In 2017, a CalBike-commissioned poll showed 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.
Together with our ally Senator Scott Wiener (D-San Francisco) and over 80 co-sponsors and supporters, CalBike sponsored SB 127, the Complete Streets for Active Living Bill, in 2019. The bill would have required Caltrans to follow its own Complete Streets Policy and prioritize the safety of everyone who uses our roads, not just drivers, on every repaving, maintenance, and rehab project.
Caltrans has paid lip service to the idea of Complete Streets with an internal Complete Streets policy, but they haven’t lived up to their rhetoric. This Complete Streets law would have held their feet to the fire and transformed our communities into comfortable and convenient spaces for walking and bicycling.
The cheapest and easiest time to add a bike lane is when a street is already due for maintenance. Simply repaving dangerous and poorly designed roadways maintains an unacceptable status quo that prioritizes the speedy movement of cars over the lives and health of our children and neighbors.
Despite overwhelming support in the legislature and from constituents, Governor Gavin Newsom vetoed the Complete Streets Bill on October 12, 2019.
One veto is not the end of the road for Complete Streets. CalBike is committed working to bring safe streets to all Californians. We will continue to press the new leadership of Caltrans to build Complete Streets on state routes that serve as local streets. We will keep up the pressure on government agencies to provide funding for projects that facilitate biking, walking, and transit. And we’ll need your help to make it happen.