City officials and community members gathered at Grogan Park on Thursday to celebrate the completion of a pedestrian and bike access improvement project along Blosser Road from Atlantic Place to Taylor Street.

The $900,000 project began in June and included the creation of wider bike lanes, a "road diet" decreasing the number of traffic lanes from four to two, and a new center median, along with upgraded corner curb ramps and a marked crosswalk on Atlantic Place.

Santa Maria Public Works Director Kevin McCune said that despite being close to recreational sites like the Santa Maria Levee Trail, this area of Blosser Road has been impacted by high-speed traffic that makes it unsafe for many families to enjoy. 

With these changes, however, he expects vehicle speeds to slow while still maintaining a traffic flow, and pedestrians and bikers to have more access to the road and nearby areas.

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Along with the enhanced bike lanes and the improved and expanded center divider along Blosser Road, the project also added a new crosswalk where the roadway turns onto Atlantic Place at the entrance to the Tom Urbanske Trail along the Santa Maria River. 

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"For this side of town, Blosser is the main point you'd access to go north to the levee, and it suffered from high speeds and a narrow bike path," McCune said. "Now, young kids and families can ride safely north and feel comfortable about getting to the levee."

The new bike lanes have been changed from the 4-foot Class II lanes to Class IV lanes, making them protected bike paths that are separated from traffic by a barrier, McCune said.  

The project was funded mostly by a Cycle 7 Highway Safety Improvement Program Grant as well as the Local Surface Transportation Program. The city contracted G. Sosa Construction of Santa Maria to carry out the project.

Members of the Santa Barbara Bike Coalition, who have long advocated for increased bike activity in northern Santa Barbara County, were present at the ribbon-cutting ceremony, along with Mayor Alice Patino, members of the City Council and Police Department officials. 

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