The Regional Transportation Council recently approved $23.5 million in federal funding for construction of 12 active transportation projects in Collin, Dallas and Tarrant counties.
The entities awarded funding will contribute $3.5 million in local match, bringing the total investment in the region's bicycle and pedestrian facilities to $27 million as part of the 2020 Transportation Alternatives Call for Projects.
The projects will provide connections to schools and major hubs of employment in certain parts of the North Texas area for residents bicycling and walking, while increasing safety.
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Data shows that during the coronavirus pandemic, as people have shifted from the office to working from home, trails across the Dallas-Fort Worth area have seen a significant increase in usage. With school underway across the region and in-person instruction an option many families have chosen, the increased emphasis on bicycling and walking could also extend to students.
In Dallas, three 'Safe Routes to School' projects will improve access to the following schools:
- Burleson Elementary School
- Comstock Middle School
- Rosemont Primary School
- Rosemont Elementary School
- Zaragoza Elementary School
Projects near the following Arlington schools were also awarded funding:
- Crow Leadership Academy
- Thornton Elementary School
- Webb Elementary School
The 'Safe Routes to School' projects could lead to the reduction of local traffic congestion and improved air quality by reducing the number of vehicle trips necessary to transport children to and from school, according to the organization.
An additional $16.5 million in federal funding was awarded for the construction of other regionally significant projects consisting of trails and separated on-street bikeways in Dallas, Fort Worth, Garland, Plano and Richardson.
The projects will implement significant sections of the Regional Veloweb network, providing commuting access to transit and major destinations, and improving safety and comfort for people making bicycle trips, according to the organization.
Among the six active transportation projects is a $6 million initiative to provide bicycle and pedestrian improvements along Rowlett Road/Duck Creek Drive in Garland.
A $2.3 million project in Fort Worth would involve construction of separated bike lanes and the addition of bicycle traffic signals and bike-pedestrian counters along East Fourth Street/East First Street.