Reedley council ‘moves’ transportation, parkway plan along

Reedley’s updated active transportation master plan paves the way for grant, development opportunities

Reedley City Council members addressing concerns from the public regarding the Bio Lab discovered in the city at its Aug. 8 meeting. (Kenny Goodman)
Serena Bettis
Published March 18, 2024  • 
11:00 am

REEDLEY – With the recent adoption of the Reedley Moves Active Transportation and Parkway Master Plan, Reedley has laid down a path to a more pedestrian-friendly city and maximized future grant potential. 

The Reedley City Council unanimously adopted the plan at the March 12 regular meeting after more than two years spent working with a consultant to develop the plan and gather community input. An active transportation master plan brings a variety of benefits to Reedley, including more opportunities for state and federal grant funding and a clear direction for improving the quality of life in the city.

“Continued investments in active modes of transportation, such as biking and walking, are essential to support the health and well-being of Reedley’s growing community and to provide a greater range of transportation options,” the Reedley Moves plan says.

As defined by the plan, “active transportation” includes getting around by way of both walking and through micromobility, which could be the use of wheelchairs, powerchairs and mobility scooters, bicycles, skateboards, rollerblades, electric bikes and more — basically anything other than a vehicle. 

City Engineer Marilou Morales explained that the creation of the plan was made possible through a California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) Sustainable Transportation Planning Grant awarded in partnership with nonprofit CivicWell. 

Reedley was awarded the grant in July 2021, entered into a professional services agreement with CivicWell in February 2022 and put out a Request for Proposal (RFP) for a consultant in April 2022. Through the RFP, Reedley began working with national firm Toole Design Group to prepare the plan. 

One purpose of the plan was to update the 2019 Bicycle and Pedestrian Mobility Plan with additional recommendations for ways to improve pedestrian and bicycle use, comfort and safety across the city. Additionally, the plan says it “lays the groundwork for expansion of the Reedley Parkway — a key amenity that has inspired many residents to get active outdoors since its inception.” 

Additionally, the plan will help Reedley go after grant opportunities to make improvements to its streets, sidewalks and trails. According to the city staff report on the item, the plan will also help the city apply for competitive grants distributed through the Fresno Council of Governments (COG). 

Morales said that when the city received a grant for the sidewalk project around Jefferson Elementary School, the state had mentioned that to apply to future iterations of that grant, the city would need to have an active transportation plan. 

Reedley Moves Plan

During the council meeting, Aaron Sussman, a principal planner for Toole, explained to the council the plan’s development process and findings.

To develop the plan, Sussman said that Toole gathered public input through a variety of methods, including an online survey, interaction with residents at community events, workshops with stakeholders like the Reedley Parks and Recreation Foundation, walk and bike audits and more. 

Sussman specifically gave a shout-out to the Reedley Junior Chamber of Commerce, which Toole conducted a work session with to “hear from voices that you don’t typically hear in a public engagement and outreach process.” 

“That was really illuminating for things like what are the types of destinations that teenagers find most desireable, and then what are the types of barriers that they find to getting to those places without a vehicle,” Sussman said. 

Feedback from the public was then directly incorporated into the recommendations Toole put into the plan. 

Sussman, who lives in New Mexico, visited Reedley while working on the plan, and said that he greatly enjoyed using the Reedley Parkway and seeing how it can continue to help expand opportunities for outdoor recreation. 

“We can make Reedley something of a hub, too, for people to come, to spend an afternoon, check out the Reedley Parkway, spend money at local businesses — those all have real quality of life and economic benefits as well,” Sussman said.

The plan outlines three top priorities that came about from public input: expanding and enhancing the Reedley Parkway, expanding on-street bike lanes and improving pedestrian connections. 

One of the overarching themes of the plan’s recommendations has to do with connecting the current active transportation pathways with each other to allow residents to move around the entire city, not just sections of it. 

This would include expanding and connecting sections of the Reedley Parkway to form a loop around the city and making pedestrian safety enhancements at certain intersections to allow for pedestrian movement in otherwise avoided areas. 

Councilmember Mary Fast had concerns about some of the recommendations provided in the plan, specifically about creating bicycle boulevards and tightening certain intersections, but City Manager Nicole Zieba assured the council that the plan’s recommendations were take-it-or-leave-it; adopting the plan did not mean adopting every single recommendation. 

Other than concerns about those certain aspects, Fast, along with the other council members, approved the plan and said she was excited to see continued expansion of the Parkway, which she uses frequently.

“I appreciate that you (Sussman) actually came to Reedley, because you’ll see the jewel that we have here, and I’m excited about things going forward to make our trail around the city a reality, so thank you Marilou and your staff for making this happen,” Fast said.

Serena Bettis
General Assignment Reporter