Bicycle advocates made their case for creating safe and well-connected routes as the city lays plans for street repairs and new roads.
Several cyclists turned out Tuesday night for a City Council workshop that was expected to be mostly about cars and trucks. They said the city needs more bike lanes protected from motor vehicle traffic, including a link between California State University, Stanislaus, and downtown.
And they said repairing Turlock’s bumpy asphalt would do travelers of all kinds a lot of good.
“We (cyclists) understand street maintenance from the perspective that if we hit a pothole, we crash,” said Elizabeth Claes of the Turlock Bike Project, whose family has been car-free for four years.
The workshop was the second in a series on city services that Mayor Gary Soiseth has scheduled for the start of his term.
Only 54 percent of Turlock’s pavement is in good to excellent condition, according to a 2013 study that covered every street. Most of this is in newer areas with assessment districts, where homeowners pay annual fees for maintenance, City Engineer Mike Pitcock said.
The study found that 3 percent of the pavement has failed, 20 percent is poor and 23 percent is at risk of falling apart. The defects range from single potholes to large expanses with “alligator cracking,” or broken chunks.
“We see portions of all of these types of distresses all over town,” Pitcock said.
The conditions will worsen if Turlock stays at the current spending of about $1.25 million a year on street repair, he said. City voters in November rejected a sales tax increase of half a percentage point that would have added about $5.6 annually over seven years.
Attention has turned to a possible November 2016 measure that would raise the tax by the same amount to fund transportation projects throughout Stanislaus County.
The Stanislaus Council of Governments has not decided which projects would be funded. Turlock officials have talked of getting money for street repairs and the South County Corridor, which would connect the city’s main industrial area with Interstate 5 near Patterson.
The measure also might include pedestrian, bicycle and public transit projects, including an extension to Turlock of the Altamont Commuter Express trains, said County Supervisor Vito Chiesa, whose district includes Turlock.
Turlock also is looking at upgrades in the near future to the Fulkerth Road interchange on Highway 99 and later work on the Lander Avenue, West Main Street and Taylor Road ramps. Officials plan an expanded or new interchange at the south end of the city, where future residential growth is directed.
And the city is a few months away from completing its Active Transportation Plan, which will suggest bicycle and pedestrian projects, Pitcock said.
Bee staff writer John Holland can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (209) 578-2385.
NEXT UP: POLICE AND FIRE
What: The series of workshops on Turlock needs will continue with a session on the police and fire departments.
When: 6 p.m. March 3
Where: City Hall, 156 S. Broadway
Note: The workshops are in addition to the council’s regular meetings on the second and fourth Tuesdays of each month.