$80M Approved for Pedestrian, Bicycle and Safe Routes to School

By Santa Barbara County Association of Governments (SBCAG)

The California Transportation Commission approved a total of $80 million in 2023 Active Transportation Program funding for projects in the cities of Santa Maria, Lompoc, Santa Barbara as well as the County of Santa Barbara, and Caltrans District 5 at their meeting in Riverside on December 7. 

A historic number of critical active transportation projects were funded locally and statewide because of the California Budget Act of 2022 which added $1 billion of one-time State funds to the Active Transportation Program to address significant unmet needs for critical pedestrian, bicycle, and safe routes to school projects. Notably, Caltrans District 5 representing Santa Barbara County in the Central Coast became the first-ever California Department of Transportation District to be awarded active transportation program funds to receive more than $8 million for the Los Alamos Connected Community Project. 

“I am excited the state was able to allocate crucial funding to communities throughout Santa Barbara County,” said Senator Monique Limón. “$80 million of funding dedicated to active transportation will be invested into communities like Santa Maria, Santa Barbara, Lompoc, and other organizations throughout the county focused on expanding transportation. This level of collaboration between state officials and local governments is critical in creating opportunities that will benefit all in our communities. Congratulations to all of communities receiving funding.”

The Active Transportation Program continues to be competitive statewide, over 433 applications were submitted representing a total of $3.1 billion of requests and only 93 applications requesting at total of $1.02 billion were funded. Seven projects in Santa Barbara County were approved for funding by the California Transportation Commission representing the greatest number of projects funded in any year since the inception of the Active Transportation Program in 2013. 

Isla Vista Bike and Pedestrian Improvements Project Application Rendering

“This historic funding to build bicycle and pedestrian projects throughout Santa Barbara County is life-changing for our families, neighbors, and schools,” said SBCAG Chair Das Williams. “Many of these funded projects are reflective of long, hard-fought battles by community members for their own safety and for a more sustainable future. Previously, there was a lack of adequate funding to accomplish critical projects like these, so I am proud to see the success of our region in the 2023 Active Transportation Program.”

The success of projects funded in the Central Coast were praised by the California Transportation Commission staff on Wednesday for working collaboratively as a region, advocating for in-person and virtual site visits, and participating in California Transportation Commission workshops to provide feedback on upcoming grant guidelines. Santa Barbara County Association of Governments serves as a liaison between the state and local cities and the county, assists and encourages project grant submissions to the Active Transportation Program, and actively participate in workshops to provide Santa Barbara County specific feedback into the program’s funding opportunities.

Seven funded Santa Barbara County projects include 19 miles of new or improved sidewalks, bicycle lanes and local road rehabilitation, 133 crosswalks, 174 accessible curb ramps, and 27 streetscape amenities like signs, lights, greenways as well as safety improvements, and seven community education events.

A complete listing of seven funded projects, include:

1. Isla Vista Bike and Pedestrian Improvements Project (Santa Barbara County) – ATP Award Amount: $7,107,000

Isla Vista Bike and Pedestrian Improvements Project – Community Outreach Event_Pardall Road Pop Up (Photo: Sydney Casler, Isla Vista Community Services District)  

This project includes curb extensions, sidewalks and crosswalks for pedestrians, and protected bike lanes, boulevards, lane extensions/conflict striping, and bike left-hand turn lanes to improve safety. The project is in an unincorporated neighborhood located south of El Colegio Road, west of Ocean Road, north of and including Del Playa Drive, and east of Camino Majorca within Santa Barbara County.          

2. Cliff Drive: Urban Highway to Complete Street Transformation Project (City of Santa Barbara) – ATP Award Amount: $27,191,000

This project includes the design and construction of 3.1 miles of new multi-use path along Cliff Drive from the Arroyo Burro Beach entrance to Castillo Street, and construction of 11 new pedestrian crossings to improve pedestrian and access to the new path.

3. Westside and Lower West Neighborhoods Active Transportation Plan Implementation Project (City of Santa Barbara) – ATP Award Amount $19,182,000

This project will include a separated bike path along Modoc Road, a new bike route connecting the Westside and Lower West, safety enhancements to 15 neighborhood crosswalks, sidewalk infill along six neighborhood streets, and lighting along San Andres Street and Modoc Road.

4. Milpas Street Crosswalk Safety and Sidewalk Widening Project (City of Santa Barbara) – ATP Award Amount: $7,995,000

This project creates a safe corridor for active transportation users by widening the sidewalks at street corners; installing curb extensions, lighting and high visibility crosswalks at intersections; mast-arm flasher at an intersection, and incorporating accessibility improvements.

