PIEDMONT -- The city is seeking letters of support from residents for a grant it is applying for from the Alameda County Transportation Commission to develop a pedestrian and bicycle plan for Piedmont.

The purpose of the letters is to show support for the plan that includes a "safe routes to school" component. The city has and will hold public meetings to gather input from residents for the plan -- to identify projects, programs and policies that make walking and bicycling in the city safer.

The grant is very competitive, with all cities in Alameda County able to apply for a "pot of money" that would be portioned out, City Planner Kate Black said.

"The letters are a really important component of the grant application," Black said. "We've received 15 and are hoping for a lot more."

The grant would be about $100,000. The city will receive word sometime this summer. If it is awarded, the money would be used to fully develop the bike/pedestrian plan which could include better crosswalks, pedestrian bulbs and islands, bike racks and signage.

"Then we can go out for more grant funding to build the projects," she said.

Letters must be received by March 13 to be included in the grant application. Copies of the letters will also be forwarded to the Planning Commission and City Council.

Tips for writing letters are included on the city's website at www.ci.piedmont.ca.us. You may click on the city announcement to email your letter to the city, or letters may be dropped off at City Hall, 120 Vista Ave. Information requested in letters includes describing briefly how walking or biking would improve the community; describing your relationship to Piedmont; whether you live or work in the city, have school children, walk or bike to work or recreation; and if so, where? Would you walk or bike to work, but it doesn't feel safe or pleasant enough? Include your name at the bottom of the letter or email.

The bike plan promotes redesigning some streets to make them more attractive and slow down traffic. The proposed plan also would reduce congestion and gas emissions while promoting physical activity and health. For questions, contact Black at 510-420-3063.

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