Multi-Use Path Feasibility Studies
In January 2018, MCAG initiated two feasibility studies for conceptual bicycle and pedestrian projects in Merced County. On the west side of the county there is an identified need for a multi-use path connecting the existing bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure in the City of Los Banos to the Merced College Los Banos Campus located on State Route 152. Without a safe, dedicated bicycle and pedestrian path to campus, students are walking, bicycling and skateboarding along the state highway. The distance is approximately one mile of largely rural, agricultural land along a heavily congested goods movement corridor.
On the east side of the county, the concept is to connect the existing bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure in the City of Merced to the unincorporated community of Franklin-Beachwood and beyond to the City of Atwater. Currently, residents walk and bike along the shoulder of Santa Fe Drive between vehicle traffic and the Burlington Northern Santa Fe railroad line. The distance from the City of Merced to the City of Atwater is approximately 5 miles.
Mark Thomas completed the two studies in September 2018. For each feasibility study, multiple alternatives were evaluated against various project factors such as cost, environmental concerns, safety, and right-of-way impacts. The studies also identified possible funding sources for which the projects would be eligible. In fact, The City of Los Banos and Merced County were able to use the findings from the studies to submit applications for Caltrans Active Transportation Program (ATP) Cycle 4 in July of 2018. Based on all the analysis, a preferred alignment was recommended by Mark Thomas for each location. The complete feasibility studies can be accessed with the links below.