Close-up of bikes on campus. Mustang News | File

The San Luis Obispo City Council has enacted its first Active Transportation Plan, outlining a strategy for implementing pedestrian-friendly infrastructure and policies throughout the city.

The plan is designed to lead the city towards its goal of achieving climate neutrality by 2035.

Elements of the plan include new curb ramps, high visibility crosswalks, public art and mini-parks alongside popular walkways.

The Active Transportation Plan also offers a framework to increase the number of residents commuting by bike and by feet, a San Luis Obispo press release stated.

“The Active Transportation Plan provides a series of actions to make bicycling and walking easier, cheaper and safer for everyone in our community,” Active Transportation Manager Adam Fukushima said. 

For Cal Poly students living off campus, these changes may mean the difference between biking or walking to campus instead of driving. According to a 2019 Cal Poly survey, 57% of students live within walking and biking distance from campus. 

Environmental management senior Amanda Gersoff is an active member of Green Campus and the Cal Poly Surfrider Club. Before COVID-19, Gersoff biked to class from her home off campus. Gersoff said she thinks the new plan will be a great step for the community.

The Active Transportation Plan will be beneficial in helping achieve the goals of the Cal Poly Energy, Utilities and Sustainability Department of reducing greenhouse gas emissions that are largely due to people commuting individually to and from campus, Gersoff said.  

“Cal Poly students could be instrumental to reaching this goal,” Gersoff said. “Also, students will likely feel safer biking or walking around the community which will hopefully encourage people to drive less.”

By adding safer and easier access for people to walk and bike around the city, the plan aims to further decrease the use of cars and vehicles to reduce the carbon emissions they produce. 

The new plan emphasizes that it will approach infrastructure and construction changes in a more comprehensive and sustainable way. The Active Transportation Plan focuses on urgency, creating low-traffic intersections and ensuring equitable distribution and access to the city’s diverse population.

These implementations are planned to be enacted resourcefully, which is meant to allow financial resilience and flexibility, according to the press release. 

The first projects outlined in the plan are expected to begin this summer. One of these projects will be a protected bike lane on Marsh Street downtown. Curb ramps and crosswalks are high priorities as well.

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