Funds for bike path in Paso approved

Paso Roblans have long asked for a more direct way to safely bike or walk downtown from the city’s east side. Soon, they’ll get their wish.

Money for a new bike path on the city’s east side is part of $410 million in funds allocated to projects statewide this week to help create jobs and reduce traffic congestion.

The funds were made available through Proposition 1B, a 2006 voter-approved transportation bond, according to Caltrans.

A total of $1.55 million was awarded to Paso Robles for two phases of work to extend a bike path about one-fourth of a mile along South River Road from Navajo to Creston roads.

The San Luis Obispo Council of Governments helped secure $355,000 of the total.

The number of jobs the project could generate won’t be available until a contractor is chosen for the work, officials said.City planners hope to bid the project in February or March.

The path extension project will connect the existing River Road and River Parkway trails, which leave pedestrians and cyclists at two dead ends.

One dead end is north of an apartment complex across from Navajo Avenue. Another path just north of there, under the 13th Street Bridge, ends south of where 13th Street turns into Creston Road.

As a result, there’s not a direct way to safely bike or walk downtown from that area. South River Road has tight turns for vehicles, no sidewalk and a thin shoulder on the edge of a deep slope above the Salinas River.

It’s estimated to take nine months to a year to complete construction.