SACRAMENTO — Caltrans has awarded more than $227 million to fund safety projects throughout the state, including some local projects.
The funds were allocated for projects designed to reduce traffic deaths and serious injuries on city and county roads. Funding is provided through the federal Highway Safety Improvement Program.
“Safety is always our number one priority,” Toks Omishakin, Caltrans director, said in a statement. “These projects will enhance system-wide safety features, including expanded access to protected walkways and bikeways, and will move us closer to our goal of reducing serious injuries and fatalities on California roadways.”
Projects approved in Caltrans District 5 include: systemtime traffic signal upgrades in the city of goleta; citywide pedestrian crossing enhancement projects in the cities of Santa Barbara, Santa Maria, Arroyo Grande, Paso Robles and Soledad; citywide signal safety upgrades throughout the city of Santa Cruz; replacement of existing damaged and destroyed guardrails at 22 county road locations in San Benito County; construction of a roundabout in Prunedale on San Miguel Canyon Road operated by the County of Monterey; and installation of metal beam guard rails and replacement of existing signage on four roadways in San Luis Obispo County in the Old Creek and Chimney Rock Road area.
“These awards, to some 20 local projects, encompass data-driven, strategic approaches to reducing traffic fatalities and serious injuries on public roads in the district,” Tim Gubbins, director of Caltrans District 5, said in a statement. “They also highlight the seamless commitment to safety shared between our local partners and the state.”
According to the Statewide Integrated Traffic Records System, nearly 64% of traffic deaths in California occur on city or county roads, underscoring the significance of funding local safety improvements.
Caltrans selected a total of 266 projects statewide for funding for safety enhancements that include new traffic signals, roundabouts, turn lanes, rumble strips and guard rails. A number of projects focus on the following safety improvements at intersections: Retroreflective bordered backplates: yellow strips around the perimeter of traffic signals that increase visibility in bright or dark conditions, including during a loss of power; Timing changes to give pedestrian and bicyclists more time to cross at crosswalks before the light changes; Rectangular rapid-flashing beacons with a push-button signal control to increase pedestrian visibility at crosswalks.
— Mitchell White