrastructure.

“I’m thrilled that our CV Link project has received such significant funding and support – further proof that CV Link is going to be a real game changer for the Coachella Valley,” Harnik said.

In addition to the local projects that received funding, the Inland Empire will benefit from $1.78 million awarded to SCAG’s 2017 Active Transportation Safety and Encouragement Campaign to help cities and counties implement projects that build on the region’s popular Go Human campaign. Under the program, SCAG will partner with San Bernardino County in implementing education and encouragement programs to improve safety and promote more walking and biking to school. The program also will fund safety education in Imperial County and the cities of Santa Ana and Los Angeles, as well as an open street event and bike-friendly business program in greater El Monte.

“We have more people biking than ever before, and more people walking to catch a train or transfer between a train and Lyft or other mobility service,” said Hasan Ikhrata, SCAG Executive Director. “Through this program we are able to invest in both the infrastructure and education that is needed to raise awareness, construct safer streets and achieve healthier communities.”

“Combined with improved roadway safety, these programs are significantly improving the quality of life for communities and residents throughout our six-county region,” Ikhrata said. “And with the help of initiatives such as Go Human – Southern California has quickly become a national model for active transportation advocacy and implementation.”

Go Human is a SCAG-sponsored regional marketing, education and outreach program designed to encourage more walking and bicycling and greater awareness of pedestrian and bicycling safety in a region of more than 18 million people.

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