To advocate for more equitable, inclusive and prosperous communities, we “follow the money” and that means we engage intensely with the CTC.
At the state level, the California Transportation Commission (CTC) controls most of the federal and state sources of the transportation budget—a whopping $18 billion a year—and therefore the priorities of our state’s transportation agencies.
Reforming our state’s transportation system to address the failures of the past must include reforming our transportation decisionmaking bodies at all levels of government.
We attend public meetings across the state, pursue critical meetings with staff and commissioners, work with partner organizations to influence Commission policy implementation to better serve all Californians, and generally provide guidance to their operations and actions while simultaneously keeping a close eye for problematic or promising policies in order to share with mobility groups on the ground at the local level.
While our work is helping our members, constituents, and allies who don’t have the capacity to engage with state policymakers get better results from the CTC, we are also working to improve the CTC. This year’s AB 179, signed into law by Governor Brown last week, called for 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.”
AB 179 is part of a series of efforts to reform the powerful California Transportation Commission, an executive body with far-reaching impact. Transportation investments affect all Californians, and they often disproportionately burden our lowest-income communities. But the CTC currently has no requirements that its appointed commissioners have any experience with important issues like pollution impacts, sustainable and active transportation, or public health.
This particular bill initially proposed a mandate that the CTC must include representation from experts who live and work in underserved and environmental justice communities and eventually evolved that mandate into a mere suggestion—despite the fact that almost two-thirds of the Assembly voted for the mandate. Once it arrived in the Senate, Chairman of the Senate Transportation and Housing Committee Senator Beall (D-Campbell) forcefully acknowledged that “we need to have a more diverse state transportation commission.” His call reflects an encouraging shift away from the status quo in transportation decision-making. CalBike will be holding Beall and our other leaders accountable when the next opportunity to appoint diverse representation to the Commission comes up.
In the meantime, we are fiercely urging to the Brown Administration to heed AB 179’s suggestion, and reverse the long history of the CTC operating with zero accountability to the people of California. Relying on AB 179, however, is not enough. In fact, the new law may have unintended consequences by stifling more direct and transformative reform and/or allowing decision makers to use it as an escape clause to pacify growing legitimate dissent. It’s our job to not let that happen.
We’ll never be afraid to stand by our values and will always refuse to give a free pass to unsustainable, unsafe, or inequitable transportation policy decisions. CalBike will continue to pressure the CTC to continue to engage with transportation and environmental justice advocates, residents, and communities.
Photo Credit: David De la Cruz/EYCEJ
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.
CalBike’s policy team is often asked this question—how many jurisdictions across the state have invested in robust community planning for walk and bike facilities? And the follow up—how much would it cost to build all the high priority projects that cities and counties have identified in those plans? A sum of the total cost statewide to build out bike and walk networks in every neighborhood would be very powerful, and would demonstrate the shortfall of current funding streams dedicated to walking and bicycling.
In early 2017 our policy intern Lydia Davenport set out on a massive project to help answer these questions, and the result is our newly-released California Bicycle & Pedestrian Plan Inventory. Lydia spent six months doing online searches, emailing, and calling the 58 counties and 482 cities in California to identify which had plans, how recently they were adopted or updated, and whether the plans included cost estimates for what it would take to build out all the projects in the plan. Lydia then catalogued all this information in a database. Here’s a few highlights:
- 276 out of the 482 cities have active transportation plans, with 16 more currently in the draft or planning stages.
- 146 of those city plans have been adopted or updated in the last 5 years.
- 194 city plans include a complete cost estimate for building out the projects in the plan.
- 46 out of 58 counties have plans, and 4 are currently in the draft or planning stages.
- 30 of those county plans have been adopted or updated in the last 5 years.
- Only 28 of the county plans include a cost estimate for building out the plan.
