Mad River Union
McKINLEYVILLE – New sidewalks and bike lanes may be built near McKinleyville High School and Morris School in the coming years if the County of Humboldt is successful in obtaining grant funding.
Among the projects asked for in the county’s application for state Active Transportation Program grant funding is the widening of McKinleyville Avenue between Gassoway and Murray roads north of the high school. Mack Town residents have complained for years about the narrow stretch of roadway, which has no sidewalks or shoulders, but is regularly used by students walking to or from school.
The proposal calls for widening the roadway within the county’s existing right of way. On the west side of McKinleyville Avenue, from Murray to Gassoway, would be a four-footwide paved lane dedicated to pedestrians, and a four-foot-wide paved lane for bicyclists. The east side of the road would be painted with “share the road” symbols.
“We think this is a unique solution to what’s going on there,” Humboldt County Deputy Director of Engineering Tony Seghetti told the McKinleyville Municipal Advisory Committee (McKMAC) on May 25. Seghetti and Emily Sinkhorn of the Redwood Community Action Agency were at the McKMAC meeting to ask for a letter in support of the grant application, which the advisory committee enthusiastically approved.
The project would also include construction of a sidewalk on the west side of McKinleyville Avenue just south of Murray Road. Pedestrians who want to get off the street now use a dirt footpath that runs parallel to the roadway on an undeveloped parcel.
The intersection of McKinleyville Avenue and Murray Road would be outfitted with bulb-outs at each corner and improved crosswalks.
A mid-block pedestrian crossing with a bulb-out and flashing lights would be installed on McKinleyville Avenue just south of the Northern Humboldt Union High School District Office.
The existing bulb-out, recently installed on Murray Road near Little Pond Street would also be outfitted with flashing lights, warning motorists when pedestrians are crossing the road.
Over on Bates Road, bicycle lanes would be installed on both sides of the street between McKinleyville Avenue and the Mid-Town Trail.
The grant application also includes an educational component, which could be used to teach children and teens safe bicycling.
If the application for the $500,000 grant is successful, the money would be available in 2019 or 2020.