The Orange County Transportation Authority continues to emphasize active transportation such as bicycling and walking as part of a balanced and sustainable network of transportation options to help people more easily move through the county.
The OCTA Board of Directors recently received an update on those efforts over the last year, which include working with local city planners and stakeholders to provide education, safety awareness and engineering for bike and pedestrian paths.
“Part of continuing to provide our balanced transportation system for Orange County includes focusing on bicycling and walking,” said OCTA Chairman Gene Hernandez, also the mayor of Yorba Linda. “OCTA continues to work on providing these options that will give people additional safe and healthy mobility options.”
Recent accomplishments related to active transportation have included:
The OC Loop – Strong progress has been made on the vision for 66 miles of continuous trails for the county’s active transportation users. The Loop is now approximately 88% complete, with most recent construction taking place in Anaheim and Yorba Linda, as well as in the County of Orange jurisdiction. Work continues to help close remaining gaps in the Loop, including about 3 miles in Garden Grove and Santa Ana along the OCTA-owned Pacific-Electric right of way. That study is expected to take 18 months.
Safe Travels Education Program (STEP) – OCTA has collaborated with STEP, a program that implements safe walking and biking routes to school by promoting safety campaigns in at least 25 public elementary schools. Those efforts have included working with schools and parents to coordinate the safest routes to schools in Anaheim, Buena Park, Costa Mesa, Garden Grove, Orange, Santa Ana, Placentia, Westminster and Yorba Linda.
Electric Bikes (E-bikes) – OCTA collaborated with a social media influencer to develop an e-bike safety tutorial for a variety of age groups. The video received over 1 million views on Instagram and more than 20,000 views on other social media platforms. OCTA continues to raise awareness for e-bike operations and safety and is planning for additional community outreach.
Public Virtual Workshops – OCTA hosted virtual workshops to receive public feedback about implementing alignments for three additional regional bikeways. OCTA discussed concepts along with addressing potential concerns for successfully implementing the bikeways. The final report addressing issues raised during the public workshops is expected to be finished this fall.
2023 Bike to Work Month and Return of Bike Rally – OCTA marked Bike to Work Month this year and, after three years off because of the COVID-19 pandemic, returned with the annual Bike Rally on May 18. More than 70 cyclists, including OCTA board members and public attendees, participated to promote how convenient – and healthy – biking to work and beyond can be.
Over the past several years, at both the state and federal level, funding and policy has shifted with more emphasis on active transportation. That included a $1 billion augmentation to the state’s Active Transportation Program, development of new grant programs administered by Southern California Association of Governments and funded by the California Department of Housing & Community Development, and sustainability and equity grants focused on multimodal transportation and resiliency.
Recognizing this shifting emphasis, OCTA continues its commitment to implement active transportation projects and to leverage funds from Measure M, the county’s half-cent sales tax for transportation, to seek all available funding to continue providing a balanced and sustainable transportation system for all of Orange County.