This analysis clearly shows that there is a significant need for more and better planning. Robust planning that is informed by local residents is critical for developing good, effective projects that people will embrace and use once they are built. When cities and counties adopt a bike and pedestrian plan they often show a strong commitment to funding and building the identified projects, and to increasing walking and bicycling. Planning is also a requirement to be eligible for many competitive grant programs, so jurisdictions that haven’t developed a plan will struggle to find funding when their residents demand better facilities.
Here at CalBike we are particularly concerned about identifying those planning gaps, and finding ways to help underserved cities and neighborhoods that don’t have plans. Now that we have this inventory of communities with and without plans, we can support local advocacy efforts where they are needed most to develop, update, and build out a plan.
It’s also very important that the plans are current and not outdated. Local support for a project will shift if too many years pass between planning and building a project, and facility design standards are evolving and improving rapidly as more cities expand their bike networks. For example, Class IV bikeways—also called “protected bike lanes”—weren’t a legal facility based on Caltrans standards until 2014. Plans that pre-date 2014 more than likely don’t include any protected bike lanes, even though we know today that they are preferred by the average person bicycling on high speed and high volume streets because they provide a physical buffer from traffic.
Unfortunately this project did not help us answer the question about the total statewide need for funding to build out walk and bike networks in every neighborhood. Fewer than half of the plans that exist contain cost estimates that are accurate or current enough to be useful in estimating the funding need. However, we are working on other creative methods to estimate the statewide need, such as by looking at cities that do have accurate up-to-date cost estimates in their plans and using those as a basis for cities of comparable size. Stay tuned for more on this work in the near future.
We’re excited to release our California Bicycle & Pedestrian Plan Inventory. As a living resource, it will need to be updated regularly as new plans are created and existing plans are revised. With your help, we can keep the inventory current and accurate. Please check that we have current and accurate information for your city and county, and let us know when we should update it.
The legislature may be on summer break, but CalBike is hard at work preparing for the next round of opportunities to advocate for a better California for all. Read on for an update on key legislation we're sponsoring or tracking, and keep up with our blog for opportunities to get involved.
Get State Employees Rolling: SB 702 (Stern)
This CalBike-sponsored bill expands California’s state employee bike share program, currently limited to just under 100 bikes; SB 702 passed the Senate Committee on Accountability and Administrative Review and is headed to the Appropriations Committee. While the bill was amended to say the state is required to expand bikeshare wherever it’s both feasible and “reasonable” rather than just feasible, we’re excited about the potential expansion of this program.
CalBike is sponsoring this bill because we know that expanding access to bicycles for California's hundreds of thousands of state employees means getting more cars off the road, promoting bicycling, and helping our neighbors to make healthier choices. Increasing bicycling and reducing fossil fuel use and traffic congestion are critical priorities for our state and bike shares can help to meet those needs. This is an opportunity to help our state's employees to be part of the transportation system of the future, and CalBike is ready to keep up the fight for a sustainable state vehicle fleet.
Require Qualified Representation: AB 179 (Cervantes)
AB 179 is part of a series of efforts to reform the powerful California Transportation Commission, an executive body with far-reaching impact. Transportation investments affect all Californians, and they often disproportionately burden our lowest-income communities-but the CTC currently has no requirements that it’s appointed commissioners have any experience with important issues like pollution impacts, sustainable and active transportation, or public health. Legislation like AB 179 aims to change that.
This particular bill has evolved from a mandate that the CTC must include representation from experts that live and work in underserved and environmental justice communities to a guideline suggesting that the governor should “use every effort” to ensure diverse and experienced appointments, but CalBike still sees AB 179, now headed to the Senate Appropriations Committee, as a step in the right direction. The fact that Chairman of the Senate Transportation and Housing Committee Senator Beall (D-Campbell) forcefully acknowledged that “We need to have a more diverse state transportation commission” is representative of an encouraging shift away from the status quo in transportation decision-making. CalBike agrees and we plan to hold him to ensuring the state follows through on that statement when the next opportunity to appoint diverse representation to the commission comes up.
