The Goleta City Council voted 5-0 on Tuesday night to approve the city’s bicycle and pedestrian master plan, a 223-page “living document” that aims to promote public health, reduce automobile usage and fuel consumption, and promote equity in modes of travel.
The document outlines a broad range of possible public improvements aimed at enhancing bicycle and pedestrian mobility.
‘We want to encourage the use of walking and biking,” said James Winslow, senior project engineer for the city.
Currently, about 8 percent of Goleta’s residents commute by bicycling or walking, each mode evenly divided.
According the master plan, the top reason more people don’t bike or walk is the widely perceived dangers of having to compete with cars on the road. The second biggest barrier is the lack of north-south crossings over Highway 101 and the railroad tracks.
As part of the master plan, the council moves to increase walking and biking commuters from 8 percent to 15 percent by 2025, and to 20 percent by 2030. The city also wants to reduce the number of people who commute alone by 10 percent to 60 percent by 2030.
Councilman Stuart Kasdin said that the visioning document is just about bicyclists and walkers.
“By enabling more bicycle use, we are reducing more congestion of roads and we are allowing the road system to work better without us having to add more lanes,” Kasdin said. “It is an integral tool that we have.”
The document identifies intersections throughout Goleta, determines their levels of safety, and makes recommendations for improvements.
From stop signs and traffic signals, to cross walks and curb extensions, the document identifies dozens of potential changes to enhance mobility and safety. The document identifies areas where more sidewalks are needed to connect streets, as well as spots for new bike lanes.
The master plan also prioritizes areas near schools that would make it safer for students to walk or use bicycles.
Councilman Kyle Richards said that plan helps make Goleta stand out as a leader.
“I am extremely confident that we will be able to create something new and better in the community,” Richards said. “We will be able to create an even better bicycle destination as we move forward. This is going to improve the quality of life for all residents. It is just better for the community.”