Fast, flexible funds: TDM mini-grants
Applications close June 30 for projects that encourage alternatives to driving

A Walk Alhambra stenciled wayfinding sign on the sidewalk.

April 26, 2019: Does your organization need funding for a great idea that would help get people out of their cars? SACOG has grants available for small non-infrastructure programs, events, or projects to reduce single occupancy vehicle trips and miles by encouraging biking, walking, riding transit, carpooling, vanpooling, and teleworking as options for reducing car trips.

Up to $10,000 is available per project, with recent grants including first/last mile transit solutions, art trails, bike safety courses, and innovative mobility projects such as the Phantom Auto autonomous vehicle testing.

The project’s main goal need not be to reduce driving. One such innovative project was the Walk Alhambra wayfinding project done by the Midtown Association last fall. Designed to help promote its newly launched Alhambra branding, the project used stenciled chalk paint signs on sidewalks to direct people to local amenities such as coffee shops, with the goal being to get area residents and workers familiar with the attractions of the neighborhood.

This meant educating people that “you don’t always have to get in your vehicle for any trip you take,” said Jameson Parker, Midtown Association’s director of advocacy and capital improvements. “Why get in your car and drive to Starbucks when there’s three coffeeshops within walking distance of Sutter Health?”

The key goal was to promote Alhambra businesses but the project was also a way to test if wayfinding could “increase walking in an area with a good job base and lots of amenities within walking distance,” said Parker.

The test resulted in a six percent rise in pedestrians over the six weeks of the campaign compared to the prior six weeks but more important was the ongoing awareness of walkable destinations that came from the educational component of the campaign, said Parker.

He said that while applying for funds from many public agencies could be “cumbersome and time-consuming,” the TDM mini-grant, which approves funds on a rolling basis three weeks after an application is received, was “streamlined and open to many types of projects.”

Applicants for these grants must be either local governments and special districts; nonprofit organizations;  community colleges, colleges, and universities, or K-12 public education institutions, although applicants can partner with private sector companies. Projects that focus on testing a new strategy or tactic for changing travel behavior will be prioritized.

For more information and to apply, see the TDM mini-grant information page.

If you would like news like this sent to you monthly, sign up for SACOG’s newsletter the Current