City gets state money for pedestrian-friendly upgrades
Claremont will begin a series of pedestrian-friendly street improvements thanks to the acquisition of half-a-million dollars in state subsidies.
Claremont is one of 139 cities across the state to receive sought-after funding from the statewide Safe Routes to School (SR2S) program. The state-legislated service, a part of the California Department of Transportation, provides financial support to cities and counties with capital projects geared at improving safety.
Being selected in such a competitive program—Claremont being one of 336 applicants—was a pleasant surprise for City Engineer Craig Bradshaw and those involved with Claremont’s Safe Routes to School initiative.
“We are happy to have been included as a part of the project,” Mr. Bradshaw said. “It’s very competitive.”
Claremont and other city recipients will receive a piece of the California program’s $48.5 million to provide necessary improvements for pedestrian safety and to reduce injuries and fatalities. An estimated $472 million has been given out by Safe Routes to School programs across the country; over $7 million will benefit critical safety projects in rural counties with $28 million used to create jobs and benefit at least one low-income school within each project.
“Safety is Caltrans’ number-one priority,” Caltrans Director Malcolm Dougherty said in a statement. “We are committed to providing the highest safety possible for our children as they travel to and from school in California.”
Claremont was awarded $450,000, which will be used for infrastructure improvements around local parks and schools, according to Mr. Bradshaw. Sidewalk additions and improvements will be added to the north side of Memorial, Griffith and Wheeler parks. The grant will also be used to make improvements to the signal at Arrow Highway and Cambridge Avenue. A left-hand turn signal and updated crosswalks are among additions.
Claremont’s Safe Routes to School program was implemented in spring 2011 shortly after a motorist on Mountain Avenue struck an El Roble Intermediate School student riding his bicycle. Since then, hundreds of thousands of dollars in grant money has been used to educate and train students traveling to school on foot or on bikes.
Mr. Bradshaw and the Claremont Safe Routes to School team are eager to make use of the latest round of funding after the hard work required to acquire the necessary subsidies.
“It just means we are able to provide better access and safety improvements the city normally wouldn’t be able to fund,” he said. “That is the bottom line.”
For more on Claremont’s Safe Routes to School program, visit www.claremontsaferoutes.org.