2014 Election Wrapup

With the November 4 elections over, it’s time to ask: how did the bicycling community fare?

Ballot Initiatives

With statewide funding for active transportation falling far short of what’s needed to make our communities bike-friendly, voters from all over California choose to take street improvement into local hands.

Alameda County

Measure BB Passed with more than 70% support. Measure BB is a half-cent sales tax that dedicates more than $1 billion dollars for biking and walking, the biggest pot of funding for bike/ped infrastructure in California. Good work, Bike East Bay.

Measure BB
That big 30-year sum for biking and walking probably works out to less than $20 million/year for bike infrastructure, not nearly enough to build out the network in a reasonable amount of time. Bike East Bay’s challenge now is to get Alameda County to front-load the money like San Diego did. It’s not a financial problem, but a political one.

Berkeley’s Measure R was defeated, allowing Berkeley’s progressive, smart-growth Downtown Plan to move forward. This defeat will mean lower greenhouse gas emissions, and more affordable housing, so that people who work in Berkeley can afford to live there — close enough to bike or walk to work!

Monterey County

Measure P is a street repair / infrastructure improvement tax initiative that passed and has a strong likelihood of creating more cycling and pedestrian infrastructure.

Measure Q was another tax initiative to protect mass transit options in Monterey County, which will greatly aid multi-mode commuters who take a bus with their bikes.

San Francisco

Proposition A passed, authorizing a $500 million bond for road improvements, transit reliability and accessibility, and safer conditions for pedestrians, bicyclists, and motorists.

Proposition B passed, requiring the city to increase the base amount of funding it provides transit, walking, and biking by a percentage that equals population growth.

In a repudiation of the backlash against San Francisco’s bike, pedestrian and transit improvements, voters rejected Proposition L with 63% of the vote. Prop L would have made San Francisco a more car-friendly place, maintaining free parking and building more parking garages, and going against the voter-approved “transit first” bike-friendly plan the city has had in place for the past 40 years.

San Luis Obispo County

Voters approved two road repair measures that have the potential to make the streets more bikeable, as long as local advocates succeed in pushing for a “complete streets” philosophy when roads are repaired. Atascadero’s Measure E directs the city to use revenues from a proposed sales tax increase to “repair and maintain neighborhood roads.” Grover Beach’s Measure K authorizes $48 million in bonds for road repair and maintenance. The ballot language includes the need to “enhance safety for pedestrians, bicyclists, drivers, [and] neighborhood school crosswalks.” (It does, though, list these goals after “improve drivability.”)

Santa Clara County

Measure Q passed, authorizing the Santa Clara County Open Space Authority to levy a tax of $24 per parcel annually for 15 years. It funds 26 proposed projects including trail connections among the San Francisco Bay Trail, Penitencia Creek Trail, Coyote Creek Trail, Guadalupe River Trail, and a new San Tomas Aquino/Saratoga Creek Trail through Campbell and Santa Clara.

Some Defeats.

In Los Angeles County, Proposition P failed. This proposed parcel tax would have funded park improvements, water quality and maintenance projects for 30 years, including the completion of the Los Angeles River Greenway.

In Placerville, El Dorado County, Measure K passed. This is ugly. Measure K requires a city-wide vote on the implementation of any roundabout. Roundabouts are a great traffic calming measure that can not only make intersections safer and more accessible for all users, they also make driving a car more efficient in their energy use.

In Turlock, Stanislaus County, Measure B failed. This seven-year 0.5% sales tax would have funded “the construction, reconstruction, replacement, repair and/or maintenance of existing city streets, sidewalks, curbs, gutters, ramps, pedestrian/bicycle improvements, including Americans with Disabilities Act improvements, and necessary pavement markings.”

Winning Local Leaders:

  • Pam O’Connor, whom CalBike endorsed, kept her seat on the Santa Monica City Council.
  • Bike Bakersfield founder and board member Bob Smith won re-election to the Bakersfield City Council against an opponent who made Smith’s pro-bicycling agenda a central issue in the campaign.
  • SLO County Bicycle Coalition Executive Director Dan Rivoire won a seat on the City Council as the top vote-getter of three elected to the Council.
  • Former East Bay Bicycle Coalition Executive Director Robert Raburn won reelection to his seat on the BART Board of Directors.

New State Legislators:

We will be working with many new faces in the in the State Legislature, including 21 new Assembly Members who will serve according to the new term limits law that gives them a full twelve years in office. These are likely to be our leaders for a long time; we intend to educate them about the importance of bicycling right away.

John Cork contributed to this article.