CalBike Looks Back at This Year’s Legislative Efforts–and Ahead to the Next

by : CalBike – excerpt

The California Bicycle Coalition–CalBike–supports local bicycle advocacy efforts to build better bike networks. It does this in part through its work on state legislation that promotes bicycling and via its efforts to increase the amount of funding available for building better bike infrastructure.

California is poised to become one of the most bike-innovative states in the nation. The California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) got a new mission and vision statement this year that is more bicycle friendly, and endorsed progressive street designs. A new State Transportation Agency is shaking up how California traditionally thinks of transportation, and we got to see the first rounds of the Governor’s new “Active Transportation Program.”

While the 2014 legislative session wasn’t ideal in every way, our policymakers took huge steps forward, most importantly with exciting advances toward modern street design. You can find links to exact bill language, fact sheets, and letters to and from lawmakers at the California Bicycle Coalition website here

More Funding Approved, but Not Much
More funding is essential to building the infrastructure California needs to get more people to ride bikes. It is also key to economic sustainability. Active transportation infrastructure creates more jobs during construction and supports the local economy during its lifetime.

At $129 million, or barely 1 percent of the state’s transportation budget for biking and walking combined, funding for bike infrastructure is paltry at best.

We had limited success this year with our efforts to increase bicycle funding. Despite our advocacy, there was no increase in the Active Transportation Program (ATP). The formulas for spending cap-and-trade revenue did make active transportation eligible for about $65 million this year and up to 10 percent ($200-$500 million) in future years, but there are no guarantees that it will be spent on active transportation. Increasing and protecting the amounts eligible for active transportation in the ATP, in cap-and-trade funds, and from other sources is a goal for next year

The Governor did indicate support for more bike funding by signing AB 1183, which allows a $5 vehicle registration surcharge dedicated to bicycle infrastructure. Originally proposed as a tax against bikes, the bill was amended — thanks to our work and that of Senate Governance & Finance Chair Lois Wolk — to become a vehicle license surcharge.

AB 1183 is more of a symbolic statement than a practical funding source, because local agencies would need two-thirds voter approval to impose the surcharge. Until the minimum threshold to pass tax-related ballot initiatives is lowered, this surcharge is most likely not going to be a viable source of revenue… (more)

Jerry Brown gets bill to OK local fees for bicycle facilities

By Laurel Rosenhall : sacbee – excerpt

Californians could vote to tax themselves to build bike paths, bike parking and other bicycle facilities under a bill heading to Gov. Jerry Brown.

Senate Bill 1183 would allow cities, counties and regional parks districts to put a measure on their local ballots asking voters to approve an annual fee of up to $5 that would be added to their vehicle registration fees and go toward building or rehabilitating bicycle infrastructure. Two-thirds of local voters would have to approve the fee…

SB 1183 passed the state Senate Thursday with no debate, on a 24-9 vote… (more)

Anyone in Desaulnier’s district feel like taking this on? We understand he is running for higher office now. You can go onto the web site or send messages to his aide: Mark Stivers, mark.stivers@sen.ca.gov 

CalBike Pushes for Protected Bike Lanes, Vulnerable User Laws in Sac

by Melanie Curry : streetsblog.la – excerpt

The California Bicycle Coalition held its Advocacy Day this week in the state capitol to lobby legislators on several key policy reforms to promote bicycling.

Joined by local bicycle groups from around the state and participants who finished the California Climate Ride in Sacramento, CalBike met with state legislators and staffers and urged them to support two bills currently in play: one that would codify “separated bikeways,” or protected bike lanes, into state law and another that would increase penalties for drivers who injure vulnerable road users, primarily bicyclists and pedestrians. Advocates also urged lawmakers to support increased funding for projects that promote “active transportation,” a.k.a. walking and bicycling.

Assemblymember Phil Ting (D-San Francisco) showed up to stump for his bill, A.B. 1193, which would require Caltrans to develop standards for protected bike lanes, also known as “cycle tracks” or “separated bikeways,” which are not currently defined by statute in California. The state’s Streets and Highways Code defines three types of bike facilities: “paths,” “lanes,” and “routes,” each of which provide bicyclists with a different level of physical separation from motor traffic, and thus a different level of comfort and safety. “Cycle tracks,” which are on-street bike lanes separated from traffic by landscaping, parking, or a wide painted divider, don’t fit easily into any of the existing categories.

