More bike lanes and better walking conditions may be in the future for some areas of the county with the Tulare County Association of Governments (TCAG) moving into the second phase of its planning project, Walk ‘n Bike Tulare County.
Last June, TCAG adopted a new plan to seek transportation funding for cities and around the county. Two studies are being done – Walk n’ Bike, and a long-range transit plan, said Roberto Brady, TCAG project manager.
Having collected data for the Walk ‘n Bike plan on local conditions including commute information, destination locations and collision records, as well as any local planning information from cities and the county, TCAG is now moving forward into a needs assessment phase, Brady said. TCAG will now be looking for information from the community and public regarding biking and walking obstacles countywide, including specific problem locations.
The goal is to better connect cities and address the needs of rural residents, who use these active modes of transportation, Brady said. Active modes of transportation are those that require physical activity, rather than a motorized vehicle.
“Active transportation engages people in healthy physical activity,” according to the TCAG website.
For many, walking or biking transportation are utilized out of necessity, but for some they are used for health and fitness.
According to the TCAG website, “Active transportation has many benefits. The main ones can be grouped into five broad categories: health, mobility, neighborhood livability, economy & environment.”
The hope is to provide and meet some of the needs or improvements for active transportation through state grant funds.
“We are trying to get more ways for people to get from point A to point B,” Brady said. “But, we will be looking at recreational use as well.”
With this phase, TCAG is beginning a more active outreach plan to the community. An online survey should be posted to the TCAG website in the near future, Brady said, and at least one workshop, and multiple public hearings and meetings are being planned. The committee wants to especially hear from those in rural communities and underserved areas of the county.
“We want feedback from the communities and the public as well,” Brady said.
Another aspect is to increase accessibility of combined modes of transportation. Many people may walk or bike to a bus stop, take the bus to near their destination, and walk or bike the final leg, Brady said. While many, if not most, county and city transit buses have bike racks, “which are used a lot,” he added, there could be ways to improve the flow.
Plan preparation will take place later this year, after public meetings are held and surveys collected. A combination of existing conditions and needs assessments will be made to develop a 10-year working plan of high-priority projects.
Once written the plan will be available for comment for key players and the public, and eventual approval by the TCAG board to move forward with appropriating funds and project development.
While ease of access is highly important, safety for pedestrians, cyclists and motorists are key.
“We want to increase safety for everyone,” Brady said.
For more information, visit www.tularecog.org. Access the “Getting Around” link for bike paths and information including detailed bike maps from various cities, and bus routes and information.