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Highway Boondoggles

Midweek Call to Action: Stop More Freeway Widening, Stop Cuts to Bike/Walk Projects

The Oakland Alameda "Access" Project, the Gilman Interchange, the Yolo Causeway—why is there always money for car infrastructure, but the pittance allotted to bike and walk projects is the first to get cut?

Photo by Caltrans of another recent widening project, the 101 ‘express lanes’

Bay Area and state advocacy groups are urging people to write in, call, and do whatever they have time for to try and stop another local freeway widening and prevent active transportation funds from getting slashed statewide.

First, the most time-critical one: readers need to stop the 101/92 Direct Connector Project on the Peninsula, another freeway widening

Image: SMCTA

Transportation officials with the county of San Mateo and Caltrans can never add enough car lanes. Now they want to add more lanes again and make an express connector between 101 and 92 in Foster City. From an email alert by the Transbay Coalition:

Similar to other highway widenings, this project would be expensive, ineffective in reducing congestion, and will worsen climate change, air pollution, and quality of life in our area. By the end of day (5/15), we need you to send an email to or fill out this form, expressing your concerns with the project and advocating for the “No Build” option. You can learn more about the project here. Car’s are California’s single largest source of carbon emissions– and we can’t stop climate change if we keep expanding freeways.

And while the state continues to widen freeways, the governor plans to slash active transportation.

Future projects such as this raised bike lane in Fruitvale may not get funded if the governor's budget goes through. Photo: Streetsblog/Rudick

The state's active transportation budget is a rounding error compared to the highway fund. And yet, it's the first thing to get cut. From the California Bicycle Coalition on the governor's May budget revision, which...

...increases the cuts to the Active Transportation Program from $200 million to $600 million. The program pays for critical pedestrian and bicycle safety improvements and is the only transportation program singled out for significant cuts. In 2023, the program gave $539 million in grants, so the governor’s cuts are equivalent to eliminating an entire 2-year funding cycle for bike and pedestrian infrastructure.

Meanwhile, the state continues to go against its own pledges to reduce emissions and vehicle miles traveled with plans to widen the aforementioned 92/101 ramps, the Yolo Causeway, and more.

As Bike Walk's Alameda's Cyndy Johnsen wrote on social media, this hits local projects hard:

There's plenty of money in state transportation coffers, it's just that the lion's share is going to highway expansion, despite our state's climate goals. We need to stop spending billions of dollars actively exacerbating environmental problems and never really solving 'congestion,' and instead invest in better and more sustainable alternatives to driving. Unfortunately, Governor Newsom is proposing to cut Active Transportation in this recent budget update. This is the fund that delivers projects like the new Fruitvale bikeway, btw. We need more in it, not less!

Be sure to check out CalBike's page to learn how to make your views know to the governor and other elected officials.

For more on the state budget, check out Streetsblog California's story.

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