Free Transit for Students: AB 17 (Holden)
AB 17 creates a free transit pass program for low-income students in middle school through university, enabling students all over the state to get to and stay in school. Investing in student transit programs is an investment in our future. Besides elevating the lifelong potential of our students, these programs can help to improve our transit systems, create lifelong transit users, reduce carbon emissions and traffic congestion, and reduce strain on low-income families.
The bill passed the Senate Transportation & Housing Committee and is headed into the Committee on Appropriations, where it faces a tough fight for funding. The concept of a free transit program is extremely popular but finding a consistent funding source for it is the real challenge.
Hold Cities Accountable: SB 150 (Allen)
The state’s regional planning authorities are required to set climate goals for reducing carbon emissions largely through more efficient transportation and land use development that reduces miles traveled in personal vehicles—but as of right now there is no mechanism for holding our regional agencies accountable to these requirements. SB 150 challenges metropolitan regions to set regional targets that align with the state’s climate change targets, by reducing driving and making it easier to walk, bike, and take transit.
SB 150 passed out of the Transportation and Natural Resources Committees of the Assembly and is headed to Appropriations-but not without being amended to remove references to specific targets for reducing driving. There is still much work to be done in holding regional authorities and their member local jurisdictions accountable to the goals we set as a state.
Senate Bill 1 (SB 1) will boost the Active Transportation Program (ATP) by $100 million per year. That means $100 million more for walking and bicycling projects across the state to help make our cities, towns, and neighborhoods comfortable, attractive, and convenient places to get around on foot and on bike.
The first two years and $200 million of this new funding is being awarded to projects as quickly as possible this summer. Projects that had already applied for funds last year in the third cycle of ATP grant applications are first in line for this funding, and only in a few metro regions will there be opportunities for agencies to submit new applications for planning or education and encouragement program grants (for example, in the Southern California region). CalBike and our allies support this approach to getting more funding to shovel-ready projects right away, since demand for these funds has far exceeded the amount available every round by as much as four to one, leaving many great projects unfunded.
The rush to get the first $200 million out the door and into projects on the ground is spurred by urgency from our state leaders to start demonstrating the benefits of SB 1 funding to taxpayers as soon as the gas tax goes up in November. The billions in new transportation revenue raised through SB 1 come primarily from increases to gas and diesel fuel taxes, which early polling reveals to be very unpopular with voters. Just a small fraction of this funding is guaranteed to walking and biking projects through the ATP, but we know those projects are very popular. In fact, polling commissioned by CalBike in May showed that 8 in 10 California voters want transportation agencies to change the way they design our streets to make them complete streets that are safe and attractive for walking and bicycling.
Looking beyond the rush to get some ATP funding out to projects quickly, CalBike and our allies are pushing for this funding to be used to build more transformational projects in future rounds. We are working with the California Transportation Commission and Caltrans on criteria for the fourth grant cycle, which will be awarded in 2018, to incentivize projects like connected networks of protected bike lanes and safe walking and bicycling routes to transit. We envision large grants that could be the catalytic investment for communities to spur a big jump in walking and bicycling.
Stay tuned for more details about how next year’s program will create transformational walk and bike investments.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE - June 22, 2017
Contact: Jeanie Ward-Waller, Policy Director, email@example.com, 916-399-3211
Re: After State Gas Tax Increased to Repair Roads, Poll Shows California Voters Want Safer Streets for All and Alternatives to Driving
Sacramento, CA – A new statewide poll reveals that 8 in 10 California voters believe state and local transportation departments need to change the way they build streets and roads to make it safe for everyone of all ages and abilities to get around, whether they usually drive, walk, bike, or use public transportation.
Commissioned by the California Bicycle Coalition, this poll found that Californians across the state and across all major political and demographic groups support building “complete streets”—roads with safe sidewalks, visible crosswalks, and protected bike lanes—that are safe places for everyone and not strictly thoroughfares for driving. The poll was conducted by David Binder Research and funded in part by a grant from Voices for Healthy Kids, an initiative of the American Heart Association and Robert Wood Johnson Foundation working to make each day healthier for all children by ensuring that the places where children live, learn, and play make it easy and enjoyable for them to eat healthy foods and be active.
