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Caltrans Broadens Its Mission As Californians Change The Way They Travel

A cyclist rides in a new bike lane.

Photo by Roland Lizarondo

Above: A cyclist rides in a new bike lane.

Audio

Californians have a reputation for loving their cars. But an increasing number of us are choosing other modes of transportation. And, as Katie Orr reports from Sacramento, Caltrans is trying to keep up.

Transcript

Californians have a reputation for loving their cars. But an increasing number of us are choosing other modes of transportation, and Caltrans is trying to keep up.

The state transportation agency's most recent household survey found Californians are walking and bicycling twice as much as they did 10 years ago.

The department’s Mark Dinger said the days of simply creating wider freeways are over.

“That was, you know, our grandfather’s Caltrans, where we thought about pouring more concrete all the time," Dinger said. "Well, pouring more concrete is not the answer. We need a sustainable transportation system that’s going to be good for our environment and good for our health, too.”

Dinger said Caltrans is awarding millions of dollars to cities and counties for projects that encourage biking and walking. And he said the agency has become more flexible with street designs to allow for better bike lanes and crosswalks.

Dinger said Caltrans has also gone through internal reforms to more accurately reflect its broader mission.

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