After months of brain storming with the Transportation Agency for Monterey County, community members, parents, teachers and students are finally seeing the seeds of their ideal walkable city come to fruition.
What does it look like and how do these ideas function?
For the time being it looks like temporary orange and white barricades, and bright green or purple paint denoting would-be curb extensions and bike lanes.
Vehicle traffic is also generally slower, thanks to a road diet that helps curb downhill speeds on Broadway. Teams of kids seem to walk easily through the bright yellow crosswalks, with the occasional biker taking advantage of a wide temporary bike lane.
These demos, which are set up just outside of Martin Luther King Jr. School of Arts in Seaside and Crumpton and Marina Vista elementary schools in Marina, are meant as a sort of real life mock-up of what a pedestrian-friendly route to school would look like.
It's part of TAMC's Safe Routes to Schools program, which is funded by the Measure X tax and a Caltrans Sustainable Communities Grant. In 2018 TAMC partnered with Monterey Peninsula Unified School District (MLK, Marina Vista and Crumpton's presiding district), and Santa Cruz-based nonprofit Ecology Action to gather ideas for improving routes to schools.
And this isn't just a road maintenance project. There is real cause for concern: In 2014, the Office of Transportation and Safety ranked Seaside the fourth worst out 89 cities of similar size, for injuries and casualties for pedestrian under the age of 15. Similarly, the office also found that nearly 50 percent of Monterey Peninsula Unified School District students were overweight or obese.
In late August 2018, the multi-agency effort launched a series of workshops, walking audits and forums. The big question they needed to answer: What keeps you from walking to school?
After coalescing ideas, from parents, students and other community members in these neighborhoods and cities, the team set began setting up demos in front of the schools on May 1st.
TAMC encourages all members of the communities to use these demos—on foot or on bike—and provide feedback on whether these demos should be permanently installed. The demos will be up until May 13th. Feedback can be recorded at ecoact.org/planningmonterey.