Infrastructure Contest: Modesto Junior College Campus Connection

Below is one of five top Infrastructure Projects, selected in our Strongest Infrastructure Project contest by a panel of Strong Towns staff and contributors. Read through this submission and the others, then vote for the strongest.

Find more information about this contest here, and be sure to tune into our ongoing conversation about infrastructure funding in America here.

Name of Project: Modesto Junior College Campus Connection

Location: Modesto, CA

Submitted by: The City of Modesto

Type of project: Public

Map of the bike route(s) from the City of Modesto. Click to view larger.

About the project: The Modesto Junior College Campus Connection project was a 2.2 mile on street bike path that connected the East and West campuses. This has been in the City of Modesto non-motorized plan and other planning documents for years. The problem was that this project had two very large obstacles to overcome: funding and existing barriers. First of all, this project would cost somewhere in the neighborhood of $5,000,000 to $7,000,000 and with dwindling city budgets, this was almost a non-starter from the beginning. The second obstacle was how to build a bicycle overpass to cross railroad tracks slated for California high speed rail or highway 99, either one by themselves would be a monumental task to say the least.

This was the challenge that we faced and we wanted to see if, using Strong Towns principles, we could overcome it. This project began to take shape in the fall of 2013 when local bicycle clubs and advocates begun pushing for the completion of this path. This got the attention of our elected officials and soon became a priority for the City of Modesto and Modesto Junior College.

This 2.3 mile bike path was constructed for approximately $300,000 utilizing slurry seal, striping, concrete parking stops, plastic posts, signage and a little creativity. So how did we do that? We mapped out a route that would use existing roadways with extra width and capacity where lanes could be reconfigured or removed. Using this cost effective method we didn’t have to construct the path, we just rearranged the furniture, so to speak. We then began looking for projects such as upcoming slurry seal or routine maintenance where we could restripe the roadways to accommodate the bike path. This was achieved with a slurry seal scheduled for the summer of 2015. It’s amazing what can be accomplished when a community comes together for a common goal and a purpose—in our case, to connect our campuses.

(Images courtesy of City of Modesto)


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