Volunteers conduct a walking audit of Lompoc Streets in April as part of transportation project.

Volunteers conduct a walking audit of Lompoc Streets in April as part of transportation project. (Courtesy photo)

Lompoc anticipates receiving an estimated $2.8 million in grant funding to upgrade pedestrian infrastructure in the city and provide local outreach and education.

The grant was secured thanks to the effort of a local applicant partnership and an opportunity provided by the California Transportation Commission’s Active Transportation Program.

The city of Lompoc Engineering Division partnered with Lompoc Valley Community Healthcare Organization (LVCHO) and Lompoc Unified School District (LUSD) last spring seeking funding through Cycle 6 of the California Transportation Commission’s Active Transportation Program.

The funding is for the city of Lompoc Walkability, Community Safety and School Investments Project.

Recently, the applicants were notified that their application was ranked well above the funding cut-off line. Of 544 applications statewide, Lompoc’s application was ranked seventh.

The anticipated $2.8 million award will be used to upgrade pedestrian infrastructure in the areas between and surrounding Lompoc High School (LHS) and Lompoc Valley Middle School (LVMS), and provide a Safe Routes to School-type program for LHS, LVMS, and Hapgood and Clarence Ruth elementary schools.

The proposed project seeks to enhance safety in the neighborhoods around the schools, as well as the Lompoc Family YMCA, College Park Skate Park, Lompoc Aquatic Center, the newly renovated Lompoc Community Track and Field, Half Century Senior Club, and numerous residences and housing complexes.

The proposed project will infill missing sidewalks, add lighting, install five crossing improvements including two flashing beacons, laddered crosswalks, curb ramps and speed-calming signage.

The project will also include pedestrian safety-related community outreach, education, and events, as well as parent outreach, and volunteer “Peace Builder” training focused on ensuring youth a safe passage to school with adult accompaniment.

Lompoc City Manager Dean Albro said he is grateful for the partnership of LVCHO and LUSD on this project, and the work of the city’s engineering division securing funding and developing a plan to improve pedestrian safety in Lompoc.

“Many in Lompoc walk to and from school, and protecting the safety of these students and other pedestrians in the city is a priority,” Albro said. “Working together with our community partners, I am looking forward to taking a major step forward in advancing pedestrian infrastructure within our city.”

Brian Jaramillo, LUSD assistant superintendent, said the school district has appreciated the collaboration with LVCHO and the city of Lompoc to improve safety for Lompoc students.

“Lompoc Unified School District is excited about the impact of the ‘walking school bus’ to help keep students safe to and from school, and the effect of additional staff to help students work out their differences without the use of violence,” Jaramillo said.

LVCHO executive director Ashley Costa noted that with promoting walking and biking being a key element of LVCHO, the Lompoc Walkability, Community Safety and School Investments Project is particularly important to the organization.

She believes both the community’s input and the partnership with the city and school district led to the application’s success.

“Active transportation is a key strategy in combating health inequities,” Costa said. “Not only does walking reduce obesity and the risk for developing costly chronic conditions, improved infrastructure, but accessibility and the promotion of walking has the power to improve the overall quality of life in Lompoc.”

The proposed pedestrian infrastructure improvements are expected to begin in the summer of 2025 with construction lasting around six months. The non-infrastructure programming is anticipated to occur during the 2023/24 school year, running through the 2025/26 school year.

Community members can direct questions on the funding and projects to Lompoc engineering staff, 805-875-8269.