In Modesto, California, residents can finally enjoy walking on new sidewalks and using new bike paths. These improvements may reduce the number of pedestrians and bicyclists hurt in accidents annually.
South Modesto Improvements
Southern Modesto, California, residents enjoy walking along new sidewalks and biking along new bike routes. The work that is almost complete started in 2022 after the city received grant money from the Active Transportation Program.
Some of these sidewalks and bike paths run near Bret Harte Elementary School. City officials also used the money to upgrade five crosswalks and for road markings, making motorists more aware that they are driving near a bikeway.
Airport District Improvements
Modesto residents in the Airport District also saw improvements for pedestrians and bicyclists in their neighborhood. About two miles of new sidewalks were constructed along Tenaya, Kerr, Mono, Tioga, Santa Cruz and Empire. The work also included creating nine high-visibility crosswalks. Additionally, workers built a bike path about 1.5 miles long and separate from the roadway.
These projects are near Orville Wright Elementary School and Legion Park in Tuolumne River Regional Park. Money for the project came from several different sources, including an Active Transportation Program grant and Measure L, the countywide sales tax for transportation projects. Some of the improvements done under this project also brought areas into ADA compliance.
The improvements in both areas are great news because they are in lower-income areas where people bike or walk more often to get to different locations. In 2022, 3,854 people died on California highways, which included 482 pedestrians and about 245 bicyclists. There were 165,978 people injured in accidents on California streets, including 23,116 pedestrians and about 3,045 bicyclists.
Modesto has been named the fourth most dangerous city for pedestrians in the state. In 2021, there were 99 pedestrian accidents resulting in 9 deaths. The most common reason police cite for these accidents is driver inattention. Many drivers fail to follow laws requiring them to yield to pedestrians. These accidents occur when the driver exits a driveway, alley, or private road. About 26% of pedestrian accidents occur between 6:00 p.m. and 8:59 p.m.
End of Frustration for Residents
Residents near both projects were frustrated at times while work was ongoing. Excessive rain often made them walk or bike through puddles, with few alternatives. Now, they can enjoy using the improvements designed to make the areas safer for walking and biking.
Improvements to sidewalks, crosswalks, bike paths, and new options should help pedestrians and bicyclists remain safer in Modesto. These projects focused on improvements in the city’s lower-income areas, which is excellent news because more people walk and bike in these areas.