County bicycle plan shut out of SANDAG grants

The San Diego Association of Governments approved its allocation of Fiscal Year 2011 and Fiscal Year 2012 active transportation grant program funds, but the County of San Diego’s bicycle transportation plan did not receive funding.

SANDAG’s 17-0 vote Sept. 28, with no representatives from Chula Vista or Santee present, recommended funding for 25 of the 51 applications. The County of San Diego’s only application among those 51 projects had sought $185,000 to update its bicycle transportation plan.

The active transportation planning grant program is funded by the TransNet sales tax and provides grants to support local bicycle project and pedestrian transportation projects. The program had $8.8 million available with 75 percent of that amount dedicated to capital projects and $2.2 million available for non-capital projects. The 19 non-capital project applications consisted of 11 planning grant requests to plan routes emphasizing pedestrian and bicycle transportation, three education/encouragement/awareness projects, and five bicycle parking projects.

Eight planning grant requests were funded; in addition to the county’s bicycle transportation plan the rejected requests included an ineligible City of Coronado entrance intersection study. The projects were ranked based on relationship to program objectives, comprehensiveness, methodology of how the projects would meet a demonstrated need and project goals, community support, matching funds, cost/benefit ratio, compatibility with the Regional Housing Needs Assessment, and demand.

Under the grant criteria the maximum grant to prepare a bicycle master plan for a jurisdiction the size of unincorporated San Diego County was $200,000. Although no specific matching fund amount was required, the ranking criteria made an application with a larger percentage of matching funds more competitive. When the San Diego County Board of Supervisors unanimously approved the grant application resolution July 11, the supervisors also appropriated $185,000 of matching funds should the grant be awarded.

The county’s application received 107.5 out of a possible 206 points. The county scored 17.2 out of possible 30 relationship to program objectives points, 9.2 of 16 possible comprehensiveness points, 18.4 of a maximum 30 methodology points, 14.0 of up to 20 community support points, 18.0 of 20 possible matching funds points, 8.0 of up to 20 cost/benefit points, 11.38 of a maximum 50 regional housing needs assessment points, and 14.5 of 20 maximum

demand points.

The only other eligible rejected project was the Del Mar bicycle and pedestrian master plan, whose 78.2 points included no regional housing needs assessment points, two matching funds points, and eight demand points.

The lowest-scoring planning project recommended for funding was Chula Vista’s Main Street streetscape master plan. That project’s 124.5 points included 31.25 regional housing needs assessment points, 25.0 relationship to project objectives points, and 24.8 methodology points although it had only 2.0 cost/benefit points, 2.0 matching funds points, and 8.4 demand points.

The county’s bicycle transportation plan was adopted in 2003 and was recertified in 2008 without any changes. It does not reflect subsequent governmental activity such as the county’s general plan update, the county’s trails program and community trail master plans, the 2010 adoption of SANDAG’s regional bicycle plan, and a Caltrans requirement for an updated plan in order to remain eligible for future commuter-related bicycle projects. The county’s updated plan would have address planned changes in the road network as a result of the Mobility Element of the general plan update, the county’s existing and planned trails network, and changes in the regional bicycle network.

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