Paso Robles resident Christa Beard enjoys a bike ride with her kids now and again to grab a book at the library or explore the local parks.
While she would love to pedal to their soccer games at Barney Schwartz Park as well, Beard said she’d never consider riding on one of the main east-side connectors — Union Road.
The winding thoroughfare with its notorious segment of sloped, crumbling shoulders, narrow turns and cracked asphalt is one of the city’s worst-kept streets.
“That stretch is pretty rough,” Beard said. “I wouldn’t ride my bike over there, and I have (a bike) trailer with the kids. They wouldn’t want to be on there, either.”
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But a recent move to improve that section next year could smooth the ride. Earlier this month, the City Council accepted a $533,500 state grant toward new asphalt and bike lanes on Union Road between Kleck Road and Montebello Oaks Drive. The city will contribute $150,000. The section is under a mile.
Engineering studies to be completed in coming months will determine the total cost of the project. Then work could begin as soon as summer, officials said.
For Beard, the addition of bike lanes to any road is crucial to where she decides ride. Without them, she said, it’s simply too dangerous for everyone.
The state’s Bicycle Transportation Account grant is designed to create such safety features for cyclists.
The annual funding program helps city and county projects statewide improve safety and convenience for bicycle commuters, according to Caltrans’ website.