State transportation planners want public input on a far-reaching plan to improve and make Route 273 safer through Redding.
To help gather feedback, California Department of Transportation officials held a public bike ride Wednesday evening on part of the 10-mile route where improvements are planned on one of the main north-south arteries of the city.
“We’re here because, for the first time in Caltrans history, we actually have dedicated funding to meet all of our street mobility needs,” said Tamy Quigley, a planner by Caltrans.
Members of the public can complete the questionnaire online at survey.catplan.org and choose District 2.
Emphasis is placed on creating a “complete street” by reserving more space for people who walk, cycle and ride (use wheelchairs) on Highway 273 from Boulevard Buenaventura to its junction with Interstate 5 at North Market Street, including Pine and California Streets.
Survey comments may also be submitted on other national roads.
“What we need from you is your contribution, that of your friends,” Quigley told a group of about 20 cyclists before starting the 3½-mile journey from Breslauer Way to North Market Street. The runners navigated in sometimes heavy traffic and along some places without cycle paths.
“We need to know where the gaps are. Where you feel security concerns. What you might think is the most innovative and transformative project. Nothing is on the table, ”Quigley told the group.
What’s the timeline?
Caltrans will review pavement and culvert improvements as well as other needs. Comments are being taken until May 28 to initiate the process. Planners will include the input in a document by the end of the summer, then begin environmental work in 2024.
Training and pre-planning work is underway, so construction will be ready to begin in seven years, to coincide with available funding.
“We really won’t see this shovel hitting the ground for a good six or seven years … but there will be a few small projects that we see in between that help make this network a complete connection for people who walk, do bike and ride, ”Quigley mentioned.
What is driving this?
Caltrans is making the push because the agency will have the money to increase cycling, walking and public transit.
The agency has coined an expression, triple-double-double, which represents the objectives of tripling the number of bicycle trips, doubling the number of pedestrian trips and doubling the number of public transport trips.
“We’re now starting to see funding to make these events happen,” said Caltrans District 2 director Dave Moore, who competed in the race with Redding director of public works Chuck Aukland.
Moore said Caltrans # 1 priority is safety, adding that Highway 273 “is a safety issue for us.”
He said Route 273 has suffered a significant number of bicycle and pedestrian injuries over the years.
Several years ago, 17% of the total number of fatalities on California roads involved pedestrians and bicycles, Moore said, noting that the number ranged from 25% to 27%.
“We want to make this route (273) safer and better for all users,” Moore said.
Soon on South Market
Eric Orr, Caltrans Project Manager, gave an overview of the $ 2.4 million work planned for next year on the South Market Street section of Highway 273:
- Installation of cycle lanes on both sides of the carriageway from Wyndham Lane to California Street. Some public car parks will be fitted out to make space.
- Connect sidewalks and make improvements to the American with Disabilities Act, such as new corner sidewalk ramps and accommodate people with vision problems
- Added a retaining wall where there is a cliff south of the Good News Rescue Mission for a sidewalk and bike path.
Bike Safety on Lake Blvd./Hwy. 299
Quigley also outlined safety plans for cyclists and pedestrians in northern Redding, east of the intersection of North Market Street / Lake Boulevard to College View Drive.
- The $ 5.6 million project is in its environmental phase, but is expected to begin construction in the fall of 2023 and 2024.
- The south side of this boulevard du lac corridor will have a separate road with traffic obstructions.
- Transitions will be created at intersections to facilitate walking, cycling and rolling with “acuation” devices so pedestrians can press a button for green lights. Stencils or markings on the pavement will show ways for cyclists.
- The cycle paths and pedestrian paths will be well lit.
- Traffic calming measures will be put in place at the I-5 ramps.
Mike Chapman is an award-winning journalist and photographer for Record Searchlight in Redding, California. His career in the press spanned Yreka and Eureka in Northern California and Bellingham, Washington. Support local journalism by subscribing today.