City Council approves preparation of Citywide Mobility Plan, community feedback sought

Bikers take to the trails after the ribbon cutting for the River Village Trailhead in Santa Clarita on Thursday, Nov. 30, 2017. The trailhead connects to the 11-mile Santa Clara River Trail that stretches from Interstate 5 to Sand Canyon Road. Nikolas Samuels/The Signal

Many have recognized and even relocated to Santa Clarita for its extensive network of bicycle and pedestrian facilities for recreational use, but there’s always room for improvement, city officials say. Heads up, residents, as an opportunity to provide feedback will soon be underway.

Think an area in your neighborhood could use improvements or have alternative transportation strategy ideas? Responses to these questions and others could make a difference as the city staff prepares for a citywide outreach component that is part of the Citywide Mobility Plan.

The plan has an overarching goal to “encourage additional bicycling and walking within the city, especially to reduce vehicle use,” said Tom Reilly, trails and bikeways planning administrator with the city.

On Tuesday, the City Council awarded a services contract to Los Angeles-based Alta Planning + Design in the amount of nearly $150,000 to prepare the mobility plan.

But it’s not a new vision. In 2008, the city adopted this plan under the title Non-Motorized Transportation Plan, which formalized Santa Clarita’s trails plan and created a network of facilities for bicyclists and pedestrians.

The NMP was updated in 2014 to include annexed areas, the urban design concept that emphasizes streets for walking, biking and transit access to reduce reliance on private automobiles, according to a city agenda report.

Through more than $7 million in grant funding, the NMP has been instrumental in covering projects such as Safe Routes to School and the Sierra Highway Pedestrian Bridge.

The name change comes as part of rebranding the plan, said Reilly. “This sounds more broad,” he added. “Mobility can mean something different to someone else.”

With technological changes underway, the new plan will look to address the various definitions of mobility, which now also include eBikes and bike-share services. For example, the city recently launched a pilot program with bike-share company Zagster, offering 50 Pace bikes and 12 stations located throughout the city.

The mobility plan, set for redevelopment to be in line with current industry standards, will also include recent annexations, newly completed development projects and a new multi-modal transit hub at the Vista Canyon development, a 185-acre mixed-use community centered on being transit-, pedestrian- and cyclist-friendly.

Citywide outreach and detailed area studies for “the communities of Newhall and Saugus, both currently underserved by the trail network,” is also included in the new updated plan, according to the city.

Reilly said funding for improvements under the mobility plan come from “a steady stream of funds” through Measure M, a countywide sales tax measure passed in 2016 dedicated to active transportation.

While work for the redevelopment of the mobility plan will soon kick off, Reilly said the community can reach out to him for comments.

“We have feedback from bike coalitions, runners clubs but we also want to reach out to the senior center, schools or any individual,” he said.

To reach Reilly, call 661-255-4394 or email [email protected].

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