Although Caltrans recently endorsed the National Association of City Transportation Officials (NACTO) Urban Street Design Guide, which does include guidelines for creating cycle tracks, no standard for them currently exists in California law….

Advocates also sought support for A.B. 2398, the Vulnerable Road Users Protection Act, from Marc Levine (D-San Rafael). The bill would raise the penalties when a driver is convicted of causing injury to vulnerable road users, including bicyclists and pedestrians. The idea is not only to deter reckless driving, but to spark a cultural shift away from assumption that drivers have more of a right to the road than other users… (more)

It is time to let our State Representatives know how we feel about all the new laws they are pushing. Let them know how you feel about the Restore Transportation Balance Initiative and how you feel about A.B. 1193 and A.B. 2398.

San Francisco and its cycletracks lead the way toward safer biking statewide

Ting is working on the issue with the California Bicycle Coalition, whose executive director Dave Snyder is a longtime San Francisco bike activist. Snyder says Caltrans doesn’t allow bike lanes that include physical barriers against traffic, even though they are widely used in other countries and states and considered to be safest design for cyclists.

San Francisco has been blazing the trail toward safer cycling with innovative designs such as cycletracks, or bike lanes that are physically separated from cars, which have been installed on Market Street and JFK Drive. But cycletracks aren’t legal under state law, something that a San Francisco lawmaker and activist are trying to solve so that other California cities can more easily build them.

“Right now, many cities are not putting in cycletracks for fear they don’t conform to the Caltrans manual,” says Assemblymember Phil Ting, whose Assembly Bill 1193 — which would legalize and set design standards for cycletracks — cleared the Assembly yesterday [Wed/29] and is now awaiting action by the Senate.

Ting is working on the issue with the California Bicycle Coalition, whose executive director Dave Snyder is a longtime San Francisco bike activist. Snyder says Caltrans doesn’t allow bike lanes that include physical barriers against traffic, even though they are widely used in other countries and states and considered to be safest design for cyclists.

San Francisco is technically breaking the law because they have the best traffic engineers in the state and a good City Attorney’s Office and they know they can defend it in court if they have to,” Snyder said. “Most places in the state won’t do that.”… (more)

So now we know. They admit some of the bike lanes are illegal. If you object to this law (Assembly Bill 1193) to legalize the illegal bike lanes in San Francisco, let Phil Ting and the state representatives know about it now: Contacts here. And let your city officials know: Contacts here

Sign petitions, write letters. This is an election year. DO YOU WANT TO GIVE MORE MONEY TO THE FOLKS WHO ARE BREAKING THE LAW NOW? Do they represent your interests?

RELATED:
Gov’s Report to Caltrans: Get Out of the Way of Protected Bike Lanes
Caltrans needs to stop focusing so much on moving cars and let cities build safer street designs with protected bike lanes, says a new report commissioned by Governor Jerry Brown and CA Transportation Secretary Brian Kelly…
they must take a legal risk since Caltrans hasn’t approved such designs, and design exceptions require “a painful and time-consuming process,” says the report, produced by the State Smart Transportation Initiative…

Gov. Brown signs Frazier’s fifth bill into law, to streamline bicycle transportation

antiochherald – excerpted

AB 417 Will Significantly Improve Bicycle Transportation in Cities and Counties
Sacramento, CA –
Today Governor Jerry Brown signed into law Assembly Bill 417 authored by Assemblymember Jim Frazier (D – Oakley) that streamlines the CEQA process for bicycle transportation plans. “AB 417 is a common sense approach to a much needed change,” said Frazier.
AB 417 will provide a narrow exemption for bicycle transportation plans in urbanized areas and will ensure public participation and address traffic and safety impacts.
“This bill corrects the unanticipated consequences of CEQA,” said Dave Snyder from the California Bicycle Coalition, “and will allow cities to calm their traffic, install bicycle lanes, and improve bike parking and signage without enduring millions of dollars in expense and incurring years of delay.”
Biking has become a common mode of transportation for the daily commuter and is a proactive way for the public to effectively reduce greenhouse gas emission and improve personal health. These streamlined plans will significantly improve biking conditions and expand transportation networks in cities and counties.
“Transportation is my number one priority,” said Frazier. “AB 417 is just a start to what I hope to accomplish for transportation projects in California because a quality transportation network is essential to economic growth.” …(more)