Groundbreaking Effort Reconnects Communities Divided by Freeways


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SACRAMENTO — Governor Gavin Newsom on Tuesday announced a pilot program to reconnect three communities historically divided by transportation infrastructure in California. The Reconnecting Communities: Highways to Boulevards grant program will increase access and traveling options in underserved and underinvested neighborhoods in Arcata, South San Francisco and southeast San Diego/National City.

“California is once again leading the way to repair the shameful history of redlining and other exclusionary policies of the past, said Governor Gavin Newsom. “We are advancing equity in historically underserved and underinvested areas through a community-driven vision to reconnect neighborhoods and support more vibrant spaces for Californians."

“Transportation at its best is a uniter – connecting people and communities with convenient and safe access to jobs, family and services,” said California Transportation Secretary Toks Omishakin. “Transportation at its worst is a barrier – dividing communities, increasing harms and cutting off access to opportunity. We must strive to always unite and never divide, and today represents an important step in righting the wrongs of the past by putting people and communities first.”

The pilot program, initially proposed in the Climate Action Plan for Transportation Infrastructure, seeks to convert underused highways that divide underserved communities into multimodal corridors and vibrant public spaces. Caltrans will assist the selected communities in working from concept to project delivery on a community-driven vision to reconnect their neighborhoods. This includes helping pilot communities to obtain additional grant support for project completion, including the application for the federal Reconnecting Communities and Neighborhoods Grant Program.

“These collaborations will be unlike any in Caltrans history and empower a new generation of community-driven transportation decisions,” said Caltrans Director Tony Tavares. “Caltrans will work hand-in-hand with community-based partners and cities on solutions to reconnect neighborhoods that have been split by highway projects and help heal past harms.”

Caltrans will begin engaging partners in all three cities, including community-based organizations to develop, plan and ultimately build projects that address the historic transportation inequities by connecting transit, housing, jobs, parks and open spaces through community-based transportation planning, design, demolition, and/or reconstruction. This effort will help advance health and equity outcomes by removing barriers associated with transportation infrastructure.

Click here to learn more about each project.