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California reconnecting divided communities with highway transformation

Reconnecting Communities: Highways to Boulevards,” a pilot project to reconnect underserved communities historically divided by highways will focus on revitalizing neighborhoods in Arcata, South San Francisco, and southeast San Diego/National City.

It’s being called “a paradigm shift” in transportation planning, prioritizing equity, inclusivity, and community empowerment.

“Transportation at its best is a uniter – connecting people and communities with convenient and safe access to jobs, family, and services,” said California Transportation Secretary Toks Omishakin. “Transportation at its worst is a barrier – dividing communities, increasing harms, and cutting off access to opportunity. We must strive to always unite and never divide.”

The program, outlined as part of the Climate Action Plan for Transportation Infrastructure, will repurpose underutilized highways into dynamic corridors and public spaces. Caltrans, the California Department of Transportation, will collaborate closely with the selected communities to realize their vision for revitalization.

“These collaborations will be unlike any in Caltrans history and empower a new generation of community-driven transportation decisions,” said Caltrans Director Tony Tavares. “Caltrans will work hand-in-hand with community-based partners and cities on solutions to reconnect neighborhoods that have been split by highway projects and help heal past harms.”

Groups in Arcata, South San Francisco, and southeast San Diego/National City, including community-based organizations. will help develop, plan, and implement projects aimed at dismantling historical transportation inequities and fostering holistic community development.

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