In 2010 the East Bay Regional Park District received a $10.2 million TIGER II grant to fill the gaps in bike and pedestrian trails in Northern California and connect more than 200 miles of existing trial.
Greater San Francisco has some of the most congested roads and highways in the country and the population is expected to grow significantly over the next few decades – only adding to the problem. Providing residents safe, alternative modes of transportation will be critical to reduce future traffic congestion.
Existing trails in the district often parallel major roads and are used extensively by commuters seeking alternatives to congested freeways. One section of the new trails will run adjacent to the region’s metro system, Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART), and will connect some economically distressed neighborhoods. Often times these neighborhoods lack access to safe and affordable transportation. Protected bike lanes and sidewalks will provide residents in these areas with safe routes to get around town.
Last week the BART Board of Directors voted on a critical measure to allow bikes on BART trains during all hours of the day – not just during off-peak hours. The transit system has allowed bikes on trains since July as part of a pilot program. This policy will hopefully encourage more people to use multiple modes of transportation and help solve the ‘last mile’ question for transit users seeking their final destinations.
Funding for the bike and pedestrian trails was made in part through the Partnership for Sustainable Communities, a collaboration between the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Department of Transportation (DOT) to help communities improve access to affordable housing, increase transportation options, and lower transportation costs while promoting sustainable practices.
If you support the partnership and other similar programs, ask your congressman to fund these programs today!