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Home / transportation infrastructure

Riverside gets $38.5M for transportation infrastructure upgrades

The city of Riverside will receive $38.5 million from the state for several transportation infrastructure projects, officials said Friday. 

The California State Transportation Agency announced Thursday that Riverside will get $22 million via the Port and Freight Infrastructure Program to finish the Third Street at the BNSF Railroad Grade Separation Project.

Riverside officials had previously been alerted that the city would receive $15 million in federal Rail Crossing Elimination funds for the $74 million project in downtown’s northwest corner, just east of Highway 91, officials said. The project now is fully funded and aims “to eliminate traffic delays and increase safety for trains, motorists, pedestrians and bicyclists.”

The Third Street project’s $22 million from the state’s Department of Transportation comes about a week after the California Transportation Commission, or CTC, notified the city it is receiving about $16.5 million for three other initiatives, such as upgrades to the downtown Civil Rights Walk and two projects to enhance pedestrian and bicycle safety in the La Sierra area.

Officials said that $16.5 million in 2023 funding from the state’s Active Transportation Program was garnered after the Riverside Public Works Department applied for the grants, and about 30% of the ATP funding dedicated to Riverside County is directed to those three projects.

“We are working hard to bring state and federal resources home to Riverside,” Mayor Patricia Lock Dawson said in a statement. “These projects will enhance the downtown experience while increasing safety at Third Street and on the west end.”

Riverside ATP projects include:

— Five Points Neighborhood Pedestrian Safety Improvements, which include five high-visibility crosswalks, Riverside’s first Pavement-to-Parks project and 1.5 miles of sidewalk — the CTC funded $6.525 million of the $7.416 million total cost;

— Riverside Civil Rights Walk, “which calls for installing pavement markings and location markers to connect 17 points of historic interest over 3.4 miles; develop an app-based virtual tour and augmented reality (AR); build pedestrian crossing enhancements such as high-visibility crosswalks and LED edge-lit signs; and installation of ADA ramp improvements,” officials said — the CTC approved the entire $3.216 million cost of the project; and the

— Mitchell Avenue Side Path Gap Closure “to promote walking and cycling, which involves the completion of a community trail between Campbell and Hole avenues,” officials said — the CTC funded $6.756 million of the project’s $7.465 million total cost.

“The Civil Rights Walk on the Main Street Mall has drawn people to our downtown for years, and I look forward to these enhancements expanding that effort onto surrounding streets,” Mayor Pro Tem Erin Edwards, who represents the downtown area, said in a statement. “This project will take the Civil Rights Walk to a new level.”

The state’s Active Transportation Program supports active modes of transportation, which are basically ways of getting around without the use of a motor vehicle, officials said. The program aims to increase the proportion of trips achieved by biking and walking; promote an increase safety and mobility for bicyclists and pedestrians; advance the active transportation efforts of regional agencies to achieve goals pertaining to greenhouse gas reduction; enhance public health; make sure underserved communities share equitably in the ATP’s benefits; and offer projects that serve the interests of many types of active transportation users.

City officials credited Lock Dawson, Edwards and Councilman Chuck Conder who “shepherded the projects through the Riverside County Transportation Commission and Southern California Association of Governments to make them eligible for CTC funding.”

The state transportation funds come two years after the Riverside City Council approved a comprehensive pedestrian safety, active transportation, complete streets and trails planning effort called the Riverside PACT.

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