IMG_8953_connecting the dots

The City of Turlock Gears Up for Active Transportation!

Bicycle-Pedestrian Planning, California, Healthy Living, Public Involvement, Safe Routes to School
John Lieswyn

by John Lieswyn, Planning Associate, Alta Planning + Design

Turlock is a rural city of about 70,000 residents in California’s Central Valley. The temperate climate and short rainy season make walking and bicycling an attractive option for much of the year. Most destinations in Turlock are within reach by bicycle—the town is roughly a square about 5 miles across. Its gridded street system makes it easy for people to navigate, including visitors, and provides many route choices. However, like many rural communities designed for the car, it has a lot of wide and high-speed arterial roadways.

Alta Planning + Design was tasked with creating the city’s first strategic plan in January 2014. Over the past year, we’ve produced a wide range of documents and tools, all hosted on the publicly accessible BikeWalkTurlock website:

One of our greatest advocates is a family of four who do not own a car and instead ride their Dutch bikes everywhere. They’ve distributed surveys, compiled responses, led the bicycle and pedestrian counts, come to every meeting, roped neighbors into action, and generally taken an incredibly proactive stance.

Car-free family and their “Box” bike rolling down one of Turlock’s wide streets

Car-free family and their “Box” bike rolling down one of Turlock’s wide streets

 

Turlock’s Active Transportation Plan includes a Safe Routes to School Plan intended to help reduce congestion at the school gate

Turlock’s Active Transportation Plan includes a Safe Routes to School Plan intended to help reduce congestion at the school gate

The planning process identified ten high priority projects for implementation in the next one to five years. City staff and community members have really gotten behind the idea of constructing a loop path around the pond in Donnelly Park, and the hope is to have this project started at the same time as the adoption of the Active Transportation Plan later this spring.

turlock map

While there are a few short pathways in Turlock, the Donnelly Park Pathway would provide a scenic location for residents to exercise, play, or learn how to ride. Black lines indicate the proposed 14′ wide shared use path. Image source: Omni Means

Take a look through the public website and see how we roll in rural California!

Alta staff involved in the Active Transportation Plan:

Principal in Charge: Brett Hondorp
Project Manager: John Lieswyn
Planner: Emily Tracy
Design Toolkit: Nick Falbo
GIS: Paris Latham
Benefits Analysis: Kyle James
Walk- and Bike-Friendly Turlock Guide: Cat Cheng

John Lieswyn

About John Lieswyn

A professional road bicyclist from 1992 to 2005, John now manages bicycle and pedestrian master plans, plans and designs bikeways, and undertakes all types of transportation research and traffic studies at Alta.
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