FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE - June 22, 2017
Contact: Jeanie Ward-Waller, Policy Director, firstname.lastname@example.org, 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, email@example.com, 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
The deadline for introducing bills for the 2017 Legislative Session was mid February, and the CalBike Policy Team is busy in the Capitol working on a full legislative slate. For a complete list of bills that we’re sponsoring, supporting, and tracking this year, check out our 2017 Legislative Tracker.
One of our biggest efforts this session is to pass a transportation funding package that truly reflects balanced investments in bicycling, walking, and transit. Senate Bill 1 and Assembly Bill 1, the transportation package legislation pieces, need to be revised in order to reflect what is needed most out of a robust transportation system. CalBike continues to lead a broad coalition that is pushing the envelop to expand the funding package to include a sound investment in affordable and sustainable transportation, especially in low-income communities and for people of color.Read more
The most dangerous place on the road for a person on a bike? The intersection.
Almost all street intersections in California pose as a safety threat to people on bikes. The longer it takes for a person on a bike to pass through an intersection, the greater likelihood that they’ll get hit by an oncoming vehicle.
Assemblymembers Jay Obernolte (R-Hesperia) and Phil Ting (D-San Francisco) introduced AB 1103 to allow people on bikes to treat stop signs as yield signs whenever it is safe to do so. Modeled after the "Idaho Stop" law of 1982, AB 1103 has the potential to reduce car-on-bike collisions, eliminate unnecessary enforcement, and allow people on bikes to keep their momentum moving forward. When people on bikes cross more safely at intersections and traffic flows more smoothly, it is a win-win for everyone.
Legislation Update: The authors of our common sense bill to require bicycle riders to yield and stop if necessary at stop sign-controlled intersections have pulled their bill from consideration for now. 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.
In the meantime we're building momentum and support for stop-as-yield legislation in our state, and we need to hear from you.
Add your name below in support of the California "Stop As Yield" policy and make biking safer and more accessible for all.
This common-sense policy change has grown in popularity around our state because of the work of advocates like Walt Seifert; his wheels-to-the-road passion for advocacy continues to advance our list of supporting organizations.
Supporters of Stop-As-Yield Reform Legislation in California:
California Delivery Association
Public Health Advocates
Two Rivers Cider
Sacramento Metropolitan Air Quality Management District
Yolo Solano Air Quality Management District
Coalition for Clean Air
Bicycle Commuter Coalition Inland Empire
Bike Santa Cruz County
California Bicycle Coalition
Inland Empire Bicycle Alliance
Motherlode Bicycle Coalition
San Diego County Bicycle Coalition
Silicon Valley Bicycle Coalition
Sylvia Bingham Fund
Walk Bike Mendocino
Davis Bike Club
Desert Bicycle Club
Different Spokes of Southern California
Fresno Cycling Club
High Desert Cycling
Lompoc Valley Bicycle Club
Los Gatos Bicycle Racing Club
Imperial Valley Velo Club
Recumbent Riders of Sacramento
San Luis Obispo Bicycle Club
San Jose Bicycle Club
Santa Rosa Cycling Club
Solano Cycling Club
Fo Sho Inc. (Carmichael, East Sac, Elk Grove, and Greenhaven bike shops and Folsom Cyclery)
City Bicycle Works-Sacramento
Last week, CalBike hosted a bike safety workshop led by League Certified Instructor Bonnie Wehmann. Set in the streets of Sacramento, the workshop was designed to develop a shared understanding of where it is safest to ride a bicycle in a vehicle travel lane. Participants included staff members from the California Highway Patrol (CHP), State Assembly Transportation Committee, and the offices of Assemblymembers Phil Ting and Richard Bloom.
CalBike staff led the workshop's afternoon discussion on opportunities to clarify the interpretation of Vehicle Code Section 21202, which requires bicyclists to ride to the right of a travel lane except in certain important situations, like when there is an obstacle to avoid or when the travel lane is too narrow for a car to pass the bicyclist--giving the requisite three feet--within the lane.
CalBike is committed to protecting bicyclists’ rights. In the new year, we will continue working with the CHP and legislative staff to agree on the safest interpretation of this section of the law for bicyclists, or to rewrite it to make it more clear.
e-Bikes used by workshop attendees were provided by Practical Cycle, Sacramento, CA.
CalBike joined about 100 e-Bike industry executives and retailers at the 2016 E-Bike Summit earlier this month in San Juan Capistrano. This national event was organized by the Bicycle Product Suppliers Association and PeopleforBikes to review gains of 2016 and plot the legislative strategy for 2017.Read more
Caltrans has a long history of working to make California a better place to drive. We’ve been pushing them to make our state better for people biking and walking for years, and while we’ve seen great progress, particularly in what they say they’d like to accomplish, we’re continuing to push them to walk the walk (or, if you will, bike the bike).
One big change we’d like to see is that every time Caltrans makes improvements to our state highways, whether it’s replacing a bridge, repaving a few blocks or a few miles of roadway, or even repairing drainage systems, they will always take advantage of those opportunities to make improvements to biking and walking infrastructure in the area to make more “Complete Streets.”
In our June CalBike Report, we told you about how an in-depth analysis by CalBike of the Caltrans State Highway Maintenance and Protection Program (SHOPP) has spurred a significant rethinking at Caltrans about how they should redesign state highways to be safe for people to bike and walk. Since that time, we’ve been working with our friends at California Walks to develop recommendations for Caltrans to improve their SHOPP project development process and take advantage of opportunities to make safety improvements as part of routine maintenance. We have received some initial openness from Caltrans to our recommendations, and anticipate more official feedback over the coming months.Read more