New funding to improve transportation projects

By: Cassandra Garcia

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In a push for more pedestrian projects in Texas, the federal government is funding more alternative transportation projects. 

Channel 5 News spoke to some walkers and cyclists to learn about the community's need for walkways and bike lanes. 

"I probably have maybe six, seven thousand miles on this trail in the past five years," Valley Biker Morgan Battie said.

Battie is a regular along the second street hike and bike trail in McAllen.

He says car drivers do not look out for pedestrians and cyclists at intersections, so he's learned to ride defensively. 

"The majority of them don't pay any attention when they're coming up to the intersections, it's extremely dangerous," Battie said.

Last year alone, there were 290 traffic crashes involving pedestrians and cyclists — thirty-five people died and 60 were seriously injured, but the Texas Department of Transportation has found a solution.

"Constructing bike lanes, sidewalks, and making intersection improvements have shown to reduce these types of crashes," Texas Department of Transportation Pharr spokesperson Ray Pedraza said. 

The federal government has provided TX-DOT with $250 million worth of funding for pedestrian and bike safety projects in Texas. 

"This is the first time that this type of funding is available to all communities across Texas," Pedraza said. "In the past, TX-DOT only distributed this type of funding to communities with population sizes of up to two hundred thousand people."

Pedraza explains that the funding can be used for things like lighting, surveillance cameras, and signage along the trails — in addition to bike lanes and sidewalks, and encourages local communities to take advantage of the opportunity and apply for the funding through TX-DOT. 

Watch the video above for the full report. 


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