A community-led project to install a number of traffic-calming measures and other street enhancements in the Iron Triangle neighborhood is a significant step closer to receiving a $6.2 million Caltrans grant, according to Mayor Tom Butt.
The so-called Yellow Brick Road Project is one of 617 applications submitted to the Caltrans Active Transportation Program, which combines state and federal grants to pay for projects that encourage walking, cycling and emissions reductions.
Of those 617 applications, just under 14-percent (86 projects) were recommended by Caltrans staff for funding, and the Yellow Brick Road was among them, Butt reported in his e-forum newsletter Thursday. If the funds are formerly approved by the California Transportation Commission in late October, the Richmond project would be the third largest award from the state grant program.
“This is huge news for the Iron Triangle neighborhood, and for Richmond,” the mayor said.
The $6.2 million would go toward constructing the first portion of Yellow Brick Road, which includes streets surrounding Peres Elementary and Elm Playlot; 8th Street from Triangle Court to the Richmond Greenway; and all crossings on the Greenway including 2nd, 4th, 8th and 20th streets and Harbour Way.
The map below shows the path of the Yellow Brick Road (click image to enlarge).
The project includes safety enhancements to crosswalks and sidewalks, additional bus shelters and trash cans, traffic calming measures and decorative additions such as yellow-brick crosswalks, art projects, wayfinding signs, landscaping and lighting. See a detailed list of proposals in this report.
The project has been a unique exercise in urban planning. The concept emerged from a group of Iron Triangle youths during a summer project in 2008. Their idea to stencil yellow bricks on the ground connecting families to schools, churches, parks and cultural institutions led to a Caltrans planning grant and the staging of a live, full-scale preview of street improvements based upon community input.
During the initial planning stages, Toody Maher, founder and executive of the local nonprofit Pogo Park, sent out some 30 local residents from children to grandparents to walk every last street in the neighborhood over a 14-day period. Residents documented barriers to walkability. Their work helped guide the recommendations currently being considered for funding.
Maher, who has played a major role in this project, listed a number of people to thank for their contributions, including:
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