Complete Streets Legislation Clears Legisalture

A Complete Street in Portland

Last week, the state legislature finally passed AB 1358, The Complete Streets Act.  This legislation would require that all modes of transportation be given equal consideration when Caltrans or any other government body in California spends funds on a road project. Other states that have passed similar legislation include Oregon, Illinois, Massachusetts and Virginia.

Passage of this type of legislation is at the top of the "to do" list for bicycle and pedestrian reformers throughout the country including the Los Angeles County Bike Coalition and the California Bike Coalition

I guess state legislators know how to say "Happy Birthday."

For such a groundbreaking piece of legislation, it received scant notice in the press.  Over the last week, the only news story on A.B. 1358's passage can be found in a Sacramento Bee editorial, which devoted one paragraph of an editorial to the legislation over the weekend.

Pedestrian safety: Assembly Bill 1358 would require cities and counties to accommodate all users – including bicyclists, pedestrians and transit passengers – when building new streets and highways. This "complete streets" bill by Assemblyman Mark Leno of San Francisco would encourage the building of more sidewalks and bike lanes statewide. It dovetails with the governor's efforts to fight obesity and reduce greenhouse pollution.

However, as with all things in Sacramento these days, this important piece of legislation is caught in the logjam created by the Governor's insistence that he will not sign any legislation until after the legislature passes a balance budget.  However, that timeline doesn't work for local bike advocates.  The LACBC wrote their members yesterday with instructions of how to write to Governor Schwarzengger.  Their draft letter and instructions can be found after the jump.



How to write a support letter for AB 1358 

1) Address your letter this way:      
The Honorable Arnold Schwarzenegger
Governor, State of California

California State Capitol Building

Sacramento, CA 95814

Fax 916-558-3160 

Re: Support: AB 1358 (Leno)                        

2) In your own words, briefly explain (2-3 sentences) your reasons for wanting the governor to  sign AB 1358, possibly including some or all of the following points:                       

- Enacting the Complete Streets Act complements Gov. Schwarzenegger's groundbreaking
initiatives to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in California by improving conditions that enable people to travel by bicycle, on foot or by public transit.                      
- Streets designed to accommodate all users benefit the public health by encouraging more people to choose active transportation modes like bicycling and walking. 
- Streets designed to accommodate all users are safer for all users, and can help reduce  California's rate of bicyclist and pedestrian fatalities from vehicle collisions, which is among  the  nation's highest.                               
- California will be the first state in the nation to embrace Complete Streets principles for all local streets and roadways.                     
-Consider including a brief anecdote (1-2 sentences) about how the Complete
 Streets Act might
improve your community.

3) Close with your signature and printed full name, mailing address, city, state, zip, phone number (optional) and email address (optional) 
4) Print your letter and deliver it by fax or mail (don't send it by email-it's unlikely to be read in that form).   

Arnold Schwarzenegger
Governor, State of California
California State Capitol Building
Sacramento, CA 95814
Fax 916-558-3160

Photo: Ohio Cap City/Flickr