Add one more item to the (loooong) list of legislative priorities that have been derailed by the coronavirus pandemic: Assembly Member Robert Rivas’s bike parking incentive bill. It is the last of many bills that CalBike was working on in 2020 to improve the policy environment for biking.
CalBike now has more capacity to plan and campaign for bills in the next session which starts in December. We also have more capacity to invest in a handful of close races for Assembly and Senate. More bike-friendly legislators can make a huge difference.
CalBike started this year with a full docket of bills in the Legislature. Our priority bill would have given the same purchase incentives for e-bikes that California gives for electric cars. Another would add the Dutch Reach to California driver’s education manuals. We were working on changes in how speed limits were set. All those bills were pulled by their authors in March as the legislative session got upended by the pandemic.
The Bike Parking Bill
One key bill was not pulled. Assembly Member Robert Rivas proposed a fantastic statewide incentive for bike parking and car-sharing: incentives to build bike parking in new housing. AB 3153 would have allowed housing builders to reduce the amount of car parking they would be required to build if they built a certain amount of bike parking or car-sharing spaces instead. Thanks to hundreds of CalBike supporters who called and emailed in support of this measure, it made it through the Assembly and into the Senate. Even with that outpouring of support, however, this pandemic year created too great a headwind in Sacramento.
The bill would not have made a huge impact on California’s housing stock, because it provided an optional incentive (instead of a mandate) and would only have impacted new housing in some counties. But where it applied, it would have overridden local zoning laws, making an incredibly bold statement on behalf of sustainable transportation. Housing builders could have used this law to build less car parking and more bike parking than local regulations require, and local officials could not have prevented it. It would have encouraged new local ordinances to reduce car parking requirements and increase bike parking requirements in the name of local control.
CalBike’s bike parking campaign continues
Minimum parking requirements are among the worst zoning laws. By forcing developers to add the cost of car parking to new homes, parking requirements add to the already high cost of housing construction. In addition, these laws increase inequality and impede sustainable transportation. Unfortunately, legislators are extremely unlikely to change minimum parking requirements at a statewide level.
However, legislators are happy to impose a new statewide building code. For example, as of January 1 2020, all new residential buildings must have solar panels.
Thanks to your tremendous show of support for the Bike Parking Bill, we are looking forward to positive developments in 2021. Senator Mike McGuire (SD 2) has committed to working with us to bring a bill about bike parking in next year’s session and has already reached out to CalBike to discuss it.
In the next legislative session, CalBike will launch a campaign to change the state’s mandatory residential building code to require bike parking in all new residential buildings. While such an initiative would not have the benefit of incentivizing a reduction in subsidized car parking, it would have a much more dramatic impact on the availability of secure bike parking in new residential buildings.
Are you interested in supporting a campaign for mandatory bike parking in new California residential construction? Add your name to the form below to join the movement for better bike parking.