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RTC Awarded $1.9 Million for Three Sustainable Transportation Planning Grants

The California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) has awarded the Santa Cruz County Regional Transportation Commission (RTC) $1.9 million for three Sustainable Transportation Planning Grants for projects that will focus on rural highway safety, and transportation demand management and coastal resiliency along the North Coast’s Highway 1 corridor.

The RTC received a grant award for $285,600 to develop the Santa Cruz County Rural Highway Safety Plan (RHSP) to enhance roadway safety for users of the County’s six conventional highways – Highway 1 north of the City of Santa Cruz city limits, Highway 9, Highway 236, Highway 35, and Highways 129 and 152 outside of the City of Watsonville. Through data-driven analysis, the RHSP will identify locations and patterns of crashes in order to generate and prioritize a suite of implementable countermeasures to eliminate traffic deaths and serious injuries on these highways. This data-driven approach will help direct resources where they are needed and most effectively make the region safer.

The RTC received a grant award for $362,560 to develop the Santa Cruz County North Coast Transportation Demand Management (TDM) Plan which will devise transportation management strategies for 22 miles of coastal highway from the City of Santa Cruz northern city-limits to the Santa Cruz/San Mateo County line. The TDM Plan will identify alternatives and strategies that address visitor transportation needs, safety and operational challenges on Highway 1 created by visitor demand and behaviors. The project aims to identify options to reduce vehicles miles traveled and emissions, while improving safety.

The RTC also received a grant award for $1,254,691 to develop a plan for Coastal Resiliency along the Highway 1 Corridor at Waddell and San Vincente creeks. Preliminary investigations indicate that the existing Highway 1 bridge over Waddell Creek, and the Santa Cruz Branch Rail Line and future Coastal Rail Trail corridor over San Vicente Creek are vulnerable to coastal climate change impacts. This project will identify short-, medium-, and long-term actions for viability and resilience to climate stressors on these transportation facilities in tandem with ecological restoration of the Waddell Creek and San Vicente Creek ecosystems including nature-based resilience solutions. The RTC will partner with the Resource Conservation District of Santa Cruz County and Caltrans District 5 on this project.

RTC staff is excited to get started on these important planning studies and will provide more information regarding schedule and public participation opportunities over the next few months.

Caltrans’ Sustainable Transportation Planning Grant program funds sustainable transportation planning studies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, improve the state highway system, enhance access to safe walkways and bike paths, and increase natural disaster preparedness.

Caltrans awards transportation planning grants each year through a competitive process to encourage local and regional projects to improve the state’s transportation network. This year, the program awarded $66.8 million in state and federal funds to cities, counties, tribes, and transit agencies throughout California to plan sustainable transportation projects. A statewide total of 161 grant applications were submitted. Of these applications, 90 were selected for grant awards.

For the complete list of Sustainable Transportation Planning Grant project awardees, click here.


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