A bill that would have improved the way speed limits are created was amended in the Assembly Transportation Committee on Monday to just call for more study. Currently, speed limits are set by measuring the speed of drivers in free flow conditions, then, after measuring 100 drivers, the speed limit is set at the 5 mph increment nearest the speed of the 16th fastest driver (the 85th percentile speed). Half of the time, this means rounding up to an even higher speed.
Assembly Bill 2363 (Friedman) would have allowed agencies to round down in locations with a high "potential for, and frequency of, traffic collisions resulting in death or injury." At the request of the American Automobile Association, the Teamsters, and the California Highway Patrol, the bill now directs the Secretary of Transportation to create a Vision Zero Task Force in order to study the impacts of speed on traffic deaths and injuries and ways to change our practices in California.
We don’t need more study. We already know that speed is the biggest factor in traffic crashes, and speed limits are an imperfect but important tool in keeping speeds down. “Let me be clear,” said Jennifer Cohen of the Los Angeles Department of Transportation, “Because of state law, Los Angeles had to raise speed limits on 95 miles of our roads last year." Cohen’s testimony on Monday was joined by the support of CalBike, California Walks, Los Angeles Walks, Transform, and representatives from the cities of San Francisco and Long Beach.
Despite the opposition, Assemblymember Friedman is dedicated to keeping the idea alive and along with the Chair of the Assembly Transportation Committee, Jim Frazier, is seeking our support for further amendments that can make the most of the opportunities and lead to some action to support lower speed limits and not just talk.
On Thursday, March 29, at 3:30, you are invited to join a conference call to hear from CalBike's Dave Snyder and our lobbyist Steve Wallauch of Platinum Advisors about our work to create an incentive program that will subsidize the purchase and operation of e-bikes in California.
We are doing this work because low-speed electric bikes and cargo e-bikes can serve the same role in reducing greenhouse gas emissions that electric cars and electric delivery vehicles serve. Therefore, they deserve the same support from the state's Air Resources Board. We're also doing it because e-bikes so substantially improve the feasibility of bicycling for so many people that their proliferation strengthens our movement, because after all, people on e-bikes need the same protected bikeways and paths and safe streets that people on regular bikes need.
The update will focus on the information below and provide an opportunity to ask questions and learn more about our campaign. We'll also share anything we've learned at the state's Clean Transportation Summit where Dave is speaking on March 27.
To join the call, dial (605) 475-3220 and enter passcode 510816.
Update: The CTC sent us 30 lbs of records in response to our letters! But it's not enough by any measure. We need more information for real accountability. We've responded with a request for further records and justification of any delay or withholding, and the CalBike policy team will keep you up to date as we learn more about the projects funded by these 3 massive new programs.
Last year's Road Repair and Accountability Act, Senate Bill 1, augmented California's transportation budget by $5.2 billion a year. The law and the discussion around its adoption emphasized repaving and rebuilding, with relatively little (still too much) dedicated to new auto traffic capacity. The California Transportation Commission is responsible for implementing the law as it distributes those and more dollars to projects around the state.
How well is it meeting the letter and the intent of SB1 and the state's other transportation policies aimed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and support equity and active transportation? We're not sure.
That's why CalBike's Senior Policy Advocate Jared Sanchez has asked for data to analyze the projects funded by the CTC. The data is public, but it's not accessible. Sanchez is going to change that.
Below is the list of data that Sanchez requested, and for which we're still waiting. We will keep you updated as we get the data and analyze the CTC's funding priorities according to the state's stated priorities and our own equity- and active transportation-oriented values.
• All submitted project application packages proposed to the California Transportation Commission by county, regional, and state agencies for Local Partnership Program (LPP)—for both the formulaic and competitive programs. LPP project application packages were submitted to the Commission and were due by December 15, 2017 for the former and January 30, 2018 for the latter. “Project application packages” include project nominations and all supporting documentation starting on page 9 of the 2018 Local Partnership Program Guidelines adopted October 18, 2017.
• All submitted project application packages proposed to the California Transportation Commission by county, regional, and state agencies for Trade Corridor Enhancement Program (TCEP). TCEP project application packages were submitted to the Commission and were due by January 30, 2018. “Project application packages” include project nominations and all supporting documentation starting on page 13 of the 2018 Trade Corridor Enhancement Program Guidelines adopted October 18, 2017.
• All submitted project application packages proposed to the California Transportation Commission by county, regional, and state agencies for the Solutions for Congested Corridors Program (SCCP). SCCP project application packages were submitted to the Commission and were due by February 16, 2018. “Project application packages” include project nominations and all supporting documentation starting on page 9 of the 2018 Solutions for Congested Corridors Program Guidelines adopted December 6, 2017.
• All submitted Regional Transportation Improvement Programs (RTIPs) presented to the California Transportation Commission by regional agencies for the 2018 State Transportation Improvement Program (STIP). 2018 STIP proposals were submitted through these RTIPs and were due to the Commission by December 15, 2017.
Complete Streets for Another Day
Sometimes, even your best effort to dot all the I’s and cross all the T’s can get thwarted by a more influential force. At the first Senate Transportation and Housing Committee hearing of the new year held on Tuesday January 9th, SB 760 became the first casualty of the state legislature’s effort to protect SB 1 implementation efforts.