Likely voters were surveyed on the heels of the passage of Senate Bill 1, the first gas tax increase in California in twenty years, which will invest tens of billions in taxpayer dollars over the next decade in building and repairing roads. Caltrans and local city and county transportation departments will decide over the coming months which roads to fix first with the new gas tax revenue, and whether they will fix those roads to be complete streets that are safe for youth and families, older adults, and others that either can’t afford to drive or choose to walk and bike.
The survey revealed that public opinion strongly supports state and local transportation departments building complete streets, even accounting for the potential cost to taxpayers.
“Our survey shows that California families want to be able to safely walk and bike in their neighborhoods and strongly support transportation agencies redesigning our streets. Nearly two-thirds of people said they would bike more often, highest among younger voters and Latinos, if they had protected bike lanes on streets in their neighborhoods that made them feel less threatened by traffic,” said Jeanie Ward-Waller, Policy Director for the California Bicycle Coalition. “Transportation officials are decades behind acknowledging this shifting demand and investing taxpayer dollars as much in alternatives to driving as we have invested in making it easier to drive.”
Voters decisively support building complete streets because they improve the quality-of-life in our neighborhoods by:
- Providing safer routes for children to walk or bike to school or parks;
- Increasing local business sales and jobs by creating more attractive streets to walk and bike for shopping;
- Promoting healthy neighborhoods that enable youth and families to be more active in their daily lives and reduce their health care costs;
- Reducing traffic in neighborhoods by allowing people to walk and bike more for work, shopping, and entertainment; and
- Saving low- and moderate-income families money by providing them more affordable transportation options like walking and biking.
In addition, nearly half of California voters support investment in alternatives to driving—such as public transportation, walking, and bicycling—as an equal or higher priority than improving freeways and roads.
48 percent say they are equally or more supportive of investing in alternatives to driving than they are of investing in freeways; compared to 49 percent that support improving and widening roads and freeways over alternatives to driving. In fact, even for Californians who rely on driving as their primary mode of travel, more than 2 in 5 support investing as much or more transportation funding in alternatives to driving, and the support jumps to 3 in 5 among respondents that have to commute between 20-30 miles a day.
“It’s no surprise to us that a large majority of Californians—80 percent in all—believe that complete streets are a critical part of creating safe routes for children to walk or bike to school and parks,” said Marty Martinez, Northern California Policy Manager for the Safe Routes to School National Partnership. “The research shows that when more kids are able to walk and bike to school and in daily life, they are healthier and do better in school. Now it’s time to put our transportation dollars to work to create safe, healthy communities to benefit all Californians.”
“The billions of dollars our state already spends each year on highways cannot continue to be used to divide communities and ignore our residents who are walking and bicycling for their everyday needs. A strong complete streets policy is a smart, cost-effective approach for leveraging our state’s transportation dollars to ensure that Californians can safely walk and bicycle where they need to go,” said Tony Dang, Executive Director of California Walks.
“As a neurologist, I often encourage moderate exercise to my patients after a stroke to prevent a recurrent stroke.” said Dr. Alan Shatzel, Board President at the American Heart Association, Sacramento Division. “However, they also need spaces to have the ability to go out for walks and to feel safe while doing so. This poll underscores the need to invest more in complete streets to promote physical activity and foster a healthy lifestyle.”
The California Bicycle Coalition (CalBike) is California’s state-level bicycle advocacy organization, working to enable more people to ride bicycles for healthier, safer, and more prosperous communities for all. Learn more about CalBike at www.calbike.org.
- A large majority of California voters support complete streets. 78 percent believe that state and local transportation departments need to change the way they build streets and roads – to make it safe for all users (drivers, people who walk, people who bicycle, etc.). A majority (53%) say they strongly support, and there is consistent support across major subgroups.
- Voters support building complete streets for several reasons: to provide safer streets for children to walk and bike, and to stimulate local business sales and job creation along streets that are attractive for walking and biking.
