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In what may be the first step in creating bicycle lanes in Downey, the city is applying for a Caltrans grant to help fund the creation of a bicycle master plan.
The plan would serve as the official policy document “to guide the development and maintenance of bicycle-friendly roads and bikeways in the city,” assistant city manager John Oskoui wrote in a report.
“Additionally, the Bike Master Plan will help encourage more people to bike for transportation and to provide an attractive and healthy transportation option, helping to reduce traffic congestion and air pollution.”
Oskoui estimated it would cost up to $250,000 to complete the plan. Caltrans requires a 10 percent match, so Downey would contribute $25,000 if it is awarded the grant.
Support for bicycle lanes in Downey has been steadily growing for the past year or so. A group of health conscious riders founded the Downey Bicycle Coalition last December, sponsoring monthly rides around town.
Dozens of bicycle riders rallied at City Hall on Sept. 25 in support of bicycle lanes, including Olympic cyclist Tony Cruz.
Caltrans expects to award about $9 million in grant funding this year. Grant winners should be announced this summer.
Downey has had good luck securing grant money. Just last week, the city was awarded $10,000 from Kaiser Permanente for its “Healthy Downey” initiative.
The grant will pay for a part-time activity specialist to help with “Healthy Downey” outreach, including educational brochures and flyers.
Kaiser Permanente is also sending Mayor Mario Guerra and Mayor Pro Tem Fernando Vasquez to the National Association of Elected and Appointed Officials Health Academy.