STAFF REPORTS

The California Transportation Commission awarded a $4.9 million grant from the Active Transportation Program to Stanislaus County to use for projects that will enhance safety and the quality of life in Modesto’s Airport neighborhood.

The Airport neighborhood is an historically disadvantaged region, geographically split between the City of Modesto and Stanislaus County. This area of the community has suffered from patterns of disinvestment in basic infrastructure that plague many unincorporated communities. Many streets in this neighborhood do not have sidewalks and conditions are unsafe for pedestrian traffic.

In various community meetings, residents have requested safety improvements and sought updated infrastructure. Efforts have been underway to deliver. The California Transportation Commission has been instrumental in securing this funding which is on track to be available this later this year while infrastructure plans, and environmental clearance are underway.

“The Airport Neighborhood Active Transportation Connectivity and Safety Project is the result of a collaborative effort amongst Modesto, Stanislaus County and non-profits to make the Airport neighborhood more bike and pedestrian friendly,” said Vice Chairman of the California Transportation Commission Paul Van Konynenburg. “Because the voters of Stanislaus County approved Measure L in 2016, local transportation planners now have the resources and matching funds to pursue these transformative grants for the portions of the community that need help the most. The California Transportation Commission is honored to partner with Stanislaus County to make the Airport District a safe place to walk and bike to school.”

The ATP Airport project will address many resident requests such as new sidewalks, bikeways, safely defined pathways for students in the Oroville Wright Elementary school area and various other traffic calming safety improvements like high visibility cross walks and speed cushions, in addition to bilingual safety outreach education.

“Another day to celebrate! The County submitted an excellent plan to improve air quality and mobility for the residents of our Airport District, and it was approved,” said Stanislaus County Supervisor Vito Chiesa. “This is going to allow us to build on the work we’ve begun, focused on high priority infrastructure in this unincorporated region of the county.”

The grant funding will provide $4.9 million toward these improvements, while the County will match those funds with $1.2 million in Measure L (Bike/Pedestrian funds) provided by the county’s half-cent sales tax. The total project cost will $6.1 million. Construction on the Airport neighborhood improvement project should begin in 2020.

The Active Transportation Program is a State funded program primarily for bicycle and pedestrian safety projects. Senate Bill 1 gas tax partially funds this program.