CBS Bay Area: Road safety improvements coming to Bay Area, California with $139 million in federal funding

By Thomas Hughes

The state of California was awarded $139 million in federal grant money Wednesday from the U.S. Department of Transportation for a range of street and highway safety improvements.

Some of the top awards that will be distributed around the state are $16 million for the City of Salinas, about $13 million for San Jose, $10 million for the Metropolitan Transportation Commission, and $8 million for San Francisco.

The funding for the “Safe Streets for All” grants comes from the federal Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act signed by President Joe Biden in 2021.

U.S. Sen. Alex Padilla said the funding will bring safety improvements for pedestrians, bicyclists, and commuters on California roadways.

“Far too often, we hear stories of children injured on their way to school, cyclists blindsided at major intersections, and deadly vehicle crashes during the daily commute,” Padilla said in a statement. “The action plans developed and implemented in California communities with this funding will curtail collisions and save lives,” Padilla said.

The award in Salinas will go toward safety improvements on Williams Road, where 11 pedestrians and bicyclists lost their lives from 2017-2021. The work includes constructing a single-lane roundabout at East Market Street, installing curb extensions, new lights and signals, and raised bicycle lanes.

In San Jose, a $12.9 million grant will be used to redesign four major intersections that have a high frequency of fatal and serious collisions involving pedestrian and bicyclists.

“San Jose’s pedestrians and cyclists deserve to travel safely around our city,” said San Jose Mayor Matt Mahan. “We’ve reduced traffic fatalities this year thanks to strategic investments in enforcement, education and improved infrastructure. This federal support will enable us to save more lives in the years ahead.”

The roads slated for improvements are Curtner Avenue between Canoas Gardens and state Highway 87, where a protected intersection with a protected bikeway is being proposed, along with a new section of sidewalk and raised bikeway.

Other intersections in the city targeted for work are Monterey Road at Curtner and Tully roads, Capitol Expressway at Senter Road, and East Santa Clara Street at 11th Street.

San Francisco will make safety improvements in the Tenderloin neighborhood as part of the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency’s Tenderloin Community Safe Streets Project.

The Tenderloin neighborhood accounted for 68% of San Francisco’s fatal or serious traffic collisions from 2017-2021, even though 79% of households in the area do not own a vehicle, according to the SFMTA and Supervisor Dean Preston.

“The funding from this project will fund crucial improvements to make the Tenderloin safer for pedestrians while also creating much-needed green space,” Preston said. “I look forward to working with the SFMTA to implement the projects included in the Tenderloin Community Safe Streets project as quickly as possible.”

The work will include 11 traffic signal upgrades on Larkin and Polk Streets, bicycle safety improvements on Turk Street and Golden Gate Avenue, and other traffic management measures.

Another $10 million will be used by the Metropolitan Transportation Commission — the government agency responsible for transportation planning and financing in the nine-county Bay Area — to conduct safety studies, incorporate more data on near-collisions, and create a toolkit to help other jurisdictions implement safety measures.

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