State Complete Streets Bill Heading to a Final Vote Next Week

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The Los Angeles County Bike Coalition reports that A.B. 1358, The Complete Streets Bill, will be heard by the full Senate next week. The legislation would require that cities and counties to design roadways that safely accommodate all those who use them, including bicyclists, pedestrians, transit riders, children, the elderly and the handicapped, as well as motorists. While this might seem like pretty revolutionary stuff in Los Angeles, all it requires of municipalities to treat everyone equally when designing road projects.

Let’s hope the Governor is bluffing with his promise to veto any legislation that comes across his desk while we’re waiting for the budget impasse to end.

But, first thing first, state legislators need to hear from all of us that Complete Streets legislation isn’t just good environmental and transportation policy; it’s also a simple matter of fairness. Streets are public spaces and that large parts of California have allowed the car to dominate them has led to the inequity for users of all other transportation modes.

The California Bike Coalition has written a sample letter to help people best write their legislators. The letter is available after the jump. If you’re not certain who your State Senator is, click here.

Honorable [your State Senator’s full name]

State Capitol, Room [your State Senator’s room number]

Sacramento, CA 95814

Fax: [your State Senator’s fax number, if you’re sending by fax]

Senate Floor Alert

RE: Support AB 1358 (Leno)

I join the California Bicycle Coalition in urging you to vote YES for AB 1358, the Complete Streets Act, because it will require cities and counties to design roadways that make bicycling and walking safer, more feasible modes of transportation. As non-motorized transportation modes, bicycling and walking can help solve a variety of the problems California faces: traffic congestion, poor air quality, the threats from climate change, and worsening public health. It is imperative that roadway design enables motorists, bicyclists, and pedestrians to travel safely. AB 1358 will result in roads that serve all users, not just motorists, as is now too often the case.

Thank you for supporting this landmark legislation to help make California cities more livable.

Sincerely,

[Close with your signature and printed full name, mailing address, city, state, zip, phone number (optional) and email address (optional).]


Image: AARP

  • It is funny that this is what the CA Bike Coalition is fighting for.

    Just the other day, in the Los Angeles City Council’s Transportation Committee, I got to hear the LADOT explain that they were following state guidelines for determining the speed limits on roads.

    The guidelines for making that determination ask that the engineer performing the survey “take into account” certain things:
    -residential density along the stretch of road being studied
    -“Bicycle safety” – explicitly written in this way.

    So, the engineers said, “We considered it.” Then they recommended speed limit increases that run counter to the interests of local residents and bicyclists!

    Just asking an agency to “consider” certain user groups is entirely the wrong tack to take, in my opinion.

    We need our own set of standards – standards that allow an engineer to build a case for decreasing speed limits, decreasing the Level Of Service, decreasin the Average Daily Trips, or Vehicle Miles Traveled, of “Mobility” (distance a car can move in a set time period).

    We won’t need to ask anyone to “consider” slowing car speeds or increasing sidewalk widths – they will have a set of data and measurements that they cannot ignore, under the threat of lawsuit.

    I support the ideals behind this bill, but I’d say it is more or less a hard fought for piece of fluff legislation.

    I’ve read some inspiring words about how great bikes are within the State of California’s Codes – but those same codes ignore the power they have to influence local agency engineers to measure the road in ways that benefit cyclists and pedestrians.

  • Marcotico

    UBrayj, You are completely right about this. There is a growing body of research in this direction, including a presentation I saw at the CA. APA meeting in 2006 called “How to talk to your traffic engineers about traffic calming.” Some of the data shows that in the right situation a one lane road can carry more volume than a two lane road (due to weaving).

    There are a lot of interesting powerpoints on line about these issues in the abstract, but it is really important to start setting quantitative engineering based standards for such things as speed and required widths.

    Also look up Mike LYdon’s writings on Planetizen.com. He talks about the importance of planning for 3 types of cyclists (novice, intermediate, and advanced). I think this is a really important idea, because your performance/distance commuter does not want the same facilities as your comfort/local errand rider. (bike lanes v. separate recreation paths)

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