Many cities across the country are gearing more resources to improving public transportation and making their urban centers more pedestrian and bike friendly.
In Ventura County, a $3.3 million grant from the California Transportation Commission, approved Nov. 14, is expected to boost that effort, providing funding for 54 active transportation projects in the region. Among the projects awarded funding is the 12-mile Arroyo Simi Greenway Bike Trail, connecting the eastern and western city limits to the central part of Simi Valley.
“Active transportation provides long-lasting benefits in terms of health, safety and the sustainability of our communities, and is an essential element of our region’s long-term mobility plans,” said Hasan Ikhrata, executive director of the South California Association of Governments, one of organizations that lobbied for the funding. “Providing safe, non-motorized transportation alternatives is a growing priority for communities throughout our six counties, and we applaud the Transportation Commission and local transportation authorities for helping to make these projects a reality.”
The projects were selected through a competitive process administered by Caltrans, the Southern California Association of Governments [SCAG] and local transportation agencies, including the Ventura County Transportation Commission.
The approval comes three months after the California Transportation Commission awarded $115.2 million to 68 active transportation projects in Southern California, including $2.3 million for a region-wide safety and encouragement campaign. Projects not included in that original state funding plan were then eligible for the regional program.
Active transportation is credited with reducing traffic congestion, greenhouse gas emissions, and chronic disease. According to the Centers for Disease Control, incorporating 30 minutes of physical activity into everyday routines significantly reduces the risk among adults of diabetes, heart
disease, stroke and cancer.
“The ability to create recreational opportunities for our residents to bike and walk in pleasant surroundings is going to pay off for Ventura County with long-term healthy communities. So many good things happen in our cities when we get out of our cars and get more active,” said Carl Morehouse, SCAG president and Ventura City councilman, said in statement.