5. Active Santa Maria Safe Routes to School Corridor Improvements Project (City of Santa Maria) – ATP Award Amount: $7,721,000

This project will construct active transportation improvements on three corridors serving five Santa Maria schools and Allan Hancock College. A combination of bicycle lanes and a Class III bicycle route on Fesler Street provide a low-stress alternative to Main Street from Blosser Road to Bradley Road. On Bradley Road, a protected bikeway and new shared-use path provide a connection between the new Fesler Street bikeway and existing bicycle lanes south of Main Street. New bicycle lanes and sharrows between Jones Street and Stowell Road close a gap between existing bicycle lanes on Bradley Road, creating a continuous north-south bikeway from Fesler Street to the southern end of Bradley Road at S. College Drive. A new Class I shared use path on Jones Street from College Drive to Suey Road extends an existing path to create a continuous off-street bikeway from Miller Street to Suey Road and providing a low-stress connection across the Highway 101 corridor.

6. Los Alamos Connected Community Project (Caltrans District 5) – ATP Award Amount: $8,075,000

On SR 135 from Main St. east of US 101/SR 135 junction to Den St. and along Centennial St. in the unincorporated rural community of Los Alamos, Santa Barbara County, CA. Construct pedestrian and bicycle infrastructure for 0.9 miles of SR 135 to connect residential areas to downtown community corridor and Olga Reed elementary school in Los Alamos.

7. City of Lompoc Walkability, Community Safety and School Investments Project (City of Lompoc) – ATP Award Amount: $2,795,000

This project will enhance pedestrian safety corridors to Lompoc High School, Lompoc Valley Middle School, Hapgood Elementary School, Clarence Ruth Elementary School, the Lompoc Family YMCA, the Skate Park, the Lompoc Aquatic Center, the newly renovated Lompoc Community Track and Field, the Half Century Senior Club and high density low-income housing which is prevalent in this area. Additionally, the project will infill missing sidewalks, add lighting, install five crossing improvements to include two flashing beacons, laddered crosswalks, curb ramps and speed calming signage. The project will also include pedestrian safety-related community outreach, education, and events as well as restorative justice staff, parent outreach, and SRTS Peace Builder training to ensure safe passage for youth at the four identified schools.

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  1. awesome, now once they determine what will be implemented and or fixed or added to, we’ll have a dozen or so people crying foul about it…..because they don’t like something about it. Chances are those same people don’t have kids in school, and wouldn’t ever use the bike path. But they will still cry and complain. Even though this is logical, needed, and provides safety, some of you will throw your tantrums. Let the fun begin….

    • Basic, so you have a problem with sidewalks being improved? bike lanes being improved? crosswalks improved and updated? That’s kinda weird dude….also very weird that you consider these things “waste”. “Throwing these kind of giant dollars at stuff…” Ok man, then you tell us, how much should this cost? Do you go order food at a diner and whine about the prices now vs the prices when you were in your 20s? Because you’re kinda doing the same thing here. We have actual tax dollars that are allocated to things like our infrastructure. Things cost money, and things in SB seem to cost a lot more than they would outside of our city/county. It is what it is. Either the place looks like a dump, or it looks good.

    • The problem isn’t the concept, people do support kids, education, and bike paths. The problem is the absolute waste that’s happening. Look at those numbers! I do have a kid in the schools and do have skin in the game. I just know that throwing these kind of giant dollars at stiff doesn’t necessarily give me a warm, fuzzy feeling for the future of the kids.

  2. so you’re parents rode along with you when you were a kid on your bike rides and said, no don’t do that, do this, and so on?
    in my generation, we got on our bikes and rode. rode far. you gain skills and common sense by putting yourself out there. Luvaduck, your comment is really off putting. So kids don’t need safety lanes? better cross walks? until they learn to be responsible….? sorry, you’re wrong. those safety lanes keep people like you in your car, away from my kids on their bikes.

  3. Dennis Allen write at end of article in Dec 6, 2022 Indy”Coming Soon: Plant-Based Roads”, “The ultimate aim,….is to stop building new roads and focus on better care of the existing highways.” This is to save our planet. The same goes for constructing bicycle paths. If you put in new asphalt or cement bicycle paths, take away the same amount of road space. Don’t add more hardscape. It’s bad for all living and inanimate nature. More and more ecology gets spoiled. Slow vehicular traffic down so everybody is safer.


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