SB 760, our Complete Streets policy that would bring accountability measures the State Department of Transportation for the implementation of internal policies, was striped down by committee amendments to only include the most non-controversial provision—the adoption of the NACTO urban design guide into the Highway Design Manual.
CalBike's push to bring Complete Streets to all of California's communities continues; make sure to keep up with our campaign and help us take the next steps.
Bikes Yield Law Killed for Now
The authors of our common sense bill to require bicycle riders to yield and stop if necessary at stop sign-controlled intersections pulled their bill from consideration last week. Assemblymember Phil Ting (D-San Francisco) and Carl Obernolte (R-Barstow) said that opposition from the California chapters of the American Automobile Association and the Police Chiefs Association, among others, could not be overcome.
This bill would have made California third among U.S. states, behind Idaho and Delaware, to recognize that people on bikes have different vulnerabilities and capabilities when they approach an intersection and deserve different treatment than people in cars. It would have legalized a common practice and made riding a bike safer and more convenient, and it would have reduced unfair and capricious enforcement.
The arguments against the bill made no logical sense but were powerful nevertheless. When this bill comes back we’ll be better equipped to address the arguments with equally powerful appeals.
Automated Speed Enforcement Legalization Pulled
Enforcing speed limits with safety cameras is a proven technology that prevents crashes and saves lives. They don’t racially discriminate. They’re working in 140 U.S. cities and counting, but they're banned in California.
A bill to fix this by allowing San Jose and San Francisco to implement a pilot program was killed last week when its authors chose to pull the bill from consideration. The bill would have permitted automated speed enforcement with strict conditions to ensure they do their job to save lives and are not merely tools to increase revenues. We support our partners in San Jose and San Francisco and look forward to the next session when we hope this idea is revived.
The last day for the Governor to sign or veto legislation approved in the 2017 session has come and gone, and we're ready with updates on several key bills with the power to shape transportation across our state.
CalBike's policy and advocacy work doesn't end when the session ends or when legislators head home on recess; keep up with us here on our blog, on Twitter, and over at Facebook to get The Latest on the day-to-day work of transportation advocacy and learn more about how you can get involved.
SB 702-Stern (D-Canoga Park) Get More State Employees Rolling
California’s state employee bike share program was just launched in Sacramento with 100 bicycles, and Senate Bill 702 from our friend would have expanded the program across the state where feasible.
Although SB 702 had no opposition in the legislature, the Governor vetoed the bill, describing it as “unnecessary” and saying that the Dept of General Services should "assess the demand for bike share and expand the state employee bike share program" within its existing authority.
CalBike sponsored this bill because we know that expanding access to bicycles for California's hundreds of thousands of state employees is a necessary component of any comprehensive program to reduce car trips by state employees. It reduces traffic, reduces the burden of health care costs imposed on the state by making employees healthier, and it enables more cost-effective and efficient transportation.
Technically, the Governor was correct in saying the bill was unnecessary. So was his veto—unless his intention is not to expand the program within the “existing authority” of the Department of General Services.
Your California Bicycle Coalition is meeting with the Department of General Services in November to learn about their plans, or lack thereof, to expand bike share statewide. We'll see if the Governor is serious about meeting the demand for bike share—we'll and keep you informed in case you need to take action.
AB 179 - Cervantes (D-Corona) - CTC Reform
Long overdue, this bill is passed into law and takes us one step closer to reforming the California Transportation Commission. Originally written to require that at least one Commissioner have experience working with disadvantaged communities, the bill was watered down to require the Governor to “make every effort” to ensure the Commission has “a diverse membership with expertise in transportation issues,” and to consider “socioeconomic background and professional experience, which may include experience working in, or representing, disadvantaged communities.” We are hopeful that this—and the next—Governor heeds the message of this bill so that we see a more diverse commission in the future. We will suggest candidates and advocate for their appointment.
AB 17 - Holden (D-Pasadena) - Student Transit Pass Program
Despite near-unanimous bipartisan support from both houses of the Legislature, this pilot program was vetoed by the Governor. Along with our partners, we look forward to having further conversations with the Administration next year to bring clarity to the bill and help all of California's students to get to and stay in school.
SB 150 - Allen (D-Santa Monica) - Regional Transportation Planning
The signing of this bill into law by the Governor will strengthen our state’s climate program by requiring regions to report on their climate protection efforts. The bill secures SB 375’s vision to tie together land use and transportation planning as a strategy for reducing greenhouse gas emissions (GHGs).
AB 390 - Santiago (D-Los Angeles) - Pedestrian Walking Signals
Finally some clarity for pedestrians in crosswalks, this bill was signed by the Governor and law now states that pedestrians may enter an intersection and cross during a countdown signal that is accompanied by a flashing hand signal or “Don’t Walk,” as long as they reach the other end of the intersection before the hand or “Don’t Walk” signal goes steady. We can't penalize pedestrians for poorly timed crosswalk countdown signals; all our streets should be Complete Streets, where everyone has the right and ability to use the roadways safely.
AB 805 - Gonzalez Fletcher (D-San Diego) - San Diego County Transportation Agencies
A major success for transportation justice, this is an important step to better represent transit riders, bicyclists, and pedestrians from low-income communities in regional decision-making.