City plans to improve and modernize transportation infrastructure, making it safer for cars, pedestrians and bicyclists
On April 15, the City of Davis announced that it would receive over $5 million in funding from the Sacramento Area Council of Governments (SACOG) for three projects in the Maintenance and Modernization category.
The projects that received funding for improvements include Anderson Road-Chavez Elementary School, Fifth Street and H Street Pathway and Parking.
SACOG typically awards grants in two-year cycles totaling around $150 million. This year, SACOG awarded a total of $198 million in awards to 74 projects.
SAGOG Senior Analyst Garret Ballard-Rosa explained that while long-term planning is the main focus of SACOG, their grant program is also an important part of their overall mission.
“We are a transportation planning agency first and foremost, and one of our main activities is putting forward a long-term transportation plan,” Ballard-Rosa said. “Our funding and grant work is to help implement these goals in the nearer term.”
Ballard-Rosa described the process by which grants are reviewed and awarded.
“It’s a highly competitive program, and the grants generally go to city and public works, transportation agencies or anyone who makes and implements a transportation plan,” Ballard-Rosa said. “We’re looking for projects that meet the performance objectives both quantitatively and qualitatively.”
The standards are rigorous but necessary in order to account for a variety of factors and gain a sense of the project overall, according to Ballard-Rosa.
“We have one series of metrics and another more narrative-based review,” Ballard-Rosa said. “It’s the team’s job to bring both of these factors into the final review for a holistic assessment of these two streams of input.”
Ballard-Rosa emphasized SACOG’s commitment to sustainability, noting that many of the projects focus on improving clean air or complete streets—a type of street that considers both safety and accessibility for all user groups.
“We are laser-focused on environmental sustainability, increasing multimodal travel and reducing greenhouse gas emissions,” Ballard-Rosa said. “For example, Unitrans is replacing [compressed natural gas] buses with battery-operated buses as part of a larger transition to be all-electric.”
City of Davis Vice Mayor Lucas Frerichs explained that this year’s funding has come out of a two-year process, and residents should expect to see the implementation of some of these projects within the next year or two.
“Every two years the SACOG initiates a regional transportation funding round where each city and county submits priority projects and they compete against each other and are competitively ranked,” Frerichs said via email. “We should see construction on some of these projects in Davis start later this year or in 2022.”
Frerichs emphasized the way in which these improvements will contribute to the Davis community’s overall safety.
“These projects will help increase safety for pedestrians, bicyclists and automobiles in each location,” Frerichs said via email. “For example, the H Street Tunnel currently has several unsafe tight turns and the improvements will provide additional space to make the approach to the tunnel much more safe for users.”
The grant money that the City of Davis has received from SACOG will make a difference in helping the city meet its longtime goals, according to Frerichs.
“We have been working on putting together adequate amounts of funding for some of these projects for several years,” Frerichs said via email. “These grant awards from SACOG will allow the city to make these long-needed improvements a reality.”
Written by: Yan Yan Hustis Hayes — firstname.lastname@example.org