Turlock's patchwork system of bike lanes has long been a concern of the city's cycling community.
But following the completion of a newly approved bicycle master plan, Turlock could have one of the Central Valley's premier bicycle lane networks.
The Turlock City Council unanimously approved commissioning the plan in front of a packed council chambers Tuesday night. The measure's passage was greeted with an outpouring of applause from the audience.
The $142,244 plan will be drafted by Alta Planning + Design, Inc., of Sacramento. Alta was not the low bidder on the project, but was far more qualified than the runner-up bidder, Chen Ryan Associates, Inc., of San Diego, according to city staff. The entire project will be funded using state transportation funding dedicated specifically to non-motorized transportation; no general fund dollars will be used.
The plan will identify and prioritize both bicycle and pedestrian projects throughout the City of Turlock. The project will also plan safe routes of travel to each Turlock school.
Once the plan is completed, Turlock could have a better chance of obtaining state and federal grants to implement the suggestions – and make cycling in Turlock safer.
That safety improvement is important to Logan Ladd, 9, who told the council it can be "a little scary" when he rides his bike. Cars sometimes stray into existing bike lanes, and other times there are no bike lanes at all.
"I'm concerned for all the other people that ride their bike in Turlock," Logan said.
The comprehensive bicycling network could be a major boon to Turlock, according to Elizabeth Claes. Claes and her family made bicycling their main form of transportation nearly four years ago, and that decision made her more in-touch with Turlock than ever, she said.
"I fell in love with Turlock," Claes said. "… I began to see in a new way that Turlock is a great place to live and not just a place that is two hours from anywhere else you want to be."
Claes now shops at local businesses within bicycling range. She spends more time with her family, with fewer distractions. And gets to enjoy the wonderful weather, “quirky” streets and striking sunsets.
More people will have the chance to truly experience the wonder of Turlock with an improved bike lane network, she said.
"We are ready for the future of Turlock, and we believe that future is bright," Claes said.