- Nearly half of respondents support investment in alternatives to driving--public transportation, walking, and bicycling--as an equal or higher priority to improving freeways and roads - 48 percent are equally or more supportive of investing in alternatives to driving such as public transportation and making it easier to walk and bike as they are of investing in improving freeways; compared to 49 percent that support improving and widening roads and freeways over alternatives to driving.
- Even people who rely on driving as their primary mode of travel support investing as much or more transportation funding in alternatives to driving, especially respondents that have to commute between 20-30 miles a day - Support for alternatives to driving as an equal or greater priority for investment to roads and freeways is only slightly lower (43%) among the 76 percent of voters that use their car as a primary method of travel, and jumps up to 61% for people who have to commute 20-30 miles per day.
- Voters want better bicycling conditions. Two-thirds of voters (67%) agree that “their city government should do more to encourage bicycling.”
- Bicycling is commonplace in California. One in five men (20%) and 13% of women bike every week, and a majority have ridden a bike in the past year.
With tomorrow’s deadline looming for state bills to clear their first house in the California Legislature, several of CalBike’s top priority bills passed this week with landslide support:
Get State Employees Rolling: SB 702 (Stern)
Expands the bikeshare system for state employees—currently limited to just a few dozen bikes at department headquarters in Sacramento—and received a unanimous vote in the Senate 40-0! CalBike is sponsoring this bill, and we’re hopeful that this popular program will garner the same level of support in the Assembly.
Require Qualified Representation: AB 179 (Cervantes)
Requires one appointed member of the California Transportation Commission, the board that awards and oversees most of our state and federal transportation dollars, to be someone that works with environmental justice communities and understands the public health impacts of transportation. This bill cleared the Assembly floor 52-24 with all but one lone Democrat in dissent: Transportation Committee Chair Jim Frazier.
Free Transit for Students: AB 17 (Holden)
Creates a free transit pass program for low-income students in middle school through university, another popular bill that easily passed the Assembly 71-4. It will have a tougher fight in the Senate, however, over the source of funding, and will need even more grassroots support.
Hold Cities Accountable: SB 150 (Allen)
Requires the major metro regions in the state to update their greenhouse gas emissions targets in their long-range transportation plans to collectively meet state climate change targets established in law last year. Every city will be challenged to help meet the new state target—to reduce emissions 40% by 2030—and will need to make it much safer and easier to walk and bike rather than drive for most trips. SB 150 passed the Senate 26-13, but will also face a tough battle in the Assembly.
Thank you to all our members, supporters, and partners that responded to our call to action to urge state representatives to pass these these bills out of their first house! Your voice really matters in getting good policies passed in Sacramento that make our communities healthier and safer places to bike.
Yesterday, Caltrans announced the adoption of the state’s first Bicycle and Pedestrian Plan.
Theoretically, it’s a great document. Its recommendations thoroughly cover the key changes the state will have to make to accomplish the goal to triple bike mode share.
Practically, however, the document doesn’t provide a roadmap to implementing those recommendations. A more serious commitment to achieving the plan’s recommendations would have generated controversy and opposition from stakeholders who have to change their practices.Read more
Nearly one hundred transportation equity advocates and practitioners across the state gathered on April 24th and 25th in Sacramento at our co-sponsored 2017 Transportation Equity Summit and Advocacy Day.Read more
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE - April 6, 2017
Contact: Jeanie Ward-Waller, Policy Director, firstname.lastname@example.org, 916-399-3211
Re: Coalition statement about passage of Senate Bill 1
Statement from 32 organizations representing walking, bicycling, public transit, public health, social equity, environmental, and environmental justice concerns on today’s passage of transportation funding bill SB 1
SB 1 will make major improvements to the transportation system in California, and our coalition of more than 80 organizations supported many elements of the package. We appreciate the bill’s focus on fixing roads first and investing significant dollars in public transportation and safe walking and biking, yet we believe there is still more work ahead to target and prioritize transportation investment to benefit disadvantaged communities.Read more