By JOSH FRIEDMAN
The California Transportation Commission (CTC) on Wednesday awarded the city of San Luis Obispo a grant of nearly $7 million to make improvements to the Higuera Street corridor, in large part for the benefit of bicyclists and pedestrians.
SLO will receive $6.95 million from the CTC’s State Active Transportation Program in order to complete street improvements along Higuera Street between Marsh Street and Los Osos Valley Road. Improvements will include accessibility and safety enhancements for walking, bicycling and driving.
Likewise, the grant will fund improvements to bicycle and pedestrian links east and west of the Higuera Street corridor to enable safer cycling and walking routes to Hawthorne Elementary and Laguna Middle schools.
The overall improvements fall under the umbrella of the city’s Higuera Complete Streets Project, which includes creating protected bike lanes, pedestrian crossing enhancements, traffic signal upgrades and measures to reduce speeding. A $750,000 grant from the San Luis Obispo Council of Governments will also help fund the project. Construction is expected to commence in 2024.
“We are excited to receive these grants to further the city’s climate action and active transportation goals,” said Active Transportation Manager Adam Fukushima. “The competition for these State funds is extremely fierce with over 433 projects submitted for grant consideration and just over 20% awarded.”
The CTC has awarded more than $1 billion combined to 93 projects statewide. The goals of its Active Transportation Program include include reducing greenhouse gas emissions, improving safety for vulnerable road users, strengthening the economy and improving public health and the environment, particularly in disadvantaged communities.