Healdsburg to receive $11.8 million grant for bike lane, pedestrian improvements

The number of driving lanes on Healdsburg Avenue will be reduced from five to three and include landscaped buffers alongside protected bike lanes.|

Healdsburg will receive a $11.8 million grant to fund construction of protected bike lanes and pedestrian improvements on Healdsburg Avenue, officials said.

On Thursday, the Metropolitan Transportation Commission, or MTC, approved the Active Transportation Program grant that will partially fund construction along a nearly 2-mile stretch of Healdsburg Avenue between Powell Avenue to just south of Passalacqua Road, said Larry Zimmer, Public Works & Transportation director for Healdsburg.

The number of driving lanes on Healdsburg Avenue will be reduced from five to three and include landscaped buffers alongside the protected bike lanes, the release said. The 10-foot wide bike lanes will also serve as a vehicle lane in the event of large-scale evacuations.

The project’s tentative design features were created in response to answers from the Healdsburg Ave. Improvement Study the city conducted in Spring 2019. Construction for the street improvement project is tentatively planned for 2026.

Project estimates put the construction costs at nearly $14.8 million and the city will pay for the $3 million that is not covered by the grant, Zimmer said. He added that these numbers were based on current construction costs and they could change as designs are finalized.

“There’s still going to be a process with the public. We’re not done with our communications because there will be all kinds of decision points when we proceed to design,” he said.

Design proposals will be due to the city in about a week and once the public works department has something “substantial” to share, they’ll host a public meeting, “which gives the public an opportunity to point out a specific issue that we can adapt to,” he said. He added that the city council vote will be held “sometime in March.”

The Active Transportation Program is a state program that was created to “encourage increased use of active modes of transportation, such as biking and walking,” according to the 2022 Active Transportation Program Status Report. The money from the program was disbursed to the MTC.

The MTC is the Bay Area’s regional transportation agency that plans, finances and coordinates the Bay Area’s transportation system via state and federal funding, according to its website.

A MTC spokesperson said the ATP grant award is expected to receive formal approval on March 15 in Sacramento by the California Transportation Commission, which oversees the Active Transportation Program.

You can reach Staff Writer Jennifer Sawhney at 707-521-5346 or jennifer.sawhney@pressdemocrat.com. On Twitter @sawhney_media.

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