MANSFIELD — How important are projects that connect bike and pedestrian paths to downtowns and other areas with active transportation infrastructure?
7 billion dollars of importance.
The competitive, multimodal “Rebuilding America’s Infrastructure with Sustainability and Equity” program funds projects that would be “transformative, with the potential to equitably deliver economic, health, safety, mobility, and climate benefits.”
Keep in mind that these are all projects sought after by communities across the country who have recognized the need and success of such efforts, especially in a pandemic-battered world with concerns for climate change and less dependence on car traffic.
According to the RTC, the volume of rewards that consider the needs of cyclists and pedestrians illustrates “incredible demand for connected trails and active transportation infrastructure that get people safely and easily to everyday destinations like jobs, schools, shops and public transport”. .”
“The FY22 RAISE grants underscore the urgency that all communities – rural, suburban and urban – feel to provide safe and connected active transportation infrastructure that gets people where they need to go, whether or not they have a car” , said Kevin Mills, of the RTC. Vice President of Policy. “Most of the grants represented the needs of cyclists and pedestrians, which shows just how much demand there is for this infrastructure nationwide.”
The projects contribute to walking and cycling infrastructure that connects people to jobs, schools, stores and public transport.
To realize these benefits, communities need significant grants – such as those RAISE can provide – to bridge the gaps between existing sidewalks, bike lanes and multi-use paths to create seamless connections between where they live and where they live. where they go every day, the RTC said. .
“Cities like Portland, Oregon, and Boulder, Colorado, which have built extensive cycling networks, are poised to see big boosts to public health outcomes and economic development,” the website reported.
“Well-developed cycling infrastructure could also lead to larger-scale lifestyle changes that lead people to become less car-dependent and more open to different modes of transport, which in turn would spur the reduction of congestion and pollution. And better cycling networks mean the activity is safer for those who already do it and more accessible to those who haven’t tried it yet,” Vox reported.
With city council slated for Tuesday night’s approval of $500,000 in American Rescue Plan Act funds, he can also move forward with a planned $1.7 million project to connect the bike path to 18.4 miles to one of the city’s major traffic corridors.
“We have good momentum right now,” City Engineer Bob Bianchi told Richland County Commissioners last week, who agreed to provide $500,000 in county ARPA funds to the connection project.
ARPA’s $1 million in local funds will be added to $150,000 from the state capital budget and approximately $600,000 from the Richland County Regional Planning Commission to fully fund the project, the next stage of what Bianchi hopes for is the eventual connection to downtown.
The engineer said the connector is the most difficult part of the city vision since it is not added to the right-of-way of an existing street.
“This vision we have is to connect a safe, separate, 10-foot-wide bike path from the B&O Trail to downtown Mansfield,” Bianchi said.
Generational funding is making a difference across the country, including elsewhere in Ohio.
Here are some of the examples Richland Source has uncovered of RAISE grants secured to help fund the kind of cycle lane connectivity being sought in Mansfield:
Cincinnati, Ohio’s third-largest city, received a $20 million RAISE grant to help improve walking and cycling access in three neighborhoods
Cincinnati officials plan to use the money to create protected bike lanes and improved walkways linking the West End, Queensgate and Lower Price Hill, according to a story on the WLTV website.
“Since day one, we have been in aggressive competition for available infrastructure dollars — not just for the Brent Spence Bridge, but for other projects across our city,” Mayor Aftab Pureval told the news outlet. television.
Construction on what’s called the “State to Central: Building Better Neighborhoods” project is set to begin in 2025. Until then, neighbors will have the opportunity to let traffic engineers know what they’d like to see happen . The construction phase is expected to last 18 to 24 months, the station reported.
“Once completed, the bridge will provide residents without a motor vehicle, or who prefer not to drive every trip, a safe option to cross the Rio Salado and gain better access to jobs, schools, services and amenities. other opportunities,” said Phoenix officials.
“The bridge will also provide a convenient connection to the South Central Light Rail Extension currently under construction and will provide residents with more options for recreation and exercise with its proximity to the trails in the food court area of the Rio Salado habitat,” they said.
According to the grant application, the bridge will connect the underserved community of South Phoenix to transportation, housing, education and employment opportunities. Currently in the project area, carless residents have no choice but to walk and cycle on high-speed/high-volume roads.
A particular goal is to create a safe way for hundreds of students to walk or cycle to an existing secondary school and two planned schools, according to the grant application.
The project has benefits including improved safety, environmental sustainability, competitiveness and economic opportunity and innovation. These changes will result in access to more transportation options that do not require a vehicle and better access to approximately 7,500 employment opportunities.
The project will build concrete buffers to separate travel modes, add two-way protected cycle lanes, improve on-ramps, improve traffic signals, raise pedestrian crossings, add light bulbs and signals to the middle of the block, install pedestrian lighting and create passenger boarding areas.
According to officials, the project expands transportation infrastructure for residents of underserved and overcrowded communities who rely on walking, cycling or public transportation. The application described how 99% of residents along the corridor get around on foot, by public transport or by bicycle.
“Creating a safer cycling corridor will reduce serious injuries and fatalities and accommodate future growth. An additional safety enhancement is the allocation of cargo spaces for business needs to avoid double parking and blocking of traffic lanes for vehicles, cyclists and pedestrians,” according to the application.
Mayor Caroline Simmons said the project is long overdue.
“My top priority is to improve our city’s aging infrastructure. This funding will support the planning needed to advance the West Main Street Corridor project, which will improve the corridor with comprehensive streets technology, with a focus on improved mobility access, pedestrian safety and the addition of bike lanes,” she said.
As requested, Main Street West currently has on-street parking, inadequate sidewalks and no bike lanes. There were 480 collisions and 101 injuries over a four-year period at the nine intersections in the project area. This area is ranked in the top three for total injury crashes in the city and first in pedestrian crashes, with an average of five pedestrian crashes per year.
The project also supports racial equity as it addresses serious safety issues in an area with large minority populations who rely heavily on walking, cycling or public transport to get to work, said officials.
The project will analyze crash data, including examining existing traffic conditions, lane configurations, signal spacing and timings, traffic control devices, crash patterns, and sidewalk availability. and cycle paths along the corridor.
“By relieving congestion and better connecting communities via a major corridor, the project will increase transportation options and help connect and revitalize an underserved community, and increase access to jobs and affordable and efficient housing. geographically, which will result in economic benefits,” according to the grant. application.
It will replace bridges, improve bus transportation, create bike lanes and safety sidewalks, improve access to the Empire State Trail, and connect downtown Utica to North Genesee Street.
According to the grant application, the project will replace two aging bridges and provide bicycle and pedestrian improvements through the installation of multi-use lanes along North Genesee Street and turn lanes to aid in traffic calming.
“The project will provide residents with reliable access to safely connect to better job opportunities, retail, essential services and recreational trails for all modes of transportation, including affordable non-motorized transportation, without the risk of road closures or load limits,” the app said.